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Coach: Tony Ferguson ‘needs a mental break from the sport’ following UFC 249 loss

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“I think at this point, Tony needs a mental break from this sport. Just to be normal, not deal with all the politics and the headaches of it, the physical part of it.”

Tony Ferguson’s striking coach, Rashad Holloway, has hinted that Ferguson may have been overtrained heading into his interim lightweight title bout with Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, and that the UFC veteran needs a ‘mental break from the sport.

Ferguson suffered the first TKO loss of his career in the UFC 249 main event, losing via fifth-round TKO, and coach Holloway thinks ‘El Cucuy’ was burnt out after enduring the longest training camp of his career.

Holloway, who has been training Ferguson daily for the past five months, wants the former interim lightweight champ to take a couple of months off before he starts taking training seriously again.

“I think at this point, Tony needs a mental break from this sport,” Holloway said in a recent interview with Helen Yee (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA). “Just to be normal, not deal with all the politics and the headaches of it, the physical part of it.

“I think after a couple of months of resting, no working out, we can go to the gym and have some fun. Just have some fun working out. … Just have fun, not really prep for a fight but just have fun and take a break and fall in love with the sport all over again. It’s a lot of pressure when you’re undefeated for so long and you’re looked at as the marquee guy. Now it’s like the weight’s off his shoulders and he can be normal again.”

Ferguson saw his 12-fight win streak snapped at UFC 249 but, as of writing, the 36-year-old is still ranked #2 in the UFC lightweight rankings. Gaethje beat Ferguson to win the interim title and will go on to face official champ Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight title unification bout later this year.