Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson was scheduled to fight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 249; it would have happened today. The fight between the pair was off for the fifth time, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which had previously shuffled Ferguson's opponent from Nurmagomedov to Justin Gaethje, and eventually postponed the entire event. And then on Friday, "El Cucuy" made weight from home.
During an interview with Ariel Helwani for ESPN, Ferguson explained why.
“It wasn’t just for me, man,” said Ferguson, as transcribed by Nolan King for MMA Junkie. “It was for my team and my sponsors and obviously my family. It was just a commitment to myself to follow through with my weight cut. We were supposed to have a fight here. Obviously Khabib … didn’t make the fight. Justin Gaethje filled in. To me, it just made f***ing sense, man. It is what it is.
“I like the way my body is adjusting to this. I just spent probably an hour-and-a-half of rehydrating. It was a good practice run for me mentally and physically. I’m close to weight.”
“I don’t know if Justin Gaethje is down to take the fight or not. I don’t know what’s going on with the fight. We knew we were going to make weight Friday. Me and my team, my team and I did diligence making sure we showed up, did work, put in the extra credit. Even when nobody was here, I even did further than that. I had to go push myself to be mentally tough and make sure I hit this cut on time.
“For me to make weight and Justin Gaethje not to make weight? That’s a chalkline right there. That’s a chalkline versus any opponent that I have. Any person that would make championship weight today was a smart one who’s going to compete on that card – that is still competing. If they don’t, it’s not their fault either.”
“We did our best to get me to a certain weight that I could. I had to stay hydrated. I was heavy, man. I was at 179 at the beginning of the week. F***ing crazy, but I had to trust the process. I did it. I made it difficult for myself, but I’m glad I did. If I don’t have to make it difficult for myself, watch out.”