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Defiant Tony Ferguson expected to lose ‘10 years off his life’ by prolonging UFC career

UFC 291: Ferguson v Green Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson has dropped six straight fights, getting finished in four of those six losses. That includes his submission defeat to Bobby Green at the UFC 291 pay-per-view (PPV) last July in Salt Lake City.

The 39 year-old “El Cucuy” has not looked the same since “getting smashed” by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 back in early 2020. Ferguson has since been urged to retire from active competition to preserve what’s left of his faculties amid troubling behavior.

“You have to take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror and go, ‘This is coming to an end real quick.’ It’s going to come sooner than you think,” former UFC lightweight contender Josh Thomson said on his Weighing In podcast (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “And if not, if it doesn’t come to an end real quick, there’s a whole — and you’ll notice it within a couple years of you being retired. And I’m saying this directly to Tony, is that you’re going to notice things in your brain. You’re going to notice things in the way you talk to people. You’re going to notice things in the way you talk to your wife, the way you talk to your kids, the way you handle yourself. You need to have a reality check.

“I can’t even explain it. You have to understand how to reel it in, because you’re the only one in charge of your mentality and your body language, and the words that come out of your mouth that can affect your relationships with everyone. And I’ve had these conversations with myself a lot, because there’s times when words come out of your mouth and you don’t realize it. And so I get nervous for him, watching him take these ‘Ls’. I become a little emotional, it’s a little f***ed up, but I care for the guy. I care for all these fighters.”

“It’s 10 years off his life,” Thomson said.

Thomson, 44, retired from MMA after realizing he was nothing more than a “punching bag” for the next generation of combatants. In addition, “The Punk” was starting to experience symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), among other ailments.

“Here’s the thing though, the Justin Gaethje fight and the Charles Oliveira fight, those two fights alone — and I speak from experience because it happened to me with [Ferguson] — at that age, the damage he took in that Gaethje fight, it changes you,” Thomson continued. “It changes your body. It changes the way you think. ... It’s not even so much [doing it] a couple times, it’s sometimes just one time. And at the age that he was at, I believe he was 36 or 37 at the time of the Gaethje fight, you’re not the same. And after the Tony fight, I was never the same. I never fought the same after that. I fought more conservative, I was always a step behind.”

Thomson dropped a unanimous decision “bloodbath” to Ferguson at UFC Fight Night 71.

“I was in the back after that [Ferguson loss] for about probably 45 minutes to an hour, shivering in the shower,” Thomson explained. “The shower was on hot steam water and my body was shivering. I couldn’t control myself. I was shivering so much. I’d lost so much blood, my body was in shock, and it took me a long time that night to actually get my body to stop shivering. I’d say it took me probably about two hours, three hours for my body not to shiver. And I had sweats on, I had sweaters on. We were in San Diego, by the way; the weather was nice.”

Ferguson (25-9) continues to call himself the champ and has a laundry list of excuses for each and every loss. Not surprisingly, none of them include his diminished abilities, which become more apparent with each successive defeat.

Sooner or later the state athletic commission is going to have to answer for its decision to license Ferguson, assuming the promotion will continue to book “El Cucuy” for future events. After all, UFC President Dana White is not shy about calling for retirement.

“I think he’s chasing that fight that never happened against Khabib,” Thomson said. “And I’m not saying he’s trying to get the Khabib fight. I’m saying that he’s chasing that one big fight. He never got it. He was always right there. He never got the one big fight. He never got to fight Conor [McGregor]. He never got to fight Khabib. He never got the fight, that one.”

“If you don’t want to retire, cool, do what you want,” Thomson said. “But you’ve got to take a good look in the mirror and just realize that even at 40 years old, 41 years old ... if you live another 40 years, think about, you have a whole other life ahead of you. What are you going to f****** do? You have to start thinking about that now. He’s got young kids — they’re not going to get to college until you’re 60. That goes through my mind every single time. Your kids won’t even get to college until you’re 60 years old or 58. That money that you made in your career, it’s gone. It ain’t there. What else are going to do?”

Ferguson’s message to people calling for his retirement?

F—k those who think I should.”

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