With eight consecutive wins to his credit in one of the most historically competitive divisions in the UFC, Tony Ferguson still had work to do at 7,382 feet in Mexico City.
“El Cucuy” – “the Boogeyman” in English – had to prove he was, in fact, the real deal against former lightweight king Rafael Dos Anjos in one of the toughest places to fight on the planet.
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Ferguson made a statement with his unanimous decision win (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) against RDA. He landed the second-most significant strikes in a bout in lightweight history (199) under the suffocating elements inside the Octagon.
With the win, the No. 3-ranked lightweight put his name at the top of the list for the next title shot.
Conor McGregor challenges Eddie Alvarez on Nov. 12 for the title at UFC 205 on the biggest stage of them all in New York City at Madison Square Garden. But Ferguson has a case for best lightweight after winning his ninth consecutive fight – a record in the 155-pound division.
These are the Fight Night Mexico City Talking Points
Ferguson should be next title contender
Ferguson won three of the five rounds against Dos Anjos, but he out-struck him in every frame and neutralized the Brazilian. El Cucuy took RDA’s best shots and evaded the others with slick head movement and savvy footwork.
But after Ferguson dismantled RDA in Mexico City, it’s time to re-think the order of things in the lightweight division. Ferguson has strung together nine straight wins in three years while
Nurmagomedov has struggled to even compete. The Russian has a win over RDA as well, but his only other outing was a TKO win over unranked Darrell Horcher, who took that fight on short notice.
Ferguson has been fighting Top 10 guys and now has a win over Dos Anjos, who was being considered as one of the best lightweight champs of all time just a few short months ago. El Cucuy earned his title shot against RDA.
Grasso lives up to hype in debut
Grasso extended her win streak and improved to 9-0. Clark is a scrappy and tough fighter and Grasso had her rocked badly in the first round. The fluid combos from Grasso in the opening round are what have fans so excited about this young budding star.
Grasso is entering a division with a number of young and talented prospects and she has the potential to be one of the brightest as the years go on and the division continues to develop. A fight with Paige VanZant down the line could be one of the biggest in the history of division. The possibilities are endless.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC