UFC: Who will face Tony Ferguson next?

Tony Ferguson, UFC

For years, there was one man who was the boogey man of the UFC‘s lightweight division. That man was “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson (25-6). Ferguson has been a staple of the lightweight division for years and he’s constantly been near the very top of the lightweight division.

We were first introduced to Ferguson on The Ultimate Fighter. El Cucuy won the show and earned himself a contract with the UFC after he knocked out Ramsey Nijem. Ferguson then went on to go 11-1 in his next 12 fights inside the octagon.

That stretch included a nine-fight win streak which included a win over former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. That streak led him to a fight with Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight title. Ferguson won that fight and became champion. However, Ferguson didn’t keep the interim title long as it was taken away following knee injuries.

Ferguson was considered by many to be the best lightweight in the world. However, that’s not the narrative anymore. After capturing UFC gold and going on an incredible 12-fight win streak, Ferguson has lost three in a row. He’s not just lost three in a row, but he’s been dominated in those three fights.

Who will the UFC pair him with next?

Since being on this recent skid, many have wondered what would be next for El Cucuy. Recently, Dana White came out and said that the UFC has a fight for Ferguson but he didn’t elaborate on who the opponent would be. Well, thanks to Twitter, we might have some insight.

Rafael Dos Anjos took to Twitter and tweeted at Ferguson asking him about a UFC Fight Night on February 19th. RDA said that he asked the promotion for a fight with Ferguson, and Ferguson seemed to brush him off. It appears that Ferguson would like the UFC to set him up against Michael Chandler.

Chandler was tweeting about a potential fight with Conor McGregor when Ferguson chimed in. Ferguson said that the UFC had relayed a message saying that Chandler would be ready for a fight in the spring. Chandler responded saying he would beat Ferguson bell-to-bell in a hypothetical matchup.

In looking at the UFC’s lightweight division, those two matchups do make sense for Ferguson. Another opponent to watch out for would be Dan Hooker. My guess is that we will find out sooner rather than later who will be fighting El Cucuy next.

2021 UFC Fight of the Year

2021 is coming to a close and there were so many incredible UFC fights this year. There were massive title fights, stunning upsets, incredible comebacks, and so much more. 2021 was an incredible year for UFC fans.

A fight that stands out immediately is the featherweight title fight at UFC 267. Alexander Volkanovski was defending his title against Brian Ortega. This was a fight that many in the community were torn on entering 2021.

Given the way Ortega looked in his 2020 return, many including myself thought he was the guy to beat Volkanovski. However, the champion held strong. Volkanovksi and Ortega had a battle to remember at UFC 267 and Volkanovski won a decision.

Another fight that stands out to me is the battle between Jiri Prochazka and Dominick Reyes. A likely title eliminator which took place back in May. Both of these powerful light heavyweights hurt each other in a wild slugfest.

The pace was insane for two guys so big and powerful. In the end, Prochazka landed a perfect spinning back elbow which knocked Reyes out cold. That finish is also a top consideration for knockout of the year.

All that being said, there’s one fight that stands out amongst the rest. It was a fight that took place at UFC 268 and it was a fight that had an insane amount of hype leading up to it and it somehow surpassed even the loftiest expectations.

2021 UFC Fight of the Year

The UFC Fight of the Year in 2021 is definitely the battle between Justin Gaethje (23-3) and Michael Chandler (22-7). This fight took place in November and it’s still a fight that I’m buzzing about nearly two months later.

Gaethje made his lone appearance in 2021 count with this fight against Chandler. These two are fan favorites for their styles and they showed why in their battle. Michael Chandler said their fight would be like a car crash and that’s exactly what we got.

From the opening bell at UFC 268, these two guys went at each other with everything they had. Chandler came out quick throwing major heat and he hurt Gaethje in the first round. However, Gaethje hurt him back when they were swinging away.

