How to watch UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje, plus full analysis

Justin Gaethje describes how he's preparing to fight Tony Ferguson (1:15)

Justin Gaethje says he's training with UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, among others, as he gets ready to fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title on May 9. (1:15)

The UFC is back on May 9 after an eight-week hiatus, and the promotion returns with a bang, with a UFC 249 fight card headlined by an interim lightweight championship bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.

The main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view, which fans can purchase here. Prelims are on ESPN beginning at 6 p.m.

Ferguson (25-3) has won 12 straight fights and originally was scheduled to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov for the 155-pound belt in April. But the coronavirus pandemic scuttled those plans, and in stepped Gaethje (21-2), winner of three in a row. UFC president Dana White has said that the winner of this bout will be next for Nurmagomedov.

Beyond the main event, this is a star-studded card. In the co-main, Henry Cejudo (15-2) makes his first defense of the men's bantamweight belt, taking on former two-time champ Dominick Cruz (22-2), who is returning from an extended absence due to injury. There's also a clash of heavyweight knockout artists Francis Ngannou (14-3) and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0) in what is expected to be a title eliminator.

Before the pay-per-view begins, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone returns after his quick loss to Conor McGregor and faces Anthony "Showtime" Pettis, and Michelle Waterson hopes to get back on track in a tough bout against Carla Esparza.

How to watch UFC 249:

Watch the prelims on ESPN: Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | TV

Don't have ESPN? Get instant access.

Don't have ESPN+ for the early prelims? Get it here.

Purchased the fight on your phone and want to stream on your TV? Find out how here.

UFC 249 schedule

PPV (via ESPN+, purchase here): 10 p.m. ET

Interim lightweight championship: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje

Bantamweight championship: Henry Cejudo (c) vs. Dominick Cruz

Heavyweight: Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Featherweight: Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar

Heavyweight: Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro

ESPN: 6 p.m.

Welterweight: Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis

Heavyweight: Aleksei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum

Strawweight: Carla Esparza vs. Michelle Waterson

Welterweight: Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price

Featherweight: Charles Rosa vs. Bryce Mitchell

Light heavyweight: Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey

(c) = defending champion

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