Is the UFC targeting Nate Diaz – Tony Ferguson?

Today we might’ve seen a hint that the UFC is targeting a lightweight matchup that fans have wanted to see for years. One of the biggest stars in the sport, Nate Diaz (20-13) took to Twitter today and posted a very cryptic tweet.

The tweet was just a picture of former interim UFC lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson (25-6). El Cucuy and Nate Diaz have long been linked to each other but a fight between the two men never materialized.

Now, with Diaz seemingly targeting Ferguson, perhaps the UFC is going to move in that direction. Over the past few years, Diaz has really been directing his own career. Usually, if he wants to fight someone, the promotion makes it happen.

Diaz got two fights with Conor McGregor, a fight with Jorge Masvidal, a fight with Anthony Pettis, then he recently fought Leon Edwards at UFC 263. The fight with Edwards made no sense for Diaz from a rankings perspective, but it’s the fight Diaz wanted so he got it.

Last UFC stand for El Cucuy?

Stockton’s Own appears to be targeting El Cucuy. Ferguson appears to be nearing the end of his run in the UFC. For years, Tony Ferguson was looked at as one of the very best lightweights in the world. In fact, for a while, many considered him to be the very best.

In the deepest division in the UFC, Ferguson went on a 12-fight win streak from 2013 to 2019. During that time he defeated the likes of Rafael Dos Anjos, Josh Thomson, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone. The highlight was his interim title victory over Kevin Lee.

During this stretch, the UFC tried to book Ferguson against Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title. In the six year stretch, Ferguson and Khabib were supposed to fight five times but it always fell through. Most recently at UFC 249 last April.

Ferguson ended up fighting Justin Gaethje for an interim title and lost. That loss started a streak that has now seen Ferguson lose three fights in a row. El Cucuy still has his following but it’s harder to book him a fight nowadays. A fight with Nate Diaz would satisfy the masses and makes sense for both men.

Dan Hooker interested in Tony Ferguson for his UFC return

At UFC 257, Dan Hooker (20-10) was in the co-main event of the Conor McGregor – Dustin Poirier card. Hooker was coming off of a loss to Dustin Poirier and was being tasked with welcoming Michael Chandler to the UFC.

When the betting lines closes, Hooker was the favorite. Prior to UFC 257, Hooker had only been defeated twice in nine fights at 155 pounds. When the fight started, Chandler pressed forward with a ton of pressure and Hooker just circled.

It seemed like Hooker was trying to gauge the range and timing of Michael Chandler. A couple of minutes in, Hooker landed his first big calf kick which I thought would be key for him. However, it was the last successful moment that he had.

Chandler pressed forward and threw a right straight to the body then came up with a vicious left hook. The shot sat Hooker down and Chandler followed up with shots that gave him the TKO victory at UFC 257.

Hooker was extremely disappointed and threw his gloves after the fight. However, he’s made it clear that he was just frustrated and he was never seriously contemplating retiring from the UFC once he calmed down after the loss.

UFC return?

Dan Hooker trains in New Zealand alongside UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski. A lot of the time, these guys try to align themselves on cards together due to the quarantine rules in New Zealand.

With that, Hooker tried to get on the card at UFC 263 this weekend with Israel Adesanya headlining. However, the promotion couldn’t get him an opponent in time. With that, Hooker told Submission Radio last week that he’s targeting the proposed Volkanovski card in September.

When asked about potential opponents for his UFC return, one opponent Hooker really likes is Tony Ferguson (25-6). The former interim lightweight champion has lost three fights in a row, but like Hooker, has no plans on going anywhere.

Both lightweight contenders are 0-5 in their last five, but those five losses were against five of the top six lightweights in the UFC. For that reason, both men are still ranked inside the top ten. Both need a win and a fight between the two could make sense. I could definitely see the UFC entertaining that fight as an option.

UFC: ‘Pissed’ Tony Ferguson isn’t going anywhere

Tony Ferguson, UFC

This past Saturday at UFC 262, Tony Ferguson (25-6) met Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) in the co-main event of the evening. The former interim lightweight champion was looking to snap his two-fight losing streak.

Prior to UFC 262, El Cucuy looked like he was back to training the way he did during his 12-fight win streak. Ferguson was embracing the process and looked like he was ready to make a statement.

However, Saturday night didn’t go according to plan. Ferguson could never get started and was steamrolled by Beneil Dariush at UFC 262. Dariush used his superior grappling to get Ferguson to the ground and hold him there for three rounds.

The judges gave a clean sweep to Dariush on the scorecards. The loss meant that the former UFC interim champion had suffered three consecutive lopsided defeats inside the octagon.

Many pundits were wondering if Ferguson would walk away after UFC 262. Well, the former champion had a message on Twitter to the world about his fighting future.

Ferguson’s UFC Future

This fight at UFC 262 was another blow to Tony Ferguson. However, it’s important to keep something in perspective when thinking about this losing streak. His losses have come against three of the top four lightweights in the world according to the rankings.

It’s not like Ferguson has been losing to scrubs. Now, are Tony Ferguson’s days as a top lightweight in the UFC done? Perhaps those days of being a title contender are truly behind El Cucuy.

That said, I don’t believe that Ferguson’s career is over and neither does he. I do believe that he needs a step back and he needs to fight someone lower in the rankings. This week I wrote that the UFC should pair him with someone like Diego Ferreira. 

El Cucuy needs a reset to really see where he’s at in his UFC career. The promotion needs to do him a solid and give him someone more manageable. That said, if he loses his next fight in dominating fashion, it could be the of the road for the former interim champion.

After winning his seventh in a row at UFC 262, what’s next for Beneil Dariush?

This past Saturday at UFC 262, Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) took on Tony Ferguson (25-6) in the co-main event of the evening. Dariush carried in a six-fight win streak and he finally got his shot against a big time opponent in the former interim lightweight champion.

Beneil Dariush has been flying under the radar over the last couple of years. He had a couple of tough losses in the UFC, but he’s really been turning things around and he’s starting to open some eyes in the lightweight division.

With that said, Saturday was going to be a big test. He was fighting a man who is loved by fans and was long considered to be the boogey man of the lightweight division. El Cucuy is no pushover even at this stage of his career.

Heading into UFC 262, I picked Dariush to win the fight. I just thought that if he stuck to his pressure and grappling, he’d be able to beat Tony Ferguson. Well, that’s exactly what Dariush did on Saturday night.

From the opening bell at UFC 262, Dariush was on Tony Ferguson. Ferguson had no room to breathe and he had no answer for Dariush’s grappling. In the end it was a clean sweep on the scorecards and a statement win for Beneil Dariush.

What’s next after UFC 262?

The UFC rankings came out today and Dariush climbed all the way to third. In doing this, he jumped over top lightweight contenders Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler. I can’t say I agree with the rankings, but Dariush has earned some shine.

While Dariush is squarely in the UFC’s top five, he’s not going to be in the conversations for the next title shot. In fact, I don’t even think he’s going to be in the conversation for a title eliminator next.

Dariush said he wanted to take a little time off to enjoy the birth of his daughter in a few weeks. When he’s ready to make his UFC return, there’s one opponent that I think lines up perfectly for him.

I think the promotion should look at booking Dariush with former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13). RDA made his return to lightweight last year and he would provide a big test for Dariush.

Stylistically, I think this would be a great matchup and it would build momentum for the winner. One other potential opponent to keep an eye on is Islam Makhachev (19-1). Makhachev takes on Thiago Moises in July and if he wins, I could see the UFC trying to move him up quickly against a top five guy. Dariush would fit the bill there.

After another loss at UFC 262, what’s next for Tony Ferguson?

Tony Ferguson, UFC

This past Saturday at UFC 262, former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-6) was looking to snap his losing streak. After never having a losing streak in his entire career, Ferguson made the walk on Saturday night having lost two straight.

Standing in his way of snapping that losing streak was Beneil Dariush (21-4-1). Dariush was entering UFC 262 on a six-fight winning streak and he was looking to use El Cucuy as a stepping stone towards a top ranked opponent.

Ferguson appeared to have a great training camp for this fight. El Cucuy looked focused and he looked determined to get back in the win column. The big question was around whether or not that prep would translate to octagon performance.

From 2013 to 2019, Ferguson was untouchable in the UFC. He won a staggering 12 fights in a row in the toughest division in the promotion. He climbed to the top and became the interim lightweight champion.

However, he had been dominated in his last two fights. Ferguson was looking to prove he’s still one of the best at UFC 262. Well, unfortunately for El Cucuy, he suffered another dominating defeat.

From the opening bell, this fight was all Beneil Dariush. He even came close to making Ferguson tap by a heel hook in the first round. However, El Cucuy toughed his way through it and fought out the fight. When the scorecards were read at UFC 262, all three rounds went to Beneil Dariush.

