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Tony Ferguson Went Back To His Roots

After Back-To-Back Losses Tony Ferguson Reflected And Reconnected With His Coaches From The Ultimate Fighter Ahead Of UFC 262.

Competing for the first time in 2021, the 37-year-old lightweight standout looks to halt the first two-fight skid of his career, stepping into the Octagon opposite Beneil Dariush in a critical divisional clash at UFC 262 that serves as the appetizer to the weekend’s championship main event.

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After entering last year on a 12-fight winning streak and once again primed to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title, the global coronavirus pandemic scuttled those plans and forced Nurmagomedov to the sidelines, stuck in Russia during the lockdown, resulting in Ferguson instead sharing the Octagon with Justin Gaethje at UFC 249.

Seven months after having his winning streak snapped, the divisional stalwart returned to action opposite Charles Oliveira, and once again landed on the wrong side of the results, prompting the mayor of Snap Down City to strip things down, reconnect with the first people he worked with upon arriving in the UFC, and look to start fresh.

Bonus Résumé: Tony Ferguson
Bonus Résumé: Tony Ferguson
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“I made contact with Coach Brock Lesnar, my old coaches from my old team, and throughout the whole camp, we were in communication,” said Ferguson, who was coached by the former heavyweight champion during his time on Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter, addressing the changes he made to his team ahead of this weekend’s bout with Dariush. “I brought in one of my college coaches, some guys from Wild Card Boxing, and some 10th Planet jiu-jitsu dudes, and we got it.

“We’ve been working really well.”

For the last decade, the enigmatic Ultimate Fighter winner has been one of the most consistently entertaining competitors in the sport — a madman marching to the beat of his own drum, constantly improvising, attacking with a pace, fury, and tenacity that few could match.

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He was a nightmare matchup for anyone looking to climb the divisional ranks; a cardio machine capable of busting you up with punches, kicks, and elbows that was just as likely to drive through a double leg and snatch up a Brabo choke.

Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush Preview | UFC 262
Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush Preview | UFC 262
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He stacked victories and bonuses and names. He was the boogeyman that his Spanish sobriquet references, but somewhere between preparing for Nurmagomedov and the letdown that came with watching the bout slip away for the fifth time, Ferguson’s focus waned ever so slightly, and his opponents made him pay.

“I think more than anything else, it was chasing after a dude that didn’t want to fight for the longest time,” he said, refusing to utter Nurmagomedov’s name, when asked what went wrong in 2020.

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He stacked victories and bonuses and names. He was the boogeyman that his Spanish sobriquet references, but somewhere between preparing for Nurmagomedov and the letdown that came with watching the bout slip away for the fifth time, Ferguson’s focus waned ever so slightly, and his opponents made him pay.

“I think more than anything else, it was chasing after a dude that didn’t want to fight for the longest time,” he said, refusing to utter Nurmagomedov’s name, when asked what went wrong in 2020.

“I had to detoxify my life, do away with people that were toxic to me and weren’t doing me any good,” he explained in his signature stream of consciousness manner, which mirrors his unpredictable approach inside the Octagon. “No one wants to do the work, but then you’re building and bringing in people that are going to help you paddle, doing the work with you.

“I come from a wrestling background and my Pops tells me, ‘You forget you’re a wrestler,’ and I do,” admitted Ferguson, who wrestled at Grand Valley State University. “I go to a boxing gym and people are like, ‘Ah man, you’re a boxer’ but I’m a wrestler, and I forgot that a little bit.

UFC 262 COUNTDOWN: Full Episode | Oliveira vs Chandler | Ferguson vs Dariush

“I forgot that I’m an athlete. That’s why I had to detoxify my life and get rid of people that weren’t helping me grow.”

Reconnected with the coaches that initially put him on the path to success, Ferguson has already left the struggles of last year behind him, but getting back into the win column this weekend will be no easy task.

Dariush arrives in Houston in the best form of his career, having already registered a split decision win over Diego Ferreira earlier this year to push his winning streak to six.

A decorated grappler who has becoming a willing and dangerous striker, the 32-year-old Kings MMA representative made a passionate plea for an opportunity like this following his win over Ferreira in February, and will be looking to make the most of it on Saturday.

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But Ferguson believes he’s more than ready to halt the surging Californian’s ascent and start another run of his own.

“I trained my ass off,” said Ferguson, giving his thoughts on this weekend’s co-main event. “Win or lose, but I’m not here to lose; I’m here to win. I’m here to go out there, compete, and I brought the coaches back that helped get me here.

“If you’re ready like I am now, the fight goes easy,” he added. “I’m prepared for this fight, and at UFC 262, Beneil Dariush is going to have his handful.”