MMA Record: 23-3
UFC Record: 13-1
Notable Wins: Kevin Lee, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thomson
Notable Losses: Michael Johnson
Last Fight: Submission win over Kevin Lee
Fighter Profile: A former Ultimate Fighter winner, Ferguson is one of the most complete lightweights on the UFC roster. A joy to watch, Ferguson is returning to the Octagon after a freak knee injury suffered earlier this year when he tripped on a cable filming an interview before UFC 223. That injury cost him a title shot against his rival Khabib Nurmagomedov and it means he’ll have to work his way back up to the title despite his 10-fight win streak. Since entering the UFC at the beginning of this decade, Ferguson has been an absolute monster inside the cage, going 13-1 overall in the UFC. He’s beaten the likes of Lee, RDA and Barzboa during his current win streak, showing off his incredible submission skills on the mat as well as his devastating striking skills on the feet and his underrated wrestling game. He is one of the most well-rounded lightweights in the game today and despite being 34 he is in the prime of his career. A win here over Pettis and he may be on track to get the next title shot at 155lbs.
MMA Record: 21-7
UFC Record: 8-6
Notable Wins: Benson Henderson, Michael Chiesa, Charles Oliveira, Donald Cerrone, Jeremy Stephens
Notable Losses: Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway, Edson Barboza, Eddie Alvarez, Clay Guida
Last Fight: Submission win over Michael Chiesa
Fighter Profile: The former UFC lightweight champion, Pettis has struggled finding consistency in recent years. At one point, he was the best lightweight in the world and one of the most popular fighters in the sport. But for whatever reason he has really taken a step back and is just 3-5 in his last eight bouts. Pettis can still pull off the occasional submission like he did against Chiesa in his last fight, but we haven’t seen the dynamic striking attack out of him that we used to. It’s possible the win over Chiesa will give him the confidence he needs to get back on track, but it’s more likely it was just a solid win and not a sign he’s back to his old championship-level ways. Having said that, a win over Ferguson would immediately vault him back into title contention.
Fight Breakdown: I just feel like this fight is a mismatch. At this point of their careers, Ferguson is better in every aspect of MMA. His recent injury obviously is a concern, but he looks to be completely healthy and if that’s the case he should have no problem taking care of business in this fight. Whether it’s on the feet or on the ground Ferguson will have the opportunity to stop the fight. I don’t see Pettis making it the distance against Ferguson, and I have him winning the fight inside the distance and maybe finally earning his long-awaited title shot.
Prediction: Tony Ferguson wins inside the distance.