Tony Ferguson kept saying he was the best lightweight in the world and wanted to face Conor McGregor.
He completed Step 1 of the journey, defeating Kevin Lee by submission (triangle choke) at 4:02 of the third round to become the interim UFC lightweight champion on Saturday night at UFC 216.
"Where you at McNugget, you f—ing piece of s—?" Ferguson told Joe Rogan during his post-fight intervew. "I'm gonna kick your ass."
McGregor hasn't defended his title since he captured it from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 back last November. He took a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August and lost by 10th round knockout, and McGregor said last week at a Q&A in Scotland saying he would be watching this main event closely.
Ferguson held up his end of the bargain. His striking is on par with McGregor's. He busted up Lee's nose with the jab alone, which is hard to do. Ferguson's ground game is among the best in the division which would give the champion fits.
Ferguson did his job. He finished a top contender and cut a promo to make people interested in a fight with the biggest draw in the history of the sport. We will see what happens.
Ferguson (24-3) runs his win streak to 10 while Lee's (16-3) five-fight winning streak is snapped.
Johnson made history in beating Borg by fifth-round submission (armbar) 3:15 of the fifth-round to retain the flyweight championship to break the record for most consecutive title defense in UFC history at 11, besting Anderson Silva.
"I'm in the business of making a fool of you, throwing you around like a sack of potatoes and armbarring you," Johnson told Rogan in his post-fight interview.
Johnson (27-2-1) showed why he's the best fighter in the world and the greatest of all time. He controlled the fight from the outset and made the fight look easy. Looking at the fight, it seemed like Johnson could have finished the fight anytime he wanted too.
In the fifth round, with the bout in the bag and history looming, Johnson could have ran around the octagon and gotten the record that way. Instead, Johnson showed why he's the best that ever existed when he threw Borg up for a suplex and when the challenger was about to fall, he grabbed Borg's arm and secured an armbar in a way that he wanted to rip it off. Borg fought it the best he could but he tapped out.
Johnson continues his reign of terror, extending his unbeaten streak to 14. Borg (11-3) sees his two-fight win streak fall by the wayside.
All times Eastern.
UFC 216 results
Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee for interim UFC Lightweight Championship
12:33: Round 3 to Ferguson (10-9, 19-19). Much better round for Ferguson. He was able to utilize the jab to pop it at will which caused Lee's nose to bust open. You could see Lee getting tired halfway through the round. Lee admitted after the round that he was exhausted. He's in trouble.
12:25: Round 1 to Lee (10-9). Very entertaining first round. Ferguson and Lee each had their moments on the feet, knocking each other down. The round came down to a scramble with Ferguson initiating the takedown, Lee reversed and gained top position. He was able to land vicious ground and pound, trying for submissions. After the round ended, Lee landed an extra punch and was ready for another but referee Herb Dean steped in and sternly yelled at Lee. No point was taken away as it should have been.
12:15: It is time for the main event of UFC 216 as Tony Ferguson battles Kevin Lee for the interim UFC lightweight championship. Lee, 25, (16-2) is on a similar streak, winning five consecutive bouts with four via stoppage. Lee last competed in June, submitting Michael Chiesa by first-round submission. Ferguson, 33, (23-3) is rolling into UFC 216, winning nine consecutive fights, six by stoppage. Will Ferguson be able to overcome the layoff? Can Lee break through? We will find out in moments.
Johnson with highlight reel submission over Borg to break title defense record
— Josh Sánchez (@jnsanchez) October 8, 2017
Johnson def. Borg by submission (armbar) at 3:15 of the fifth-round to retain the flyweight championship. An unbelievable performance by Johnson. He threw Borg up in the air for a suplex and when Borg was about to land, Johnson grabbed his arm and nearly ripped it off. After a little resistance, Borg finally tapped. That was the best submission I have ever seen.
