Tony Ferguson is NOT fighting for his UFC life this weekend — despite losing his last three fights — with UFC boss Dana White telling TMZ Sports “El Cucuy” is still an elite level fighter in the world’s top MMA promotion.
“[Tony’s] still the number 7 ranked guy in the world,” White said. “Still in the top 10. Still in the top 15. Still one of the most elite fighters in the world. If you look at who he’s fought, he’s fought everybody. So, I wouldn’t say he’s fighting for his UFC life.”
38-year-old Ferguson — the #7 ranked UFC lightweight — is taking on #5 ranked Michael Chandler at UFC 274 Saturday night in Phoenix.
FYI, Tony’s lost his last three fights … the first to Justin Gaethje by TKO at UFC 249 in May 2020. Next was Charles Oliveira … who, like Justin, thoroughly beat Tony at UFC 256 in December 2020. His last defeat was against Beneil Dariush … who beat Tony by unanimous decision at UFC 262 in May 2021.
Prior to the losing streak … TF put together an impressive win streak, scoring 12 straight against everyone from “Cowboy” Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Kevin Lee, Rafael dos Anjos, and Edson Barboza.
But, sure, the last three are losses … but losses to top guys. Oliveira went on to be the champion, and Gaethje is the #1 ranked contender. Dariush is ranked #4.
And, that’s why White says Tony is still a high-level fighter.
The days of pursuing a belt may be passed — or maybe not — but the dude can still fight in a locked cage.
We also talked to Dana about the other fights on the card … including two of Ferguson’s last opponents fighting each other, Gaethje and Oliveira.
“Charles Oliveira has a 91% finish rate, and Gaethje has an 87% finish rate,” White says, believing someone’s likely going to sleep.
Fights go down Saturday night … the fireworks are coming! 💥💥💥💥
Note: we talked to Dana earlier this week … before Tony was critical of the UFC President when meeting the media on Wednesday.