On Sunday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) took mixed martial arts (MMA) fans by surprise with its UFC 238 fight card announcement, Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson vs. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will face off in the Octagon at a showdown that already has combat fans drooling in anticipation for the right to be known as lightweight No. 1 competitor.
UFC booked newly-crowned interim winner, Dustin Poirier, to combat the reigning division winner, Khabib Nurmagomedov, while”El Cucuy” — stripped of the replacement strap — was managing his current personal problems.
This well-publicized drama, coupled with his recent absence, has not ceased Ferguson from opening as the odds-on betting favourite for the June 9th pay-per-view (PPV) at Chicago. He currently sits at -190 against “Cowboy,” the underdog in +165, based on BetOnline.
Ferguson (24-3) has won 11 straight fights with eight violent endings, including last October’s technical knockout stoppage of Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in UFC 229, where Pettis shattered his hand. Cerrone (36-11, 1 NC), meanwhile, has been reborn at 155 lbs, capturing three straight and looking like a complete savage from the process.
It’s a fast turnaround while this battle represents a way back for Cerrone, who conquered Al Iaquinta in UFC Ottawa at the beginning of May.
‘El Cucuy’, the No. 2 rated 155-pound competition, has only just been cleared to return to action after private issues saw the former interim lightweight champion take a lengthy break from the Octagon.
Ferguson (14-1 UFC) hasn’t stepped foot in the cage since October of last year — a stoppage of Anthony Pettis — and will look to get his name pursuit back on track against Cerrone.
Cerrone, now the No. 4 ranked contender, has appeared impressive since moving to the lightweight division, and is searching both a belt and a big-money showdown with Conor McGregor.
With champion Dustin Poirier expected to confront the champion this year Khabib Nurmagomedov to unify the 155lb lightweight belt, it appears as if the division’s chaos is beginning to work out itself.
Unless Conor McGregor shows up with his own plans once again, anticipate the Ferguson-Cerrone’s winner to fight with the winner of Poirier-Nurmagomedov.