Fight Facts: UFC 249

By Jay Pettry May 11, 2020

Fight Facts is a breakdown of all the interesting information and Octagon oddities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 249 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

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No matter how we feel about it, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has returned with a vengeance. UFC 249 on Saturday went down in Jacksonville, Florida, with some titanic battles and it featured an unprecedented bonus winner, the cracking of a seemingly uncrackable chin and a champ doing champ things.

YOU DIDN’T FOLLOW PROTO, BUDDY: The UFC elected to keep its commentary booth at separate tables throughout the event to observe social distancing protocol. However, multiple times throughout the broadcast, the three-man commentary team stood together on camera within feet of one another.

LET’S GET SOCIAL: During the broadcast, former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St. Pierre was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. St. Pierre holds or held a litany of records, including total strikes landed, most championship wins and most title bouts.

JUST GLASSIN’: Three fighters entered UFC 249 with undefeated records: Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Yorgan De Castro and Bryce Mitchell. Of those three, only Mitchell emerged unscathed.

DON’T BRING ANYONE’S GRANDMOTHER INTO THIS: UFC 249, like the UFC Fight Night 170 event that preceded it, took place in an empty arena. Two fighters commonly associated with present family members—Donald Cerrone’s grandmother and Sam Alvey’s wife—were notably not in attendance. Both men dropped decisions and now find themselves on four-fight losing streaks.

JUST FEATHERING IT, BROTHER: Justin Gaethje finished Tony Ferguson 3:39 into the fifth round of the main event, making it the seventh-latest in company history. Only three championship bouts ended later: Demetrious Johnson’s armbar of John Moraga 3:43 into the fifth round, Kamaru Usman’s TKO of Colby Covington 4:10 into the fifth round and Johnson’s armbar of Kyoji Horiguchi 4:50 into the fifth round.

YOU DO THE MATH: The UFC 249 headliner earned “Fight of the Night” for its ferocity, while Gaethje also took home an additional $50,000 for “Performance of the Night” by stopping Ferguson. In his first seven UFC fights, Gaethje has pocketed an unprecedented nine bonuses.

DIAMONDS IN THE CREVICE: Gaethje is now one of three fighters across promotional history to earn double post-fight bonuses on more than one occasion. Anderson Silva was the first to do so, and he has done it three times. Cerrone has earned double bonuses twice.

CHIPS IN A BOWL: After recording his 20th career finish by battering Ferguson, Gaethje has only gone the distance twice in his career. He improved his stoppage rate to 91 percent.

KEPT ’EM HIGH AND TIGHT: Gaethje connected with a bevy of leg kicks to hamper his opponent and ended the with perfect accuracy on those strikes. “The Highlight” at least partially landed all 30 of his thrown leg kicks.

THIS STUFF IS BIG TIME: Although his knockout loss snapped his historic winning streak, Ferguson was awarded his $50,000 share of the “Fight of the Night” bonus. It was his ninth bonus in his last nine fights dating back to 2015.

LIKE HE TOOK ABOUT 10-12 BENADRYL: Ferguson’s defeat was his first since May 2012, when he dropped a decision to Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 3. At that time, only five other fighters on this card were on the UFC roster, and another eight had yet to make their professional debuts.

DOUBLE PIPE CLASSIC: Although Cejudo is the fourth fighter to ever serve as a simultaneous two-division champion, he is just the second to defend his belts at both weight classes. UFC 249 commentator Daniel Cormier was the first, as he defended his light heavyweight strap against Volkan Oezdemir and defended his heavyweight throne against Derrick Lewis.

TA-TA THERE, TIK TOK: Cejudo announced his retirement following his second-round knockout of Dominick Cruz. He amassed one of the best four-fight stretches in the sport’s history, as he defeated the aforementioned Johnson, T.J. Dillashaw, Marlon Moraes and Cruz in consecutive bouts. Prior to those four fights, Cejudo also defeated Sergio Pettis and Wilson Reis. Should his retirement stand, “Triple C” ends his career with eight knockouts and eight decisions in victory. He avenged one of his two defeats.

