MMA Ratings Podcast

June 12, 2019

UFC 238: Tony Ferguson Has To Fight For the UFC Lightweight Title Next

By Adam Martin

UFC 238 was a tremendous card that featured a number of outstanding individual performances. In the main event, Henry Cejudo became a rare double champ when he finished Marlon Moraes to add the bantamweight title belt to his flyweight one. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko knocked out Jessica Eye with a nasty head kick to defend the women's flyweight championship. Those were two tremendous performances, but the fight everyone is still talking about is the people's main event between lightweight studs Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone.

The Ferguson vs. Cerrone fight was booked on just one month's notice to beef up a card that was lacking in star power and big names. Sure, the two title fights were nice, but for most MMA fans, this was the fight they wanted to see. Returning from a leave of absence due to personal reasons, Ferguson entered the card on an 11-fight win streak, while Cerrone had won three straight fights and looked rejuvenated after moving back down to lightweight following an unsuccessful run at 170 pounds. And with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier attempting to unify the lightweight championship at UFC 242 in September, this bout was viewed by many as a #1 contender's fight.

The fight started off very competitively. In the first round, Cerrone used his leg kicks and kept range with his jab while Ferguson used his own jab and movement to make it a close round. Two of the three judges had Ferguson winning the first round, but many media members and fans had Cerrone winning it. It was a super close, tense round where both men got some good shots in. It was the kind of round that made you think the fight could go 25 minutes, but since there were only three rounds scheduled, both men needed to find some urgency in order to keep the judges out of the equation.

In the second round, Ferguson really started to shine. He started to control the fight with his jab and bust Cerrone's face open with it. Cerrone landed some good shots of his own, but for the most part it was a big round for Ferguson. Towards the end of the round, Ferguson really started to come on strong and battered Cerrone's eye badly.

Unfortunately, Ferguson landed a late punch after the bell at the end of the second round which caused some controversy. Before round three started, referee Dan Miragliotta called in the doctor to take a look at Cerrone's eye. It had blown up after he blew his nose in the corner, and he couldn't see, forcing the doctor to stop the fight. Instant replay was used to determine whether the shot Ferguson landed after the bell caused the injury, but Miragliotta concluded that Ferguson struck Cerrone's nose and not his eye, preserving Ferguson's TKO victory via doctor's stoppage.

The win over Cerrone improves Ferguson's UFC record to 15-1, and he's currently riding a 12-fight win streak, which is the sixth-longest in UFC history behind Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson, Georges St-Pierre, and Max Holloway. It's also one more than the champion Nurmagomedov, who has won 11 straight fights. This incredible accomplishment by Ferguson puts him in rare company in this sport. It's the kind of accomplishment that should guarantee Ferguson the next shot at the lightweight title. There should be no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Although White said a rematch between Ferguson and Cerrone is possible, that just doesn't make sense. You can't deny Ferguson his chance to fight for the belt riding a 12-fight win streak. That's just too long to deny the man. Remember, he was the interim champion last year and was stripped due to injury after he tripped on a cable and hurt his knee. However, since then he's come back with a vengeance, finishing Anthony Pettis by doctor's stoppage and Cerrone the very same way in the very next fight. The man is hurting his opponents so bad that doctors are stepping in. It's incredible to see.

For now, Tony Ferguson should take the summer off to rest and heal up. But he should stay ready in case something happens to either Nurmagomedov or Poirier and the UFC needs an emergency fill-in. It's possible that the UFC could ask Ferguson to fight someone else in the co-main event of that UFC 248 card, but honestly, aside from a money fight against Conor McGregor, no one makes sense right now. Definitely not a rematch with Cerrone, that's for sure. Ferguson deserves to fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship -- his 12-fight win streak and 15-1 UFC record say it all. Give the man a title shot.

UFC 238
Donald Cerrone vs. Tony Ferguson: Tony Ferguson def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (cut) at 5:00 of Round 2.

UFC 238: Cejudo vs. Moraes took place June 8, 2019 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Click HERE for more UFC 238 Post-Fight Analysis

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