Tony Ferguson Admits He Would Have Retired If He Lost Opening Round At UFC 274

Tony Ferguson

Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson has confirmed that would he have dropped the opening round of his UFC 274 clash with Michael Chandler earlier this month, he would have called time on his professional mixed martial arts career.

Ferguson, a former interim titleholder at 155lbs, suffered his fourth consecutive loss earlier this month at UFC 274, dropping a brutal second round front kick knockout loss against fellow lightweight contender, Chandler, resulting in the first KO defeat of his lengthy professional run.

The Oxnard native had started the opening frame brightly, however, managing to momentarily drop Chandler with a left hand in the opening minute of the first round, as well as landing a series of notable follow up shots on the feet.

Giving up a double leg takedown at the fence midway through the first round, Ferguson would manage to contain Chandler in full guard for the remainder of the frame, however, slicing with elbows and strikes from the bottom to boot.

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Landing his first round victory, Ferguson would, however, suffer a brutal second round front kick knockout loss to Chandler – who had snapped a run of two straight losses to common foes, Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira with his stoppage win.

Tony Ferguson confirms he would likely have called time on his career if he dropped the first round

Speaking on his first round performance against Chandler, Ferguson told Submission Radio during a recent interview that if he were to drop the first frame, he would likely have hung up his gloves.

“I talked to my Dad, I talked to my coaches, and I said if I knew that I didn’t have the gumption or the will to want to go anymore, if I didn’t do good in that first round, I would have called it quits,” Tony Ferguson said. “I would have said, ‘F*ck this, I’m out, I’m retiring, I’m going to go find something different, I’ll coach everybody to be at this high level and that’s it.” 

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“… So, here I am, I have a TKO on my record, I have a submission record, you know what I mean,” Tony Ferguson continued. “I’ve been put out, knocked out, I’ve lost by TKO, I’ve lost by decision. It’s a pain in the ass to be able to look at these losses, but like I said, if I didn;t have the will and the want to be able to do that and then know that when Dana (White) said I looked phenomenal in that first round, I looked really good, I would have just called it quits.” 

Ferguson congratulated Chandler following his victory at UFC 274, and maintained that despite the crushing knockout loss, he was still hungry to compete – something he echoed during his recent interview.

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“Right now, I’m f*cking hungry, man,” Tony Ferguson said. “I found myself back in the gym hitting the bag really light, not going too hard. This morning I didn’t wake up with a headache. I felt f*cking phenomenal this morning, I felt really good. I’ve been eating really well, I haven’t been treating my body like sh*t or my mental game like sh*t.”

“I’ve really been focusing on what I can control, and you know, shoutout to the world,” Tony Ferguson explained. “The only things that we can control is our heart rate and our breathing. The rest is up to the big guys upstairs.”