IT TOOK FOUR STROKES: Francis Ngannou ravaged Rozenstruik in 20 seconds to record a sensational knockout victory. In his last four wins, Ngannou has won in a combined 2:42, defeating two former champions and two men who had never lost before he met them.

YOU DON’T WANT NO WRECK: By recording the quick stoppage, Ngannou retained his 100 percent finish rate. His triumph was his 11th inside the opening round.

I LIKE THAT: Ngannou has dispatched 10 opponents inside two minutes during his career and now holds three sub-minute finishes inside the Octagon. This ties him with Johny Hendricks, Mike Swick and Stipe Miocic for the third-most knockouts in under a minute. They trail Vitor Belfort (four) and Anthony Johnson (five).

TRY IT OUT, MAN: The Frenchman’s finish was his 10th with the UFC, tying him with Cain Velasquez, Derrick Lewis and Junior dos Santos. Only Frank Mir (13), Andrei Arlovski (11), Gabriel Gonzaga (11) and Stefan Struve (11) have more finishes in modern UFC heavyweight history.

WE UP OUTTA HERE: In extending his lead for the most defeats of any fighter ever to grace the Octagon, Jeremy Stephens suffered a knockout at the hands of Calvin Kattar. Stephens has lost 17 times to date, while no other UFC fighter has been beaten more than 13 times.

NOT THE WATER CHAMP: Coming in at 150.5 pounds for his featherweight contest, Stephens is the eighth fighter in company history to miss weight by at least three pounds multiple times. “Rumble” Johnson did so three times.

WHO’S HARDY?: Although Greg Hardy once recorded a decision win over Ben Sosoli, that victory was overturned to a no contest when the former NFL star used a banned inhaler between rounds. As a result, Hardy’s victory on the scorecards over De Castro was his first by anything other than knockout.

HOME HERE NOW: Cerrone fought for the 35th time inside the Octagon, albeit in a losing effort against Anthony Pettis. He retakes the all-time lead in UFC appearances from Jim Miller.

ACUPUNCTURE NO MORE: By taking a split verdict over Fabricio Werdum, Alexey Oleynik earned only his fifth career decision victory. The 73-fight veteran has racked up 59 victories dating back to 1996.

THAT’S YOUR JOB: Vicente Luque improved his finish rate to 89 percent by forcing the doctor to intervene in the third round of his rematch with Niko Price.

TURN INTO A TELESCOPE: Setting the record for the most twister submission attempts in a single fight, Bryce Mitchell officially performed five total attempts during his one-sided win over Charles Rosa.

MACHINES WITHIN: Mitchell remained unbeaten and lifted his record to 13-0 with a dominant decision victory against Rosa. “Thug Nasty” started his career by pulling off eight straight submissions, but he has gone the distance in four of his last five outings.

COOL GUY CLUB: Coming into UFC 249, the promotion had never traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, Ferguson (28 fights) and Cruz (24 fights) had never been knocked out and Werdum had never lost consecutive bouts (32 fights).

I LEFT A WALLET THERE: A rarity for walkout music, two fighters used “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys at this event. Rosa walked out to the standard version before losing to Mitchell, while Carla Esparza captured a split verdict over Michelle Waterson after her use of the instrumental version of the popular Celtic punk song.

LET’S GO FULL THROTTLE: For the first recorded time in Ferguson’s career, he lost after walking out to “The Party Has Just Begun” by Freestyle. “El Cucuy” was accompanied by this track on every one of his victories on his 12-fight winning streak.

COOL STUFF, SLICK STUFF, NEAT STUFF: Hardy is now part of a small group of fighters who have recorded their own walkout songs by walking out to “Ain’t Enough Money” by J. Oliver and himself. He joins those including Tyron Woodley, Emil Meek and Kevin Casey, who have all created their own entrance music.

TRUCKS UP!: All 35 trips to the cage for Cerrone have featured “Cowboy” by Kid Rock playing in the arena. Currently, Kid Rock is a more frequently used walkout artist than Bill Conti. Advertisement
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