While there was many high points of UFC 296, there was definitely a significant low point for the MMA fans around the world. That low point came during the second fight on the PPV main card which featured a lightweight battle between former interim champion Tony Ferguson (25-10) and Paddy Pimblett (21-3).
El Cucuy entered the contest having lost six fights in a row. A stretch that seems unfathomable if you think about the run that Tony Ferguson went on from 2013-2019. Ferguson was unbeaten during that stretch and became the interim lightweight champion. Many argued he was the best lightweight in the world during that stretch along with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson lost an interim title fight to Justin Gaethje in 2020. In that fight, he had moments including dropping Gaethje, but he was largely dominated. Nobody could have guessed that the loss to Gaethje would send Ferguson’s career down a path of six straight losses. Yet, that’s the reality that we were all hit with.
Entering UFC 296, he needed a win in the worst way. Instead, he suffered another lopsided loss. He was beaten up in the first round and dropped by Paddy Pimblett. Pimblett’s cardio faded badly in the next two rounds, but he was able to consistently take Ferguson down and El Cucuy had no answer. In the end, all three judges gave every round to Paddy The Baddy.
Ferguson Not Retiring After UFC 296
In the post-fight press conference, Dana White said that he wanted to see Tony Ferguson retire. El Cucuy has gone from the top of the lightweight world all the way to bottom of the barrel in terms of UFC lightweights. That said, Ferguson doesn’t want to go out with a loss.
El Cucuy took to Instagram and told the world that he wasn’t retiring despite the loss on Saturday night. So, what comes next? Despite the fact that he’s lost seven fights in a row, I can’t see the UFC just cutting Ferguson. In a sad way, this reminds me all too much of the BJ Penn situation.
The promotion kept giving BJ Penn chances because of the way Dana White felt about Penn and what Penn meant to the promotion. However, after the seventh straight defeat, Penn hung up the gloves for good. Ferguson is now in that same spot so it’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.
Should Ferguson get one more chance, I have an idea for his potential last fight. Why not give Ferguson a chance to go out at UFC 300? Maybe give him a fight with fellow legend Jim Miller. Miller is going to fight on the card, I can assure you that. Miller has fought on 100 and 200 while being very vocal about getting a spot on 300. At this stage, very few fights make sense for Tony Ferguson. This is one that actually might.