Chael Sonnen defends Tony Ferguson in light of Khabib Nurmagomedov's retirement suggestion

Tony Ferguson (left), Khabib Nurmagomedov (center), and Chael Sonnen (right)
Tony Ferguson (left), Khabib Nurmagomedov (center), and Chael Sonnen (right)
Nick Langton

Tony Ferguson is in the worst form of his MMA career right now. The former interim champion is on a three-fight losing streak and is dangerously close to dropping out of the top 15 in the official UFC lightweight rankings.

At 37, Ferguson is nowhere near his prime, and questions about his retirement are getting louder. It all got worse when his biggest rival, former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, suggested Ferguson should retire from MMA.

However, former UFC fighter and ESPN analyst Chael Sonnen came to Ferguson's defense. He broke down 'El Cucuy's last three fights and wondered if the problem was strategic.

"Is this strategic? Is there something within the strategy of Tony Ferguson which could change the outcomes? And a lot of times when you're losing decisions, you don't have to redo everything. You just have to do something to make those people decide something different," Sonnen said.

He also talked about Ferguson's opponents. Tony Ferguson fought and lost to Beniel Dariush and Charles Oliveira in his last two fights. They both dominated 'El Cucuy' on the ground and won the match with their wrestling prowess. Sonnen said:

"I think Tony has a little touch of the Kevin Holland in him, he cooperated with allowing them (his last two fights) going to the ground. Moving forward, what is it that he can do differently?"

Watch Chael Sonnen's full video below:

Chael Sonnen doesn't think that Tony Ferguson has declined physically

'The Bad Guy' didn't stop there and questioned those calling for Ferguson's retirement. Even though he is on a three-fight losing streak, Sonnen still believes that Tony Ferguson has great speed and physicality.

"Is it just a skill level? Is Tony now physically weaker than he used to be? That comes with age. Is he noticeably slower than he used to be? That comes with age. I didn't see that" he said.

The hardest-hitting point Chael Sonnen raised was that out of Ferguson's three losses, two have come at the hands of champions. Justin Gaethje became the interim champion by beating 'El Cucuy,' and Charles Oliveira became the undisputed champion in his next outing.

"Of those three guys, two of them have been champions within the last calendar year. Are you aware of that? You want to sit around and give Tony a hard time? He lost to Gaethje who became champion that night. He lost to Oliveira who became champion in his next night. He lost to Dariush who's won his last 8 contests."

Chael Sonnen claimed that Tony Ferguson losing to those men on those nights didn't mean he would consistently keep losing. The former UFC title challenger is convinced that Ferguson still has some gas left in the tank and that the MMA community would do well to give 'El Cucuy' his due.

Regardless of where he goes from here, Tony Ferguson will remain one of the most iconic lightweights in UFC history.

After Khabib, Conor and Jon Jones, it's Islam, O'Malley and Izzy. Follow them here!

Edited by Avinash Tewari
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