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Dana White wonders if in-cage battles have caught up with Tony Ferguson after UFC 262 loss: ‘It’s definitely hit Tony’

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Tony Ferguson was on the wrong end of another lopsided loss on Saturday, raising even more questions about his future.

A longtime contender at 155 pounds, Ferguson suffered his third straight loss in the UFC 262 co-main event in Houston after being controlled on the ground for three rounds by Beneil Dariush. The loss was similar to how Ferguson was defeated by Charles Oliveira at UFC 256 in December.

UFC President Dana White addressed Ferguson’s performance at the post-fight press conference, where he sounded unsure of what will be next for “El Cucuy.”

“He had a tough three rounds,” White said. “He couldn’t stop the takedown, he couldn’t get up from underneath Dariush, and yeah, he had a tough night. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.”

The loss that ended Ferguson’s 12-fight win streak and began his current skid took place at UFC 249, where he was dominated in a standup battle with Justin Gaethje until the bout was waved off late in the fifth round. Ferguson has long been lauded for his toughness, but with little to show for it in his past three outings, it’s fair to wonder just how diminished he is as a fighter after turning 37 in February.

White was specifically asked about how much the Gaethje fight might have affected Ferguson and he speculated it could be a combination of that and the cumulative wear and tear of 31 pro bouts that have Ferguson on the decline.

“It could be that, it could be just time gets us all,” White said. “So it’s one of those things, I don’t know which one, or both. But yeah, unfortunately it’s definitely hit Tony.”

White said that he hasn’t spoken to Ferguson about his future—whether that means still competing in the UFC, pursuing other opportunities, or possibly retiring—and with the dust still settling from Saturday’s card, it’s unclear when or if they will have that conversation.

What White was more than happy to talk about was Ferguson’s “never say die” attitude, which was on full display once more at UFC 262 even if he once again failed to get his hand raised.

“I don’t know,” White said. “I haven’t even thought about it.

“He’s tough as hell though. He was in that heel hook and his ankle definitely popped. His ankle the rest of the fight looked like a golf ball, maybe even a baseball, and he kept fighting. There’s no quit in that dude. He’s tough.”