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UFC 274: Tony Ferguson diagnosed as ‘certified lunatic’ — but Michael Chandler loves him anyway

Former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler will make his Octagon return against fellow action fighter and former 155-pound interim titleholder Tony Ferguson as part of the upcoming UFC 274 pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 7 in Phoenix.

The 38 year-old Ferguson (25-6) was once considered the second-best contender in the lightweight division, racking up 12 straight wins with nine nasty finishes. Then came a dreadful three-fight losing streak that sent the visibly shopworn “El Cucuy” tumbling to No. 7 in the official rankings.

Chandler, however, still considers Ferguson to be “extremely dangerous.”

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Phoenix, Ariz., on Sat., May 7, 2022, with a blockbuster championship doubleheader. Headlining the pay-per-view (PPV) event will be Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, seeking to defend his title against No. 1-ranked contender, Justin Gaethje. In UFC 274’s co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas, looks to avenge her loss against No. 2-seeded, Carla Esparza. And top-ranked Lightweight contenders collide when Michael Chandler (No. 5) locks horns with Tony Ferguson (No. 7) in a fan-friendly 155-pound clash for the ages.

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“We’re only a couple years removed from that illustrious 12-fight win streak that he was on, when he looked unbeatable, possibly could’ve even beaten Khabib [Nurmagomedov],” Chandler told the DC & RC show. “There’s a lot of who were picking him to beat Khabib. Would that have happened? We don’t know because we never saw it but I see Tony Ferguson as a guy who is still extremely dangerous, still always performs well even when he runs into the toughest guys in the division.”

The 22-7 Chandler, 35, burst onto the scene with a thunderous knockout victory over Dan Hooker. “Iron” would drop his next two fights against Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje but the losses did little to hurt his overall stock, thanks to a pair of post-fight performance bonuses. As of this writing, Chandler is ranked two spots above Ferguson at No. 5.

But, that doesn’t mean “El Cucuy” will be any easier than his last opponent.

“Justin Gaethje was somewhat predictable, we knew that he was gonna go out there and throw those punches and throw those leg kicks like we’ve seen Justin Gathje do for the last decade,” Chandler continued. “Ferguson on the other hand, I think, is a tougher puzzle to solve. You never know what Ferguson is gonna do. The man is a certified lunatic inside the cage and we love him because of it. I think I trained at the best gym in the world with the best coaches in the world but none of my training partners can emulate Ferguson. Nobody can emulate Tony Ferguson, he is a certified one-of-one talent in mixed martial arts.”

For the rest of the UFC 274 fight card and PPV lineup click here.