With the win Johnson breaks the record for most consecutive title defenses. Rogan hit it right on the head. Johnson is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and of all-time and it isn't even close. What a performance, what a fighter!!
12:00: Round 4 to Johnson (10-9, 40-35). Borg tried what we said. He landed his best punch of the fight, a left hook. But Johnson took him down to the mat and beat him senseless for the entire round. Borg is trying his hardest but Johnson does everything to perfection. We head to the final round. Can Borg create a miracle or does Johnson make history?
11:53: Round 3 to Johnson (10-8, 30-26). This is MMA at its finest. The way Johnson fights is a sight to behold. His wrestling, his ji-jitsu and striking is something to behold. Borg has no answer. Needs to begin the round trying to strike and keep the fight on the feet. Give yourself a chance to win. Johnson is doing anything he wants on the ground. Go out on your shield.
11:47: Round 2 to Johnson (10-9, 20-18). Borg went right at Johnson to begin the round and was able to get a takedown. Looked like Borg got himself back in the fight. But Johnson showed why he's the greatest of all-time. He got up and even when Borg got his back to attempt a standing choke, Johnson didn't worry. He dropped back, reversed position to the mat and dominated the rest of the round. Borg has only connected on one punch through two rounds. Johnson is doing anything he wants, when he wants to do it. Only a matter of time.
11:38: Round 1 to Johnson (10-9). All the champion. Johnson set the tone from the outset when he came right out and threw four leg kicks in the first 27 seconds. H is speed was too much for Borg. His speed and accuracy is what sets him apart from everybody else. Johnson scored a takedown halfway through the round controlled the remainder of the round with his ground and pound and ji-jitsu. He almost finished Borg with a choke but Borg was able to reverse position. Borg needs to pressure Johnson to have any chance.
— UFC (@ufc) October 8, 2017
Up next at UFC 216 is the co-main event for the UFC flyweight championship of the world as Demetrious Johnson defends against Ray Borg. The fight was originally supposed to happen at last month's UFC 215 but two days before the fight, Borg had to bow out due to illness. A win for Johnson would break the UFC record for consecutive title defenses which is currently at 10 with Anderson Silva. If victorious, Johnson would also extend his unbeaten streak to 13. Borg earned the title shot by winning back-to-back fights. This has the makings of a Johnson rout. But that is why they fight. Borg has a shot and let's see what happens.
Fabricio Werdum taps out Walt Harris
11:17: Werdum def. Harris by first-round submission (armbar) at 1:05. Went pretty much how it should have went. A simple takedown, then Werdum showed he is the best Ji-Jitsu fighter in the world. He went from a rear-naked choke to an armbar and Harris had no choice but to tapout. A lot of credit goes to Werdum and to Harris. They took a fight they didn't have to take but did it anyway. Werdum told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview that he wants a title shot next. He needs to slow down. Yes, he stepped up and took a fight he didn't have to take but beating an unranked heavyweight doesn't get you that opportunity.
11:07: Coming up next at UFC 216, in heavyweight action, Fabricio Werdum goes up against Walt Harris. Harris was scheduled to face Mark Godbeer on the preliminary portion of the card on FX. He's 3-4 in the UFC but hasn't faced anyone like Werdum. It is a risky proposition for Werdum. He's taking a fight against someone he didn't prepare for but give him credit for taking the fight. He was prepared to fight, wanted to fight and showed what a real fighter is all about.
Borella chokes out Kalindra Faria
11:03: Borella def. Faria by first-round submission via rear-naked choke at 2:54. Really impressive debut for Borella. It was a beautful display of Brazilian Ji-Jitsu. All started by a takedown by Borella. Then she went to work with a smooth transition to the back, secured the rear-naked choke and it was all she wrote as Faria tapped out immediately. Borella showed she isn't one to mess with in the women's flyweight division.
