Edson Barboza (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
If the Thomson fight announced Ferguson’s arrival, his place at the top of the 155-pound weight class was cemented with this submission victory over Edson Barboza. Earning him Fight and Performance of the Night honors, Ferguson continued to be a must see on fight night, not just for his skill set, but his reckless disregard for his safety. Ferguson was treating these bouts as fights, and his willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get the win built his bandwagon considerably.
Lando Vannata (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
To follow up on the Barboza fight, it’s important to point out that while recklessness makes for great fights, it can cost you sometimes, and that’s what happened when Ferguson met late-notice replacement Lando Vannata. With nothing to lose, Vannata came out swinging, and with everything to lose, Ferguson did the same. Vannata nearly won that standoff as he rocked and nearly finished “El Cucuy” in the opening frame. But with the heart of a champion, Ferguson roared back in the second round and submitted the newcomer. Put another Fight of the Night bonus check into that man’s wallet.
Rafael Dos Anjos (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
Ferguson had fought plenty of killers on his way up the lightweight ladder, but to beat a former champion in Rafael Dos Anjos would be another story. Or would it? Not in Ferguson’s world. In that world, Ferguson treats all opponents the same, and with his same aggressive, offensively diverse style, he added Dos Anjos to his victims’ list, outpointing the Brazilian veteran over five rounds while earning another Fight of the Night bonus. After the win over RDA, “El Cucuy” finished three more lightweight stars, submitting Kevin Lee and halting Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone.