On May 9, 2020, Tony Ferguson experienced his fourth career defeat at the hands of Justin Gaethje. This marked the end of his remarkable eight-year and 12-bout winning streak.
Tony Ferguson was at the pinnacle of his career and was renowned as one of the greatest and most beloved combatants in the UFC. But since that fateful loss in 2020, El Cucuy’s fortunes have taken a nosedive.
He ended up losing five more matches, including a knockout and two submission losses. The most recent defeat came last night at UFC 291, leaving him with a disheartening six-fight losing streak.
In 2020, it would have been impossible for anybody to anticipate Ferguson’s career downturn. Yet, Khabib Nurmagomedov had accurately foreseen Ferguson’s fall from grace even before his decline began.
In an interview following Ferguson’s defeat at UFC 249, Khabib expressed his belief that Ferguson would taste defeat again soon. He emphasized that enduring such damage would inevitably change him.
He said: “He’s gonna come back, and someone gonna beat him again. When you take damage like this, you’re never gonna be [the] same.”
The UFC 249 match between Ferguson and Gaethje showcased Ferguson taking heavy shots and enduring significant damage. Although he managed to score a flash knockdown in the first round, Gaethje dominated the remainder of the bout.
Ultimately, the referee had to intervene and stop the bout. Ferguson looked visibly damaged and was later confirmed to have suffered a broken orbital bone.
Many speculated on the reasons behind Gaethje’s resounding victory. Some attributed it to Ferguson’s double weight cuts leading up to the match, potentially affecting his reaction time and reducing the power behind his shots.
Nevertheless, Khabib saw something more significant that hinted at Ferguson’s future struggles. The American competitor has undoubtedly competed to reclaim his previous self since that time but has been unsuccessful in his efforts.