Justin Gaethje thinks you need a particular style to beat Tony Ferguson, and UFC lightweight Charles Oliveira isn’t up to task.
Gaethje stood in the pocket with Ferguson for four-and-a-half rounds and battered ‘El Cucuy’ to a pulp in the UFC 249 main event, but ‘The Highlight’ doesn’t think ‘Do Bronx’ will have the same level of success with his range-based striking on Dec. 12.
Speaking to The Schmo in a recent interview (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA), Gaethje explained what makes Ferguson such a tough matchup for a fighter like Oliveira, who holds the record for the most submission victories in the UFC (14).
“I don’t know, man. How intriguing. Tony coming back — I was talking about it earlier with some fighters and I think Tony’s going to win,” Gaethje said. “I think to do what I did against him, you have to fight a certain way. I don’t think Oliveira fights like that.
“I think his striking [technique] is similar to someone like Anthony Pettis who is on their heels a lot. So I think he’s going to have similar issues that Pettis had against Ferguson.”
UFC 256, which features Ferguson vs. Oliveira as the co-main event, takes place this Saturday, Dec. 12 at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
May 9th was not a good day for Tony Ferguson. Ferguson faced Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 249 that night. Heading into the fifth and final round of that bout, Ferguson was down on all three scorecards. He needed a stoppage for the win. He did not get one. Instead, with less than 90 seconds remaining in the fight, referee Herb Dean waved things off and awarded the TKO win to Gaethje.
The loss ended Ferguson’s 12-fight UFC lightweight winning streak. The setback also cost Ferguson a title shot since the bout was for the interim UFC lightweight crown.
On Saturday, Ferguson fights for the first time since his loss to Gaethje. He meets Charles Oliveira in the co-main event of the UFC 256 pay-per-view.
Oliveira is on a seven-fight winning streak heading into his matchup opposite Ferguson. Each of those seven victories has come by way of stoppage. Oliveira has racked up five submissions and two knockouts during that stretch. He is coming off a third-round submission win over Kevin Lee. That fight took place in March.
Below is a look at how Ferguson and Oliveira match up in key stats ahead of UFC 256, which takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card is headlined by a flyweight title fight between champion, Deiveson Figueiredo and challenger Brandon Moreno.