In the second round, Gaethje dropped Chandler and hurt him bad. However, Chandler survived and the two continued to slug it out in the center. The final round saw Gaethje land more, but Chandler had big moments in the round as well.

These two threw caution to the wind and just went after each other. Ultimately, Gaethje got his hand raised at UFC 268 and earned a title shot in his victory. If you haven’t watched this instant classic, I highly recommend figuring out a way to watch it as soon as you can.

After falling short at UFC 269, what’s next for Dustin Poirier?

This past weekend at UFC 269, the undisputed lightweight title was on the line. Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC) was looking to finally get his hands on undisputed gold when he took on Charles Oliveira (32-8).

For Dustin Poirier, the fight couldn’t have started better at UFC 269. The former interim champion dropped Oliveira and hurt him a couple of times in the first round. Things were going according to plan.

However, the second round saw the momentum completely shift. After a grappling exchange, Poirier found himself on the bottom. Fearful of the submission game of Oliveira, Poirier rode out the round on bottom while eating plenty of elbows.

In the third round, Oliveira charged forward and forced another grappling exchange. This time, the UFC champion was able to immediately get the back of Dustin Poirier.

Once there, the fight was essentially over. Oliveira started attacking a rear-naked choke and was able to lock one in. Poirier tried to fight it off but was forced to tap as Oliveira successfully defended his UFC lightweight title.

What’s next after UFC 269?

There are no other words to describe Poirier’s loss other than crushing. Poirier admitted at the post-fight press conference that he was heartbroken and devastated by the result.

Make no mistake about it, Dustin Poirier is one of the best fighters in the UFC. However, undisputed gold has been outside of his reach his entire career.

He got his first shot two years ago against Khabib Nurmagomedov and suffered the same result. Now, The Diamond must go back to the drawing board and figure out whats next.

The UFC does have a couple of options they can look at. An obvious choice from a rankings perspective is Michael Chandler (22-7). Chandler is on a two-fight losing streak but the losses came to Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

A fight between Poirier and Chandler would re-establish one of them right in the title picture. If Poirier is looking for a big money fight, I love the idea of him and Nate Diaz (20-13).

These two have wanted to fight for years and now could be the perfect time. Diaz needs a fight and Poirier might want a money fight over a contender fight with Chandler.

That fight could setup a potential fourth matchup with Conor McGregor (22-6) once McGregor is ready to return over the summer. There are still plenty of big fights out there for Poirier and don’t rule him out just yet.

After UFC 268, Justin Gaethje is next in line for the lightweight championship

This past Saturday at UFC 268, we saw one of the best fights if not the best fight of 2021 kicking off the PPV. A lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje (23-3) and Michael Chandler (22-7) kicked off the UFC 268 main card in style.

Usually when you see a fight that has a ton of hype, the fight normally disappoints. You think to yourself, “There’s no way that this fight can possibly live up to the hype,” and most of the time, it doesn’t. Well, this is one of those times where the fight completely delivered.

From the opening bell at UFC 268, both Gaethje and Chandler through everything that they had at the other. The first round saw Chandler rock Gaethje a couple of times. However, Gaethje landed big shots of his own. In the second round, Gaethje dropped Chandler and nearly finished him.

The final round saw Gaethje throw everything including the kitchen sink at a smiling Michael Chandler. The fight was absolutely incredible and in the end, Justin Gaethje walked away victorious and cemented his status at the top of the division.

Is Gaethje next for the UFC title?

Originally, this fight between Chandler and Gaethje was being looked at as a title eliminator. However, after Islam Makhachev’s performance at UFC 267, there was talk about whether or not Makhachev would jump the line. However, the fight on Saturday put that to rest.

Prior to Saturday night, Gaethje last fought at UFC 254 when he took on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title. Gaethje lost that fight but he entered the contest as the interim UFC lightweight champion.

Gaethje is now 5-2 in his last seven fights with four stoppages. The only two losses he’s had have come against Khabib and Dustin Poirier. There is no doubt in my mind that Justin Gaethje will be next for the UFC lightweight title.

