There’s no debate that Tony Ferguson is one of the most awkward fighters you’ll ever see compete inside of the Octagon. The 33-year-old veteran has compiled an impressive nine-fight win streak on the heels of confusing opponents with unorthodox movement on the feet, battering them with elbows and combinations from all angles, submitting them with his patented D’Arce choke, and making them feel uncomfortable during the pre-fight trash talk.
Fortunately for “El Cucuy,” his unusual fighting style and microphone skills has led him to an interim UFC lightweight title shot opposite rising superstar Kevin Lee tomorrow night (Sat., Oct. 7, 2017) at UFC 216 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While Ferguson and Lee have traded insults on more than one occasion leading up to their main event bout this weekend, Lee’s remarks over Ferguson’s lack of technicality may be the most ill-founded. After all, a fighter doesn’t just win nine-straight fights without technically exposing the opposition.
“It’s very intellectual. The reason why you guys say it’s weird is because you don’t understand it,” Ferguson said of his awkward fighting style. “It’s f*cking genius. Let me tell you, it’s so far past your guys’ heads it’s not even funny, because this is the next stage in everybody’s evolution. I’ve been working on this since 2008; actually, before that. I said I had a double doctorate in athletics, I’m working on my triple.”
In effort to fuel his futuristic fighting style Ferguson has adopted an unusual array of workout regiments. Ferguson has been seen hitting speed bags with elbows, dipping beneath lasers like Catherine Zeta-Jones, and break dancing during open workouts. It has helped “El Cucuy” not only stand out among fight fans, but also among his fellow lightweights.
“You guys deserve a better me, man. I’m primed. I’m the best,” Ferguson said. “But it’s hard when you’ve got a knucklehead like Kevin Lee that wants to just keep pushing that button. So for me, I have to be a captain of the team, and this guy wants my spot on that team. He wants that varsity spot. So I’m going to treat it like it’s a competition, not a fight. I’m going to go in there and give him a T.F. — an old Tony Ferguson technical fall. I’m going to outpoint him then I’m going to pin him.”
If Ferguson is able to get past Lee tomorrow evening at UFC 216 he will not only walk away with the interim UFC lightweight championship, but almost certainly a future showdown with current lightweight king Conor McGregor, who may return by the end of the year. More importantly, “El Cucuy” will prove (yet again) that his fighting style is more technical than flash, and that his uncanny training regiments are scratching the surface of his future potential.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 216 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FX at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.