What’s next after UFC 262?

Saturday night was a really tough night if you’re a fan of Tony Ferguson. As mentioned, for years, Ferguson was the boogey man of the UFC’s lightweight division. However, he looks like a shell of that guy right now.

Going back to the Justin Gaethje fight, he’s likely only won one round in his last eleven rounds inside the octagon. We just haven’t seen the same El Cucuy since his fight with Donald Cerrone at UFC 238.

Now, Ferguson has lost three in a row. With that, the UFC really needs to have him step back and fight someone either at the tail-end of the top fifteen or out of the rankings completely.

In my opinion, a great opponent for him would be Diego Ferreira (17-4). Ferreira entered 2021 on a long winning streak, but now he’s lost two fights in a row. At 36 years old, there are a lot of questions surrounding Ferreira’s future.

Ferreira is currently ranked 14th in the UFC’s lightweight division. This to me would be a good step back for Tony Ferguson while still giving him an opponent with a number. It’ll be interesting to see what the promotion decides, but this is the direction I would go in.

Beneil Dariush dominates Tony Ferguson at UFC 262

In the co-main event of UFC 262, we saw a big matchup in the lightweight division. Former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-5) was taking on the surging top contender Beneil Dariush (20-4-1).

Over the last decade, Tony Ferguson has been one of the best fighters in the UFC not just in the lightweight division. From 2013 to 2019, El Cucuy won a staggering 12 fights in a row in the UFC‘s most stacked weight class.

Ferguson rose all the way to the top capturing the interim lightweight championship. However, the undisputed title always evaded him. Ferguson entered UFC 262 in unfamiliar territory coming off of back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.

Snapping that losing streak wasn’t going to be easy tonight. Beneil Dariush has quietly been rising up the UFC‘s lightweight ranks. Dariush had won six fights in a row coming into tonight.

He also possesses a style that could give El Cucuy some problems inside the octagon. The biggest question mark coming into UFC 262 was which Tony Ferguson we would get. Would we get the old El Cucuy or would we get the Tony Ferguson we saw get dominated by Charles Oliveira?

UFC 262 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 262 co-main event kicks off with a brief touch of the gloves. Ferguson pushes forward and Dariush lands a clean left hook. Dariush pushes forward with big shots including a body kick.

Lots of forward pressure from Dariush and he lands another big left hand. Another huge left for Dariush, but Ferguson is taking them well. More pressure and big shots from Dariush and he chains them into a takedown.

Ferguson starts trying to attack from his back, but the pressure is heavy for Dariush. El Cucuy is trying to work a triangle, but Dariush defends well. Back to the full guard and big shots are landing for Dariush.

Dariush is looking to pass and Ferguson is looking to defend from his back. Ferguson works his way to the fence, but Dariush’s top pressure is so heavy here. Ferguson tries to escape, but Dariush is all over him and the fight stays grounded.

More big shots from the top from Dariush. Ferguson tries to escape a couple of times, but Dariush holds him in place. Dominant first round for Beneil Dariush and he’s up 1-0 at UFC 262.

Round 2

The former interim UFC champion needs to get it going as we enter the second round. Ferguson opens the second with a lot of movement, but Dariush lands some big shots.

Dariush lands a takedown, but he lands in Ferguson’s d’arce choke. Unfortunately for El Cucuy, he doesn’t have the correct position. Dariush is remaining calm here and he pops his head out.

Big shots raining down from Beneil Dariush. Ferguson is trying to counter off his back, but this is all Dariush here. Dariush starts to pass the guard and how he’s in halfguard.

Ferguson uses a sweep to get top position briefly. However, another sweep from Dariush has Ferguson in a compromising position. Dariush locks up a deep heel hook and Ferguson is in deep trouble.

Ferguson is in pain, but he’s not tapping. Dariush let’s it go and it’s amazing that El Cucuy survived. More heavy pressure from Dariush to end the round and it’s 2-0 Dariush here at UFC 262.

Round 3

Entering the final round here at UFC 262 and it’s going to take a miracle from Tony Ferguson. Big body kick for Dariush and Dariush shoots in deep for a takedown. Ferguson defends for a second, but Dariush slams him to the ground.

Four minutes left in the fight and Ferguson is in massive trouble here. Dariush is in north-south and he starts throwing some body shots. Not a lot of action here as Dariush is just holding him in place here.

