Dana White had a pretty good Saturday with the return of the UFC in Jacksonville, Florida, and UFC 249. There was more going on than usual, even with less staff, and no crowds on hand. The fights still went on and the main event crowned an interim champion in Justin Gaethje, who took the fight on short notice against Tony Ferguson.
While Ferguson had a full camp to prepare for the best in the world against his original opponent in Khabib Nurmagomedov, Gaethje was still able to come out the winner, and White believes cutting weight twice may have had something to do with it. “I thought Tony looked off tonight,” White said during the post fight presser. He also said, “I thought he looked slow, and I would have to imagine that cutting weight twice in a month will affect you.”
“I would have to imagine that cutting weight twice in a month will affect you.” -Dana White
White was referring to Ferguson making weight for the April 18 date for UFC 249 even after the event was postponed. Ferguson documented it on social media to show not only was the UFC ready to go for that date but so was he regardless of ESPN or the pandemic calling it off. It may not have been relayed to him, as Gaethje had pointed out he found out second hand when the event was rebooked for May 9 but Ferguson made weight again regardless.
Still, Ferguson did address the loss immediately after Gaethje was interviewed in the cage and he said the weight cut had nothing to do with it. “It’s been a long camp I’ll be real,” Ferguson said to Joe Rogan, “We’ve been preparing since November, obviously the Khabib fight didn’t fall through Justin was the only one that wanted to sign on the dotted line.” He made sure to say, “The weight cut had nothing to do with it. Justin’s a tough son-of-a-bitch, I’ll be real.”
He did mention preparing for one type of fighter versus the other may have been more of a factor. It should be noted, having a fight of that caliber postponed due to the pandemic did make his camp longer.
For what it’s worth, Ferguson was dancing in the hospital when he knew he was getting discharged so we should take his word for it.