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What’s Next for Tony Ferguson?

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Tony Ferguson officially off the UFC 254 card

After his brutal loss to Justin Gaethje, fans rejoiced at the mention of Tony’s comeback fight against the former interim Lightweight Champ, Dustin Poirier. Sadly, today we talk about how this awesome matchup fell apart, and the way Tony oddly but at the same time stoically; tried to save it. We also discuss what could potentially be down the road for Tony Ferguson in his future at Lightweight.

Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (Left) And Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (Right).

Why did the Tony vs. Dustin fight fall through?

It’s all about the money baby! For those who don’t know, Dustin Poirier was un-satisfied with his contract and what the UFC was trying to pay him to fight Tony. So much so, that he said he’s not fighting until he gets what he calls, “Paid in full.” Here’s one unique part about this situation already; usually when a fighter says he or she is “out of a fight” because they’re unsatisfied with their pay, they usually get met with tons of backlash from the fans. That’s not the case for Dustin Poirier however.

Although there have been some people who dislike him opting out of the fight for more money, there’s even more who support his decision. Here are some things we do know. first off, 5 of his last 8 fights have received the Fight of the Night bonus. He’s been awarded Submission of the night once, and Performance of the Night on three separate occasions. If that’s not an indication that his fights are extremely entertaining then I don’t know what is. Dustin Poirier has become familiar with fans for his heart, and hard-fought wins. His last fight against Dan “The Hangman” Hooker saw him make a comeback after almost getting knocked out, and firmly take home the W by decision. Many called it a potential “Fight of the Year”, and for his efforts, he got paid a disclosed fight purse of 150K to show, and a 150K to win.

Even Tony Ferguson wants the UFC to “Pay the man.” Tony even went as far as turning down other fights including a mega-fight with newly signed star Michael Chandler (21-5, 3x Bellator Lightweight Champion) in favor of the UFC paying Dustin Poirier what he wants. I will say, it is not public knowledge as far as how much Dustin is asking for. It could be an increase of a few hundred thousand or even millions of dollars… One thing is clear, Dustin wants the fight, at least he says he does.

What makes Tony so unique?

Before we talk about his future, it’s best if we talk about “the guy”. Tony Ferguson’s nickname is “El Cucuy” which basically is the Mexican Boogeyman. What makes Tony so scary? Well, first off, did you see the picture of him covered in Anthony Pettis’ blood, smiling like a maniac? Tony Ferguson could either be a real person, or a fictional superhero with a demonic side. He’s largely “self-trained”. Tony spends a lot of time just standing on his head doing exercises. On social media, there are videos of him showing off his skills using the famous “Wing-Chun” dummy. Out of nowhere, he’ll just scream “WOOOO!” like Ric Flair. Usually to scare Dana White during face-offs, which I think is hilarious.

What makes him “The Boogeyman” though? Or Is he just an odd character? Let me paint this picture for you. You step into a cage, and they padlock the door behind you. Across the Octagon there’s a guy that seemingly never gets tired. Your name is Justin Gaethje, and you have no idea but you’re about to put an absolute beat down on a former interim champ who happens to be on a 12 fight winning streak. You hit this guy with punches that have knocked out everybody else you’ve fought. Why is he not dropping? How is he still coming forward? Did he just stoop down and throw imaginary sand at me? That’s right, he’s Tony Ferguson!

Most impressively, Tony Ferguson nearly won that fight with Justin Gaethje. Near the end of round 2, Tony hit Justin with a ferocious uppercut that completely made Justin stutter and fall down. Literally seconds later, the round ends. If Tony landed that punch with even 30 seconds left, we very well could’ve had Khabib vs. Tony scheduled to fight again. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Tony would end up getting saved from himself by the referee in round 5. Justin landed a heavy punch, Tony staggered but never went down, and Herb Dean the ref stepped in to end it. This is what makes Tony the boogeyman. This inner drive that makes him seem supernatural. He possesses a unique set of skills that are geared to tactically slice his opponent up with elbows, or submit them.

For such an elite fighter though, it’s not his technique that makes him someone to be feared. It’s the man. The man that doesn’t get tired during the fight (or maybe ever?), the willpower that makes him keep coming forward when visually you can see his body is telling him to stop.

So what could be next for Tony Ferguson?

Tony Ferguson (Left) Catching Justin Gaethje (Right) with the previously mentioned, ferocious uppercut.

Right now, the future of UFC star Tony Ferguson is a cloudy one. I’ve got a gut feeling that eventually, the Dustin Poirier fight comes to fruition in the near future. It seems like Tony wants Dustin, and Dustin wants Tony. Or so he claims. Will Dustin take a different fight without getting paid more money? I think the only offer he would take is a fight with Gaethje for the title. One variable in the way of that, however, is a man named Khabib Nurmagomedov.

In fact, Khabib has gone on record saying he would defend his belt a final time against GSP, or anybody who could manage to beat Dustin Poirier. Is that why Tony is so set on fighting Dustin? Could be. We know that he turned down a fight with Michael Chandler. We know that Dana White has said “things have gone silent”, in regards of communication with Tony’s team. Maybe that’s a sign that Tony’s heart is set on fighting Dustin? I think so. Stay tuned fight fans! Thank you for reading, and as always, enjoy the fights!

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Combat Sports and Motorsports Editor. Staff Writer for Overtime Heroics MMA. Named first ever ‘Writer of the Month’ in January 2021 for OTH MMA.