Next month at UFC 269, Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira will battle for the lightweight title. Whoever wins that fight will have Gaethje waiting for them. Whether it’s a rematch with Poirier or a showdown with Oliveira, Gaethje will be ready for his second crack at undisputed UFC gold.

Conor McGregor ‘Down’ for fight with Michael Chandler following UFC 268

Conor McGregor, UFC

This past weekend at UFC 268, Michael Chandler (22-7) went to war with Justin Gaethje (23-3). The fight lived up to every ounce of hype it had and will be on the shortlist of fight of the year. Easily the fight could get inducted into the fight wing of the UFC Hall of Fame.

Both men hit the other which everything they had. They both had each other rocked and wobbled at various points in the fight. In the end, Justin Gaethje landed a little more and was able to win a decision, but in reality, there were no losers in this fight.

Michael Chandler’s stock doesn’t fall after suffering defeat at UFC 268. To me, he’s exactly where he was before the fight. Right in the mix of things and inside the top five of the UFC‘s lightweight division. This morning, Chandler made it clear what he wants next.

Chandler took to Twitter and made his callout for his return. Chandler said that he wanted a fight with former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor (22-6) next. McGregor is currently rehabbing a broken leg that he suffered in his last fight.

Former UFC champion responds

After the callout, it didn’t take long for Conor McGregor to issue a response. The former champion is very active on Twitter and one had to think that he would respond. The only question would be the type of response.

Would we get the nice and respectful version of Conor McGregor? Or would the former UFC champion go right into the trash talk and mind games? McGregor was very respectful in his response that you can see below.

I mentioned this in the article this morning, but if you want a perfect fight on paper, it’s a fight between McGregor and Chandler. It’s a massive fight that can headline a UFC PPV and would satisfy the casuals and the hard core MMA fan base.

The only question would be around the UFC’s willingness to make the fight happen. For McGregor, there’s always the third fight with Nate Diaz. Or a matchup with Rafael Dos Anjos (a fight that would also make sense for Michael Chandler).

It’s important to remember that UFC 268 just was Saturday night and both men are going to need time. Chandler needs to recover from the war he was in while McGregor still needs to fully heal from the broken leg.

All that being said, these are two guys who the UFC organization loves. If Chandler wants this fight and McGregor wants this fight, it’s going to happen. Time will tell, but I think fans would be pretty satisfied if this fight were to happen in the late spring or early summer in 2022.

Michael Chandler has his eyes on Conor McGregor after UFC 268

MMA, UFC, michael chandler

This past Saturday at UFC 268, we saw a fight that very well might be fight of the year and it lived up to it’s enormous hype. Kicking off the PPV on Saturday was a lightweight showdown between Michael Chandler (22-7) and Justin Gaethje (23-3).

Both men were coming off title losses in their last fights and whoever won this fight was being looked at as a potential number one contender in a stacked lightweight division. Given the styles of both men, this fight at UFC 268 had more hype than any non-title fight I’ve seen in recent memory that didn’t involve Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz.

Somehow, it seemed to even surpass expectations. From the opening bell, these two went right after each other and threw everything they had. In the first round, Chandler was able to rock Gaethje a few times and it looked like he could get a stoppage win.

However, Gaethje weathered the storm then came back strong by dropping and hurting Chandler in the second. The third round showed Chandler just eating everything Gaethje threw and he was throwing heat back. An absolute war at UFC 268 that should be going into the hall of fame one day.

In the end, Justin Gaethje got his hand raised which was the right call. However, this was a fight where there really wasn’t a loser in my opinion. Michael Chandler dropped to 1-2 in the UFC following the loss to Gaethje.

Chandler has his next UFC opponent in mind

Michael Chandler took to Twitter this morning and made it clear what he wants next. With a simple caption of, “2022,” Chandler posted a face off picture with him and former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor (22-6).

