Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson appears to be taking his talents to renowned boxing coach, Freddie Roach at Wildcard Boxing in Los Angeles, California.
In the midst of a two-fight slide after winning an astonishing twelve outings consecutively — Ferguson is tasked with returning to winning ways in his next Octagon outing for the first time since October of 2013.
In a year to forget for the Oxnard native, Ferguson dropped a damaging fifth round knockout loss to fellow former interim titleholder, Justin Gaethje on short-notice at UFC 249 in Jacksonville in May.
Despite dropping Gaethje late in the first round, Ferguson failed to mount any real significant offence beyond the third frame, with the Arizonian pouring on brutal punishment before stopping Ferguson in the fifth.
Returning after a failed matchup against another former interim titleholder, Dustin Poirier at UFC 254 in October on ‘Fight Island’ — the 37-year-old took co-main event honours at UFC 256 in December, tackling the streaking Charles Oliveira.
Dominated for the first time in his career largely, Ferguson failed to deal with Oliveira’s almost unmatched Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game — with the Brazilian mere moments away from locking up a nasty first round armbar before the klaxon sounded. Beyond a slicing elbow in the second round, Ferguson was dominated on both the feet and the ground on his way to a unanimous decision loss.
Whilst an opponent has yet to be nailed down for Ferguson’s return, he took to his official Instagram account recently, posting a picture of himself and the above mentioned, Roach at the Wildcard Boxing facility — accepting the challenge of a comeback that 2021 brings with it.
“Right where I need to be,” Ferguson wrote. “Thanks, coach Freddie (Roach) and Wildcard Boxing fam for giving me a chance. Always been a wildcard at heart. Fight prep, mitwork and bagwork in the box. Rest, recover and re-strategize. The energizer is in full charge crew. Excited to train again. Hands feeling accurate and conditioning on point, but can always be better. 2021 — challenge accepted. -CSO- # moar focus #coachkeepin’myrighthandstrong“
Ferguson, who won The Ultimate Fighter 13 tournament lodged a notable hitlist of victims prior to May’s knockout loss to Gaethje. Rebounding from a decision defeat to Michael Johnson in May of 2012, Ferguson dispatched Mike Rio, Katsunori Kikuno, Danny Castillo, Abel Trujillo, Gleison Tibau, Josh Thomson, Edson Barboza, Lando Vannata, former champions Rafael dos Anjos, and Anthony Pettis, as well Donald Cerrone and Kevin Lee — the latter of which earned him the interim lightweight championship.
Renowned boxing mastermind, Roach has trained countless world champions during his time as a trainer, including James Toney, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Miguel Cotto, Jorge Linares, as well as current student, Manny Pacquiao. The 60-year-old Massachusetts native also featured as a trainer most notably for former UFC middleweight and welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre.