Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

UFC

Tony Ferguson return decided while UFC president Dana White says: 'We’ll go back to Fight Island' in Abu Dhabi

American has not fought since crushing defeat against Justin Gaethje

Tony Ferguson’s return to the octagon has already been lined up, with UFC president Dana White all but confirming it will be against Dustin Poirier.

The American, 36, has not fought since his comprehensive defeat in his lightweight interim title clash with Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May.

Ferguson left the bout heavily bloodied and bruised following a fifth-round stoppage – a loss that ended emphatically his 12-fight win streak that stretched back eight years.

Gaethje had been a late replacement for Khabib Nurmagomedov and will now take on the undefeated lightweight champion at UFC 254 on October 25. The fight is expected to take place in Abu Dhabi.

Despite the defeat to Gaethje, Ferguson remains one of the sport’s standout stars, and has been recently active on social media in teasing a comeback.

Asked following UFC on ESPN 15 on Sunday if Ferguson had a fight lined up with UFC, White said: “We do.”

Pushed if it was Poirier, he smiled before responding: “Probably.”

Poirier last fought in June, when he rebounded from last September’s unification title loss to Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi by claiming a unanimous decision victory against Dan Hooker.

At present, Poirier sits as the No 2-ranked challenger at lightweight, with Ferguson one slot behind. The winner of that encounter would then be in line to face whoever comes out on top in Nurmagomedov-Gaethje.

Although the location of that match-up is yet to be confirmed, it will most likely headline the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi for a second Fight Island series, which could also feature UFC 253 on September 27. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s title defence against Paulo Costa tops that event.

The inaugural Fight Island run took place on Yas Island last month and comprised four events, including the hugely successful UFC 251 that hosted three title fights.

When it was put to White again on Sunday if the UFC planned to return to capital, he replied: “We’ll go back to Fight Island. We’ll have some announcements soon. We’re just getting everything dialled in.”

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UFC 251: A great night in Abu Dhabi

Updated: August 23, 2020 12:49 PM

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