Stephen R. Sylvanie/Per Häljestam/Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Gaethje to face Tony Ferguson for interim title at UFC 249

"The fight is signed and is 100% ON"

The show will go on, and Tony Ferguson will now officially face Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 for the interim lightweight title. 

UFC 249 has been struck by countless issues. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected all sports leagues, with most being forced to cease competition entirely. UFC president Dana White has, however, been steadfast in his stance to hold UFC 249. The event was originally a lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, and was set for Brooklyn, New York. However the state’s athletic commission formally cancelled the event and Nurmagomedov was stuck in Russia under a travel ban, later withdrawing from the bout. With all that going against it seemed that UFC 249 had been dealt a fatal blow.

However, White revealed yesterday that he would announce the status of UFC 249 today. He lived up to it by announcing that Justin Gaethje would replace Nurmagomedov, and face Ferguson for the interim lightweight title.

“The fight is signed and is 100% ON LIVE on ESPN somewhere on EARTH,” White wrote. [Tony Ferguson] vs [Justin Gaethje] is LIVE on ESPN+ PPV April 18th for the interim lightweight belt!”


This means that the arena, region and even country is not yet specified. There are rumours of it taking place on the west coast of the United States, though.

Gaethje being a possible replacement has been known since last month. The UFC reportedly offered Ferguson a bout with Gaethje, though the status of the fight was unclear. The new main event sees Gaethje entering the bout on a three fight winning streak. He has finished all three, most recently Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, via T/KO. Ferguson has a twelve fight winning streak including finishes of Anthony Pettis and Edson Barboza.

Who wins at UFC 249: Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje?

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for