Tony Ferguson lost against Nate Diaz at UFC 279.
It is the fifth consecutive loss on his record and many other fighters would start going to a dark place if it happened to them. Ferguson has already been to dark places and with more than 30 years of martial arts training and competition, he is the living embodiment of how growth happens in martial arts and he said he’s not going anywhere.
“El Cucuy’s a legend. I’m not going anywhere.” – Tony Ferguson
After the loss at UFC 279, when Ferguson opened up his portion of the post-fight press conference he asked the media in attendance, “Anybody want a mint?”
He was alluding to his part of the supposed melee that happened at the UFC 279 pre-fight presser that was canceled for “everyone’s safety” according to Dana White. Ferguson’s only involvement in that was offering his future opponent, Diaz a mint.
When asked if the short notice change from Li Jingliang to Diaz had anything to do with the loss, he said, “ Right-handed to southpaw, yeah a little bit. We were more than ready for anybody to step up to the plate. My corner went for the shot, we should have kept it standing you know, little details to expand on and to grow from. Nate’s a game fighter, can’t say anything else. It’s not like he’s old and slow and stuff you know what I mean? So hopefully the crowd at UFC 279 that was there, and present got some blood splattered on them or something. I had fun in there.”
It’s rare to see such a positive reaction from a lifelong competitor like Ferguson but it speaks to his maturation as a martial artist and a human being. Failing is often said to be the pathway to success and in training rooms, the phrase “losses are lessons” is a constant mantra. How one reacts to anything is a choice and Ferguson seems to be making the right choice on how to handle the craziness of UFC 279.
When asked about his string of losses, Ferguson retorted, “Are you glad sports are back on in the world? Then say ‘thank you.’” Ferguson seems to be thankful to compete regardless of the outcome. He added, “When it comes down to an ‘L’ it has to go in like what’s being put on the table. Putting sports back on in the world, setting an example for these youngsters to not quit, to go in there and take the next fight. I’m gonna be real I don’t see any ‘L’s’ I just see growth.”
Ferguson alluded to how his losses started with the last time he and Khabib Nurmagomedov were booked. The COVID-19 pandemic happened, and the fight was canceled for the fifth time, and he wound up facing Justin Gaethje at a time the world was in a very strange place because of the pandemic, that’s when his losses started.
Ferguson admitted he was “sandbagging” and going through the motions until his wife told him he had to do something about it. So, he put together a team that he felt can get him to a better place, and regardless of the outcome of the fight, it seems to be working for “El Cucuy.”
He even said “I haven’t had a fight like that ever. It was the coolest experience.”
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel