Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is hungrier than he’s ever been, recently upgrading his mentality from “Varsity” to “Olympic” as he trains with famed boxing coach Freddie Roach at Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
“Instead of a varsity mentality I went back to an Olympic mentality and I started surrounding myself around people that are hungry, how I am and how they’ve been for a long time,” Ferguson told Submission Radio. “And I started to find myself over at Wild Card a lot easier, because that’s where I knew that I could find that kind of grind.”
Ferguson, who turned 37 earlier this year, recently lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his storied mixed martial arts (MMA) career. After Justin Gaethje stole his top spot at the UFC 249 headliner, fellow contender Charles Oliveira all but removed him from title contention at UFC 256.
Which prompted “El Cucuy” to do some removing of his own.
“After the (Oliveira) fight I immediately went back to the drawing board,” Ferguson continued. “I went back to the hotel and started hitting mitts or Thai pads and trying to figure it out. I ended up firing one of my cornermen because he big-leagued one of my other guys. It was crazy, cause he ended up taking a spot when he wasn’t supposed to. And going into the second round I’m like, what the fuck are you doing in here? That wasn’t the plan. And it sucked, cause it was one of my guys I counted the most. But you know, rules are rules. So, I mean, maybe we’ll be able to work again and things, but that’s all.“
The 25-5 Ferguson will move on to battle veteran lightweight contender Beneil Dariush at the upcoming UFC 262 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for Sat., May 15, 2021 inside the sold-out Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
“He’s been doing the game for a long time,” Ferguson said about Dariush. “He’s over at Huntington beach with Rafael Cordeiro. He’s a southpaw, he’s very strong on his left side. He’s very game in mixing it up. So, that’s why I’ve been mixing my shit up. Because I got too one dimensional. When you get too one dimensional, you start to plateau. I’m hungry as fuck and I’m back. I’m really back on it, man. And I’m mixing it up really, really well, better than a fuckin’ blender.”
We’ll see if that gets him into the mix next month in “The Lone Star State.”