Halfway through the round and nothing much is happening. The crowd is getting restless here in the final round. Ferguson is trying to use the fence, but he’s not going anywhere. Lots of boos from the crowd with 90 seconds left in the round.

Ferguson tries to escape, but Dariush just rolls with him. Under a minute left and Ferguson is trying, but nothing is really happening. The final round sounds and there’s not going to be a surprise with this result at UFC 262.

Beneil Dariush def. Tony Ferguson by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

UFC 262 Preview: Tony Ferguson – Beneil Dariush

Tony Ferguson, UFC

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 262, Tony Ferguson (25-5) meets Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) in a pivotal matchup in the lightweight division. El Cucuy is looking to snap a two-fight losing streak while Dariush looks to get closer to the UFC‘s top five.

From 2013 to 2019, Tony Ferguson was perfect inside the octagon. El Cucuy was a perfect 12-0 and even captured the interim UFC lightweight title during his run. Ferguson fought and defeated a who’s who of the lightweight division.

Some of the wins on his resume include Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone. Despite all of these wins and an interim title stint, Ferguson never got his shot at the undisputed UFC lightweight title.

Ferguson was paired with Khabib Nurmagomedov several times, but the fight always fell through. Most recently at UFC 249. Ferguson was supposed to get his shot, but instead, he faced Justin Gaethje for the interim title. Gaethje defeated Ferguson and snapped his winning streak.

At UFC 256, Ferguson was dominated by Charles Oliveira and now El Cucuy finds himself in a difficult spot. Facing his third straight defeat and he has a hungry contender in front of him.

Beneil Dariush comes into UFC 262 having won six fights in a row. His last victory was a split decision over Diego Ferrier back in February. This is the biggest fight of his career and a win of Ferguson would prove that he belongs amongst the lightweight elite.

UFC 262 Prediction

When Tony Ferguson fought Charles Oliveira, he was completely dominated on the ground. At UFC 256, Oliveira took Ferguson down at will and El Cucuy really couldn’t do anything to get up.

That is really concerning when considering this matchup. Dariush fights with a ton of forward pressure and his grappling is very good. If he can ground Ferguson tomorrow night, he might be able to ride out a decision victory.

On the feet, you’d have to give the advantage to Ferguson. Ferguson has been training at Wild Card and he’s really been working on his hands. Dariush has really solid power, but the fluidity of the striking is in favor of El Cucuy.

If you were to ask me who would win this fight a year ago, I would’ve probably laughed. No disrespect to Beneil Dariush, but I considered Ferguson to be the second best lightweight on the planet.

However, I don’t know what were going to get from him at UFC 262. I do know what were getting from Beneil Dariush. We are getting a hungry fighter who has the grappling ability to neutralize Tony Ferguson. If we get classic El Cucuy, I’d pick Ferguson, but the unknown has me leaning towards Dariush.

Prediction: Beneil Dariush by Split Decision

Tony Ferguson on former UFC champ Khabib: ‘Quit running… Sign on the dotted line’

Tony Ferguson, UFC

Years from now, UFC fans are still going to be talking about one of the greatest lightweight matchups that never happened. That matchup would be the matchup between former UFC champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), and former interim champion, Tony Ferguson (25-5).

For years, Ferguson and Khabib were linked to each other. They were looked at as the two best lightweights in the UFC, but their paths never crossed inside the octagon despite the promotion trying multiple times to book the fight.

The UFC booked Nurmagomedov – Ferguson five total times over the last few years. Every time that the fight was booked it fell through. There was weight cutting issues, injuries, and then a global pandemic to top it all off.

They were last scheduled to meet at UFC 249. However, when the pandemic shut travel down, Ferguson took on Justin Gaethje for the interim title. Gaethje defeated Ferguson and fought Nurmagomedov on Fight Island in October.

After Khabib defeated Gaethje at UFC 254, he announced his retirement in the cage. Last month, the retirement was made official and he relinquished his lightweight title. That lightweight title is up for grabs next month at UFC 262.

That same night, Tony Ferguson is scheduled to take on Beneil Dariush. Ferguson is looking to snap a two-fight losing streak. However, even with that going on, Ferguson is still focused on Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Would Khabib come back to the UFC?

Ferguson appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show today where he talked about his desire to face the former UFC lightweight champion.

“I’m getting closer to Khabib and that’s the only fight that his pops wanted for him and that’s the only fight that they agreed to still. But he’s going to watch, man. They’re gonna try to get as much film on me as they possibly can. Quit being a bitch. Quit running and sign on the dotted line, Khabib”

Perhaps if Ferguson can reel off several wins in a row, the former UFC champion would come back. Khabib’s teammate Daniel Cormier said last month that if someone were to ever defeat Islam Makhachev that Khabib would potentially consider coming back.

