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Major sports finally made their debut back this weekend with UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida. I had originally thought this one wouldn't happen or that the event would take place on an island (per Dana White himself), though thankfully they were able to pull everything together for a full fight card. It was really odd at first watching a UFC event with no fans in the stands or the loudness that usually accompanies the fights, though after the first couple of fights I was beginning to appreciate it. The quite stands really lets you focus on the fights themselves and makes it seem more like you're there.
The night had some great fights, but the one that stood out to me the most was Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje. I'll start off by saying that I've never seen a Gaethje fight before. Nothing against him at all, he's just never been on my radar with the usual fighters I keep up with. On the other hand, I've seen several Ferguson fights. I've never really liked the guy's persona but the way he performs has always been something worth paying attention too. I've never been a fan of either fighter.
With that said, Gaethje absolutely destroyed Ferguson. His boxing was incredible. There was never a moment in the entire fight that Ferguson was in the lead. The only thing he had to answer to Gaethje with was running away several times, and I mean that literally. I remember 3 or 4 times Tony turned and frantically ran away to avoid more punches. There were also a couple times Gaethje could have continued punching or a takedown after he landed a near-knockout punch, though just took a step back and let Ferguson readjust. Also, I've never seen a UFC fight not go to the ground a single time. The two kicked eachother quite a bit, though not once did anyone get knocked down or the fight go to grappling.
Now that Gaethje holds the interim lightweight title he's saying he wants Khabib as his next fight. Warning to Gaethje, be careful what you wish for. Khabib is probably the most well-rounded fighter in the entire game. I don't know if Gaethje, or really anyone else for that matter has what it takes to beat him on the ground.
A bit of a side note here. In my opinion, if Tony Ferguson would have fought Khabib back at UFC 209, Khabib would have destroyed him. Ferguson is good on his feet and can take however many punches Khabib lands, though as always, Khabib would have picked Ferguson apart and finished him on the ground via tapout. I would actually really like to see this fight now. If Khabib wouldn't have became ill just before that fight we'd know for sure.