For the first time in his career, Tony Ferguson is on a losing streak after being soundly defeated once again. But if you think the longtime UFC lightweight standout is finished, think again.
On Monday, Ferguson issued his first statement roughly 48 hours removed from a dominant performance by Charles Oliveira against him, en route to a unanimous decision loss at UFC 256. For “El Cucuy,” the result meant a second consecutive defeat after Justin Gaethje battered him before getting the TKO finish in the fifth round of their UFC interim title fight last May.
Prior to that, Ferguson (25-5 MMA, 15-3 UFC) had been on an impressive 12-fight winning streak that lasted six years. And while a decline for the 36-year-old might appear evident based on these last two performances, Ferguson has no plan to slow down – or hang up his gloves.
“My search for that epic word called ‘greatness’ isn’t over,” Ferguson wrote on Instagram. “… We are far from being retired.”
At no point in the three-round fight with Oliveira was Ferguson ever in control, as indicated by 30-26 scores across the board. Ferguson didn’t want to make excuses but did acknowledge fight-week changes made things different.
“I felt flat. I went out and welcomed the attack instead of defend,” Ferguson said. “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.”
Oliveira, who pushed his winning streak to eight, was especially dominant in the grappling department against a veteran who prides himself on his ground game. Ferguson was saved by the bell in the first round as Oliveira locked in a deep armbar that bent Ferguson’s arm backward.
Ferguson, who indicated that his arm is “alright,” gave credit to Oliveira for his smooth jiu-jitsu display but vowed to never be in that position moving forward.
“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 said. “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.”
You can see Ferguson’s Instagram post and read his full statement below:
My Crew No Excuses, I Felt Flat. I Went Out & Welcomed The Attack Instead Of Defend. The Warm Up Time In The Back for @UFC Hasn’t Been The Same Since Pre-COVID. Still No Excuses, Times Change & So Do People The Time From Hotel To UFC Apex Is Much More Condensed & The Aggressive Level We Needed Was Not Reached. My Fault.
After The Fight, We Were Checked By Doctors & Went Back To The Hotel. I Felt It Was In Order To Hit Pads/Spar Immediately Because The Fight Was Fresh In My Mind & Blood Circulation In My Arm Was Needed. I Really Needed To Figure Out What The F’n Problem Was From The Fight, Solution **Pre-Fight TimeManagement**
Chuck Was Looking Take My Back or Go For The Armbar As Soon As We Hit The Mat. Thus I Didn’t Worry About The Mount, Kid Was Slick But So Am I. I Was Looking For The Knockout Standing & D’arce From Bottom Position Once We Hit Jits Transitions. It Was Fun Fighting Against A Wetblanket (AKA “Heavy Pressure Opponent”) Mark My Words,That Scenario Won’t Happen Again. Period.
My Arm Is Aright, The Armbar Was Really Tight. The Thought Of My Son ArmandAnthony’s Ability To Be Double Jointed In His Elbow During That Sequence & My Mental Capacity To Endure Pain Got Me Through It. # Breathe # MentalTUFness. One
I’m Beyond Grateful & Thankful For My Talents I Have Learned So Much About Myself This Year & What My Purpose In Life Is. My Search For That Epic Word Called “greatness” Isn’t Over. Understand Crew We Are Far From Being Retired, So Message To My Haters *ShaBam*
Shout Out To My Team I Put Together On Three Weeks Notice. We’re Still GreenBoys Thanks For Not DesertingMe. (Team, We’re Barely Scratching The Surface To What We Can Truly Accomplish & For That I Say Amen). It Was Great Making Weight & Being Around My Fight Fam For The Week. I Can’t Wait Til We Compete In Front Of A Big Loud Crowd Again, It’s Not The Same Without You All
RecoveryMoad # HappyHolidayze Crew Champ Shit Only Mi Gente “Never Give Up & Keep TheFaith” Champ -XTA- Hometeam # BecauseHashbrownsAreDelicious