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Tony Ferguson admits to ‘sandbagging’ his last few fights: ‘My wife called me out’

Following his fifth loss in a row, “El Cucuy” admitted he underperformed in previous bouts and it took his wife to point it out.

Tony Ferguson stepped in at the last minute to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 279 after Khamzat Chimaev weighed in so heavy their original main event couldn’t go forward. That’s after Ferguson stepped in late to fight Li Jingliang on UFC 279’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card when the event needed some extra star power.

That’s a lot of stepping up from “El Cucuy,” and unfortunately he didn’t leave Las Vegas, Nevada, with a win. Instead, Diaz tapped him with a guillotine in the fourth round of their fight (watch highlights here).

UFC President, Dana White, suggested at the post-fight press conference that Ferguson made a mistake tangling on the ground with a Diaz brother, and Tony agreed.

“I should have kept it standing, period,” he said. “Gotta discuss some things with my corner men, nothing bad, no one’s getting fired, no one’s doing bad. It’s just some adjustments, it’s a new game for me. It’s mixing it up, putting the MMA together.

“Nate, he prepared for Khamzat,” Ferguson continued. “You saw Khamzat, when he took down Holland, he went, took him out on the right side, it was a right-handed opponent, it was on his lead jab. He went straight and put him down. Guarantee you, Nate was looking for that guillotine the whole entire camp. They had a full camp to be able to do stuff, it is what you practice.”

Asked how it felt to be on a five-fight losing streak immediately after an amazing 12-fight win streak, Ferguson shrugged.

“I’m gonna be real, I don’t see L’s, I see growth,” he said. “The last four fights that I had before this one, I’m gonna be real, I was sandbagging. I really wasn’t doing anything, my wife called me out. I found a good team, I found the most motley crew of people we could put together, we made f—king noise and it was fun as s—t, dude.”

Even with this latest loss, Ferguson sounded extremely happy with the way the weekend went and excited for his future in fighting.

“It was just a lot of having fun,” he said about fighting Diaz. “And I hope you guys had fun. I haven’t had a fight like that ever. It was the coolest experience I probably could have had being in front of everybody, being the most calm, super chill, bringing it out there ... Seeing the crowd, seeing Hunter [Campbell], seeing everyone that was right there, it was dope. It felt like I was back where I needed to be. And I haven’t felt like that, ladies and gentlemen, for a f—king long time.”

“Mentally strong, physically strong, emotionally strong, I feel good. I’m ready for the next one.”

“I have a lot to learn, I have very little ego when it comes to learning,” he concluded. “I listen to my coaches, I listen to my training partners, I listen to my trainers, my cornermen, and I have a few things to work on.”

While Ferguson is on a long losing streak, it’s still to the very best in UFC. Losses to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush, Michael Chandler, and now Diaz aren’t anything to be ashamed of. But, if Ferguson wants to reclaim his position at the top of the pile, he needs a win.

And at welterweight, it’ll only be that much harder for “El Cucuy” to accomplish.

For complete UFC 279 results and coverage click here.

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