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Justin Gaethje responds to Tony Ferguson’s weight-cutting challenge for UFC 249 ghost fight

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The Ultimate Fighter Finale Weigh-in Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

I think we’re all operating under the assumption that top lightweight contender, Tony Ferguson, understands that UFC 249 is no longer happening this Sat. night (April 18), thus relieving “El Cucuy” of his responsibility to hit the 155-pound mark.

That would suggest Ferguson is continuing to cut weight because he lives by the “champ shit only” code, or perhaps he’s just wired differently. What I can say for certain is that he’s putting his body in harm’s way if UFC President Dana White calls him and tells him to be ready for “Fight Island” in a couple of weeks.

Back-to-back weight cuts can pose a considerable health risk.

That’s probably why opponent Justin Gaethje, who replaced Khabib Nurmagomedov when “The Eagle” was quarantined in Russia, passed on the opportunity to join Ferguson on the train to nowhere. Besides, dieting and dehydrating for Twitter bragging rights is not worth sacrificing all of that Easter Candy.

Ferguson isn't the first fighter to cut weight for a bout that wasn’t happening. Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, blew a gasket during The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 and dropped down to 135 pounds in a fit of coaching rage, shedding 17 pounds in just 24 hours.

It’s hard to predict where Ferguson will end up now that coronavirus has sent the promotion to the sidelines. White expects normal operations to resume at some point next month, but matchmakers may opt to book “Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson” later this year once “The Eagle” is finished observing Ramadan.

If not, expect the Ferguson-Gaethje interim title fight to surface somewhere in the Caribbean.