McGregor is currently recovering from the broken leg that he suffered back at UFC 264 against Dustin Poirier. The Notorious one is looking to return in the late spring or early summer which aligns when Chandler will likely make his next trip inside the octagon.

While I absolutely love this fight, I’m not sure if the UFC will go in this direction for McGregor. If McGregor wants to get right back in the title picture, Chandler is a great option. However, with anything tied to Conor McGregor, there are a lot of moving pieces.

Another option to watch for Chandler and McGregor for that matter is former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13). The former champion is recovering from knee surgery and aligns perfectly with both men in terms of his spot in the rankings.

Justin Gaethje edges Michael Chandler in instant classic at UFC 268

Kicking off the main card of UFC 268 was arguably the most highly anticipated matchup of the evening. Former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (22-3) took on former title challenger Michael Chandler (22-6).

Originally, this fight was scheduled to be the third of the night, but with Trevor Wittman coaching Usman and Namajunas in addition to Gaethje, this fight was moved up. This was the first time we saw Justin Gaethje in over a year.

The last time we saw him was at UFC 254 when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title. That loss snapped a four-fight winning streak that saw him capture the UFC interim lightweight title against Tony Ferguson.

Michael Chandler made his UFC debut back in January with a knockout of Dan Hooker. After that win, Chandler got a shot against Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title. After a dominant first round, Chandler was caught with a flush shot in the second and was stopped.

With that, both of these men are coming off losses in UFC lightweight title fights. Whoever won tonight was being looked at as potentially the next title contender.

UFC 268 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 268 lightweight contest started with both men meeting in the center. Gaethje looks for a leg kick early. Chandler clips Gaethje and Gaethje stumbles a bit but seems okay. Gaethje then lands a good shot which backs off Chandler.

Chandler holding the center but eats a right from Gaethje. Powerful leg kick from Gaethje and both men just start trading bombs. This fight is as advertised so far. Massive uppercut from Michael Chandler. Gaethje returns fire with a big shot.

Big leg kick from Gaethje. Massive right straight from Chandler and Gaethje’s chin is holding up her. Stiff jab from Chandler and the pace slows a bit. Another jab from Chandler. Big leg kick from Gaethje and Chandler lands another jab. Lead left from Gaethje.

Gaethje is rocked by a big shot from Chandler. Chandler charges forward and unloads on Gaethje. Gaethje lands an uppercut that rocks Chandler and now Chandler is in troulb.e Both men slow down near the end of the first.

Huge uppercut from Chandler. Lead elbow lands for Gaethje. Uppercut from Gaethje and now the tide is turning a bit. Big shot to the body lands for Chandler. Gaethje now is starting to unload on Michael Chandler. Crazy first round here at UFC 268. No idea how to score that one, but I lean ever so slightly towards Chandler.

Round 2

The second round at UFC 268 kicked off with immediate pressure from Gaethje. Chandler opens with a jab but his leg looks a little weak after that first round. Huge 1-2 from Gaethje and again Gaethje slams a leg kick.

Chandler lands a nice right straight with a jab behind it. Beautiful right straight from Gaethje and Chandler mixes it up to the body. Another body shot from Chandler but Gaethje lands a big leg kick. Gaethje pushing forward and lands a big uppercut.

Chandler might be in trouble here. Massive uppercut from Gaethje and Chandler goes down. This fight is almost over but Chandler grabs on to a takedown attempt. Chandler is badly hurt here and Gaethje is punishing him. Lots of blood leaking from Michael Chandler.

Halfway through the round and it’s all Justin Gaethje. Gaethje appears to be looking for a submission and he takes the back of Chandler. He lets Chandler up and Chandler plots forward. Powerful jab from Justin Gaethje and Chandler lands a big uppercut.

Takedown attempt from Chandler that Gaethje just shrugs off. Right hand lands from Chandler on the break. Another leg kick from Gaethje drops Chandler and Chandler pops back up. His face is a mess and I’m not sure how he’s still standing.

