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Tony Ferguson: The Inevitable End

For a long time, Tony Ferguson was one of the best lightweights in the world.  Ferguson’s twelve fight unbeaten streak at 155 pounds remains one of the most impressive feats in the company’s history.  After he cemented his win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 238, his stock was at an all-time high.

However, Tony’s career has spiraled downward ever since.  After a fight between Ferguson and the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov fell apart for a fifth time, Ferguson accepted a fight against Justin Gaethje, who finished Tony in the fifth round of a one-sided beatdown at UFC 249.  From there, Tony suffered back to back losses against eventual champion Charles Oliviera and top contender Beneil Dariush.  Both opponents out grappled Ferguson with ease.  

Tony sought to change the tide against former Bellator champion Michael Chandler, and looked revitalized in the first round of their clash.  However, Chandler thwarted Ferguson’s resurgence with a shocking second round knockout, the first KO loss of Tony’s career.

When Ferguson announced a move to welterweight to take on the Chinese knockout artist, Li Jingliang, fans were skeptical of his chances.  Tony’s fortunes seemed to turn, however, when the UFC 279 card shuffled at the last minute, and saw Tony switch to take on fellow veteran Nate Diaz instead.  The two had a back and forth battle, but Diaz ultimately submitted Ferguson in the fourth round.  

Tony remained in high spirits after the loss.  After all, he arguably put on a more competitive performance than he had been able to since his winning streak.  That said, a closer look at his performance reveals some major concerns for any Ferguson fans.

 The Tony that fought at UFC 279 was a shadow of his former self.  He was slower, less durable, and more predictable.  The performance was a far cry from his electric fights during his win streak.

Tony seems reluctant to retire, but there is truly no shame in walking away.  Regardless of how he chooses to finish out his career, his prime days will forever remain integral to the history of the UFC’s lightweight division.  The moments and memories that Ferguson created in his prime are a testament to his iron will.  Through knockdowns, submission attempts, and injuries, Tony’s unbreakable desire to persevere, while ill-advised, ought to inspire any viewer.

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