Tony Ferguson Draws Massive UFC 279 Fight Amid 4-Fight Losing Streak

Tony Ferguson

Getty Tony Ferguson

Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson will return next month against Li Jingliang at UFC 279, Dana White revealed during UFC 278’s post-fight press conference.

Ferguson hasn’t picked up a win in his last four outings, suffering KO/TKO losses to Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje and dominant unanimous decision losses to Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush.

Jingliang is ranked No. 14 in the welterweight division per the official UFC standings. “The Leech” is 2-1 in his last three fights, which includes a recent TKO win over Muslim Salikhov last month.

UFC 279 goes down on September 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Jingliang versus Ferguson fight adds much-needed star power to the card, which has been criticized for its lack of notable names.

The event is headlined by the 170-pound clash between Khamzat Chimaev.

Ferguson Hinted at the Welterweight Move Earlier This Year

After losing to Chandler in May at UFC 274, Ferguson said he “wouldn’t mind” moving back up to 170 pounds while speaking with MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn.

“I wouldn’t mind going back up to 170,” Ferguson said via Low Kick MMA. “I knocked everybody out up there at 170. This cut to 155 – it’s not too hard, but I lose a lot of muscle mass, man. I f****** hate being skinny like that, I look like a little b****. I don’t f****** like that.”

“I work my a** off to put on muscle and make sure that I eat right, and I do that – and my pops always told me, ‘Anthony, wrestle at your own bodyweight.’ And I haven’t done that for a while. What I did for the last year and a half was, I just stopped everything and I just paid attention to everything other people were doing…”

Ferguson won the welterweight bracket during “The Ultimate Fighter” 13 before dropping to 155 pounds, a division he’d call home for a decade.

Dan Hooker Was Campaigning for a Fight With Ferguson

Ferguson’s contest with The Leech may have come out of nowhere for many fight fans. It had appeared momentum was building toward El Cucuy meeting Dan Hooker as the fan-favorite fighter had challenged Ferguson several times in the past few months, including during a recent interview with Submission Radio.

“Picking fights is one of my better skills,” Hooker said via MMA Fighting. “But I think they’ve (UFC) been looking for a fight for me for a while now. I’m just in training, I’m sick of training, I want to go into the fight camp, I want to fight, and it’s just that time.

“Tony Ferguson is the fight that they’re interested in and I think that fight makes a lot of sense. We’re both in similar positions, my management wants that fight, I think the fans want that fight, and so how do you pick a fight? You tell someone you’re gonna smash their face in. If they agree, they agree. Those are fighting words. If you’re going to pick a fight, you got to use fighting words. Smash your face in; premium quality fighting words. Can’t be ignored. Now your honor is at stake. You ignore that, now your honor is at stake, my friend.”

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