Tony Ferguson faced off with Justin Gaethje on Saturday night during UFC 249. The interim lightweight title was on the line, as well as a potential championship bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Ferguson lost via TKO during the fifth round, and he immediately put his emotions on display during the post-fight interview.
Speaking with commentator Joe Rogan, Ferguson spoke about his long training camp, the switch in opponent and the subsequent loss. Nurmagomedov was the original opponent, but a travel ban resulted in him being stuck in Russia. Gaethje stepped in as the replacement and posed a different style of challenge. He is known as more of a striker than Nurmagomedov and landed 100 strikes on Ferguson's head.
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"Just a long camp and the weight cut had nothing to do with it," Ferguson said. "Justin's a tough son of a b—. I'll be real. We prepared for Khabib. Not too much of a striker. S— happens, man. What can you do, man? I would have much rather been finished than have somebody step in [and] end it."
The weight cut that Ferguson referenced was a talking point on the date of the original UFC 249. The event was previously scheduled for April 18, but Disney shut the event down. Despite having the event pushed, Ferguson still cut weight in order to reach 155 pounds. He then had to do so again ahead of Saturday's fight.
UFC president Dana White spoke about these weight cuts during his post-fight press conference. Many fans and analysts believed that Ferguson looked sluggish during the loss. White agreed and theorized that the weight cuts could have been a contributing factor.
"I don't want to take anything away from Gaethje, because he fought an incredible fight," White said during his post-fight press conference. "But I thought Tony looked off tonight. I thought he looked slow, and I would have to imagine that cutting weight twice in a month will affect you. So I don't know if that's it or what. The guy isn't human. He's got a chin. Nobody takes Gaethje's punches like that — nobody I've seen since I've been watching Gaethje fight. But this kid did."
Ferguson was upset about having the fight stopped by the referee, but White felt that it could have happened earlier. He spoke about this during the press conference and said that former UFC star Chuck Liddell was "blowing him up" about the terrible stoppage. However, White felt that it was great.