The lightweight division is heating up after it was confirmed that Tony Ferguson will fight Beneil Dariush on May 15th at UFC 262.
Ferguson had been in title contention for years and racked up a 12 fight win streak between 2013 and 2020, before falling to defeat in his last two outings. He was knocked out brutally by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May 2020 in an interim title fight to set up a bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov and then was dominated most recently at UFC 256 in December by Charles Oliveira.
Dariush on the other hand is currently on a six-fight win streak with two submissions, two knockouts and two decisions. His most recent fight came in a rematch against the highly rated Carlos Diego Ferreira, where he beat him a second time by split decision at UFC Vegas 18 in February.
Dariush has been clamouring for a big name fight for a while now and has finally been rewarded for his growing popularity and wins, with Ferguson one of the biggest names in the entire company.
‘El Cucuy’ has struggled in his most recent bouts and has lost his position in the title picture as a result of these defeats. The showing against Oliveira in particular was stunning to many fans, as the Brazilian completely dominated and controlled him on the ground for the entire 15 minute duration of the fight.
Many believed that Ferguson was the man to stop Nurmagomedov’s reign as lightweight champion and since their fight never happened despite being booked on four separate occasions, the fight against Oliveira was supposed to prove that he could dominate someone with stunning grappling skills.
Instead he was beaten to a pulp and now will fight against Dariush, who is another fantastic grappler. With both men seemingly on different trajectories in their careers, it’s a great match up for both fighters to try and prove their point.
Dariush has improved dramatically over the last few years and has many analysts and fans talking up his chances of climbing the ranks and getting into title contention himself.
Ranked at number nine, a win over Ferguson would likely see him move into the top five and then potentially he would be just one win away from claiming himself a title shot. Ferguson on the other hand knows that if he is ever to hold undisputed gold in the UFC then he must win this fight.
A defeat would see him on a three-fight skid at 36 years of age with a list of killers in front of him including all the fighters that beat him, making it near impossible for him to climb back up the ranks.
A win though means he’s still in the upper echelons in the division and can look to make a final run while also halting the Dariush hype train right in its tracks. It’s likely to be a three-round fight since it’s happening on a numbered card, although no main event has been announced yet despite UFC 261 and UFC 263’s main events already being revealed.