Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC
Slumping to his second-consecutive defeat at UFC 256 last weekend at the UFC Apex, former interim lightweight champion, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson has claimed that eight-fight streaker, Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira was “mentally broken” during the first-round of his rather one-sided defeat.
Ferguson, who took co-headlining honours at the promotion’s final flagship event of the year beneath a flyweight championship meeting of Deiveson ‘Deus Da Garra’ Figueiredo and Brandon ‘The Assassin Baby’ Moreno, rounded off a year of poor form with a unanimous decision defeat to Oliveira. The blemish followed a fifth-round knockout loss to Justin ‘The Highlight’ Gaethje in May at UFC 249 — snapping a division tying twelve-fight unbeaten run.
Failing to really get out of the starting blocks, the Oxnard favourite struggled in the striking exchanges, unable to ever really utilise his usual pace-pushing forward movement to smother an ever-evolving Oliveira. Worryingly, Ferguson was handily mounted in the opening round, where he stayed for the majority, before the Brazilian locked up a gruelling armbar, massively hyperextending the Californian’s left arm.
Refusing to submit, the gritty Ferguson was taken down on cue in the second and third frames, with the promotion’s most prolific submission artist dominating from top-position, threatening with a triangle before the final buzzer.
Despite scoring a dominant, career-highlight win over the longtime number-one contender, Oliveira, according to Ferguson, was broken mentally in the opening round of their co-main event clash.
“We’re not gonna waste any energy here, and you guys shouldn’t either in jiu-jitsu matches,
” Ferguson said in a recent Instagram live
session. “Just be patient and wait for the opportunity for him (Charles Oliveira) to advance and get so lazy that in the third round he doesn’t even advance to mount anymore. What he does is he stays controlled into side position looking for something completely different, a different move because he was mentally broken in the first round.
As mentioned above, Ferguson seemed incredibly fortunate not to suffer a broken arm at the hands of Oliveira in the closing moments of the first round, with UFC colour commentator, Joe Rogan fearing the 36-year-old may have indeed suffered a fracture. The 10th. Planet Jiu-Jitsu revealed he had watched the fight back — without commentary.
“I went back and kind of watched film, and without the commentary and how all like, ‘Oh, you got dominated, this and that,’ Okay, to the untrained people in jiu-jitsu,” Ferguson said. “Advancing positions in traditional styles of martial arts, you will get points, advantages, and different types of points. But the judging and the contesting as far as the commission, I don’t even know if it’s there. I’m gonna be real, I don’t.“
With UFC 256 in the books, Ferguson and Oliveira certainly find themselves at the different end of a rather large spectrum. Dropping two consecutively for the first time in his hugely-successful career, Ferguson more than likely drops out of title contention, with Oliveira taking his place — adding the mainstay to a stunning third-round guillotine over common-opposition, Kevin ‘The Mo’Town Phenom’ Lee in March on home soil.