Tony Ferguson has long been known as one of MMA’s more unconventional figures but Daniel Cormier says that his decision to make weight for last weekend’s cancelled fight with Justin Gaethje is as big a ‘boss move’ as there is.
Despite being informed just days out from the scheduled fight that it was postponed, Ferguson, who has been in a training camp since December, posted a video to his Instagram account of him hitting the lightweight championship weight of 155lbs in advance of what would have been fight night.
And former UFC double-champ Cormier – a training partner of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov – says that is something that his Russian colleague wouldn’t even dream of entertaining.
“Championship?Weight” Official Weight: 155lbs #ufc249 Recovery?Dayze An Do It Again, Practice Weight Cut Complete ✔️ @vitagoods Scale On Point ? Tool?Box, Many Thanks To All My Supporters ?? -CSO- ?????
As Ferguson later noted, his motivation to make the weight despite not having a fight (nor a paycheck) lined up was the culmination of a promise he made to himself.
“It wasn’t just for me – it was for my team, man, and my sponsors and obviously for my family,” Ferguson said after dropping 24lbs in one week.
“And just the commitment to myself to follow through with the weight cut… To me that says a lot more for my stock. Saying that you know what, ‘I’m gonna make weight; I’m not gonna miss weight.’ I have what it takes mentally to go through this fight camp. It’s gonna be awesome, dude. It was such a great experience.”
Somewhat predictably, Ferguson faced a cacophony of backlash for the move. Eminent nutritionist George Lockhart noted that putting your body through such a cut is incredibly draining and that his body will likely have a counter-response to what is a hugely physically taxing experience.
Others, though, were less critical.
Daniel Cormier, the team captain at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California, where Nurmagomedov trains, knows the Russian champion better than most – and says that Khabib wouldn’t have done the same in similar circumstances.
“Tony Ferguson stepping on the scale at 155, that tells you how disciplined this man is,” Cormier said to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week. “How disciplined is Tony Ferguson to get all the way down to the championship weight with nothing to gain?
“That’s a boss move. I know Tony and I don’t have the best relationship, but that is a boss move.”
Ferguson has faced two setbacks in recent times. The fight with Khabib – arguably one of the most anticipated bouts in mixed martial arts history – fell apart for a FIFTH time last month due to the global coronavirus health crisis, while the Justin Gaethje fight met a similar fate this month.
Despite the type of issues which would have led to many other fighters ordering in a large pizza and commiserating themselves on the sofa, Cormier says he was hugely impressed by the American fighter’s fortitude.
“Tony Ferguson stayed the course,” Cormier added. “And that tells me that come May 9th, that dude is dangerous for anybody, because he’s so disciplined and so in tune with himself right now going into this fight.
“I’m telling you this right now, I love Khabib, but he wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t make the weight for nothing. He won’t suffer through that for no reason. Conor McGregor, he would not suffer through that for no reason.
“Conor was willing to say, ‘Hey, great job Tony, put the other guy on the scale.’ But he wouldn’t have done that himself. He wouldn’t have gone down to weight for nothing.
“Tony Ferguson just did that. That’s a big deal,” Cormier concluded.