Ferguson was scheduled to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight gold at UFC 249 earlier this year. However, the fight fell apart after travel restriction due to the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible for Khabib Nurmagomedov to travel out of Russia. Soon after, Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje accepted a short-notice fight for the interim lightweight title where Ferguson suffered a brutal TKO loss in the 5th round.
Ahead of the fight, Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, both of whom have wins over Gaethje actually tipped the latter to beat Ferguson and rightly so as Gaethje put up an incredible performance in total domination of El Cucuy, before picking up the stoppage victory in the closing round of the fight.
It was expected that Ferguson would walk into Gaethje's punching zone carelessly and might pay a heavy price for it, considering Gaethje's solid knockout power. While both Poirier and Alvarez favored Gaethje's solid striking, and that's what eventually won him the fight. Amidst all the pandemonium surrounding Justin Gaethje snapping Tony Ferguson off his 12 fight win-streak, Conor McGregor's tweet grabbed all the eyeballs.
On some level, it's hard not to agree with Conor McGregor. Tony Ferguson is an unorthodox fighter who likes to mix things up. He is extremely stylish, with 8 UFC bonuses in his last 9 fights inside the octagon. However, it begs to ask the question, is Tony Ferguson as good as we think he is?
Is Tony Ferguson as good as we think he is?
Tony Ferguson has often been criticized for his carelessness inside the octagon. Ferguson likes to pressure his opponents and relies on his volume punching and lethal embows to bleed and tire his opponents and force them with a submission to pick up the victory.
Ferguson's fights are enjoyable. He has delivered some of the most bloodied and high-octane fights in the history of UFC. Ferguson's chin has also been questioned on many occasions, especially in light of his fight against Lando Vannata and Anthony Pettis where Ferguson dropped multiple times during the fight. Another interesting thing to note is that Tony Ferguson is not as dominant a fighter as we would like to believe. He lost the first round against Donald Cerrone and was dominated by Kevin Lee on the ground despite the narrative that Ferguson would be able to control Lee's grappling considering his wrestling credentials. In the lead up to the Justin Gaethje fight, it was expected that Ferguson's chin wouldn't hold up opposite Gaethje's knockout power.
However, Tony Ferguson is a finisher. Ferguson boasts of an impressive submission game and unorthodox striking which keeps the opponent guessing. Ferguson tends to start slow and becomes dominant as the round goes. Despite losing the first round against Donald Cerrone, Ferguson was able to secure a stoppage victory in the second round.
Ferguson likes to move and has insane cardio to back his fighting style. Despite being dropped on numerous occasions in the past partly due to his punching stance where he is constantly either moving in or moving forward, Ferguson's chin held up in a striking battle against one of the fiercest strikers in the lightweight division. Many might also argue that Ferguson's lackluster performance against Justin Gaethje had a lot to do with cutting weight twice.
Tony Ferguson is a Black belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, with an equally brilliant striking game. He is quick, sharp, and never gets tired. With notable victories against some of the most prominent names in the history of MMA in the form of Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, Josh Thomson, and Gleison Tibau, Tony Ferguson has cemented himself as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. To think that Tony Ferguson is overrated would be ridiculing his impressive performances against some of the best to ever hail the octagon.Published 08 Sep 2020, 11:29 IST