UFC 249: Justin Gaethje seals interim lightweight title
Justin Gaethje became the UFC's interim lightweight champion on Saturday in the main event of UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. He beat Tony Ferguson in an astonishingly brilliant performance. After two consecutive losses in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Gaethje banked on the lessons learnt. This was his fourth successive win. Here's more on the same.
Referee Herb Dean stepped in at 3:39 of the fifth as Ferguson, whose face was grotesquely swollen with blood streaming from every orifice, staggered away. Gaethje dominated from the start, decimating Ferguson with crushing left hooks. Ferguson showed an incredible chin but little else in a fight that was shockingly one-sided. This was complete dominance from Gaethje, who stood tall.
"I have a world-class coach and I had to lose to change," Gaethje said, according to Yahoo Sports. "You can't fix what is not broken. We figured out what was wrong. I was getting hit too much. To be honest with you — I was having too much fun. Both times I lost, I became complacent because I was having so much fun."
Ferguson had come into this fight with a 12-match unbeaten streak. However, he was stunned from the start, with Gaethje chopping his legs and landing thunderous hooks. The first three rounds belonged to Gaethje as he battered Ferguson. Gaethje kept on landing power punches on Ferguson but managed to evade most of Tony's offence. It was an amazing performance by Gaethje.
Speaking to Joe Rogan in the post-fight Octagon interview, The Highlight, Gaethje said he wants Khabib Nurmagomedov next. "Khabib is the best in the world. I've been working since I was four for challenges like this and I'm happy to represent the USA against Dagestan or Russia's best. He's 28-0 and there's no other challenge I want right now. I want to fight him."
The 31-year-old Gaethje is an American professional mixed martial artist, who fights in the lightweight division of the UFC. He is now the number one contender in the UFC lightweight rankings. He has a 22-2 record and sealed a fourth successive win.