Tony Ferguson has full respect for Charles Oliveira and has gone out of his way to bond with his former opponent. However, he won’t accept the Brazilian’s offer to train together.
Ferguson (25-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) suffered his fourth straight loss at UFC 274 while on the receiving end of a viral knockout against Michael Chandler (23-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC) . The arrival extended a tough time for the former interim UFC lightweight champion, but Ferguson appears to be enlightened after the loss.
“El Cucuy” told MMA Junkie on Friday that he plans to make some drastic changes to his preparation going forward, including finding a new team to work with. Coincidentally, this revelation came shortly after Oliveira (33-8 MMA, 21-8 UFC) invited Ferguson to train together.
Oliveira picked up a unanimous decision victory over Ferguson at UFC 256 in December 2020 in a current 11-fight win that included capturing lightweight gold. Ferguson is the only one of those 11 names who hasn’t been remotely shut down, and although their careers follow two different paths on paper, Ferguson is reluctant to accept the offer.
“I really have to think about what he said because Chute Boxe is a really good school,” Ferguson told MMA Junkie. “But he is in my weight class. I’m one of the only fighters he didn’t finish, and I went into this fight practicing zero jiu-jitsu. I didn’t do too badly. I didn’t hurt as bad as Dustin Poirier sitting there, laying there. I stayed active and went looking for submissions everywhere. It’s not like I’m training really hard.
“I really have to think about that one because I see myself competing against him again. No animosity, but I went back there and spoke to him before the weigh-ins. I told him that ‘ he was signing, and I walked up to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said, ‘Hey, kid. You stay focused, okay? He turned around and he looked at me and he already knows. Like I said to 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 or yes. But I know now that it’s not the time for me to go to Chute Boxe and train with them. There are local gyms where I will be part of a team and help that team grow as well as myself.
Ferguson showed nothing but a positive attitude following his most stunning career loss to Chandler at UFC 274. It turned out to be a red flag for him, however, and Ferguson said that his future was bright.
“When I take a loss that I know I’m losing, I don’t argue,” Ferguson said. “I really don’t dispute that. But what I do is take the good things that I took with it and the good parts that I learned. First, I’m more flexible than I think. Two, my mentality is strong and my will to win is screwed up 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 be able to get this belt.