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With team behind him at UFC 279, Tony Ferguson calls welterweight home: 'I'm here to collect'

Throughout his eleven-year UFC stint, Tony Ferguson appeared in 20 fights. Ferguson was 15-1 in the UFC over the first nine of those years and earned the interim lightweight title. He is, however, 0-4 over the last two years. He will meet Li Jingliang at UFC 279 after jumping to the welterweight division because of his four consecutive defeats.

Ferguson, 38, hasn't recorded a victory since defeating Donald Cerrone in a lightweight contest at UFC 238 in 2019. Tony Ferguson is coming off four straight losses, the last of which had many questioning whether or not he would retire. Michael Chandler put El Cucuy to sleep on the canvas with a vicious front kick in the very second round of the fight. With other three losses came against the top-ranked lightweight fighters Beneil Dariush, Charles Oliveira, and Justin Gaethje.

Well, retirement wasn't in the cards of El Cucuy, and he'll be back in the cage to face Li Jingliang, however at welterweight this time. Ferguson says he feels strong and is prepared to prevail at welterweight this weekend after training at Jackson Wink MMA.

Ferguson spoke at the UFC 279 media day about his decision to return to the welterweight division, where he last contested in 2011. Ferguson was questioned about his choice and whether it would impact his future, to which he replied:

“One-seventy is home. Love it,” Ferguson said. “This is where I hang my hat. I’m 14-2 with mostly knockouts at 170. So, like I said, it’s where I hang my hat. A hundred-and-55 is home, too, so I’m here to collect.”

Ferguson will confront a difficult opponent in Li Jingliang, even though he feels excellent and has not had to lose weight in preparation for the fight. With eight knockouts, Jingliang is tied for second most in UFC welterweight history. Jingliang is hot off a win over Muslim Salikhov this past July.

El Cucuy expressed his desire to join a team for the rest of his career after a devastating loss against Chandler. He had not been a part of any team for years. But now that he has joined Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it looks like a fresh start for the former interim champion. Before joining Jackson Wink, he hadn’t trained in a cage or sparred “in five or six years.” He’d only been training on a wrestling mat.

“I went fishing,” Ferguson said. “What I got was a bunch of trainers that I believe in. I’ve always had my eye on a couple of people. I’m like a scout. I know what the f*ck to look for. … I got some really good people that are helping me open my eyes with some things that I cannot see, which is the trust. It helps to be able to be in an octagon, get some sparring in and get the great training that I really need.”

What do you think of Ferguson’s move back to welterweight? Who are you predicting will win this Saturday at UFC 279, Tony Ferguson or Li Jingliang? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


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