UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is considered to be one of the few fighters today who poses a legitimate threat fighting off of their back. This was on full display when he finished Kevin Lee via triangle choke in the third round of their headliner fight at UFC 216, where he won the UFC interim 155-pound title.
However, number 12-ranked lightweight James Vick feels this style could actually cost the fight for “El Cucuy” at UFC 223 against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I think Khabib wins. I think that Ferguson’s too content with being on his back,” Vick told MMAjunkie Radio. “He’s going to get taken down, obviously. Khabib can take down pretty much anyone in the division.”
“Guys can get up, but Tony Ferguson will accept being on his back and throwing elbows and playing rubber guard,” Vick continued. “And he’s not going to win like that.”
“Unless he lands a big elbow and cuts Khabib from the bottom or something, I don’t see him being able to win a fight off his back. He gets too content with staying on his back instead of trying to get the hell up.”
Ferguson’s ground work has been extensively honed under Eddie Bravo’s tutelage at 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. Right after defeating Lee last October, Bravo awarded Ferguson his black belt.
UFC 223 is scheduled to take place on April 7th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will be co-headlined by the strawweight title rematch between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.