UFC 279 provided the MMA world with one of the most unforgettable fight weeks in recent memory. From press conference shenanigans and weight misses to fight changes, there was a little bit of everything. On fight night, fans were left with a matchup that’s been a long time coming, seeing Ferguson square off with Nate Diaz.
Unfortunately for Ferguson, he was unable to snap a four-fight skid, succumbing to Diaz via fourth-round guillotine submission. Despite moving up to fight at welterweight for the first time since his promotional debut, it wouldn't be enough for Ferguson to turn back the clock. Leading up to the finish, many in the community had Ferguson down on the cards and sitting cageside providing commentary, Cormier just didn’t see the “El Cucuy” he’d grown accustomed to.
“I could not believe what I was seeing,” Cormier said on DC & RC. “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?”
Cormier was critical of Ferguson’s willingness to continue fighting following his previous knockout loss to Michael Chandler this past May. Therefore, prompting Ferguson to fire back at Cormier as the two exchanged some verbal jabs over social media.
Meanwhile, Diaz is officially set to depart from the UFC and go about his business as he pleases. With Diaz originally set to face Khamzat Chimaev in the main event, the last-minute shakeups from Chimaev’s weight miss led to Ferguson’s opponent, Li Jingliang, taking on Daniel Rodriguez.
Cormier is uncertain who the promotion could match Ferguson with at this stage which gives him a reasonable chance to win. Assuming the Li matchup happened as planned, the former two-division titleholder feels an even worse beatdown would have been in store for Ferguson.
“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.”
Results. DWCS Season 6, Week 8: 5 more, including ‘best female knockout’ in DWCS history, headed to UFC
Madness. Li Jingliang details backstage melee that led to UFC 279 press conference cancellation: ‘Complete chaos’
Rankings. Khamzat Chimaev smashes his way into top 20
Trouble. ‘There’s no way that was not intentional’: Title fight ends in controversy after alleged uncalled fouls in Canada
Presser Day 2.
Presser Day 2 staredown.
Presser Day 2 interviews.
UFC 280 trailer.
A Diaz fairytale.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Don't complicate life, we won't be here forever. Once this day is over, it's gone forever. Your time is to valuable to waste on nonsense. pic.twitter.com/zNJDDKYxU1— Diana Belbiță (@DianaBelbita) September 13, 2022
Wooow the universe hates Li Jingliang... what a shit week for such a good dude.— Chris Curtis The Action Man (@Actionman513) September 13, 2022
Cody Garbrandt and Song Yadong sparring 3 years ago. pic.twitter.com/bPt1QRwQkW— Feño (Ninja) (@fenoxsky) September 13, 2022
Sniper in and out of the cage.
Today was a glorious hunt pic.twitter.com/OFouAxESNc— Shavkat “Nomad” Rakhmonov (@Rakhmonov1994) September 13, 2022
If Ferguson wasn’t stuck between two really tough divisions, I may be inclined to disagree with DC here. I thought he actually did better against Diaz than most did, but it was still an incredibly telling performance of where he now stands.
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