After Tony Ferguson put together an unprecedented 12-fight winning streak in the lightweight class, he has now suffered back-to-back losses throughout his career.
On Saturday night at UFC 256, former interim champion Charles Oliveira dominated for three rounds, though Ferguson certainly showed incredible toughness and endurance while surviving some difficult moments.
There was nothing worse than Oliveira’s armband attempt in the first lap in the final seconds, but even though her elbow bent over what seemed like a breaking point, Ferguson refused to give up.
UFC president Dana White then paid tribute to Ferguson for exploiting this through an injection attempt, but after three rounds he still lost a failed decision against Oliveira.
“I thought we’d see old Tony,” White said at a UFC 256 post-fight press conference. “I thought it was the last fight [against Justin Gaethje] he was affected by weightlifting. I mean, 10 out of 10 people touch this lever. It’s unbelievable that he even got through the arm.
“It’s just a testament to how tough, durable and crazy Tony Ferguson is.”
At the age of 36, there’s no time on Ferguson’s side when he returns to the race again, but White isn’t ready to describe him just because he lost his last two fights in a row.
He fell to Justin Gaeth, who became a temporary lightweight champion in this fight, and Ferguson had just lost to Oliveira as he currently leads an eight-fighter series of his own victories.
Of course, there is no shame in losing against fighters of this caliber, but White quickly points out that sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for an athlete to begin to decline.
“Of course it’s possible,” White said of Ferguson’s seeing his best days behind him. “But Tony has to go home and spend the holidays with his family, take a break, and think about what he wants to do next year. We’ll see what happens next. Every time you fight in this business, it’s always possible.
“I mean, Tony is a guy who has to go for a while.” Figure out what you want to do, what your 2021 game plan is. I think Tony is still struggling to make such crazy decisions.
Considering the series of victories he put together to reach the top of the division, Ferguson was still able to find a way to regain his defending position one day.
This means that there seems to be every hope that Ferguson will one day go into battle with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The battle expected by the lightweight was planned for five separate occasions, and each time there was some kind of catastrophe that prevented Ferguson and Nurmagomedov from actually clashing in the octagon.
– Just not [happen]White mourned when asked about the fight. – Not because of the lack of trying. We brought this fight together five times. That was just not the intention. I don’t think about it at all. “