Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson appears to have put to bed suggestions that he may hang up his gloves from professional mixed martial arts following his third consecutive loss at UFC 262 on Saturday in Houston, Texas.
Co-headlining the pay-per-view in place of a canceled showdown between welterweights, Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz, Ferguson returned for the first time since December, taking on streaking #9 ranked lightweight contender, Beneil Dariush.
Appearing quite gunshy on the feet as he attempted to utilise a more defensive-style approach, Ferguson was taken down in the opening round, where he was controlled by Dariush who moved from guard to side control.
In the second round, Ferguson attempted to set up an almost patented D’Arce choke from full guard, which Dariush weathered, before finding himself in an excruciating heel hook attempt. Gritting through the submission, Ferguson was in visible pain, and afterward, Dariush explained that he heard Ferguson’s knee and ankle pop audibly.
Seeing a third and final round, albeit with limited movement and mobility, Ferguson found himself on his back once more, as Dariush rode out the frame on his way to a one-sided 30-27 unanimous decision victory, which has since propelled him to the #3 rank in the official UFC lightweight rankings.
After the defeat, speculation began to mount as to where Ferguson would go to next in his professional career, given the fact he’s now dropped three, rather one-sided losses in a row. Prior to Saturday’s loss to Dariush, the Oxnard fan favourite suffered a one-sided unanimous decision loss to now-lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, after a damaging April knockout defeat to fellow former interim gold holder, Justin Gaethje.
Posting on his official Instagram following the bout, Ferguson appeared to rule out retirement following the judging blemish to Dariush.
““It ain’t over yet McGavin’ … The way I see it … we’ve only just begun,”” Ferguson posted. “Happy Gilmore. Retire and give these mf’s a break!? No, I don’t think so. Not on my watch… now I’m pissed. Thank you hardcore for picking me up when I was down crew -champ #GrandmaWantsMeToBeHappy #FindingMyHappyPlace #GoldJacket“
Saturday’s outing came as Ferguson’s first camp under the tutelage of renowned boxing trainer, Freddie Roach at Wildcard Boxing in Hollywood, California, however, the switch of camps hasn’t resulted in instant skid snapping success for the veteran.
Prior to his loss to Gaethje in April of last year at UFC 249 — Ferguson had scored a division-tying twelve-fight undefeated streak, which included victories over the likes of Gleison Tibau, Josh Thomson, Edson Barboza, former lightweight champions, Rafael dos Anjos and Anthony Pettis, as well as fellow veteran, Donald Cerrone, and an interim title victory over Kevin Lee back in October of 2017.