From the outside looking in it’s quite hard to figure out the relationship that Tony Ferguson and Brock Lesnar have. One is a heavyweight brute who has swapped UFC for the bright lights and cozier surroundings of the WWE, while the other is a lightweight mongrel who furiously scraps it out on the octagon floor.
Both though, have a huge amount of respect for each other having trained together in the past. The camaraderie started in the gym when they found out that they both came from the midwest; Ferguson is from Michigan while Lesnar comes from South Dakota. Their friendship grew from there and perhaps Ferguson puts it best when he says ‘I could relate to someone walking around with Cauliflower ears’.
Right now, Tony Ferguson finds himself in the build-up to a tricky bout with fellow American Justin Gaethje. The Gaethje vs Ferguson odds may suggest that Lesnar’s pal Ferguson should comfortably win, but there is a growing feeling that UFC 249 may well deliver a few surprises.
Indeed, the storylines around the event in Jacksonville center solely around the battle for the interim lightweight title, with many seeing the bout as Ferguson’s stepping stone to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. Only, UFC president Dana White hasn’t set Ferguson up with a slam dunk result, and instead has asked the 36-year-old to beat the dangerous Justin Gaethje.
At a mere 6/4 to win, it’s abundantly clear that the general feeling is that Gaethje won’t be a pushover and may instead take Ferguson all the way. It almost feels a bit disrespectful to say that Justin Gaethje is just there to ruin the party given that he is, in actual fact, more than good enough to be in a world title matchup. You always need an underdog in any sporting fixture, but it would be remiss to dismiss Gaethje as a man that has won a competition that enables him to step in the ring with Ferguson. The 31-year-old has earned the right to fight Ferguson, and fight him, he will.
In fact, Gaethje has put it on record that he intends to knock Ferguson out cold at UFC 249 and, at odds of 9/4 to do so, you’d have to say that is a possibility that grows by the day in the lead up to this fight. Naturally, you’re always going to hear fighters exchange these types of threats as they do everything possible to build hype around a fight, in order to sell it to the public. Ferguson has done the same, and it’s no surprise to hear the volley of threats going back and forth.
There is just a feeling, however, that Brock Lesnar’s old mate Tony Ferguson could be shown up in Florida when they meet. You will know the feeling if you’ve been watching UFC for long enough, there can only really be one winner in this fight and, with the pressure off, Justin Gaethje is going to be nigh on impossible to tame in the octagon when the fight starts.