It took awhile to come together, and it will take place three weeks after the originally schedule date, but UFC 249 is set.
An interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje will headline UFC 249 on May 9 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.
The confirmation of the event brings closure to several weeks of trying to figure out when, and where, UFC 249 would take place.
The event was supposed to be held on April 18 in New York, headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson. When that location wasn't possible because of the impact of the coronavirus, UFC president Dana White tried to push ahead with a new location but keeping the same date. Nurmagomedov, in Russia and facing travel restrictions due to COVID-19, was replaced on the card by Gaethje, and White hoped to hold the event at Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, Calif. White was eventually told by Disney and ESPN executives to postpone UFC 249 because of coronavirus concerns, leaving him to look for a new date and location.
Finally, UFC was able to schedule UFC 249 for Jacksonville on May 9.
In addition to Ferguson vs. Gaethje, the revamped card features Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz as the co-main event, as well as Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a heavyweight clash.
The night before UFC 249, it was announced that Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza had tested positive for coronavirus, and his middleweight fight vs. Uriah Hall had been removed from the card. But the rest of the event will still go on.
Here are all the details to Ferguson vs. Gaethje, plus the full UFC 249 fight card.
UFC 249 main event: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
Just the fact that it's Ferguson vs. Gaethje — and not Khabib — means the highly anticipated clash between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov has failed to make it into the Octagon for a fifth time. Unexpected injuries or heath issues derailed the previous four meetings. Nurmagomedov indicated that he needed to know the location of UFC 249 in order to possibly leave Russia. But ultimately, it didn't work out, leading to the new main event.
Yet, Ferguson vs. Gaethje presents intrigue of its own, as the fighters will be competing for the interim lightweight title. Ferguson has been an interim lightweight champion before, while Gaethje has never held UFC hardware.
Adding more intrigue: Ferguson hasn't suffered a loss since May 2012, going 12-0 in that time. Gaethje is riding a win streak of his own, having won three straight bouts after suffering back-to-back losses. Ferguson and Gaethje each stopped Donald Cerrone three months apart — in June and September 2019 — as their last offering.
Tony Ferguson record, bio
Name: Tony Ferguson
Born: Feb. 12, 1984
Reach: 76 1/2"
Total fights: 28
Justin Gaethje record, bio
Name: Justin Gaethje
Born: Nov. 14, 1988
Total fights: 23
UFC 249 full fight card
- Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje; interim lightweight championship
- Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz; world bantamweight championship
- Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
- Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
- Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan de Castro
- Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis
- Alexsei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum
- Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson
- Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price
- Bryce Mitchell vs. Charles Rosa
- Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey