The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show has produced champions, title challengers, and contenders in the last 22 seasons, but there may not be a better fighter to come off the show than Tony Ferguson.
Before you get your pitchforks out, note that "El Cucuy" has gone 10-1 since earning the TUF crown, losing only to Michael Johnson in a highly contested decision back in 2012.
Last night (Fri., Dec. 11, 2015), Ferguson extended his winning streak to seven in a row, putting together an exceptional performance in one of the most exciting fights of the year against Lightweight stalwart Edson Barboza.
From the moment the opening bell sounded, both men stood toe-to-toe, exchanging haymakers in a variety of fashions. It was a bloody, violent, and thrilling bout pitting two of the most exciting Lightweights on the roster against one another.
Ferguson took some of Barboza's hardest shots -- many of which would have crippled other 155-pounders -- but answered with his own series of savvy strikes, utilizing everything in his arsenal to give him the upper hand.
The pace was blistering, and Barboza was fading as Ferguson continued to fire away with combinations into the second round. When the Brazilian dove in for an ill-fated takedown, "El Cucuy" locked in his signature d'arce choke in an instant, finishing the fight in just under three minutes into the second frame.
Talk about an incredible Holiday present!
Ferguson's victory at "The Cosmopolitan" was likely his best to date, which is certainly saying something when you consider the former TUF champ has defeated the likes of Josh Thomson during his winning streak.
Currently sitting at No. 7 in the Lightweight division, expect Ferguson to catapult into the top five next week.
With Khabib Nurmagomedov injured once again, Eddie Alvarez set to take on Anthony Pettis, and UFC champion Rafael Dos Anjos set to battle Donald Cerrone for the title next weekend, "El Cucuy" could very well be fighting for UFC gold next.
Depending on how everything plays out, I suspect Ferguson will either get an immediate shot at the Lightweight champion, or he will get a No. 1 contender fight battling the winner of the Alvarez vs. Pettis bout next month.
With each successive performance more impressive than the last, it will be hard to count out Ferguson in any fights moving forward, and "El Cucuy" could very well be hoisting UFC gold in 2016.
For complete results from TUF 22 Finale: "Edgar vs. Mendes," including post-fight recaps and analysis, click here.