Longtime UFC lightweight Tony Ferguson rejected 155-pound king Charles Oliveira’s training invitation. For now, at least.
“El Cucuy” suffered his fourth loss in a row on May 7th when he was knocked out by Michael Chandler at UFC 274 in Pheonix, Arizona. A few days later, Oliveira, who also holds a win over Ferguson, invited the American to come work with him at his gym.
“We’re among big dogs, up&downs are part of our journeys,” Oliveira wrote on May 9. “I admire you a lot @tonyfergusonxt. You’ve the history inside the Octagon. Head up ‘El Cucuy’! If you wish, let’s train together in ChuteBoxe’s hedquarter in São Paulo for your nxt fight. You’re a brother!”
Ferguson and the former UFC 155-pound champion fought at UFC 256 in December 2020, and “Do Bronx” dominated the three-round affair with his ground game.
Speaking with MMA Junkie, Ferguson said that he holds no ill will toward Oliveira, however he envisions himself pairing up with the Brazilian inside the Octagon again. Because of that, El Cucuy said “it’s not the time” for the two to become training partners.
“I have to really reflect on what he said, because Chute Boxe is a very good school,” Ferguson said via the outlet. “But he is in my weight class. I’m one of the only fighters that he hasn’t finished, and I went into that fight practicing zero jiu-jitsu. I didn’t do too bad. I didn’t do as bad as Dustin Poirier just sitting there laying there. I stayed active and I went for submissions everywhere. It’s not like I practiced really hard.
“I’ve got to really think about that one, because I see myself competing against him again. No animosity, but I went back there and talked to him before the weigh-in faceoffs. I told him, he was signing posting, and I walked up to him, put my hand on his shoulder and I said, ‘Hey, kid. You stay focused, all right?’ He turned around and he looked at me and he knows already. Like I told him inside that octagon (when we fought).
“I put my arm around his shoulder and said, ‘Walk with me.’ I’m a good scout when it comes to certain things. … I know exactly what I have to do and I can’t really say no to it or yes to it. But I know right now that it’s not the time for me to go to Chute Boxe and to train with them. There’s some local gyms out that I’m going to be part of a team and help that team grow as well as myself.”
Ferguson Said His ‘Will to Win Is F****** There,’ Believes in His Chance to Win UFC Gold
Even though he’s 38 and coming off the worst loss of his career, Ferguson is far from done as a mixed martial artist. And he believes he’ll notch a comeback that will see him climb to the top of the lightweight mountain.
“When I take a loss that I know I lose – I don’t argue with it,” Ferguson said. “I really don’t argue with it. But what I do is take the good things that I’ve taken with it and the good parts that I have learned. One, I’m more flexible than I think. Two, my mentality is strong and my will to win is f*cking there. I just have to put the structure behind it and I have to put the coaching and the technique. I have all the tools to win and to be able to get that belt.”
Ferguson Hasn’t Picked Up a Win Since 2019
The last time Ferguson earned a victory was when he stopped Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 238 in June 2019. The win was his 12th in a row, and he was viewed as possibly the scariest fighter in the 155-pound division.
However, El Cucuy was defeated by Justin Gaethje in his next fight via fifth-round TKO, which started his skid. Oliveira was the next to beat Ferguson, followed by Beneil Dariush and Chandler.
Ferguson has a professional MMA record of 25-7, and he boasts win over the likes of former UFC lightweight champions Rafael dos Anjos and Anthony Pettis.