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Tony Ferguson Vs Paddy Pimblett At UFC 296: “I’m Not Ready To Retire, Says Ferguson

9 months ago By Jhon Woug

Tony Ferguson, the enigmatic former interim lightweight champion, has been through a tumultuous journey in recent years. Known for his relentless fighting style and unique personality, Ferguson has faced a challenging phase with a six-fight losing streak in the UFC. However, despite the calls for retirement and the hardships, “El Cucuy” remains resolute in his determination to continue his MMA career.

In a candid conversation on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Ferguson opened up about his struggles, his unwavering commitment to the sport, and his upcoming bout against the rising British star, Paddy Pimblett, scheduled for UFC 296 on December 16.

Ferguson’s Resilience Amidst a Losing Streak

The MMA world has been witnessing Tony Ferguson’s rollercoaster journey, with six consecutive losses casting doubt on his future in the sport. However, retirement was never an option for Ferguson. Ferguson firmly asserted that retirement was not on his mind, and he had no intentions of getting cut or retiring.

Ferguson’s resilience and determination to continue competing showcase his deep love for the sport and his unyielding belief in his abilities. “It’s not easy to do what we do inside of that cage; it takes a lot of f*cking balls,” Ferguson asserted, highlighting the mental fortitude required to step into the Octagon.

With a career spanning 35 years, Ferguson’s competitive spirit and his ability to both win and learn from losses have been the driving forces behind his longevity in the sport. Admitting his long history of competition, Ferguson confessed that for 35 years, he had only known how to win and accept defeat. Although he despised losing, he acknowledged his ability to handle it.

Ferguson’s approach to defeat reflects his character as a sportsman; he refuses to be a sore loser and instead focuses on getting back on track and moving forward, no matter how challenging the journey may be.

**The Upcoming Clash with Paddy Pimblett**

Tony Ferguson’s next challenge comes in the form of Paddy Pimblett, a promising UK fighter with a six-fight win streak. While Ferguson acknowledges Pimblett’s skills, he doesn’t shy away from offering his unique perspective on his opponent.

Playfully remarking when asked about Pimblett, Ferguson refrained from calling him derogatory names, saying, “I’m not going to say he’s a fat f*ck. Just kidding.” He then provided an insightful analysis of the Liverpudlian fighter, describing him as “long-range, lanky, mouthy,” and a “good submission specialist.”

Despite recognising Pimblett’s abilities, Ferguson believes that Pimblett is “very beatable.” This belief stems from a close scrutiny of Pimblett’s recent fights, including his match against Jared Gordon, which some fans and experts believed he lost.

The matchup between Tony Ferguson and Paddy Pimblett has generated significant buzz within the MMA community. Many fighters and fans have criticised the UFC’s matchmaking, suggesting that they are pitting Ferguson against Pimblett to elevate the latter’s status by securing a win against the legendary “El Cucuy.”

However, when taking into account Pimblett’s lacklustre performance against Gordon, it becomes apparent that he may face a more significant challenge than expected when he steps inside the Octagon with Ferguson at UFC 296.

Ferguson’s Struggles and Self-Reflection

Tony Ferguson’s losing streak has been a challenging phase in his illustrious career. He has faced criticism, doubts, and questions about his future in the sport. However, Ferguson’s willingness to open up about his struggles and undergo self-reflection showcases his commitment to personal growth and improvement.

Ferguson admits that he put himself in this difficult position, acknowledging that he had tried new things during fights instead of practicing them in the gym. He recognises the importance of honing skills during training and not experimenting during actual bouts. Ferguson emphasised the importance of refining techniques in the practice room, stressing that if a strategy doesn’t prove effective during practice, it shouldn’t be attempted on the actual playing field.

One critical aspect that affected Ferguson’s performance was the dissolution of his long-time team around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This event signified a substantial turning point in his career. He faced the daunting task of assembling a new support system and training partners that matched the mentality and work rate he had established with his original squadmates in Southern California.

The impact of this team breakup was profound on Ferguson. He admitted, “It f****** sucked,” and described the challenges of putting together a new team that could replicate the chemistry and synergy of his previous one.

Ferguson’s journey back to his roots

To reignite his career, Tony Ferguson decided to go back to his roots. He reunited with several of his old coaches and training partners, a move that has injected fresh energy and motivation into his training camp. This return to familiar faces and a comfortable environment has played a pivotal role in rejuvenating his spirit.

While some might consider this decision cliché, Ferguson emphasised that there is a significant difference between talking about returning to one’s roots and actually taking the necessary steps to make it happen. He believes that he is genuinely committed to this change, and his actions reflect his determination.

Ferguson stated that he had been completely genuine with his agent and family, especially his wife and kids, and he had maintained unwavering honesty with both them and himself. He has taken the time to reflect, dig deep into his motivations, and find himself emotionally. This self-discovery has allowed him to regain his passion for the sport and learn how to smile again, even in the face of adversity.

Ferguson’s journey has been marked by self-belief, and he admitted that he had to start believing in himself again. He had been providing motivation and support to others but had neglected to apply the same principles to himself. This realisation led to a significant mental shift for Ferguson, who declared, “I’m unbreakable.”

Tony Ferguson’s New Perspective

In his quest for redemption, Tony Ferguson has undergone a profound transformation. He has moved beyond merely providing motivation to others and has started applying those principles to himself. He has emerged from a period of self-doubt and frustration, learning to believe in his abilities once more.

To reignite his belief, Ferguson said that he had to start believing in himself again and recommence the process of self-affirmation because he hadn’t been practicing it. He recognised the importance of positive self-talk and self-belief in a sport as mentally and physically demanding as MMA.

Ferguson candidly revealed that he had reached a point where he had stopped enjoying training and competing. He was no longer competing with a smile, and the fun had seemingly drained from his journey. The mental toll of his losing streak had taken its toll, affecting his mindset and approach to the sport.

He admitted that he was “dreading” going to his training academy and that external voices had clouded his judgment. People had questioned his dedication, and these doubts had seeped into his psyche, causing him to “stop believing in himself.” This phase was undoubtedly challenging for Ferguson, who is known for his warrior spirit and indomitable will.

However, Tony Ferguson’s resilience and determination have propelled him back into the arena with a renewed sense of purpose. He has taken the necessary steps to regain his mental fortitude, reignite his passion for the sport, and rekindle the fire within him.

**Conclusion**

Tony Ferguson’s journey in MMA has been nothing short of remarkable. From his historic 12-fight win streak to his recent struggles, he has experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. Through it all, he has maintained an unwavering commitment to the sport and a refusal to consider retirement.

Ferguson’s upcoming bout against Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296 promises to be a pivotal moment in his career. While critics have questioned the matchmaking, Ferguson’s belief in his abilities and his opponent’s vulnerability make this fight intriguing.

The story of Tony Ferguson is one of resilience, self-reflection, and personal growth. It serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of fighters in the MMA world. Ferguson’s journey reminds us that setbacks are an inherent part of any athlete’s career, but it is the ability to bounce back and rediscover one’s passion that defines true champions.

As we await UFC 296 on December 16, fans around the world will be rooting for “El Cucuy” as he looks to rewrite the narrative and prove that he still possesses the heart and skill to compete at the highest level of mixed martial arts. Tony Ferguson’s journey continues, and the world will be watching with bated breath to see if he can once again rise to the occasion.

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