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Dana White unsure of ‘durable and crazy’ Tony Ferguson’s future after UFC 256 loss

LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White has no clear answers on what the future holds for Tony Ferguson after his loss at UFC 256.

Ferguson (25-5 MMA, 15-3 UFC), a former interim UFC lightweight champion, has consecutive losses for the first time in his career after he was dominated by Charles Oliveira (30-8 MMA, 18-8 UFC) in a unanimous decision defeat in their co-main event matchup at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday.

After succumbing to a fifth-round TKO vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May to snap his 12-fight winning streak, White said prior to UFC 256 that he thought there was good reason to think Ferguson would bounce back. That didn’t happen, and now the UFC boss isn’t sure what’s on deck.

“I thought we were going to see the old Tony,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC 256. “I thought that the last fight he was affected by weight cutting and we were going to see (the old Tony). Ten out of 10 people tap to that armbar (against Oliveira). The fact he even made it through the armbar is unbelievable and just a testament to how tough and durable and crazy Tony Ferguson is.”

After losing his past two fights definitively, Ferguson now will be a subject of speculation. He will turn 37 in February and finds himself in the most challenging moment of his career. Is this just a bump in the road, or is it a notable downward slide? White said he can’t answer that.

“Of course that’s possible (he’s past his prime), but Tony needs to go home and spend the holidays with his family and take some time off and think about what he wants to do next year and we’ll see what’s next for him,” White said. “But yes, every time you fight in this business, that’s always possible.”

One thing that appears to be a new reality for Ferguson at this point, though, is that the lightweight belt could be out of reach for good. A matchup with lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov has been one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history, but it has failed to materialize five times.

It’s unfortunate, but not something White said he dwells on in the current landscape.

“No (I don’t worry about it); it just didn’t (happen),” White said. “It wasn’t from lack of trying. We put that fight together five times. It just wasn’t meant to be. I don’t think about it at all.”

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