article by Jonathan King: The Clinch Report
Since winning season 22 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, Tony Ferguson has quietly been reeking havoc on the 155 lbs division. Much like the folklore that surrounds his nickname, ‘El Cucuy’ has remained mostly in the shadows while amassing a rather impressive record(19-3 MMA, 10-1 UFC). Ferguson a winner of 6 straight has achieved all he can in the shadows, now its time for this soft-spoken boogeyman to step into the light, where his carnage can be witnessed and revered by the masses.
With the spotlight comes greater competition, and Ferguson’s next opponent is without a doubt his toughest yet, Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has long been anointed the next king of the 155 lbs division, and already possesses a win over current champion Rafael Dos Anjos. That fight which took place over a year ago was the last for ‘The Eagle’ who has subsequently had to pull out of consecutive bouts with lightweight contender Donald Cerrone because of knee injuries. Now fully heeled, Khabib is welcomed back by a man who has quietly and swiftly inserted himself into the mix.
For Ferguson, the promotional push isn’t important winning is, he understands very well as long as he keeps winning the spoiled are bound to arrive. “In due time it will come around!” Ferguson said in regards to recognition. “Everybody knows me in the fight world, they don’t want to fight me!” Ferguson said with a laugh. And although the big fight will bring new exposure the new recognition isn’t something that fazes Ferguson, “What ever publicity they want to bring with it, Im down for it!” Ferguson said.
The fight itself doesn’t need any hype (although I’m sure they still will). The matchup on its own merits makes the fight one of, if not the most exciting bout currently on the schedule. On paper you have two superior grapplers with excellent wrestling pedigrees. In one corner you have Nurmagomedov, who brings a traditional smothering style of wrestling that is designed to break opponents over time, essentially by removing there soul! In the other corner you have Ferguson who utilizes excellent foot movement to dictate distance, and works extremely well behind his jab.
Although they are both excellent wrestlers, the styles are completely different. Quite often when you have two wrestlers in the cage, you end up seeing a boxing match! However, Ferguson sees conditioning as being the key to the fight. “Conditioning is something I already know is going to be tested, he is a big guy I hope he makes weight, but either way I’ll be ready.” Ferguson said. “Im always moving, and he’s just my next step towards victory!”
To follow Tony Ferguson on social media you can check him out on Instgram or Twitter