Tony Ferguson is set to make his much-awaited comeback at UFC 274. After a bunch of setbacks in his last few fights, Ferguson has finally identified the path to regain his form and it is wrestling!
El Cucuy has suffered 3 back to back losses in the last 2 years. After being dominated by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, Tony has not been the same. Since that fight, he has turned in a couple of underwhelming performances against Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush.
Desperate to return to winning ways, Tony is going back to his roots. In his formative years, Ferguson was a dominant wrestler. He is a two-time NCWA All American and won the National Championships in 2006. Hence, the 37-year-old is planning to use his wrestling instead of engaging in a brawl.
Tony Ferguson is going back to his wrestling roots
In the countdown video for UFC 274, Tony Ferguson spoke on making wrestling his main weapon against Michael Chandler this weekend. He also revealed that his old coach (David Mills) has come on board to help. The former Interim Lightweight Champion said,
“I wasn’t able to perform to my best abilities during my training camps. I was more afraid of anybody learning my trade and learning what I’ve got because I like that little bit of mystery.”
“I have been to the top, I’ve been to the bottom, but I don’t wanna lose again. I’m going back to my wrestling roots, brought back my old coach from Grand Valley State University, brought him back to kick my a**. It’s working really well. Getting my legs back in shape, Chandler is not gonna know what to do,”
The urgency from Tony Ferguson is very understandable. He is at the backend of his career and the dream of becoming the champion seems to be fading rapidly. In his prime, Tony was the most fearsome opponent in the 155lbs division. But a string of losses has caused the aura of invincibility around him, to disappear.
Tony is currently ranked at no. 7 in the division. If he falls short against Michael Chandler (ranked no.5) this weekend, he may never fight another Top 5 opponent ever again. With 4 losses in a row, his future in the UFC may also come under doubt. Hence, UFC 274 will be a ‘do or die’ event for Ferguson.
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Michael Chandler is an acclaimed wrestler himself. But lately, he has focused more on striking rather than grappling. Hence, the strategy to use wrestling may just work in favour of Tony Ferguson this time.