Tony Ferguson is embracing the criticism of those who feel he’s no longer the same fighter.
It’s now been five fights and over three years since Ferguson last had his hand raised, with his most recent loss coming via submission to Nate Diaz at UFC 279 earlier this month. That fight marked Tony’s return to welterweight—a move that seemingly aimed to curb his run of poor form at 155 pounds.
However against Diaz, many fans felt Ferguson still lacked that cutting edge which once saw him on a 12-fight win streak and feared as the boogeyman of the lightweight division. Calls for the 38-year-old to retire, from fans and pundits alike, are now louder than ever.
UFC color commentator Daniel Cormier in particular has led calls for Tony to call it quits on his career, recently stating that he’s “done” as a fighter and is now simply a “shell of himself.”
However speaking to ESPN, Ferguson says he’s fully embraced the label and that rather than being on the steep decline, he’s in fact improving.
“Some of the haters, like people that are in the media like DC [Daniel Cormier]…a lot of people say I’m a former shell; I hope I’m a former shell, honestly, because I’m getting better,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson Hits Back At Cormier Criticism
Tony then fired back at Cormier, reminding fans of his infamous ‘Towelgate’ incident where he cheated at the weigh-ins for his UFC 210 title fight back in 2017—something the former double-champ later admitted to.
“When I feel like I’m ready to retire, I will retire, but right now dude it’s a little bit different, a little more interesting. Like with that being said, DC and all these commentators that keep repeating the same shit over the years, because that’s what they want me to do, they want the public to see me like that, to see me like a quitter…I never cheated on the scales to retain my championship like DC…hashtag Towelgate, you know, these guys grabbing the towel to try to lift some pounds off the scale, you’ll see right there the [UFC] went with it, you know, it’s interesting, it’s like an inside job, bro,” said Tony.
And for all those fans calling for Ferguson’s retirement, the former lightweight interim champ had a very clear message.
“Everybody that says I want to retire…’Oh, we care about you,’ teardrop emoji…f*ck off, like you know what I mean? Like come on…I’m in this industry till the wheels fall off and my hands, you know what I mean, even when they do I’m going to keep f*cking pushing this sh*t,” said Tony.
What’s your take on Tony Ferguson embracing his criticisms?