FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/8: UFC interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson, out indefinitely after elbow surgery (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)


LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 07: (R-L) Kevin Lee congratulates Tony Ferguson after his submission victory in their interim UFC lightweight championship bout during the UFC 216 event inside T-Mobile Arena on October 7, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Tony Ferguson is going to have to wait for the payday of his life. Just a few weeks ago, Ferguson was the front-runner to take on Conor McGregor in a championship unification bout in the lightweight division. Those plans are now stalled due to Ferguson having surgery on his elbow. The news originally broke via an Instagram post from his wife and was confirmed later by MMA Fighting.

Ferguson has won his last ten fights and became the interim UFC lightweight champion by defeating Kevin Lee at UFC 216 via submission. His overall record is 23-3.

Heydorn’s Analysis: This throws yet another curveball into the Conor McGregor sweepstakes. McGregor vs. Ferguson for the undisputed lightweight title is the fight that Dana White and the UFC want. As we know, McGregor dictates much of what he does these days and even he alluded to the fact that facing Ferguson should be what’s on tap next for him. This injury throws it all off and the UFC may be forced to book McGregor in a different fight before he has the chance to face Ferguson. The UFC needs the PPV numbers and it behooves them to feature McGregor sooner than later because of it. The fight that could come to the surface out of this is McGregor vs. Diaz 3. This bout is another dream fight that UFC has up their sleeve and with Ferguson going down, they may go ahead and play that card. With McGregor involved, both fights will be successful. That said, McGregor against Ferguson made the most sense to stabilize the lightweight division. This injury put’s that stabilization on hold for the time being.


Mark Hunt can fight once again. MMA Fighting reported after receiving a statement from the UFC that “After a full medical analysis at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, UFC confirms that heavyweight athlete Mark Hunt has been cleared to compete.” Hunt had been embroiled in a lawsuit with UFC over his fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 200 and a media feud with Dana White after White pulled him from UFC Fight Night Sydney due to some comments Hunt made regarding his health and safety. Even though he’s been cleared, its unknown at this time who Hunt is slated to fight next.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I have mixed feelings about this. The claims that Hunt made about his memory and overall health are concerning. There is no denying that. By Hunt getting cleared it highlights the hypocrisy of both him and the UFC. Both seemed to have talked out of both sides of their mouths on this and neither are to be trusted with what they say. Personally, I don’t trust the results of that test either. Hunt’s claims are too serious to have been cured within two weeks. That said, Hunt will be allowed to fight again and because of that, the UFC gets a decent drawback. With the insanity of the heavyweight division in the last three days, adding Hunt back into the mix is icing on top of the Ngannou/Miocic cake.

-Angela Magana is gone from the UFC. Magana took to Twitter to break the news.

Magana lost to Amanda Bobby Cooper at UFC 218 and is 0-3 in the UFC. She is 0-5 in her last five fights and 11-9 overall.

-Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold is booked for UFC 221. With the news that UFC middleweight champion, Georges St. Pierre, vacated his title, interim champion Robert Whittaker has been elevated to undisputed champion of the division. That said, he may not lay claim to that title for very long. It was reported yesterday at MMA Fighting that Whittaker will defend his newly acquired undisputed middleweight championship at UFC 221 against former champion Luke Rockhold.

Heydorn’s Analysis: This fight is going to be a war. I didn’t like GSP’s involvement in the middleweight division from the beginning and now that nonsense can be rectified with this fight. This fight will provide stability and direction to a division that’s been needlessly held up for over a year.

-Fight Network launches in Italy. Late yesterday, Fight Network announced their launch of an Italian language feed on digital terrestrial television across the country of Italy. Until now, Fight Network was only available in the US, Canada, and various countries in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Bellator middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, wants change heading into 2018. Carvalho takes Alessio Sakara for his middleweight championship on Saturday and after he’s instructed his team to work to keep him more active. In an interview with MMA Fighting Carvalho said, “I don’t know what their plans are, but I want to stay more active.” “I already asked my manager to fight for it a little harder. It’s hard to live as a fighter in Brazil, especially in the situation that the country is in right now. It’s hard to find someone that wants to invest, so we need to stay active, to fight at least three times a year. In a possible contract negotiation, I’ll talk about that.”

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NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS NEWS: THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/7: Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou for the UFC heavyweight championship slated for UFC 220 in Boston (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)

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