Makhachev is another training partner of Khabib’s and a lifelong friend. If Ferguson wins his next matchup, perhaps the UFC pairs him up with Makhachev. Who knows, maybe Ferguson – Khabib isn’t dead. It could just be on life support.

BREAKING: Dana White announces UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially retired

The UFC lightweight division will officially crown a new champion in 2021. Dana White came out this evening and announced that lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), is officially retiring at 29-0.

Back in October at UFC 254, Khabib announced his retirement after he defeated Justin Gaethje. However, Dana White has insisted that he believed Khabib was feeling the emotions of the moment and he thought he’d come back to try for 30-0.

For months, we’ve been in this weird limbo with the lightweight division. White continued to say that the UFC lightweight champion wasn’t officially retired and they held a number of meetings to talk about his future.

Finally, Dana White has thrown in the towel. Khabib Nurmagomedov is staying retired and the lightweight division will move on. The UFC president announced the news on his Twitter account that Khabib is going to retire at 29-0.

Khabib’s UFC Legacy

In the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, it’s extremely rare to see someone retire undefeated. If you think about all of the greatest fighters to have ever fought in the UFC, nobody walked away with a perfect record.

Jon Jones is widely considered the greatest to ever do it. However, even Jones has a no contest and a DQ loss on his UFC record. Khabib Nurmagomedov has a clean 29-0 and nobody can say anything.

The UFC’s lightweight division has been the most exciting and dynamic division within the promotion over the last few years. Khabib has reigned supreme and he’s taken out all of the top challenges in dominating fashion.

Outside of Khabib, four men have held a piece of the UFC lightweight title since 2017. Those four men are Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Tony Ferguson. Khabib dominated and finished the first three men on that list.

The fight that we never got to see was Khabib against Tony Ferguson. The UFC booked that fight five times, but all five times it fell through. It truly wasn’t meant to be, but considering the direction their careers have gone, I believe most people think Khabib would have won that one too.

Simply put, Khabib is one of the greatest to ever make the walk inside the UFC. His dominance was something truly special to watch and it’s easy to see why Dana White so badly wanted him to fight again.

Khabib is keeping the promise he made to his mother after his father passed away from COVID last year. The UFC’s lightweight champion promised his mother that the Gaethje fight would be the final one and despite White’s best pitches, The Eagle is keeping his promise.

UFC booking Tony Ferguson – Beneil Dariush

Tony Ferguson, UFC

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a big time matchup in the lightweight division. MMA Junkie was the first to report today that the promotion is close to finalizing a matchup between Tony Ferguson (25-5) and Beneil Dariush (20-4-1).

The proposed matchup will take place at UFC 262 on May 15th. For Beneil Dariush, this is the fight that he’s been wanting. Dariush just got into the top ten of the UFC‘s lightweight rankings and he’s been vocal about fighting a big name.

For the last few years, Dariush has been fighting some of the tougher lightweights that are just outside of the top ten. He’s currently on a six-fight win streak that includes wins over Diego Ferreira, Drakkar Klose, and Drew Dober.

Originally, Dariush was supposed to fight Charles Oliveira late in 2020. However, the UFC pivoted and Oliveira ended up fighting and defeating Tony Ferguson. Left without a big name, Dariush took a tough rematch against Diego Ferreira.

Dariush has been incredibly impressive over the last few years. From his grappling to his toughness, he’s proven that he’s not an easy out in the UFC‘s lightweight division. He has title aspirations, and this is a huge fight that can get him closer to his goal.

Can Ferguson bounce back at UFC 262?

For years, Tony Ferguson was considered the boogey man of the UFC’s lightweight division. He won 12 fights in a row on his way to becoming the interim lightweight champion. However, he never earned the distinction of undisputed champion.

Unfortunately for Ferguson, every time he was supposed to fight for the undisputed belt, the fight fell through. Most recently at UFC 249. Ferguson was supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, COVID-19 prevented Khabib from traveling so Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje for the interim title.

Ferguson lost for the first time since 2012. After that, El Cucuy went on to lose to Oliveira at UFC 256. Now, Ferguson appears at a crossroads. If he wins this fight, it gets him right back on track. However, if he loses at UFC 262, we might be nearing the end of his great run inside the octagon.