Ferguson shared the Octagon with Justin Gaethje this past Saturday night (May 9). The bout headlined UFC 249 and was contested for the interim UFC lightweight title. Ferguson hoped to extend his winning streak to 13 but he ended up being stopped via TKO in the fifth round.
What Went Wrong For Tony Ferguson?
Helen Yee was able to speak with Rashad Holloway, Ferguson’s boxing coach. Holloway gave his take on why Ferguson was outgunned in the standup (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
“Tony was not as sharp sometimes as we usually see, but Tony was active. He was busy. Justin Gaethje just fought a hell of a fight,” Holloway said. “He fought a hell of a fight. He was able to capitalize on some of the mistakes Tony made. Tony fought Tony’s fight in some significance, but at the same time there were a lot of things he didn’t do, and I think that was due to Justin Gaethje putting on a good performance, and it just is what it is some nights.”
Holloway went on to go into a bit more detail when it comes to how the fight played out.
“Our whole game plan was to stay on the outside, strike, stay long, move to our right at all times,” Holloway said. “Tony did that at times. He didn’t do it as much as I wanted him at times, but Tony’s Tony. Tony likes to engage, Tony likes to bang, and that’s what makes Tony Tony at the same time. He did a lot of that. I think I would have liked to see Tony use his feet a little bit more. Tony did some good things in the beginning of the fight, like when he stayed long. He did very well in keeping Justin off balance, a lot of good leg kicks.
“Of course, we all wanna see Tony on the ground more with Gaethje – more submissions, more jiu-jitsu – but at the same time, Gaethje makes it hard. You look at all of Gaethje’s fights, Gaethje doesn’t let anyone take him to the ground. He does a good job of that.”
Gaethje is now set for a title unification bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov sometime this year. As for Ferguson, he’ll need to go back to the drawing board. During his post-fight interview, “El Cucuy” told Joe Rogan that he isn’t going anywhere.
Going into his bout with Gaethje, Ferguson hadn’t lost a bout since May 2012. He also hadn’t been finished in a fight since Oct. 2009 and that was via submission. This is the first time Ferguson has suffered a loss via TKO in his pro MMA career.