These two are just trading at UFC 268. Lead left from Gaethje and he lands a body kick. Chandler plots forward and lands a powerful 1-2. The round ends and it might be even at UFC 268.

Round 3

Entering the final round at UFC 268 and all the momentum appears to be with Justin Gaethje. They touch gloves to start the final round and here we go. Chandler looks much more fresh but eats a leg kick immediately as the round starts.

Jab from Chandler but another big leg kick lands for Gaethje. Nice right straight lands for Gaethje. Lead left hook lands for Gaethje. Chandler doubles up on the jab and lands a nice right hand behind it. Powerful uppercut from Chandler.

Another good uppercut lands for Chandler. Chandler pushing forward here and he’s ripping shots to the body here. Huge hook from Gaethje and Chandler waves him on. Chandler shoots in and gets a big takedown but Gaethje scrambles and ends up on top.

Chandler gets back to his feet and they rest against the fence. Back to striking and Chandler plots forward. Huge hooks to the body from Chandler. Gaethje might be hurt and then out of no where he rocks Michael Chandler.

Gaethje pouring it on but Chandler is just eating everything. One minute left and I can’t believe this fight. The two meet in the center with just a few seconds left in the fight. Leg kick from Chandler. Body kick from Gaethje. Somehow this goes to the end and I think Gaethje edges out a decision here.

Justin Gaethje def. Michael Chandler by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

UFC 268 Preview: Justin Gaethje – Michael Chandler

You will want to make sure you’re tuning into UFC 268 right from the start of the PPV with this fighting kicking things off. Former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (22-3) takes on former title challenger Michael Chandler (22-6) to kick off the PPV.

Originally, this fight was scheduled to be the third of the night, but with Trevor Wittman coaching Usman and Namajunas in addition to Gaethje, this fight was moved up. Now, this insane fight will kick off the UFC 268 PPV broadcast.

This is the first time that we will have seen Justin Gaethje in over a year. The last time we saw him was at UFC 254 when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov. That loss snapped a four-fight winning streak that saw him capture the UFC interim lightweight title against Tony Ferguson.

Michael Chandler weighed in as the backup for Gaethje’s fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. It was the first thing Chandler did in the UFC after signing a big free agent contract last year. He made his debut back in January with a knockout of Dan Hooker.

After that win, Chandler got a shot against Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title. After a dominant first round, Chandler was caught with a flush shot in the second and was stopped. Now, he’s looking to get right back into title contention.

UFC 268 Prediction

This fight at UFC 268 personifies the saying, “Don’t Blink.” These two are going to get after it from the opening bell and I’m not expecting to see the judges in this one. I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw a war with a late stoppage and I also wouldn’t be shocked if we saw a stoppage in the opening minute.

One thing to watch out for is the wrestling of Michael Chandler. Yes, Justin Gaethje has great credentials as a wrestler and early in his MMA career, that’s what he leaned on. However, he’s gone far away from that and relies on his striking now.

Even when hurt, Gaethje doesn’t go to his wrestling. While we think these two are going to stand and trade, don’t rule out an early takedown attempt from Chandler. Even if the intention is to stand, a takedown could mix things up for Chandler which could create more openings.

If you want a fighter who has more ways to win at UFC 268, pick Michael Chandler. However, Chandler’s chin scares me. We’ve seen him get hurt by way less powerful strikers in the past. I have a feeling that he’s going to get caught with a big shot early in this one and I don’t like how he recovers. I’m expecting fireworks and I’m also expecting a Justin Gaethje win here.

Prediction: Justin Gaethje by TKO – Round 1

UFC’s Gaethje to Chandler: ‘There’s something about your face that just makes me want to punch you’

One of the most highly anticipated fights of the year is scheduled to go down at UFC 268. Two of the best lightweights in the world will battle it out as Michael Chandler (22-6) takes on Justin Gaethje (22-3).

Both men have incredibly similar styles and both love to stand and trade. In addition to having a similar fan-friendly fighting style, both men are also in a very similar spot in their career.