10:51: Up next at UFC 216, in women's flyweight action, Mara Romero Borella faces Kalinda Faira. Borella is the first Italian woman to compete inside the octagon. She's making her UFC debut and is unbeaten in her last six fights. Faria is also making her UFC debut and won three consecutive fights. It is also the first women's flyweight bout to air on PPV as it is the UFC's newest weight class.
Dariush and Dunham fight to majority draw
10:45: Dariush and Dunham fight to a majority draw (29-28 Dariush, 28-28, 28-28). 28-28 scorecards? It will be interesting to see how the fight was scored on the judges cards. It was a very close and exciting fight. Dariush had won the first and it seemed like Dunham had done enough to win the last two rounds. I wouldn't mind seeing the UFC running this fight again.
10:40: Round 3 to Dunham (10-9, 29-28). A very close fight heading into the final minute. It was Dunham and Dariush's fight to take. Dunham was more active, throwing punches and moving forward to try and win the fight. It should be enough. Let's head to the judges scorecards.
9:35: Round 2 to Dunham (10-9, 19-19). Dunham bounced back with a stong second round. He came right out with a takedown and was able to mix his strikes and kicks well. Dariush looked to burn himself out halfway through the round. Needs to rebound in the final round as it is anyone's fight.
10:30: Round 1 to Dariush (10-9). Couldn't have for a better opening round if you are Dariush. Started with the standing elbows including sharp left elbow which dropped Dunham. Dariush continued to throw bombs on the ground throughout the rest of the round. Dunham showed a lot of toughness in eating all those hard shots. Somehow, Dunham got up and threw a high kick to end the round. Did Darisuh burn himself out and can Dunham bounce back?
10:16: Kicking off the main card of UFC 216, No. 14 ranked Evan Dunham goes up No. 12 Beneil Dariush. This is Dunham's first bout in 385 days. He had a child during that time and let his body rest. He's riding a four-fight winning streak into this PPV main card fight. Dariush's won two of his last three fights but is coming off a loss in most recent fight to Edson Barboza at UFC Fight Night 106 in March. Great fight to kickoff the pay-per-view.
10:02: Very touching tribute to open up UFC 216. Dana White kicked off the broadcast with a touching speech about the horrific incident last Sunday night. He said, "Don't be afraid to live life to its fullest. We'll heal together. Then, six people who were first responders and were in the crowd walked into the octagon and shown in the crowd. Then, the band Everlast played America the Beautiful. It ended with the crowd chanting, "USA, USA, USA". Well done by the UFC. Touching tribute. First class all the way.
9:59: Stamann def. Duquesnoy by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28). Don't know how a judge could have given Duquesnoy two rounds. Not the most exciting fight but a good performance by Stamann. After a shaky first round, Stamann dominated on the feet and the ground. Duquesnoy had no answer for what Stamann had to offer. Stamann extends his win streak to nine. Duquesnoy's unbeaten streak ends at 11.
9:41: In the headlining prelim bout at UFC 216, in bantamweight action, Tom Duquesnoy battles Cody Stamann. This is a fight between two of the top prospects in all of MMA. Duquesnoy is 15-1 and is unbeaten in his last 11 fights including his UFC debut back in April when he defeated Patrick Williams by second-round TKO. Stamann is 14-1 and won eight consecutive fights including his UFC debut back in July at UFC 213 when he defeated Terrion Ware by unanimous decision. Don't blink at what should be an action fight.
9:35: Green and Vannata fought to a draw (29-27 Green, 29-27 Vannate, 28-28). A fantastic fight. SN had it scored a draw as well. Green and Vannata left everything inside the octagon. It came down to the first round. Vannata was clearly winning the round and appeared to be on his way to finishing the fight when he landed an illegal leg strike while Green was on the ground. A point was deducted and hence the draw. It was a back-and-forth fight in the remaining 10 minutes. They exchanged punches, leg kicks, takedowns. Everything you can ask for in a fight when you leave your blood, sweat and tears and leave to a standing ovation. Rematch anyone?
