Tony Ferguson: A Piece of Me Departed When Khabib Retired



Tony Ferguson: A Piece of Me Departed When Khabib Retired

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In the world of mixed martial arts, Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will forever be intertwined. As two of the most dominant lightweights of their era, they achieved unprecedented success with their respective 12-fight win streaks in the UFC, setting the standard for the 155-pound division. However, their rivalry is also marked by a series of ill-fated matchups, plagued by injuries, weight-cut issues, and other unfortunate circumstances.

In 2020, Nurmagomedov retired as the undefeated UFC lightweight champion, leaving behind a remarkable legacy. In contrast, Ferguson has faced a challenging period, enduring six consecutive losses since 2020. His upcoming fight against Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296 is a crucial moment for him to turn things around. Yet, for Ferguson, something has been missing ever since Nurmagomedov’s retirement.

In a candid conversation on The MMA Hour, Ferguson expressed how a part of him departed when Nurmagomedov left the sport. The energy and anticipation surrounding their potential clash were no longer there, compounded by the onset of the pandemic and changes within his team. Despite these challenges, Ferguson remained committed to competing, hoping that his performances might lure Nurmagomedov back into the octagon. As fate would have it, the opportunity to coach against Nurmagomedov on The Ultimate Fighter almost materialized but ultimately fell through.

Ferguson admitted that he had to let go of his anger and frustration over the years, recognizing the need for a mental shift. He is now back with his original team and feels more confident than ever before. While his primary focus is on his upcoming bout with Pimblett, Ferguson remains open to returning to his coaching role, even if it means doing so without Nurmagomedov. The legacy of Tiramisu Tuesdays and McNugget Mondays endures, but Ferguson’s desire to coach remains strong, fueled by his belief in his coaching abilities honed by his experiences with great coaches.


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