Tony Ferguson is getting the big contender fight after all, as MMAFighting.com reported late Tuesday night that he’ll face Khabib Nurmagomedov this April at UFC on Fox 19 on April 16.
Ferguson had been scheduled to face Michael Johnson in March, but the Nurmagomedov fight came together after Johnson withdrew from that bout. Ferguson had been hoping to fight earlier due to the impending birth of his child in April, but is going along with what may be a No. 1 contender fight.
Nurmagomedov makes his return to action after two years out of the cage, having last fought at UFC on Fox 11 in April of 2014. He defeated now-UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos in that fight, moving his perfect record to 22-0.
Ferguson, who entered the UFC by winning The Ultimate Fighter’s 13th season, has won seven straight fights to put him in this position. The most recent came in December where he submitted Edson Barboza in a thrilling fight at the TUF 22 Finale in Las Vegas. He’s 10-1 inside the Octagon, with the sole loss coming by decision to the aforementioned Johnson in 2012.
The UFC on Fox 19 event does not yet have a location, and has not yet been officially announced by the UFC.
Penick’s Analysis: It’s the fight that should have been made from the start, though it’s understandable that Ferguson was wanting to fight earlier. It will be a bit inconvenient for him on that end, but it’s a massive opportunity here to potentially get in line for that next Lightweight Championship fight. There’s every possibility Conor McGregor takes that belt in March and doesn’t defend it until the fall, but both of these fighters can stake their claim for deserving that shot whenever it comes in this matchup.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]
Attention iPhone/iPad users, if you’ve enjoyed our app in the past and followed us there, or if you’ve never checked it out, make sure to update to the latest version in the Apple store. We’ve launched a new look for the app, in line with our recent desktop overhaul. Make sure to check it out! An update to our Android app is on its way soon as well, so Android users keep an eye out for that update soon!