Recently, UFC President Dana White announced that the promotion has officially signed former Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. Additionally, White also stated that Chandler would serve as the back-up for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. It's interesting to note the timing of this entire revelation, with reports of a potential Michael Chandler vs Tony Ferguson right around the corner.
After Dana White announced that UFC is looking for a new opponent for Tony Ferguson after failing to come to terms with Dustin Poirier, it was expected that Michael Chandler would face El Cucuy next.
It won't be wrong to say that UFC should have kept Tony Ferguson as the back-up for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje. With the pandemic still causing late changes to many match-ups, there's a reason to believe that the hugely anticipated showdown between Khabib and Gaethje could get cancelled. We have seen this with UFC making a last-minute change with the UFC 252 card where Gilbert Burns tested positive for coronavirus weeks before the main event and had to be replaced by Jorge Masvidal.
Tony Ferguson deserves a shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship
Tony Ferguson has failed to get his hands on a title shot despite raking up 12 back to back victories in the UFC Lightweight division. After Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov fell apart for a record fifth time at UFC 244, Ferguson took on Justin Gaethje in a short-notice fight for the interim strap. Ferguson lost the fight via TKO in the fifth round, closing the doors on a potential Khabib vs Tony once again.
Tony Ferguson has done more than enough inside the octagon to go down as one of the greatest Lightweight fighters of all time. With notable victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, and Edson Barboza, Ferguson is eyeing a potential No.1 Contender's match against Dustin Poirier at UFC 254. Ferguson remains officially without a fight and should have served as the replacement fighter for UFC 254.
Michael Chandler is a new face for many UFC fans. Chandler's wrestling prowess and his credible striking give him an edge for some of the best Lightweight fighters in the division. However, with Khabib Nurmagomedov expressing his plans to retire, there's a reason to believe that UFC should be careful when they decide to create a fight for Khabib Nurmagomedov with any fighter. While Chandler is an exciting opponent, Tony Ferguson not only brings more fight fans but Khabib's legacy will be on the line as there is a lot of history between both the fighters.
While one would hope that Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje takes place without any hindrance, if there is any issue, it makes more sense for Tony Ferguson to save the day. Ideally, it also leaves the door open for Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje rematch.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belong to the writer and doesn't necessarily represent Sportskeeda's stand.Published 18 Sep 2020, 12:55 IST