A submission loss at UFC 279 has done nothing to dissuade Tony Ferguson from thinking about what kind of matchup he wants for his next fight.
“El Cucuy” was originally expected to make his return to the welterweight division against Li Jingliang on the main card of UFC 279. A now infamous weigh-in miss from headliner Khamzat Chimaev resulted in significant changes to the card, and Ferguson ended up meeting Nate Diaz in the night’s welterweight main event.
Many fans felt the new main event was a better matchup for both fighters, and Diaz ended up prevailing when he snatched a guillotine choke in the fourth round. The loss was Ferguson’s fifth in a row, which has caused some speculation online about if the former interim lightweight champion might walk away from the sport.
Ferguson was recently asked by ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto what the perfect scenario for his next bout would be, which prompted an interesting initial answer before the 38-year-old commented on his fight with Diaz.
“Dana White in a boxing match…I’m just kidding…I think I got the reach…no man, as funny as that is it’s a joke, it really is because when you [talk about] lightweight or welterweight…I feel confident at welterweight, I really did against [Nate Diaz]. Preparing for Li [Jingliang], I’m telling you man, just the difference, we were animals, we were savages…so despite whatever the f*ck the commentator says about it, we were ready, my movement and everything was just for him. You know, coming back to the Nate Diaz fight, it’s kind of like doing a drill only right-handed, you know when you go to the left hand you’re like ‘uhhhhh’…I’m not second-guessing, but it’s not as sharp.”
“I Got To Transform Into Iron Man”
Although the last couple of years have seen him suffer some difficult losses, Ferguson is a longtime fan favorite and once held a lengthy winning streak in one of the UFC’s deepest divisions.
“El Cucuy” debuted in the UFC after winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 in 2011. Following a 2012 loss to Michael Johnson, Ferguson began what eventually turned out to be a 12-fight winning streak.
An interim title winning performance against Kevin Lee in 2017 was followed by wins over Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone, but a 2020 loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 began his current losing streak.
The 38-year-old has long been one of MMA’s truly unique characters both in and out of the cage, and he provided a classic Ferguson-style answer when trying to get more specific about his next fight.
“Like I said, it’s interesting who I want to fight…obviously I’d like to fight a title fight, I can’t come off of that, but another super fight…otherwise give me a fight to build a brand, like it’s, you know, I don’t give a shit right now…right now it’s about training and putting it together and I guarantee you they’re going to send the bat signal again…then I got to transform into Iron Man and, you know, give them the Hulk smash, so it’s interesting how it works.”
Who do you think Tony Ferguson should face in his next bout?