UFC 249: ‘He is epitome of an athlete,’ Justin Gaethje full of praise for opponent Tony Ferguson – other sports

Yash Bhati

Hindustan Times, Delhi

Tony Ferguson faces Justin Gaethje in the main event.
Tony Ferguson faces Justin Gaethje in the main event.(UFC)



The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is returning for the first time since the Fight Night 170: Brasilia and their first event is sure to be an action-packed affair. The interim lightweight championship is on the line with Tony Ferguson taking on Justin Gaethje in the main event. Fans will also witness the return of former bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz as he faces champion Henry Cejudo in the co-main event. Former challenger Francis Ngannou is also making his comeback and will take on fellow heavyweight Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

UFC is facing a problem in the lead up to the event as Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, who was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 40-year-old Souza has been pulled from the event as two of his cornermen also tested positive. But the event is scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Florida.

The biggest fight of the night is the slugfest expected between Ferguson and Gaethje. Both the fighters are fan-favorite with an amazing skill set. So how to both the fighters see their opponents’ skills? Gaethje loves the way Ferguson fights and the tenacity he brings to the cage.

‘I am a huge fan of MMA and first and foremost I think humans recognize effort. And I recognize he gives max effort. The tenacity that he brings to the cage. I am looking forward to the storm. I know that for one we get to put paychecks in our pocket. We get to put a paycheck in every UFC employees’ pockets that is going to work this event. And we get to inspire people to not give up right now. You know, before I was fighting him after I fight him I believed he is epitome of an athlete, a UFC athlete. He loves violence. He loves carnage and this is a recipe for disaster and I think we both want to be on that path,’ Gaethje said.

Meanwhile, Ferguson explained that he had been training for more than six months now for a fight and it doesn’t matter who UFC puts in front of him.

“I have been training for six to seven months. As soon as we found out we were going to fight Khabib I was already training in December. So I mean obviously conditioning is there. The strength is there. My body is completely changed. I didn’t have a strength and conditioning coach beside myself. And I had my trainers actually push me through the wringer for every single practice. I mean 12 hour days. I mean seriously man it wasn’t easy. But I made it happen and I am very lucky to be able to have a team. One of the best teams that are out there in the whole entire world man. And I ready for anyone. And I won the ultimate fighter and I won that at 170 pounds and it was a tournament. So it doesn’t matter who you put in front of me. I am going to go out there and give my best. Win or lose I am going to walk away from a f***ing winner.”

Fans of MMA can catch all the action from the action-packed UFC 249 live on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 3 channels on 10th May 2020 from 7.30 am (IST)

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