Throwback to When Tony Ferguson Became the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion

Published 04/30/2021, 1:15 PM EDT


Tony Ferguson returns to action next month at UFC 262 as he fights Beneil Dariush in a very important clash in terms of the current scenario of the UFC’s lightweight division. Ferguson is currently on a 2-fight skid for the first time in his illustrious professional career. Back-to-back losses against Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira have sent him down the pecking order.

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However, not so long ago, Ferguson was considered the best lightweight on the planet. He was on a 12-fight winning streak. He also won the interim UFC lightweight championship against Kevin Lee at UFC 216.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: Tony Ferguson poses for photos during the UFC 249 press conference at T-Mobile Arena on March 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The feud between ‘El Cucuy’ and ‘Motown Phenom’ started after Lee’s win against Michael Chiesa. Ferguson was at the desk for a post-fight interview with Lee. He asked Lee things about his performance that the latter didn’t like. Their interaction got heated and fans wanted to see the fight materialize.

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The UFC set them up for a clash at UFC 216 with the interim lightweight belt on the line. The build-up was entertaining all along, with both fighters going in all guns blazing. Experts like Daniel Cormier and Kenny Florian had to break up their arguments multiple time during the media obligations of the event.

Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee fights at UFC 216

Both men looked determined to capture a piece of UFC gold. Stylistically the fight was a barn-burner. Both fighters had a major wrestling background. However, their stand-up was not something to overlook as Lee possesses great power and Ferguson is always unique and innovative with his style.

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Motown Phenom‘ started the fight very well. He used his wrestling to dominate Ferguson on the ground. He landed some major shots via ground and pound on ‘El Cucuy’. Ferguson weathered the early storm and started to use his superior conditioning as the fight went on.

Ferguson always has the ability to lock up submissions from unusual positions. He caught Lee with a triangle choke at the third-round as Lee was looking to land heavy shots on ‘El Cucuy‘ while controlling him. Ferguson managed to force Lee to tap, and he became the interim UFC lightweight champion in the process on his 10th fight of his winning streak.

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Apratim Banerjee

734 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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