Tony Ferguson’s losing skid continued at UFC 291 this past weekend (Sat., July 29, 2023) inside Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, moving the former interim Lightweight champion to 0-6 since 2000. This latest loss to Bobby Green was a tough one. Ferguson looked good early in the fight, but a bad eye poke halfway through the first round seemed to throw “El Cucuy” off his game. He’d end up getting put to sleep via head- and arm-choke late in the third round (watch highlights here).
Now, Ferguson has released a statement on Instagram regarding the loss. There are still no plans to quit fighting, and “El Cucuy” clearly blames the illegal eye poke as the main factor in his defeat. He included video footage of the foul with his message just to remind everyone how bad it was.
“As the fight began, I was in the Xone, flowing & feeling confident,” he wrote. “Bobby knew the direction of the fight & I believe he knew what he was doing when he poked my eye. He has a big History of moves like this. It significantly impaired my vision, making it difficult to see clearly out of my eye.
“Despite this eye poke I never considered stopping the fight,” Ferguson continued. “Although the doc wanted too. Throughout my career, I’ve always pushed through challenges & never given up. This time was no different.
“Unfortunately in sports, setbacks like this are part of the journey,” he concluded. “While I won’t use the eye poke as an excuse for the outcome, I know for a fact I have more to give. Moving forward, I plan to work closely with Dana, Hunter & my entire team to assess what’s next.”
Prior to this six-fight losing streak, Ferguson was on a wild 12-fight win streak that lasted seven years. All that ended when he and Justin Gaethje engaged in a brutal war at UFC 249 in May 2020. It was one of Gaethje’s most technical performances and Ferguson took a lot of damage in that fight (watch it here). After getting beaten up badly, the referee finally stepped in with 90 seconds remaining to the five-round fight to wave things off.
It is worth mentioning, though, that Ferguson has only been losing to fighters at the top of the game. His winless run includes the aforementioned loss to Gaethje, as well as Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush and Michael Chandler — all ranked in the Lightweight Top 5. It’s only with his latest losses to Nate Diaz and Bobby Green that Ferguson is now being defeated by unranked opponents.
While it’s unlikely that “El Cucuy” can regain his position as a title contender, here’s hoping he’s at least able to turn things around and win a few before wrapping up his career.
For complete UFC 291 results, coverage and highlights click HERE.