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Tony Ferguson answers questions from the media at a press conference in 2018.

Tony Ferguson Training – Is there magic, or is he gifted?

Tony Ferguson is an outlier. To be precise, he’s an outlier amongst outliers. Arguably, he has the best cardio on the entire UFC roster. Perhaps of all time.

In the words of Joe Rogan “Tony Ferguson is an animal. He’s the scariest guy at 155 pounds…. He does stuff to people and he doesn’t get tired!” Rogan then revealed that Tony works out six hours a day. Tony does hill sprints. While doing them he laps his training partners. He runs to the top, runs back down and then runs up again. Faster than any of them.

Rogan then talks about Tony’s last fight. At the end of the second round, his opponent is a bloody mess. That opponent was Cowboy Cerrone, who is as tough as they come. Tony on the other hand wasn’t even breathing heavy.

Nature or Nurture

So the question is: how does he do it? Is there magic in his training? Or is he simply gifted? My guess: it’s a mixture.

Tony has great genes. No doubt about it. Six hours of training a day is a lot. Maybe even too much. But all attributes must be developed. A sword not used will rust. Tony trains hard. He also puts out clips. He does things which don’t seem related to MMA. Even remotely.

We’ll need some help from Rogan again. Remember when Joe talked about Conor gassing against Floyd? It’s a simple principle. The more often you do something, the less effort it takes each time. “If you have to think about tying your shoelaces, it takes more effort.” So training only MMA maybe better for skill development. Throw a thousand punches and you’ll be able to throw easier than ever. But if you just want lung power and endurance, then variety is the way to go. Tony probably thinks this way. This explains a lot. The excessive rolls. Him swinging a tire in wide circle. The breakdancing and the high volume music. Using his elbows on the speed bag. The lateral spins while hung from wires.

However, it still leaves many puzzles. Kicking a steel pole with his shin. Going at the speed-bag with his eyes covered. The several exercises with a pole on his shoulders.

Perhaps all of these have a reason. Martial arts is a global phenomenon. The world is a big place. Perhaps Tony is taking the best exercises developed in some corner of the globe and adopting it.

Chael Sonnen has a different take. Chael has trained with Tony. He says Tony was disciplined and sensible. He followed instructions. So maybe Tony is just having fun. This is also possible. Look at him in the dead pool suit.  If true, he is not alone. Sean o Malley has jumped in. So has Chase Hooper.

Tony Ferguson v Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib and Tony are set to fight. Again. This is the fifth time. The hype is real. We hope it doesn’t get cancelled. The Coronavirus hangs in the air as a threat. But let’s be positive. Assume the fight goes ahead.

Both men are ready.

Tony is playing mind games. Tony tells Khabib to take off his glasses. Khabib wasn’t wearing any. Tony on the other hand was. Khabib is reacting. Tony’s street-fighting quips hit a nerve. This is unusual, albeit not that much. Khabib is usually calm. But this time he’s firing back.

He pointed out the jeans and belt in Tony’s new video. “Who trains with jeans and a belt?”  asked Khabib. He says he respects Tony, but only as a fighter. He is unsure about Tony as a person and a thinker.

For his part, Tony does not help the situation. He is guarded about his personal life. He is eccentric. As much as his fights, it reflects in his training.

However, one thing can not be denied. Whatever he is doing, it seems to be working great. If we see him win at UFC 249, we might see a lot more people train like him.