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Tony Ferguson Kept His Word And Is Ready For Battle

After His Legendary Winning Streak Ended, Tony Ferguson Is Out To Remind People Of His Greatness.

Ask Tony Ferguson about UFC 249 in May, and he’s got one word to describe his experience.


That probably wasn’t in the top 10 of expected answers, but “El Cucuy” has made a career of going left when most people would go right. So even though he lost his shot at the interim UFC title in a punishing fight against Justin Gaethje, saw a bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov scrapped for the umpteenth time and had a 12-fight winning streak snapped, the 36-year-old was just happy to be part of the first major live sporting event to return after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

“It felt like everybody was needing something to get through s**t,” he said. “And the only thing I could think of was to make weight; keep my word and make weight. Because reliability goes a long way.”

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Every UFC Finish By Tony Ferguson
Every UFC Finish By Tony Ferguson

It does, and while Ferguson has always marched to the beat of his own drummer since emerging victorious on season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2011, he could always be relied on to deliver excitement and a supreme effort on fight night. And if there was to be a setback like this one, Ferguson wasn’t going to stay down for long.

“I accepted my loss, I moved on and I worked hard,” said the Californian, who returns to the Octagon this Saturday night for a UFC 256 co-main event against surging Charles Oliveira. It’s the kind of fight that guarantees action, some unorthodox techniques, and likely a finish; in other words, it’s a typical Ferguson fight, but one that has a little more attached to it as he competes while coming off a loss for the first time since he was decisioned by Michael Johnson in 2012.

“People will always remember your losses,” he said. “And they will always remember your wins. But you’re only as good as your last fight.”

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True, but after losing to Johnson, Ferguson went on a 12-fight tear that included an interim UFC title at 155 pounds, nine finishes and nine post-fight bonuses. In the process, he became a star in perhaps the sport’s toughest weight class.

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“UFC gave me a platform to be able to go out there and support my family and they’ve allowed me to be myself,” he said.

There should be no changes there as Ferguson preps for Oliveira, who is on a seven-fight winning (and finishing) streak that he hopes will lead him to a title fight should he leave Vegas with consecutive victory number eight. But “El Cucuy” isn’t interested in playing anyone’s steppingstone. In his mind, he’s still the baddest man in the lightweight division.

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“Oliveira’s a slick dude,” said Ferguson, who has a warning for “Do Bronx.” 

“Keep taking notes,” he said. “You’ll never be me. This fight, I’m gonna beat you. You’re hungry. I hope you’re nervous. So am I. Let’s battle.”