In Saturday’s co-main event, Ferguson will return to the Octagon just four months after he was brutally knocked out cold by a Michael Chandler front kick at UFC 274. With that loss marking his fourth straight setback at 155 pounds since 2020, “El Cucuy” is looking to find form again with a quick return to welterweight.
In his first test at 170 pounds since winning The Ultimate Fighter 13 back in 2011, Ferguson will look to add the name of #14-ranked welterweight Li Jingliang to his record.
And according to Ferguson himself, there’s a reason why the bout got put together late in the day…
Ferguson: ‘They Gotta Get The Champ To Raise Sales’
During his appearance at UFC 279 media day on Wednesday, Ferguson discussed his quick turnaround and dangerous opponent, who knocked out Santiago Ponzinibbio last year and Muslim Salikhov less than two months ago.
Discussing the rapid nature of the fight’s creation, “El Cucuy” claimed that he was drafted in for the Las Vegas-held card following low ticket sales. And given that rising contender Khamzat Chimaev is set to headline against MMA superstar Nate Diaz, Ferguson said fans should be ashamed for that.
“I’m gonna be real. He probably had his work visa being expired. And obviously, he had a fight over in the summertime and now he wants to fight in September,” Ferguson said. “I guarantee you he knew his timeline, what he has to do, and how he wants to make his money.
“Being him, being an available opponent, and coming here to save UFC 279 — because I heard they weren’t doing too well in ticket sales. That’s Khamzat and Diaz, you (fans) should be ashamed of yourselves. They gotta get the [MUTED] champ to (raise) the ticket sales here.”
Many will perhaps suggest that a slower drive for tickets than usual was understandable given the state of the September 10 pay-per-view just four weeks ago, prior to the announcement of Ferguson and Kevin Holland’s scheduled outings.
Nevertheless, “El Cucuy” will look to reward the supporters set to head to the T-Mobile Arena this weekend by delivering a vintage performance, and setting the stage for what could be Diaz’s UFC farewell in the main event.
Would you be surprised if UFC 279 had experienced slow ticket sales?