Chael Sonnen believes that Charles Oliveira wouldn’t be the star he is if not for Tony Ferguson. In his opinion, ‘El Cucuy’ should be appreciated for many things, elevating ‘do Bronx’ to superstardom being one of them.
In a recent YouTube video, ‘The American Gangster' listed a plethora of things that MMA fans and fighters alike should thank Ferguson for. One of these is the fact that he helped the Brazilian climb to the top-five position in the UFC rankings.
Sonnen compared it to a situation where the top-five positions are placed on the docket, and not everybody can get up there:
"Tony, who’s up in the loft, right? He’s ranked number five in the world, and at 155 pounds at that specific time. You have to understand the timeline. At that specific time, we had five stars. We had 10 amazing fighters, we had 5 stars. And the amazing fighters couldn’t get on the docket with the stars."
Sonnen explained that for someone to rise, one of those five superstars had to give them a chance, which Tony Ferguson did for the Brazilian:
"Tony Ferguson put the ladder down so somebody else could climb up. That somebody was named Charles Oliveira. Charles Oliveira is not where he is today and he is not the champion of the world if it is not for Tony Ferguson. Period."
Chael Sonnen pointed out that no one thanked Tony Ferguson for that, a sentiment he has voiced previously as well.
Watch Chael Sonnen talk about Ferguson helping Oliveira at 1:33 of this video.
‘El Cucuy’ fought ‘do Bronx’ at UFC 256. The Brazilian won the fight by unanimous decision. In an inhuman display of toughness, Tony Ferguson refused to tap after being caught in a deep armbar by Oliveira, which could have led to his arm being broken. Luckily, he survived to hear the bell. This victory opened Oliveira’s path to the UFC interim lightweight championship and, as a result, to a unified one.
Charles Oliveira holds Tony Ferguson in high regard
In opposition to what Chael Sonnen said, it seems that someone does appreciate what 'El Cucuy' did for him, and that’s Charles Oliveira.
Following Ferguson's devastating front-kick knockout loss to Michael Chandler at UFC 274, Oliveira took to Twitter to console his former opponent and extend an invitation to train with him at the Chute Box headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
However, in an interview with MMA Junkie, Tony Ferguson stated that he had to decline the invitation as he again considered Oliveira his rival. Clearly, 'El Cucuy' is still focussing on possibly making his way to the undisputed lightweight belt.
Catch Tony Ferguson's interview with MMA Junkie below: