Tony Ferguson goes by the nickname “El Cucuy”, the name given to a Mexican myth about a being similar to the boogeyman. Ferguson’s run in the UFC supports his nickname perfectly, despite one setback, Tony has been on a one man mission to take out everybody at 155 pounds and he’s done it in terrifying fashion, putting together perhaps the most impressive win streak in the UFC.
Ferguson made his way into the UFC off the back of The Ultimate Fighter season 13 where he was “coached” by Brock Lesnar. He finished all of his opponents in the tournament including Ramsey Nijem in the final, who he knocked out in the first round, earning himself a knockout of the night bonus. He went on to stop Aaron Riley in his next fight via doctor stoppage after only one round and began building a lot of momentum after earning a unanimous decision over UFC veteran and MMA legend Yves Edwards.
Tony’s only setback in his UFC career came after that when he lost to Michael Johnson on May 5th, 2012. He lost via a unanimous decision and has not tasted defeat since. Benson Henderson was the lightweight champion at the time and to show just how fast the sport has moved, women did not fight in the UFC at that time. Since then Ferguson has put together 12 back-to-back wins and earned himself 8 bonuses for performance of the night, fight of the night and one for submission of the night.
His winning streak includes some of the biggest names and most dangerous fighters at 155 pounds. If it wasn’t for injuries, delays regarding the title changing hands and the cursed fight with him and Khabib Nurmagomedov being cancelled more times than any other fight, Ferguson would’ve had his shot at the title a long time ago however he is still waiting for a shot at the Lightweight title. He did beat Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in 2017 to earn the interim UFC title but this was stripped from him once he was seriously injured, allowing Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight for the vacant UFC title and then defend it against Conor McGregor.
What makes this run so impressive is not only the names “El Cucuy” has been checking off but the way he has done it, putting on incredible fights and taking his opponents apart minute by minute. His win streak is easily compared to Nurmagomedov’s as they share a few common opponents and both do the same to their rivals, as the fight goes on they break them.
To highlight a few of Tony’s best performances, the best place to start is in 2015 when he beat Josh Thompson at UFC Fight Night: Mir vs Duffee and went on to beat Edson Barboza in December of the same year. Both fights were fairly competitive striking matches with Thompson and Barboza landing some big shots on Ferguson. Both played out very similarly though with Ferguson wearing down his opponent as the minutes went by, taking there best strikes and putting pressure on them like no one else does. He cut both men up with some of the most vicious elbow strikes seen in the UFC, earning him a decision against Thompson who he was beating up badly towards the end of the fight before going on to submit Barboza in his next outing. He bloodied Barboza up badly as he has done to all of his recent opponents before submitting him via D’Arce choke, something Ferguson has become known for.
He did a similar thing to his next opponent, Lando Vanatta who stepped in for his UFC debut on late notice. Despite it being Vanatta’s first performance in the UFC, he brought the fight to Tony, dropping him and hurting him badly in the first round. Once again though, Tony took Vanatta’s best shots, kept coming and eventually broke him down, also catching him in his lethal D’Arce choke.
He followed this with a 5-round display of some of the most creative and accurate striking seen in the octagon against former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. It is his two most recent performances however that are perhaps the most threatening. Despite a potentially career defining leg injury and personal issues outside of the cage, Ferguson has stopped both former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his last two fights, with both fights being waved off after a devastating display in the second round from Tony.
Both fights also began fairly competitive until Tony began cranking up the pressure and overwhelming Pettis and Cerrone with devastatingly accurate strikes. Pettis was cut open badly in the second round and the fight was called off once Pettis’ head coach Duke Roufus realised Pettis had broken his hand. Cerrone was beaten up like never before in his career, forcing the doctor to stop the fight as he could not see out of his one eye. Both the performances came off the back of fans doubting what shape physically and mentally Ferguson would be in and yet he picked up right where he left off and in arguably even more efficient fashion.
With Khabib Nurmagomdov set to defend his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, the winner will surely face Ferguson. What else can the man do to get himself a shot at the world title?
All we know for certain is that the boogeyman shows no signs of stopping and he’s still got some names to check off his list.
Is Ferguson’s run the best win streak in UFC history? If not, which one is better? Let us know and get involved on all the MMA UK social media platforms. Bye bye for now.