Few fighters are in need of a career reset as much as former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. El Cucuy is on a four fight losing streak and coming off the most brutal loss in his MMA career.
According to MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn, Ferguson will be moving up in weight in his attempt to get back in the win column. He reports that Ferguson will be taking on Li Jingliang, in the welterweight division, at UFC 279 on September 10.
Dana White just confirmed to me that Tony Ferguson vs. Li Jingliang in a welterweight fight is done for #UFC279 on Sept. 10 in Las Vegas.— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohn) August 21, 2022
UFC 279 is due to feature Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz in the main event. The card also includes Johnny Walker vs. Ion Cutelaba and Irena Aldana vs. Macy Chiasson.
Ferguson had enjoyed a 12-fight winning streak featuring wins over Anthony Pettis, Edson Barboza, Kevin Lee and Rafael dos Anjos. During that run he was also matched-up with Khabib Nurmagomedov on multiple occasions only for their fights to fall through for a myriad of reasons.
The last aborted match-up between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov was due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 Nurmagomedov was unable to leave Russia for a title defense versus Ferguson. This lead to an interim title fight being booked between Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
Gaethje snapped Ferguson’s win streak with a fifth round TKO.
Ferguson then took back-to-back unanimous decision losses to Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush. In those bouts Ferguson, known for his threat as a finisher, seemed totally nullified by his opponents.
At UFC 274 in May, Ferguson met Michael Chandler. That fight ended with front kick that knocked Ferguson out cold.
Ferguson’s string of losses have dropped his overall record to 25-7. His move to welterweight is not totally unprecedented. He won season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2011 while fighting at 170 lbs and had also fought at welterweight during his time on the California regional circuit.