Eight consecutive wins.
Six finishes, including five submissions.
Taking out a former champion and an unbeaten prospect on short notice.
There is no denying that Tony Ferguson is the top contender to new UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez anymore.
Ferguson remained on the UFC Fight Night 91 card Wednesday night, taking everything that the unbeaten Lando Vannata threw at him through five minutes. Once Ferguson, a former Ultimate Fighter winner, was settled in, he turned it to another level.
Having not fought since late in 2015, “El Cucuy” admitted after that he “needed to get punched in the face” to get back in the rhythm of fighting. Vannata did just that, sparking an uprising when he floored Ferguson.
After sitting in his corner for a brief moment, the third-ranked lightweight came out and locked up a D’arce choke on Vannata in just over two minutes, forcing the youngster to tap out. He has also submitted Edson Barboza, Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo and Mike Rio since a 2012 decision loss to Michael Johnson.
Since making his Octagon debut in 2011 with a first round knockout of Ramsey Nijem that gave him the TUF title, the Johnson setback remains the lone blemish on Ferguson’s career.
Following his win, he called out Alvarez for a shot at the belt, mentioning an “easier” fight for the champion being Conor McGregor – which is what Alvarez said after his finish of Rafael dos Anjos last week.
And while that is the “money” fight to make for Alvarez, McGregor is tied up. Put him vs. Ferguson and give the fans another “Fight of the Year” to debate over.