Ferguson Doesn’t Call Out Champ
The UFC returned to Mexico Saturday night for The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3: dos Anjos vs. Ferguson. The card was headlined by former Lightweight Champion #2 ranked Rafael dos Anjos and #3 ranked Tony Ferguson. This was dos Anjos’s first fight since losing the belt to current Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez by first round TKO back in July.
Ferguson on the other hand has been on a roll. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter 13 at Welterweight, Ferguson went down to the 155 lbs division and won nine straight fights, including six of those nine opponents being finished by Ferguson.
The main event was the fight of the night. Dos Anjos came out strong landing a few power shots on Ferguson, but nothing that looked like it hurt Ferguson too much. The second round saw dos Anjos tire a little and Ferguson do an outstanding job utilizing his jab. Dos Anjos got his second wind in the third and appeared to squeak out a little ahead of Ferguson and steal the round.
Going into the fourth round, it appeared dos Anjos would be ahead 29-28 on the judges’ scorecards. However, when the fourth round started, dos Anjos was really showing fatigue. He also was cut above his eye and Ferguson kept jabbing at the bloody eye and pressuring him. Ferguson won that round to have it tied at 38 apiece going into the fifth and final round.
Ferguson didn’t seem tired at all and dos Anjos never landed anything of substance in the fifth round. Dos Anjos looked so exhausted, with a huge part being because of the high altitude in Mexico City. Ferguson continued to pressure and jab away at dos Anjos to win the final round and ultimately, the fight. All three judges scored it the same way I did 48-47 in favor of Ferguson for the unanimous decision victory.
Ferguson was interviewed after the decision was read and this is where I think he made a huge mistake. The UFC loves it when fighters call out other fighters to fight next because it’ll fire up the fans and create buzz among fighters. I can’t stand it when the fighters are asked who they would like to fight next and they respond with “Whoever the UFC will give me, I’ll fight.” or something to that effect. The second your fight ends, your next one begins and I think many UFC fighters aren’t realizing that.
Conor McGregor is the biggest star in the UFC and the sport’s highest paid athlete. When people fight him, win or lose, they get paid a lot of money as well because of both fighters getting a PPV percentage, among other reasons. McGregor is fighting Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Championship this coming Saturday in New York.
After Ferguson won his fight Saturday night, I was waiting for him to get on the mic and challenge the winner of that fight. He did not. He thanked the crowd and left the octagon. He has won nine straight fights in the division and isn’t screaming for a title shot.
It’s not like he’s the clear guy to get the next title shot. Khabib Nurmagomedov is 23-0, 7-0 in the UFC, and also fights Saturday. There is also Nate Diaz who has had two great fights with McGregor, with each fighter winning a fight. Fans are wanting the trilogy between the two to be made, especially if McGregor wins the belt so this third fight would be for the title.
My guess is the UFC will wait to see how the fights unfold in New York on Saturday. They will then decide which fighter will fight for the belt next, but Ferguson didn’t seize a golden opportunity to make the UFC remember his performance.