UFC News: Latest on Tony Ferguson, Darren Till's Injury, Manel Kape's Debut

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIJuly 31, 2020

Justin Gaethje, right, ducks from a punch by Tony Ferguson, left, during a UFC 249 mixed martial arts bout, Saturday, May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Tony Ferguson hadn't lost since 2012, then he was defeated by Justin Gaethje in a bout for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 249 in May.

Ferguson had won 12 consecutive fights until The Highlight beat him via fifth-round TKO in a bout that earned Fight of the Night honors.

Now, the 36-year-old appears focused on doing what it takes to get back into the lightweight title picture.

Gaethje, the interim champion, is set to take on UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 on Oct. 24 to determine who is the undisputed champion. Ferguson appears to realize that he needs to bounce back with a victory before potentially challenging the winner of that fight, and he has his eyes set on some big targets.

"You want to give me Conor [McGregor], give me Conor," Ferguson recently said on ESPN (h/t Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com). "You want to give me [Dustin] Poirier, we'll make it happen, and then we'll fight, and then we'll fight the winner of the Gaethje and Khabib fight."

Although McGregor again recently announced his retirement, it's possible he'll be back in the Octagon at some point. Poirier is the No. 3-ranked lightweight behind only Nurmagomedov and Gaethje, and he's won five of his last six fights. Poirier's only loss during that stretch came against Nurmagomedov, and he defeated Gaethje in that span.

It would make sense for Poirier and Ferguson to face off to set up the next lightweight title bout, and the two have never met in the Octagon before, so it's a bout that would be highly anticipated.

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Till suffers torn MCL in loss

Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

Although Darren Till is 18-3-1 in his professional MMA career, his three losses have come in his last four fights, which includes a defeat by unanimous decision to Robert Whittaker this past Saturday. However, Till spent most of that five-round bout with an injury.

According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, Till suffered a torn left MCL in the second round of that loss to Whittaker, an injury that was confirmed by physicians this week.

"Torn MCL, doctors are amazed he was able to stand up for the last three rounds," Till's coach, Colin Heron, told Okamoto. "He is in a cast for six weeks, then we'll reassess, hopefully it will start to knit while immobilized."

Till's recent losses have all come against strong competition, as he was defeated by Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal in his last two welterweight fights. Since moving to middleweight, he defeated Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 last November and then lost to Whittaker.

     

Kape's UFC debut pushed back

Manel Kape had originally been scheduled to make his UFC debut in a flyweight bout against Rogerio Bontorin at UFC 252 on Aug. 15. Then, Bontorin withdrew from the fight because of injury, leaving Kape without an opponent.

Now, it appears Kape's first UFC fight won't be happening in two weeks. According to Mike Heck of MMAFighting.com, Kape has suffered an ankle injury that will prevent the 26-year-old from entering the Octagon as previously scheduled.

Kape said his doctors "have told him to cease training for another month, and he will be re-evaluated after that," according to Heck, and that he'll be hoping to face a "top-five" flyweight in October.

Competing for Rizin Fighting Federation, Kape won all three of his fights in 2019, which improved his professional record to 15-4. Bontorin, who is ranked No. 8 in the UFC flyweight division, would have been a strong competitor for Kape to face in his UFC debut, but it's unclear whether that fight could still happen at some point down the line.

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