Dana White recently agreed with journalists in the post-fight scrum of UFC 262, that Tony Ferguson's ironclad will and toughness was becoming a detriment rather than an advantage.
This is a scenario that has played out many times in the UFC. Some fighters have the ability to keep on going, regardless of the punishment they endure in the octagon. At its best, it allows athletes to overcome adversity and fight back despite setbacks. At its worst, fighters take repeated trauma without being able to defend themselves.
In this article, we look at 3 UFC fighters who may be too tough for their own good.
#3 Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone
As is a recurring theme on this list, Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone is a fan favorite veteran of the sport. He made his UFC debut in 2011, having already had an extensive career with the WEC.
However, 'Cowboy' is now 38 and no longer has the physical attributes to keep up with this rising wave of contenders, both at 170lbs and 155lbs. He sustained huge damage in fights against Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
He has not won his last six fights and was knocked out by Alex Morono, Conor McGregor and Justin Gaethje during this losing skid. However, he still refuses to hang up the gloves. Cowboy may no longer have the physical durability he once held, but his mental toughness is as strong as ever, to a worrying degree.
#2 Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez was the last contestant from the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter to have fought for the UFC. He made his UFC debut on the season one finale against Kenny Florian. It took place in 2005.
Sanchez went on to initially have a hugely successful career. Wins over MMA legends such as Nick Diaz instantly drew fans to him. Even when Sanchez was winning, it was often at great physical cost.
Sanchez put on such chaotic displays of violence, often with little regard for his own personal safety, that fans began to expect that style of fight from him every time he made the walk to the octagon. However, now at the age of 39, Sanchez is no longer able to compete to the same level as his opponents.
#1 Tony Ferguson
Tony Ferguson was once a master at using durability as a weapon in the UFC. The former interim champion forced his opponent to take a strike every time they threw one. This, combined with his habit of utilizing elbow attacks, often left his opponents in a bloody mess.
Unfortunately, father time waits for no man. Ferguson is now riding a three-fight losing streak and has not won a round of the last 30 minutes he has been in the octagon.
Based on the Olivera and Gaethje fights alone, Ferguson would still likely find a way onto this list, albeit not as high. Against Olivera, Ferguson refused to tap on a fully extended armbar by BJJ black belt, whilst in the Gaethje fight, the referee had to step in and save Ferguson from himself.
However, in his most recent loss against Dariush at UFC 262, Ferguson displayed a level of toughness that did not benefit anyone in that scenario. Dariush had a heel hook fully locked in. Ferguson refused to tap. Dariush would later say in the post-fight press conference that he heard the ankle pop. Ferguson instead decided to fight on, despite having his leg incredibly compromised and wound up losing anyway.