Tony Ferguson claims UFC's interim lightweight belt, calls out Conor McGregor

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in MMA

McGregor could want to wait until St. Patrick's Day night for his return after pocketing an estimated $100 million against Mayweather, but the UFC may press to have him return in its Dec. 30 card.

Said Ferguson: "Let's go."

Wearing "Vegas Strong" shirts, issuing powerful words and gathering defiantly in the face of the recent mass violence here, UFC fighters and fans sought in the event to demonstrate the city's resilience in light of the tragedy.

The shining example of returning to business as usual was flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who set a new UFC record by winning his 11th consecutive title defense, eclipsing the mark set by former long-reigning middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

In the fifth round, Johnson (27-2-1) lifted and threw No. 3-rated challenger Ray Borg (11-3) backward, threw his two legs over Borg's chest and applied a fight-finishing armbar by squeezing Borg's left arm. The finish came 3 minutes, 15 seconds into the round.

"That's what we do," Johnson said of the unique end that increased his winning streak to 13. "I was just playing around, but I've been doing that so many times in the gym. I went for it."

Johnson opened his remarks by thanking first responders, and all week, the card was deservedly obscured by the worst shooting massacre in U.S. history that left 59 dead and more than 500 injured last Sunday by a shooter positioned from Mandalay Bay's 32nd-floor windows.

The evening captured both a somber recognition and a proud stand against the horror that shook the city six nights earlier.

In place of the typical highlights package shown at the start of cards, UFC President Dana White appeared on the arena's big screens and spoke.

"There are no words to describe this week's tragedy in Las Vegas," White said. "This city is brave, compassionate and strong. When we needed each other the most, our community never hesitated."

Former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1) shrugged off a Saturday opponent change due to Derrick Lewis' back injury and applied a first-round submission victory (armbar) over Walt Harris (10-6). Werdum took Harris down quickly and positioned to apply the armbar, then called out heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic for a rematch.

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