Former UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje has said that Tony Ferguson was never an elite lightweight.
Justin Gaethje fought Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, which took place in Jacksonville, Florida in May last year. It was a completely one-sided fight as Gaethje put a beating on Ferguson and ultimately knocked him out in the fifth round. Tony Ferguson sustained tremendous beating over the course of the fight.
Following his loss to Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson fought rising lightweight contender Charles Oliveira at UFC 256, which happened last December. In that fight, Ferguson lost to Charles Oliveira via unanimous decision. It was another one-sided fight where Ferguson was shut off by Oliveira.
“I mean, Tony has always been that man,” Gaethje told ESPN (via The Body Lock). “Guys constantly went in there and fought in the chaos and refused to create space. I don’t know why, [Anthony] Pettis and [Donald] Cerrone, these guys weren’t able to do what I did. But I think that was there the whole time.
“Fans not being there really helped, stayed focus, keep everything internal,” Justin Gaethje continued. “That’s a huge factor when you’re fighting Tony because just his face alone makes you wanna fight. I don’t think he’s done by any means, I just don’t think he’s an elite lightweight. I don’t think he ever was. I just think his skills were really effective in the way people were fighting him.”
Justin Gaethje says Tony Ferguson will never be the same
Justin Gaethje further added that Tony Ferguson used to be a dangerous fighter when he was confident heading into a fight. While coming off of a brutal loss, Gaethje revealed that Tony Ferguson was never the same.
“I was impressed with Oliveira but yeah, I don’t want to take anything away from him but Tony was not the same person,” Justin Gaethje added. “No one’s going to be the same person after you get hit in the face that many times. Ever. You fight with less confidence and his confidence is something that made him so dangerous and his lack of confidence now is going to be a factor.”
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