The lightweight showdown between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 223 main event was one of the most anticipated match-ups in UFC history. After Ferguson was forced out of the fight due to a “freak” knee injury – causing the fourth cancellation of the bout – it remains one of the most anticipated match-ups in UFC history.
Ferguson on Thursday revealed a gruesome photo that shows, while his knee injury was of the “freak” variety, it was still very serious.
While fulfilling media obligations to promote UFC 223, the unthinkable happened. Ferguson tripped over a production cable on a FOX set and tore the lateral collateral ligament in his knee.
“It was just a matter of, I slipped, man,” Ferguson explained during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I heard it pop.”
That was on Thursday. He tried for the next couple of days to alternately rest and work through it, but his knee kept locking up. An MRI confirmed that he had torn his LCL.
“When I saw my MRI image… it looked like a flag with my ligament. It was hanging on the side of the pole.”
Having to bow out of the fight, Ferguson not only lost his opportunity to finally face Nurmagomedov, but he also lost his interim UFC lightweight title. UFC president Dana White deemed the interim belt unnecessary when Nurmagomedov defeated Al Iaquinta for the undisputed UFC lightweight championship, which had been stripped from Conor McGregor.
Following surgery on his knee, Ferguson is forced to the sidelines for the foreseeable future, but isn’t down and out. In fact, he’s remained rather upbeat about the matter, already plotting his return.
“I hate sitting on the sidelines, but ‘belt or no belt, I won’t allow that to define me.’ This is my road to recover.”
#TeamElCucuy I Hate Sitting On The Sidelines, but “belt or no belt I won’t allow that to define me…” This Is #MyRoadToRecoveryXT #TonyFergusonMMA SnapJitsu™️ #SnapDownCity ?? ????? -Champ pic.twitter.com/L7VjrgaF5H
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) April 12, 2018