Former UFC interim champion, Tony Ferguson made a comeback to the UFC octagon at UFC 274. But it turned out to be the most devastating defeat of his career having never been knocked out in any of his previous fights. The 38-year-old bogeyman was knocked out cold and face-planted by a front kick from Michael Chandler in the second round.
Both the lightweight fighters remained on their feet for most of the 1st round. However, just 17 seconds into the 2nd round, ‘Iron’ Chandler found a moment and landed a vicious front kick on Ferguson. This knocked ‘El Cucuy’ out cold. He was flat on the mat for a few minutes even after the bout ended. Many MMA fans speculated that Tony might have decided to quit his UFC career at that point after the fight's conclusion.
Tony Ferguson is widely considered a legend in the world of MMA and is possibly one of the most successful underdog fighters the UFC has ever seen. With that in mind, many believe that ‘El Cucuy’ might just have a few wins left in him. But his recent run has not been impressive. The current #11 ranked lightweight contender, suffered his fourth straight defeat against Chandler. He suffered back-to-back decision losses to Beneil Dariush, former undisputed champion, Charles Oliveira, and an interim title fight loss against Justin Gaethje.
Although his 12-fight win streak in the lightweight division was a remarkable achievement in UFC history. During the winning spree, Tony Ferguson submitted Kevin Lee to win an interim division title. He added other notable victories over Gleison Tibau, Josh Thomson, Edson Barboza, as well as former champions, Rafael dos Anjos, and Anthony Pettis.
Ferguson was gutted to suffer such a loss but assured the fans that he would be taking notes and would take the necessary steps for another attempt to snap his disappointing losing streak. Looks like he has already found a new home base. Ferguson was spotted training along with striking coach Brandon Gibson at Jackson Wink MMA Academy, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brandon has also spent years training with former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones as well. The gym has had some notable names over the years like George Saint Pierre, Holly Holm, Rashad Evans, Frank Mir, and Michelle Waterson among its ranks. Ferguson himself claimed that his biggest need was to join a reputed team and work on insights from experienced coaches.
“I put myself away from the teams thinking I could do this by myself – and I did it,” Ferguson told MMA Junkie after his loss. “I’ve done this by myself for a very long time with the help of a select few individuals, and I’ve been very fortunate to have that.
“But I’m ready to be part of a team again. It was only when my team broke up that I felt really hurt that I moved areas, that I moved situations, switched management and all the above. I have to open myself up again to being coached at a high level. Especially in my sport.”
On one side Ferguson is determined to give his full out for a comeback and on the other side Former Lightweight champion, Khabib has been the greatest critic of El Cucuy. Since his loss to Justin Gaethje, Khabib has been advising Ferguson to say goodbye to the combat sport. Although UFC tried to treat the most awaited fight between Khabib and Ferguson several times due it had to be called due to injuries, weight cut-off, and covid-19 breakout.
“He is 38 years old,” Nurmagomedov said in an interview posted and translated by RT Sport. “Tell me how he can make a comeback? He was dominated in his last three bouts. Different styles - a striker, a grappler... Dariush, Oliveira, Gaethje, they all dominated him both standing up and on the ground. When you are 38, I believe, you have to pull the brakes and there have to be people around him to say: ‘Hey, you are aging, you have to stop.’”
Khabib’s best friend and UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier also believes that a change in training facilities is not going to help turn around Ferguson's in-cage fortunes.
Time will tell what is there next for the former interim champion. But Auckland striker Dan Hooker has called out Tony Ferguson for a lightweight showdown at UFC 281. Hooker believes it would be a perfect match-up as both are on a declining path. Dan Hooker has only one victory in his last five bouts. There is a mere difference in their UFC ranking as Tony is currently ranked number 11 and Hooker is ranked number 13.
There might be a possibility that Tony Ferguson might climb up the division to reclaim his missing status. In an interview with MMA Junkie, Ferguson explained why he's considering the switch to 170 pounds.
One thing to note is that Ferguson made his UFC debut as a welterweight when he won The Ultimate Fighter 13, about 12 years ago.
Many experts think that a possible matchup versus Conor McGregor would be an amazing fight as both the fighters are currently on a losing streak and both the fighters are not a fan of cutting back to 155 pounds anymore. There is no doubt that the matchup should have happened 5 years ago but given the current scenario of both fighters they both need a win badly. It could very well work in the favor of Tony Ferguson because as sharp as he looked in the first round against Chandler, he even managed to drop him. That’s a sign of a warrior who has plenty of fight left in him.
What do you guys think about the current losing streak of Tony Ferguson? Is he really finished? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for our next video.