Justin Gaethje will fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249
Two former amateur wrestlers -- Tony Ferguson and Jason Gaethje -- will face each other for the interim UFC lightweight (155-pound) title at the main event at UFC 249, a pay-per-view scheduled for Saturday, April 18, as announced by UFC president Dana White Monday.
White revealed the main event participants on Twitter:
The fight is signed and is 100% ON LIVE on ESPN somewhere on EARTH!!!! 😃@TonyFergusonXT vs @Justin_Gaethje is LIVE on @espn+ PPV April 18th for the interim lightweight belt! pic.twitter.com/aH44zg5K30�" danawhite (@danawhite) April 6, 2020
While Dana White's tweet named the combatants, the date, and where it could be viewed, it hinted at the fact that UFC 249 is still an event without a home ... no laughing matter, in this time of coronavirus COVID-19 which has canceled or postponed just about every major sporting event around the world, including the cancelation of the 2020 NCAA Wrestling Championships and the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN reported Sunday night that the UFC is considering a facility located on the West Coast for UFC 249 ... likely in front of no fans.
Originally, UFC 249 was to feature the promotion's lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was scheduled to defend his title against challenger Tony Ferguson. However, Nurmagomedov was replaced by Justin Gaethje.
Both headliners bring impressive mixed martial arts credentials to UFC 249. Tony Ferguson sports a 25-3 pro MMA record, with a 12-bout win streak going back to 2012. Justin Gaethje has a 21-2 overall record.
In addition, Ferguson and Gaethje brought strong amateur wrestling backgrounds to MMA.
Born in California but raised in Michigan, Ferguson won the 152-pound crown at the state tournament in 2002. He then continued his mat career at Central Michigan University, then Grand Valley State, where he claimed the 2006 National Collegiate Wrestling Association national title in 2006 at 165 pounds.
Gaethje launched his wrestling career at age 4. At Safford High School in Arizona, Gaethje won two state titles ... then continued his mat career at University of Northern Colorado, where he was a two-time NCAA All-American.
While Ferguson-Gaethje is the only match to have been announced for UFC 249, the complete bout order is expected to be announced in the coming days, according to BloodyElbow.com.