From 2013-2019, Tony Ferguson went on a rampage through the UFC’s lightweight division. “El Cucuy” laid a beating on a murderer’s row of opponents in the form of Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone to perfectly live up to his boogeyman nickname.
Among those who were part of Ferguson’s hitlist during those six years was former Strikeforce champion, Josh Thomson. “The Punk” lost that 2015 fight via decision and was badly beaten up, in the process.
In a recent episode of his Weighing In podcast with “Big John” McCarthy, the now-retired Thomson spoke about how that Ferguson fight altered both his life and career.
My career changed after the Tony Ferguson fight. I didn’t like to be hit, I hated training, I didn’t like to be sparred. I didn’t want to be hit by anybody. It was one of those life-changing fights where in training, it was no longer fun anymore. And that’s hard for fighters to swallow.
They really believe they can keep doing what they were doing. And the reality had set in that I didn’t want to do it anymore. That I was, like, ‘Look, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.’
Sure, I had a couple of wins after that, but they weren’t my performances. They weren’t my best performances. And also, throughout those performances, the whole time, I was thinking, ‘It’s not gonna take much to rock me, hurt me, whatever it was.’ And then I felt it and saw it in the Patricky fight.
He grazed me at the top of my head, not even with his fist. He grazed me with his forearm. And it sat me to my butt in the first round. And the second round came out, we clashed heads. I’d butted heads several times in several fights, never been dropped. Never been rocked. Sure, it was a quick jolt, like, ‘Oh that hurt.’ But then you got back to fighting.
The reality that set in that it was time. It only takes a fight like a Tony Ferguson fight to change your life. To change the way your career goes.
Thomson also recalled some post-fight moments when he was struggling to keep himself physically composed.
I kid you not, I lost so much blood in that fight. When I got back to the locker room, I was shivering. And I got fully naked, try to take a shower. And I couldn’t stop shivering for 30 minutes. I was shivering there just freezing, cold, and I’m in an arena that actually wasn’t that cold. And I was back there trying to rinse all the blood off me and I couldn’t even stand.
My manager, he kinda had to put his hand on me to, like, hold me up. ‘Cause I was holding one hand on the wall, letting the water just run off me. I was stitched all the way up, everywhere.
But I was shivering my ass off because I had lost so much blood and so much water, obviously. I was just dehydrated from everything. And the ass-kicking you got, your body was in shock. My body was in shock.
Since his fifth-round TKO loss to Justin Gaethje in 2020, many would argue that Ferguson isn’t the same killer that he was just two years ago. The 37-year-old former interim champion is now looking at a three-fight skid, prompting some of his former contemporaries to suggest retirement.