Former UFC middleweight champion turned color commentator Michael Bisping has expressed concerns about what he believes is a rapid decline in the performances of Tony Ferguson in recent times.
Not so long ago Ferguson was on a thrilling 12-fight winning streak, but just when he was finally within reach of a long-awaited title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov this year, his form started to derail, with a brutal five round beatdown loss against Justin Gaethje being followed by a convincing unanimous decision defeat against Charles Oliveira earlier this month.
In all fairness, that’s two top level fighters he’s gone up against, but from his standpoint, Bisping is troubled by this sudden slump in form.
“Against Justin Gaethje he got out-struck and then against Charles Oliveira he essentially for the most part got out-grappled,” Bisping said on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast. “I’m kind of concerned for Tony Ferguson. Of course, he doesn’t want my sympathy, he doesn’t need my concern, he doesn’t want me talking about him like this, but I’m just curious about where he’s gonna go now as a fighter and I do feel for him. It’s hard. When you’re a guy like Tony Ferguson or anybody in the UFC that’s at the top of the food chain for so long and you’re one of the guys, you’re one of the main guys in that division for so long, and then to see this fall from grace if you will, to get dominated two times in a row.
“Charles Oliveira, for all the skill that he has and I said he was massively underappreciated, is not one of the guys that you think of as the stars of the division. He will be now, but he wasn’t prior to this fight. I just hope that Tony Ferguson deals with this well, I hope has a good team around him.”
Bisping then went one step further by suggesting that all the wars Ferguson’s been in over the years may now be catching up to him.
“I just think the real story of what we’re seeing here is the rapid decline of Tony Ferguson because the human body can only take so much and Tony has been such a warrior for the UFC. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Tony Ferguson—and what I’m about to say, if I’m Tony, could be perceived as that way and that’s not what I’m trying to do—I have nothing but respect for Tony Ferguson. He is a true fighter. He’s an absolute warrior. He’s put on some sensational performances inside the octagon, but he’s also taken a lot of damage and often because he’s so f*cking tough he’s able to outlast his opponents, he takes this amount of damage, and then he puts the hurt on them and he gets the win. And it’s always in spectacular fashion, that’s why he gets so many bonuses.
“But my point and my theory is that you can only take so much. The human body has an expiry date. Okay, he’s not getting flatlined, he’s not getting knocked out, but he’s taking a lot of damage, he’s starting to slow down, he’s not looking quite as snappy, he’s not quite as explosive, and of course, he just lost two fights.”