It’s safe to say that Tony Ferguson has had a rough two months following unexpected schedule changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and his eventual main event loss to Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title at UFC 249 last weekend, but it may end up helping “El Cucuy” in the long run.
Ferguson, 36, has been one of the most productive fighters on the UFC roster since his debut back in 2011 when he won The Ultimate Fighter 13. After winning his first three fights to start his UFC career Ferguson lost a unanimous decision to Michael Johnson in 2012. That was the last time fight fans saw Ferguson on the wrong end of a fight before his TKO loss to Gaethje earlier this month, which ended a 12-fight win streak for “El Cucuy.”
Needless to say, Ferguson has paid his dues in UFC and deserves to stay in the mix at 155 pounds even if it means winning a few more fights before he gets another title shot. But that doesn’t mean the talented veteran will be looking to get back in the saddle as as possible.
According to Ferguson’s boxing coach, Rashad Holloway, “El Cucuy” needs a mental break from fighting. After all of the turmoil surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, two weight cuts in three weeks, and a vicious TKO loss to Gaethje, Ferguson may need some time to clear his head and “fall in love with the sport all over again.”
“I think at this point, Tony needs a mental break from this sport,” Holloway said in a recent interview with MMA reporter Helen Yee (shown below). “Just to be normal, not deal with all the politics and the headaches of it, the physical part of it.
“I think after a couple of months of resting, no working out, we can go to the gym and have some fun. Just have some fun working out. … Just have fun, not really prep for a fight but just have fun and take a break and fall in love with the sport all over again. It’s a lot of pressure when you’re undefeated for so long and you’re looked at as the marquee guy. Now it’s like the weight’s off his shoulders and he can be normal again.”
With a win over Ferguson, Gaethje is clear to unify his interim title against current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov later this fall. That leaves “El Cucuy” open for business when he decides to schedule his own return to action. It may come later than expected, but fight fans haven’t seen the last of Tony Ferguson.
When “El Cucuy” does return to the Octagon who should he fight? Conor McGregor? Dustin Poirier? Maybe even Nate Diaz?
Let’s hear it!
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