Tony Ferguson doesn’t seem to be overly discouraged following a lopsided decision loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 256.
“El Cucuy” was dominated on the ground in a unanimous decision defeat to his Brazilian opponent in Saturday’s co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. When considering that setback comes on the heels of a fifth-round TKO loss against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May, it might be reasonable to think that Ferguson has seen his best days in the Octagon.
“The Ultimate Fighter 13” winner has other ideas, however.
“My search for that epic word called ‘Greatness’ isn’t over,” Ferguson wrote on Instagram. “Understand crew, we are far from being retired.”
Ferguson’s night went south once the action hit the canvas, and had Oliveira secured an armbar a few seconds earlier in the opening stanza, the fight probably wouldn’t have made it to the judges. Instead, Ferguson displayed tremendous toughness in surviving until the Round 1 horn as his arm was contorted at a gruesome angle.
“Chuck was looking to take my back or go for the armbar as soon as we hit the mat. Thus I didn’t worry about the mount,” Ferguson wrote. “Kid was slick but so am I. I was looking for the knockout standing and D’Arce [choke] from bottom position once we hit [jiu-jitsu] transitions. It was fun fighting against a wet blanket. Mark my words, that scenario won’t happen again. Period.
“My arm is all right. That armbar was really tight.”
Ferguson admitted that he struggled to get going once the opening bell sounded, which was in part due to a different pre-fight routine mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"No excuses, I felt flat. I went out and welcomed the attack instead of [defending it],” he wrote. The warm-up time in the back for UFC hasn’t been the same since pre-COVID. Still, no excuses. Times change and so do people.
“The time from hotel to UFC Apex is much more condensed and the aggressive level we needed was not reached. My fault.”