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Speculation on Tony Ferguson's possible opponent after rejecting Charles Oliveira fight

  • Tony Ferguson could have an interesting next opponent.
  • UFC reportedly brought up a Charles Oliveira fight for Ferguson, but that was quickly shot down.
R. Nath
ANALYST
Rumors
Modified 24 Jun 2020, 14:37 IST
UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje
UFC 249 Ferguson v Gaethje

Tony Ferguson last fought Justin Gaethje for the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship this past May, but was dominated and defeated for the first time in eight years - also ending his incredible 12-fight win streak.

As a result, his dream bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov is delayed yet again. But from the look of things, he might be looking to get back into action sooner than expected. Ariel Helwani was one of four members in ESPN's "expert panel" to assess what lies ahead in the Lightweight division.

Who could be Tony Ferguson's next opponent?

The most important Lightweight fight is this weekend - featuring #4 ranked Dustin Poirier taking on #5 ranked Dan Hooker. While many feel it could be a title eliminator, Ariel Helwani stated that the winner of Poirier vs Hooker could be next in line for Tony Ferguson:

First off, it's a phenomenal main event [Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje] pitting two of the best lightweights on the planet. I really think, given their styles, that this has potential to be one of the best fights of 2020. That should be good enough. In terms of what is at stake, it isn't very cut-and-dried because as long as Khabib Nurmagomedov is the lightweight champion, I don't think Poirier is getting a rematch anytime soon. As long as Conor McGregor is out there, I don't think Hooker is jumping the Gaethje-McGregor-Ferguson queue to Nurmagomedov. So although a title shot or even a No. 1 contender spot isn't at stake, a potential fight against Tony Ferguson is. Who wouldn't want to see Poirier or Hooker fight Ferguson? Yes, I know Ferguson is coming off a loss, but I think the winner of this fight would be in line to fight him more than the loser.

Helwani stated that Tony Ferguson was approached for a potential fight against the talented Charles Oliveira, but there's no interest in a fight against the Brazilian:

Side note: The UFC recently broached the subject of Ferguson fighting the streaking Charles Oliveira, I'm told, but there doesn't appear to be much interest there. I can see there being more interest on Ferguson's part to fight a Poirier/Hooker winner, especially if the winner looks really good.

It's an interesting time in the Lightweight division, but Helwani is right about Poirier not getting a title shot as long as Khabib Nurmagomedov is the Champion. He'll need to work his way back up. While Tony Ferguson may have lost recently, it could serve to motivate him more and have a great comeback.

If the winner of Poirier vs Hooker gets a finish without taking much damage, then you can best bet that UFC will be quick to book Tony Ferguson vs the winner on a major PPV or a Fight Night.

Published 24 Jun 2020, 14:37 IST
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