01 Jan Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz and more targeted for UFC’s return on May 9
The UFC is currently putting together an ambitious plan for an upcoming card on May 9, with several high-profile fights targeted for the event.
MMA Fighting initially reported plans for the UFC to book the May 9 show, which would be the promotion’s first event since March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While a location is still to be determined, the UFC is working frantically to put together several fights that had previously been booked for other cards.
The new fights were revealed by UFC president Dana White when speaking to ESPN.com.
Atop the new card is an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, which was originally expected for UFC 249 on April 18. The fight was signed after reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was unable to travel to the event due to travel restrictions as the result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The fight was then scrapped after the UFC postponed all upcoming shows after receiving a message from their broadcast partners at ESPN asking them to “stand down.”
Nurmagomedov will not be available for the May 9 card, as it falls during the Ramadan holiday; he and his camp have targeted August or September for a return. Now, it appears the UFC will move forward with Ferguson vs. Gaethje.
Bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo is also expected to defend his title against Dominick Cruz on May 9. Cejudo was previously matched up with Jose Aldo in the main event at UFC 250, but that fight was scrapped after the Brazilian was not able to get a visa to travel to the U.S.
In his place steps Cruz, who is widely considered the greatest bantamweight champion of all time. He last fought in 2016 when he lost the 135-pound title to Cody Garbrandt. Since then, he’s dealt with a number of injuries. But now that he’s healthy, it looks like he’ll be fighting for the title in his first fight back in nearly four years.
UFC women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes also expected to defend her title against Felicia Spencer after they were already scheduled to meet on May 9.
Heavyweight Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik will move to their third fight card together after previously serving as the main event for UFC on ESPN 8, which was later cancelled, before then being moved to UFC 249. With that card being postponed as well, Ngannou and Rozenstruik are now expected to meet on May 9 instead.
A rematch between Anthony Pettis and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is also being targeted for the card, which is one of the new matchups added to the event.
Here’s a full list of fights targeted for the UFC show on May 9. All matchups are subject to change:
INTERIM LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje
BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT: Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz
FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT: Amanda Nunes vs. Felicia Spencer
Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan de Castro
Alexei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum
Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Uriah Hall
Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price
Charles Rosa vs. Bryce Mitchell