Tony Ferguson

Chael Sonnen picking Tony Ferguson to win UFC 249 main event

Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje on tap

One of MMA’s best commentators is weighing in on the UFC 249 main event.

Chael Sonnen appeared on Submission Radio to discuss a number of topics, including the UFC 249 main event between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. The two men will fight for the interim lightweight championship.

When lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagmedov couldn’t fight against Ferguson due to a travel ban in Russia, Gaethje stepped up on short notice to fight Ferguson. Originally, the fight was going to happen on April 18 and Sonnen thought it’d be easy win for Ferguson. Now that the event will happen on May 9, giving Gaethje more time to prepare, Sonnen thinks Gaethje has a good shot of winning.

“This is totally different with Gaethje getting an extra three weeks,” said Sonnen. “It’s totally different. Three of those weeks, two of them will be spent training hard. He’ll taper the last week, but so will Tony. You give a guy two weeks, and two may not sound like much, but I’m telling you, you can get into shape in two weeks. And Tony had already had three. Now, three is not quite enough for five rounds. Three is not quite enough for everything, but it’s still not a terrible spot. Two extra weeks changes this fight.”

While Sonnen believes the extra time will benefit Gaethje, he’s still picking Ferguson to win his second interim title.

“Now, if you want a prediction, I still lean towards Tony, but I do think instead of this being two rounds of fun, you’re now looking closer to four rounds of fun. I prefer it as a fan. I prefer that we got a little more time for these guys.”

If Tony Ferguson is to win, it would set up a sixth scheduled fight between him and Nurmagomedov. The last time Ferguson won the interim title he ended up being stripped following a serious injury. Sonnen hopes that if he wins that he’ll get his due this time around.

“And look, I know everything that’s been said is we’re going to keep Conor on ice and we’re gonna put him against Khabib, the winner of Tony and Khabib in September. But of course, that was believing that Khabib was going to win. You have to understand, if that is still the plan, then that means we’re getting ready to pull the screw job on Tony a second time.”

“They have promised Tony an interim title fight for the second time. The first time he did it. He never lost it. And all of a sudden that belt is gone. We as fans cannot allow that to happen. If Tony comes out of this thing, Tony needs to be fighting Khabib. And if at some point they try to slide in Conor, which is likely, maybe not likely, but possible, that means we screwed Tony a second time. We can’t let that happen.”

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John Eric Poli