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Chicago Ready for Tony Ferguson at UFC 238

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UFC 238: Ferguson vs. Cerrone

by Ashley Munson

UFC 238 comes to Chicago on June 8 and it’s been announced that a champion is returning to the Octagon. Fans can look forward to former lightweight champ Tony Ferguson facing off with Donald Cerrone in just under four weeks time.

Cerrone had been lined up for a fight with another returning star in Conor McGregor, who has not fought himself since being suspended for his part in the chaotic brawl that followed his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in October. However, Conor has announced his “retirement,” and we are still wondering whether he will come back to the sport or instead focus on his whiskey production or even the Irish horse racing schedule.

Meanwhile, Cowboy Cerrone is prepping for Ferguson and depending on the fight outcome it is plausible that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov will meet next time out.

Ferguson, aka “El Cucuy,” has recently been out of action due to personal issues following an ongoing battle with his wife Christina. She claimed Ferguson had been ‘threatening and violent’ and that he illegally took their two-year-old son. Ferguson was handed a restraining order, which has now been cleared. He is ready to get back to fighting and he’ll do it here in Chicago on June 8.  if he’s bottled any of his personal struggles up then Cerrone could be on the receiving end of a vicious release.

The personal problems provide an intriguing angle for the punters, but Cerrone and his team are likely to be unmoved by such things and will be confident of dispatching of El Cucuy, having won his last three bouts through TKO, submission and, most recently, a unanimous decision over Al Iaquinta.

While Ferguson has been out of the game for a while, Cerrone has been busy racking up three fights in just six months – Ferguson will be his fourth in seven – but whether that gives him the edge over a potentially ring-rusty Ferguson or whether it means fatigue will set in to favor his opponent probably depends on your perspective and who you’re rooting for.

Despite his lack of action – he’s not fought since October – Ferguson is the bookies favorite. He is undefeated in 11 contests and last time out he served up a display to show he could take as much as he could give, as he defeated fellow lightweight Anthony Pettis in a brutal and enthralling battle, besides a slow start that saw Pettis land heavy hand and feet combos.

If you’re a betting enthusiast, it would be foolish to completely rule out the prospect of an upset though and the ‘Cowboy’ will likely look to target the knee Ferguson injured a little over 12 months ago. That injury combined with a potential mental fragility – assuming his recent struggles are still there to be scratched at – could be Cerrone’s best chance of downing a fighter who hasn’t been conquered in seven years.

On the flip side, Ferguson will be eager to put his latest struggles behind him and a blood-soaked Octagon may well prove a more than welcome distraction from his not so private life. On a professional level, Ferguson has unfinished business too; a year ago he was on the verge of fighting Nurmagomedov for the honor of being undisputed lightweight champion before his LCL (lateral collateral ligament) injury saw the opportunity pass him by.

It’s perhaps unfair to get ahead of ourselves as Ferguson hasn’t won yet and Nurmagomedov has his own scrap to worry about on his return from suspension as he’s due to face Dustin Poirier – who last month won by decision against Max Holloway – but if, as many would expect, the Russian maintains his unblemished record, then fans may well see the pair fight after all and that’s a prospect that would have fans chomping at the bit. Bring it on.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is a former TV producer who turned to new media in 2005, and he is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the XFO. His work has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided and more.

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