Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hooker: It’s Not Anyone’s Place To Tell Ferguson To Retire

UFC lightweight Dan Hooker has responded to those who’ve suggested that former interim champion Tony Ferguson should retire following his defeat at UFC 279.

This past weekend, Ferguson returned to welterweight for the first time since he won The Ultimate Fighter 13 back in 2011. While his divisional debut was initially set to come against ranked power-puncher Li Jingliang, “El Cucuy” was part of a massive card alteration that was forced by Khamzat Chimaev‘s weight miss.

With that, Ferguson was ascended to a headline spot to face Nate Diaz in a clash of veterans. Whilst the longtime lightweight had hoped to find form at 170 pounds, he instead became the victim of a fairytale end for Diaz, who fought out his UFC contract with a fourth-round submission victory in Las Vegas.

Prior to the announcement of Ferguson’s short-notice venture to welterweight last month, Dan Hooker was campaigning to be matched with “El Cucuy.” But with his callouts falling on deaf ears, the New Zealander suggested that the former interim titleholder should “piss off and retire” if he continued ignoring him.

Now, having seen Ferguson return to action unsuccessfully at a different weight, Hooker has defended the 38-year-old MMA vet against calls for him to hang up his gloves following a fifth consecutive loss.

Hooker: ‘Ferguson Still Has Fights In Him’

While appearing on The Allstar’s UFC 279 reaction video, Hooker assessed Ferguson’s display on Saturday night and what could be next for the fan favorite.

After suggesting that “El Cucuy” still has gas in the tank, “The Hangman” insisted that it’s not anyone’s place to encourage Ferguson to retire, and that the only person who has the right to decide that is the man himself.

“Weird fight. It was a messy fight,” Hooker said. “I would like to see Tony come back to ’55… Ferguson still has a lot of fun fights left in him. He obviously wants to keep fighting and wants to commit. At the end of the day, that’s really what it comes down to; the person. It’s within themselves when they wanna call it a day.

“It’s not anyone else’s place to come in… It’s a hard one for someone sitting on the outside to tell a guy like Tony Ferguson, ‘You need to stop fighting.’ He’s still making a boatload of cash,” Hooker added.

Given the quick turnaround from his devastating knockout loss to Michael Chandler in May, some have suggested that Ferguson needs more time to adjust to welterweight.

However, having seen him lose speed at 170 pounds and fall to defeat against an unranked name, Hooker is hoping to see Ferguson return to lightweight next time out — perhaps resurrecting the chances of “The Hangman” squaring off with “El Cucuy” down the line.

Do you agree with Dan Hooker? Does Tony Ferguson have more left in the tank?

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