Former two-division champ Daniel Cormier has been brutally honest in his post-fight analysis of Tony Ferguson’s performance after losing out by submission to Nate Diaz at UFC 279 on Saturday night, stating his belief that the star, “just doesn’t have it anymore.”
“I could not believe what I was seeing,” Cormier said on the DC & RC show. “I’m not saying it was the worst fight of all time, not by any stretch of the imagination. It tells me that Nate Diaz still has a little bit left in the tank if he wants to fight, but it also tells me Tony Ferguson is done as a guy that I’ve seen in the octagon. Tony Ferguson is done, bro. He is a shell of himself and he doesn’t want to retire. He actually said he feels like he got better, he saw some good things. I’m like what did he do in there to show that he’s better than he was prior?”
“Ferguson just… he just doesn’t seem to have it anymore, but he does not seem to have the self-awareness to understand it,” Cormier continued. “He just doesn’t really want to walk away from the game, and I get it. It’s hard to walk away, but he just doesn’t have it anymore, man.
“I honestly don’t know who the UFC can match him up with anymore because if he had fought Li Jingliang, he would’ve lost. And it would’ve probably been worse because Li would have hit him with big shots early. I just don’t know who they can match this guy up with anymore.”
Cormier also noted his shock at how quickly Ferguson has gone from being a major star on a 12-fight winning streak, to suddenly becoming a shadow of his former self in the space of just one fight – a brutal five round beatdown against Justin Gaethje in 2020.
“That’s what stands out the most to me,” Cormier said. “Like, Nate Diaz can do whatever he wants. For Nate Diaz, not fighting Khamzat was a gift from god. That is literally best-case scenario for him. But you know what the crazy thing about Tony Ferguson to me … is that it wasn’t a gradual decline. It was like he got to the edge of the cliff and just fell off the cliff. It was Justin Gaethje then that was it.
“The moment he was done [was] that interim title fight — he wasn’t as good. Granted, he lost to Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira so you go, ‘Well, he’s fighting the best in the world.’ But now we got to see him fight Nate Diaz who’s not the best in the world right now. Nate will tell you he’s the best in the world, but he didn’t do great against Nate.”
DC clearly pulled no punches with his assessment, and to be honest it’s hard to disagree with him. It was a weird fight all-round and one that made it painfully obvious that both fighters are now well past their prime years.
Even Diaz looked slower and not as in-shape as we’ve seen in the past, but he still has durability and toughness on his side, along with the fact that his submission game has always been and remains his sharpest weapon. However, after watching that performance Jake Paul won’t exactly be quaking in his boots at the prospect of fighting an undersized Diaz in the boxing ring and appears to have a tougher test against Anderson Silva on his hands first.
Things looked worse for Ferguson however. Aside from his leg kicks his offense lacked fluidity and he was often left off-balance and out of position by repeatedly going for spinning attacks that didn’t pay off. More troublingly, as the fight went on Ferguson often lost composure when coming under any kind of sustained offense from Diaz, even turning his back and running away at times.
Ferguson has always been unorthodox, but this was something different, and it wasn’t a good look. It’s somewhat understandable though as the 38-year-old has been in a lot of wars over the years and after that TKO loss to Justin Gaethje and then the nasty front kick KO against Michael Chandler back in May it’s bound to take a toll on a fighter and make them more cautious about taking damage.
Ferguson is also getting exposed on the mat too though and with five losses in a row to his name he appears to be following in the footsteps of other lightweight legends like BJ Penn and Donald Cerrone who did themselves no favors by continuing to fight on for too long after the spark was gone.