Chandler just lost a UFC lightweight title fight back in May to Charles Oliveira. The last time we saw Justin Gaethje fight was at UFC 254 when he lost a lightweight title fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Both men are coming off title losses, but they still rank at the very top of the division. While they have paid some compliments to each other in the past, there is some underlying beef between the two UFC lightweights.

It all started with Chandler stating on an Instagram Live that Gaethje turned down a fight with him several times. Gaethje fired back at Chandler and said that he was slandering his name. This was all prior to the UFC finalizing the fight between the two.

UFC 268 In Flux

Today at the UFC weight in show, Justin Gaethje appeared as a guest. Michael Chandler was one of the hosts along with Daniel Cormier and several other personalities from the promotion.

Gaethje stated in the interview that he doesn’t have much of a reason to dislike Chandler, but he just does. The former interim UFC champion said to Chandler, “It’s been a while since I fought someone I didn’t like… There’s something about your face that just makes me want to punch you… It’s the smirk.”

This got a big smile out of Chandler. Chandler has seemed incredibly excited since this fight got announced. Chandler has stated that the one guy that he wants to fight more than anyone is Justin Gaethje.

Now, there was an interesting statement from Gaethje in today’s interview. Gaethje openly said that he didn’t think his fight with Chandler will take place in New York City and he was hoping that it doesn’t.

Couple this with Michael Chandler saying he’s not going to get vaccinated and it’s starting to look like UFC 268 is going to change. New York City issued a vaccine mandate and that could jeopardize the event.

Dana White has said this week that he has spoken to Madison Square Garden and there’s no issue. However, my guess is that the UFC is already planning on either moving this fight or moving their PPV to a new location. I would imagine that the promotion would like to keep Gaethje – Chandler on PPV so it will be interesting to find out where it takes place.

Vaccine mandates in NYC could alter the plans for UFC 268

UFC, Dana White

UFC 268 is supposed to be a massive event for the promotion. The promotion is targeting a return to Madison Square Garden for the event and they are bringing incredible fights to New York for that event.

Headlining UFC 268 is the rematch between Kamaru Usman (19-1) and Colby Covington (16-2). In addition, UFC 268 will play host to the return of Luke Rockhold as he takes on Sean Strickland. 

However, arguably the most anticipated matchup that’s been announced is the co-main event. The UFC has booked Michael Chandler (22-6) against Justin Gaethje (22-3). This is a dream fight for most fans and were supposed to see it in November.

However, a new mandate in New York City might jeopardize that fight. Michael Chandler had an Instagram Live session yesterday (from MMA Junkie) where he was very open and honest about the fact that he will not be vaccinated come the November.

Chandler said that he was not anti-vax and that he would consider taking the vaccine once it’s FDA approved. I can assure you that Chandler is not the only fighter in the UFC who is not vaccinated and I guarantee he’s not the only one on the card that won’t be.

New York City announced new mandates that requires vaccination proof to do just about anything indoors. With this new mandate coming down, the UFC 268 location might be in jeopardy.

UFC 268 Backup Plans

Dana White has always said that the UFC will never force their athletes to do anything. In regards to forcing vaccinations, White said to TSN, “I would never tell another human being what to do with their body. If you want to get vaccinated, that’s up to you. That’s your choice. You’re never going to hear me say I’m going to force people to get vaccinated. Never gonna happen.”

I can guarantee White isn’t going to change his position and I guarantee the UFC fighters who don’t want the vaccine will not get it. That said, this card is in a lot of trouble in terms of the location.

It’s worth noting that the location has not been announced for UFC 268. While it’s widely known that it’s supposed to take place at MSG, the promotion hasn’t officially announced anything yet.

Dana White has been operating through the fluid waters of this pandemic for well over a year. The UFC knows how to deal with situations like this and I can assure you that they’re already working on a new location. This will definitely be something to watch over the coming weeks.