9:05: Coming up next at UFC 216, in lightweight action, Bobby Green fights Lando Vannata. A must-win fight for Green whose lost three consecutive fights. Not many fighters survive three, no one makes it four. Vannata's lost two of his last three, most recently to David Teymur at UFC 209 back in March. Green and Vannata are two of the most exciting fighters in the lightweight division. They should put on a show. If it doesn't happen, the loser could be on the unemployment line.
9:00: Botelho def. Gonzalez by unanimous decision (30-27x3). Wasn't the most exciting fight due to Gonzalez who kept trying to take Botelho to the mat. Smartly, Botelho stayed active by continously throwing elbows and when separation did occur, Botelho was throwing strong punches, kicks and securing a late takedown in the third round. Not the flashy UFC debut Botelho was looking for but showed what she can do in this type of fight.
8:36: Up next at UFC 216, in women's strawweight action, Pearl Gonzalez fights Poliana Botelho. Gonzalez looks to garner his first UFC win after losing in her debut by third-round submission to Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 210 in April. Botelho is making her UFC debut. She got to this point by winning three consecutive fights.
8:32: Schnell def. Beltran by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28). Schnell won this fight by outworking his former training partner. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't exciting but Schnell went forward and was more activity. When you are do those things, more often than not, it leads to a victory. Schnell snaps a two-fight skid to get back on track while Beltran now has lost three in a row. Normally, that spells doom and gloom for fighters who hit that territory. Beltran is in that land and looks to be on his way out.
8:03: Kicking off the FX portion of the UFC 216 preliminary card, in flyweight action, Matt Schnell faces Marco Beltrán. Schnell and Beltran have their backs against the wall, losing back-to-back fights. They have trained together in the past but have to put whatever respect is there as they are fighting for their jobs.
7:53: We will see you at the top of the hour for continued coverage of UFC 216 with the rest of the preliminary card on FX.
— UFC (@ufc) October 7, 2017
In an upset, Moraga def. Bibulatov by knockout at 1:38 of the first round. Started with a right high kick which grazed Bibulatov. A right hand followed by a picture-perfect left hook sent Bibulatov packing with referee Jason Herzog stepping right in to put a halt to the bout. Right call by Herzog. Never want fighters taking too much punishment. Moraga was a 6-1 underdog heading into the contest. You could see the emotion after the fight ended when Moraga dropped to his knees crying and could tell he wanted to burst out when he was getting interviewed by Daniel Cormier. Moraga has now won back-to-fights and put himself right back into the title conversation at 125 pounds.
7:37: Up next, in the flyweight division, in a battle of ranked flyweights, John Moraga battles Magomed Bibulatov. No. 11 Moraga is a former flyweight title challenger snapped a three-fight skid back in June with an unanimous decision victory over Ashkan Mokhtarian. Bibulatov is undefeated in 14 fights made his UFC debut at UFC 210 in April winning by unanimous decision over Jenel Lausa. Bibulatov is a fighter many fight experts feel is the one who could give Demetrious Johnson his stiffest test. The journey continues tonight.
7:34: Taveras def. Leites by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26). Dominant performance by Taveras. Controlled the fight throughout. Started with the vicious leg kicks which enabled him to head upstairs and bloddy the face of Leites. That is now three consecutive wins for Taveras, who should now move into the rankings of a stacked middleweight division.
7:10: Announcer Jon Anik says on the broadcast that Werdum will face Walt Harris on the UFC 216 main card. SN was able to confirm Anik's announcement. Harris was scheduled to face Mark Godbeer on the preliminary portion of the card on FX. He's 3-4 in the UFC but hasn't faced anyone like Werdum. This is a risky proposition for Werdum. Give him credit for taking the fight but a loss would be devastating for him.
