Tony Ferguson finishes Kevin Lee to become UFC interim lightweight champion

Tony Ferguson got the job done with a third round triangle choke at UFC 216

Tony Ferguson can finally celebrate after becoming the interim lightweight champion following a third round submission win over Kevin Lee at UFC 216 on Saturday night.

It was a long time coming for Ferguson, who was originally supposed to compete for the interim belt in March prior to Khabib Nurmagomedov falling out of their fight after a weight cutting issue landed him in the hospital.

Fast forward to seven months later and Ferguson faced off with upstart contender Kevin Lee, who absolutely came out gunning to win gold but ultimately came up short in the end.

As the fight got underway, Lee showed his power as he tagged Ferguson with several hard shots on the feet before finally taking the fight to the ground. While he had to defend an early omo plata attempt, Lee quickly transitioned out of the submission before moving into the mount where he began raining down a barrage of elbows and punches from the top.

Lee couldn’t get the finish and unfortunately the fight went downhill for him from there.

Ferguson took over in the second round by peppering Lee with punches again and again while using outstanding footwork to make the 25-year old Detroit native stay in constant motion as his gas tank started to become depleted.

Lee didn’t give up, however, and he came out in the third round with two powerful takedowns to put Lee Ferguson back down on the mat.

That’s when Ferguson decided to show off his world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills as he nearly wrapped up an armbar before trapping Lee in a triangle choke. Once Ferguson had Lee in the triangle choke, he adjusted his position and continued to tighted his grip until he got the tap out.

Ferguson turns his attention to Conor McGregor 

With that submission, Ferguson was crowned the new interim lightweight champion and it didn’t take him long to turn his attention to the other fighter holding a belt at 155 pounds.

“Where you at McNugget’s, you f–king piece of s–t! I’m going to kick your ass!” Ferguson shouted while addressing lightweight champion Conor McGregor. “You better come and f–king defend that belt. Defend or vacate, motherf–ker!”

Of course, Ferguson would like nothing more than to unify the titles with McGregor once he’s ready to return to the UFC but the Irishman has made no decisions regarding the timeline for his next fight much less the opponent he will face.

For now, Ferguson will just celebrate his victory as he picks up his 10th straight win while now being called the interim lightweight champion.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.