The external damage to the face of Tony Ferguson was evident after nearly five rounds of violent action against Justin Gaethje on Saturday night at UFC 249. More significant than the swelling and cuts, however, was the broken orbital bone suffered by the former interim lightweight champion in the loss which UFC president Dana White confirmed to Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole on Sunday.
Despite entering the UFC 249 main event as the betting favorite, Ferguson was battered for almost every moment of the interim lightweight title clash. Gaethje managed to hammer Ferguson with heavy left hooks and straight right hands while mixing in leg kicks to keep his opponent off balance.
After landing more than 100 significant strikes to Ferguson's head, Gaethje was finally able to force the referee to stop the fight late in Round 5. A hard jab from Gaethje sent Ferguson stumbling backward, shaking his head as his arms and legs both seemed to betray him.
The loss snapped a 12-fight winning streak for Ferguson which had put him in line to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight championship. Due to the complications brought upon by the global coronavirus pandemic, Nurmagomedov was forced off the UFC 249 card, opening the door for Gaethje to step in with a career-best performance to win the interim belt.