Had Tony Ferguson not done as well as he did in his first round with Michael Chandler at UFC 274 earlier this month (May 7, 2022), we likely would have seen the last of him inside the Octagon.
Regardless of his early success in the bout, it only took 17 seconds into round two for Chandler to land one of the gnarliest front kick knockouts the sport has ever seen (watch highlights). In 32 career outings, it was the first time Ferguson had been knocked unconscious.
“I had to go back, I talked to my dad, I talked to my coaches, and I said if I knew that I didn’t have the gumption or the will to want to go anymore if I didn’t do good in that first round, I would have called it quits,” Ferguson told Submission Radio. “I would have said, ‘F—k this, I’m out, I’m retiring, I’m going to go find something different, I’ll coach everybody to be at this high level and that’s it.’ But when I went back and watched the fight and I remember reviewing everything, it was like something happened, something clicked in me.
“So, here I am, I have a TKO on my record, I have a submission record, you know what I mean?” he continued. “I’ve been put out, knocked out, I’ve lost by TKO, I’ve lost by decision. It’s a pain in the ass to be able to look at these losses, but like I said, if I didn’t have the will and the want to be able to do that and then know that when Dana [White] said I looked phenomenal in that first round, I looked really good, I would have just called it quits. But right now I’m f—king hungry, man.”
Ferguson noted how well he’s feeling physically and mentally and has already returned to doing some light bag work. However, after such a devastating knockout, “El Cucuy” has to serve his 60-day medical suspension before fully returning to training. Whatever his next fight ends up being, it will see The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 winner aim to snap a four-fight skid.
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