Tony Ferguson’s Upcoming UFC Fight Is Put on Blast By MMA Analyst

Tony Ferguson & Justin Gaethje

Getty Tony Ferguson & Justin Gaethje

Former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson will look to correct a four-fight losing streak against Li Jingliang next month, and Chael Sonnen isn’t happy with the matchmaking.

UFC president Dana White announced during the UFC 278 post-fight press conference last weekend that Ferguson would move back up to 170 pounds and take on “The Leech” at UFC 279 on September 10.

The event in Las Vegas will mark Ferguson’s first fight at welterweight since winning “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2011. “El Cucuy” is faced with the worst skid of his professional mixed martial arts career. He was knocked out in May when he battled Michael Chandler at UFC 274. Prior to that, he had dropped back-to-back unanimous decisions to Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira.

Justin Gaethje was the man in charge of snapping El Cucuy’s heralded 12-fight winning streak, finishing Ferguson via TKO at UFC 249 in May 2020.

After losing to Chandler, Ferguson vowed that he had felt better than ever and was prepared to continue his quest toward UFC gold. Well, it appears El Cucuy hopes to turn things around by taking on the bigger men of welterweight.

Jingliang, who is ranked No. 14 per the UFC’s official standings, got back on track in July when he took out Muslim Salikhov via second-round TKO. Prior to that, The Leech was dominated by Khamzat Chimaev in October 2021 at UFC 267 in what was his most high-profile task as a UFC athlete. Jingliang has a professional record of 19-7.

Sonnen Doesn’t Understand UFC’s Reasoning for Booking Jingliang vs. Ferguson

Sonnen appeared on “The MMA Hour” a few days back and he gave his thoughts on The Leech versus El Cucuy. And in short, the former three-time UFC title challenger doesn’t like the match-up.

“You want to talk about Charles Oliveira and you want to talk about what a big star he is — they say that him versus [Justin] Gaethje was the biggest pay-per-view of the year, not to mention this year had the heavyweight fight between the [interim] champion and the undisputed [champion], and you’re still telling me that Oliveira-Gaethje was No. 1? Oliveira doesn’t exist, that belt doesn’t exist and the story doesn’t exist, if Tony Ferguson — who was up in the loft — had not dropped the ladder down so that Oliveira could climb up it,” Sonnen said via MMA Fighting.

“Now we’re going to bring Ferguson back, great story, he’s hanging in there, he’s traded camps, he’s doing things different, and you’re giving him — I don’t know of ‘Leech’ [Jingliang]. I don’t know if that’s his nickname or that’s his name, and I’m not trying to be a dick. I assume you call a guy a leech, like he claims to be — I haven’t the foggiest idea who we’ve got opposite Tony Ferguson or how we’re supposed to pretend that that matters.”

Sonnen Further Went Off About the UFC 279 Contest

Sonnen continued with his take on the fight, explaining further why he doesn’t “love it.”

“If ‘The Leech’ wins, what happens?” Sonnen questioned.

“If Tony wins, OK, great — he gets another fight, he holds on to his career. If ‘The Leech’ wins? No, I don’t love it. I don’t love it. I don’t think that should’ve been breaking news. I don’t think there should’ve been a press conference. I don’t think it was worthy. That’s the kind of fight you’d lay out the card and then you’d just mention it.”

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