In the co-main event of UFC 256, former UFC interim champion Tony Ferguson will return to face the red-hot Charles Oliveira. This will be the first fight for Ferguson since he lost an interim title fight to Justin Gaethje back at UFC 249 in May. The loss to Gaethje snapped a 12-fight winning streak for Ferguson, who won the interim title against Kevin Lee back in 2016.
As for Oliveira, this will be the biggest challenge for him in his UFC career and he will enter the fight against Ferguson riding his own seven-fight winning streak. During his run, Charles Oliveira has beaten the likes of Kevin Lee, Jim Miller, Jared Gordon, Clay Guida, and more. Coming into the fight, Oliveira is ranked 7th in the lightweight division while Ferguson is ranked third.
With the top of the division up for grabs as the future of champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is unknown, Oliveira believes a win over “El Cucuy” should make him next in line for a title fight. Speaking to MMA Fighting this week, Oliveira laid out why he believes a win over Ferguson means he should get an opportunity at the lightweight title.
“Winning this fight I’ll be the next challenger, no doubt. Seven wins in a row at the moment. It will be eight after this, and I don’t plan on leaving it in the judges’ hands. It will be eight finishes in a row. There’s no way I have to wait. I’m the next challenger.” (H/T MMA Fighting)
As he looks to secure the eight consecutive finish in his current winning streak, Charles Oliveira has made it clear that he wants an opportunity at the title, and beating Tony Ferguson may be the key to unlocking that chance. With the return of former champion Conor McGregor who takes on Dustin Poirier in January, and another former champion Rafael dos Anjos making an emphatic return to the lightweight division, there are definitely names to consider if Nurmagomedov decides to walk away from the championship..
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
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