7:05: Kicking off of UFC 216, on UFC Fight Pass, in middleweight action, No. 13 ranked Thales Leites go up against Brad Taveras. Leites, 36, a former middleweight title challenger against Anderson Silva has won two of his last three fights. Tavares, 29, heads into UFC 216 winning back-to-back fights. Very good fight to kickoff the show and one that suprisingly not on the main card considering the level of fighters Leites and Taveras are.
6:50: The heavyweight main card bout between Derrick Lewis and Fabricio Werdum is off due to Lewis pulling out with a back injury.
Sporting News did confirm with Lewis' manager who told us his back was giving him issues and got to the point that he couldn't move this morning. He tried to battle through it but at the end, he couldn't fight. Hprrible news for Lewis at the worst possible. He's been suffering from two bulging disks for a number of years but started acting up more frequently, starting with his fight in May 2016 against Mark Hunt.
UFC 216 will go on with 11 fights. No word on if Werdum and Lewis will get paid.
1:00: Hello, fight fans, I'm Steven Muehlhausen, the MMA contributor for Sporting News. In a few short hours, UFC 216 will commence from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas feat. two world championship fights. The main event will feature Tony Ferguson battling Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight championship. Then, in the co-main event, for the flyweight championship, Demetrious Johnson will defend against Ray Borg. We will be back as we get near the first bout of the evening at 7 p.m.
Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee for Interim UFC Lightweight Title
Demetrious Johnson (c) vs. Ray Borg for Johnson's UFC Flyweight Title
Fabrício Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis; Heavyweight
Mara Romero Borella vs. Kalindra Faria; Women's Flyweight
Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham; Lightweight
Tom Duquesnoy vs. Cody Stamann; Bantamweight
Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz; Lightweight
Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata; Lightweight
Pearl Gonzalez vs. Poliana Botelho; Women's Strawweight
Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer; Heavyweight
John Moraga vs. Magomed Bibulatov
Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares; Middleweight
Matt Schnell vs. Marco Beltrán; Flyweight
UFC 216 preview
Ferguson and Lee are fighting for the interim belt due to champion Conor McGregor not having fought since he captured the title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last November. Instead of defending the championship, McGregor entered the world of boxing, losing to Floyd Mayweather by 10th round TKO in August.
Last week, in a Q&A in Ireland, McGregor stated he was interested in facing the winner of the UFC 216 main event which has put an added significance to the fight.
Ferguson, 33, (23-3) is rolling into UFC 216, winning nine consecutive fights, six by stoppage. The drawback to "El Cucuy's" run is he hasn't competed since last November's win over former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. He was set to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209, but Nurmagomedov got pulled the day before the fight having gone to a hospital due to a weight cutting issue. Ferguson was insistent on having to fight for the title since he's ranked No. 2 in the UFC lightweight rankings.
Lee, 25, (16-2) is on a similar streak, winning five consecutive bouts with four via stoppage. Lee last competed in June, submitting Michael Chiesa by first-round submission.This fight ended up getting made during Lee's appearance on the post-fight show and Ferguson was a guest analyst. Ferguson and Lee went back-and-forth trading barbs. The fight was made shortly after that.
Johnson and Borg were originally supposed face-off at last month's UFC 215. Unfortunately, two days before the event, Borg got pulled due to illness and the fight was rescheduled for UFC 216.
If victorious, Johnson, 31, (26-2-1) if victorious would break the record for most consecutive titles defenses in the UFC, which is currently held by Anderson Silva at 10. A win would also extend his unbeaten streak to 13.
Borg, 24, (11-2) earned the title opportunity by winning back-to-back fights, most recently by unanimous decision over Jussier Formiga back in March.
UFC 216 latest news
- Is Lee ready for such a big fight? Ferguson explains why he isn't.
- Who will win the main event? Lee feels the fight won't even be close.
- We breakdown the two main events with our UFC 216 predictions.
- Does Johnson care about breaking title record? Really doesn't seem like it and you shouldn't care.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can listen to his podcast, "The Fight Junkies" here. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.