Tony Ferguson says he ‘got too one-dimensional,’ explains transformation for UFC 262

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Farah Hannoun
·3 min read
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After finding himself in unfamiliar territory, Tony Ferguson says he’s undergone some changes.

For the first time in his career, Ferguson has lost two consecutive fights, this coming after the former UFC interim lightweight champion had been on a 12-fight winning streak.

Ferguson (25-5 MMA, 15-3 UFC) will look to rebound from losses to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira when he meets Beneil Dariush at UFC 262 on May 15 in Houston. While he offers no excuses for his recent setbacks, “El Cucuy” knew something had to change.

“Last year, it had nothing to do with coaches or anything else,” Ferguson told Submission Radio. “Seriously, I take all the fall and all my blame on it, but the two losses that I had, I’m gonna be real with you guys: It was the best learning experience I probably could’ve ever had and the best thing that was for me and my family.”

He continued, “Chasing after a guy like (retired former champion) Khabib and then trying to get the fight and then not getting the fight and then having interim belts dangled in front of you, the game is what it is. You can’t get mad at the game. But how you play the game is exactly your approach. And that’s what I did for this year. I completely changed my approach.”

Ferguson, who’s been running his own operations with a tight-knit group, recently spent time at Wild Card Boxing with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, which has reignited his passion for the game.

“Where we’re at right now, I’m hungry as f*ck,” Ferguson said. “And I haven’t had the love for the game in a minute. I’m gonna be real: I haven’t even sparred yet, but I’m getting that f*cking hunger just being around it over at Wild Card.”

He continued, “Instead of a varsity mentality, I went back to an Olympic mentality, and I started to surround myself around people that are hungry how I am and how they’ve been for a long time. And I started to find myself over at Wild Card a lot easier, because that’s where I knew that I could find that kind of grind.”

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Ferguson takes on the streaking Dariush (20-4-1 MMA, 14-4-1 UFC), who’s been longing for a big fight. He has nothing but respect for the well rounded contender, who has motivated Ferguson to add new wrinkles to his game.

It’s a great fight,” Ferguson said. “Let’s talk about Beneil: The guy’s an up-and-comer. Not up-and-comer, an OG dude. He’s been doing the game for a long time. He’s over at Huntington beach with Rafael Cordeiro. He’s a southpaw, he’s very strong on his left side. He’s very game in mixing it up. So, that’s why I’ve been mixing my shit up. Because I got too one-dimensional. When you get too one dimensional, you start to plateau.

“And as a master trainer, you should be able to realize that and then understand that, make some changes, and then be able to get your athlete back on the same program, which was, not peaking, but steadily increasing. Paying attention to the smaller details are always going to make for the best things. And Beneil and their team, they got a sh*t load of people over there helping them out. They got like an ‘Ultimate Fighter’ team. It feels like I’m back on the ‘Ultimate Fighter,’ guys. It really does.

“I’m hungry as f*ck, and I’m back. I’m really back on it, man. And I’m mixing it up really, really well, better than a f**king blender.”