Li Jingliang has a big fight with Tony Ferguson coming up and despite fans thinking this is a mismatch, believes Ferguson knows what he is doing.
Li Jingliang aka “The Leech” is getting back into the Octagon very soon. Jingliang will be taking on Tony Ferguson on Sept. 10 at UFC 279. When announced the matchup came as a surprise to many fans and media members. Jingliang fights at welterweight and historically Ferguson has been a lightweight. Despite the differences in weight, Jingliang was excited about this undertaking and accepted the bout right away.
Li Jingliang admits that he was first confused about the short-notice matchup with Tony Ferguson
Jingliang spoke recently with Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour about how he felt when this fight was offered to him and his thoughts on the mismatching from an outsider’s perspective.
“I was shocked I was like, Tony Ferguson wow. But my first reaction is like you want me to cut down to 155 or what Tony Ferguson [lightweight] that is impossible. That I was shocked,” he said. “It was a huge surprise to me. Then they told me No no, no. Tony is moving to 170, so I was like, okay that’s perfect, yeah, let’s go. I was surprised he will move up but I think it’s a challenging move up but it’s also normal. A lot of 155ers, they move up to 170 and they do well.”
Jingliang is coming off a big win at UFC Long Island in July. He defeated Muslim Salikhov to get himself back in the win column after a disappointing loss to Khamzat Chimaev. Jingliang has been in the UFC since 2014 and despite racking up 11 wins in the organization is only sitting in the number 14 spot on the rankings.
Ferguson has quite a notorious reputation. He is well known and is a former interim title holder in the lightweight division. Although he is not a welterweight fighter, his name holds weight, and Jingliang can definitely benefit from a win. Ferguson has not won a fight in his last four which leads many to feel he is going to be outmatched going up in weight to face “The Leech.” This may be the case, but Jingliang knows that each fighter is responsible for making their own choices.
“I think from outsider’s view is different from the fighter themselves. So I believe Tony knows what he is doing now. Yeah, he has been in this business for a very long time, I think for each fighter we just fight for ourselves, our family, and the people who surrounded us. So I don’t think we need to care about how others think. See how this fight goes.”
UFC 279 will be headlined by a welterweight matchup between Chimaev and Nate Diaz. Jingliang has personal experience with Chimaev, having lost to him, and sees him as the favorite, but he also knows that Diaz is capable of some “magic” that could surprise many.
Watch the entire interview here: