9:35 AM ET
Marc RaimondiESPN Staff Writer
The main event of the UFC’s first card in nearly two months is now official.
The card is scheduled for Saturday night in front of no fans at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Friday morning’s weigh-ins took place with social distancing protocols in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, part of a wider plan by the UFC and local officials this week.
Ferguson vs. Gaethje was initially scheduled for April 18, but that card at Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California, was scrapped when the UFC was asked to “stand down” by executives from broadcast partner ESPN. Gaethje is filling in for Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was supposed to defend his lightweight title against Ferguson but had to remain at home in Dagestan, Russia, because of travel bans.
Ferguson (26-3) is on a UFC lightweight record 12-fight winning streak. The California native has won his past three fights via finish and is considered — like Gaethje — to be one of the most exciting fighters in the world. Ferguson, 36, is a former interim champ and is currently ESPN’s No. 6 pound-for-pound MMA fighter.
Gaethje (21-2) has won three straight, all via KO/TKO. The Arizona native is a former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion and has earned seven fight night bonuses in six UFC bouts due to his exciting style. Gaethje, 31, is ESPN’s No. 4-ranked MMA lightweight.
Cejudo (15-2) is ESPN’s No. 3-ranked pound-for-pound fighter. The 33-year-old Arizona resident is one of only seven fighters to hold UFC titles in two different divisions and is a former Olympic wrestling gold medalist. Cruz (22-2) has not fought since Dec. 30, 2016, but is regarded as perhaps the best MMA bantamweight of all time. The 35-year-old San Diego native won 13 in a row between 2008 and 2016 and is a two-time 135-pound champion.