Dana White Shot Himself in the Foot Pitting 39-Year-Old Tony Ferguson Against Paddy Pimblett

Published 10/03/2023, 10:10 AM EDT

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Usually, Dana White and the matchmakers of the UFC put together exhilarating matchups that fans want to see. But sometimes, the MMA world witnesses unexpected fight announcements that generate more controversy than hype. The UFC 296 main card fight between Tony Ferguson and Paddy Pimblett is proving to be just that!

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A few days ago, the UFC CEO shocked the fans with the announcement of this fight. Soon, the internet was filled with polarizing opinions about the bout. Moreover, there were not many positive comments about Ferguson vs. Pimblett. Looking at the past record and future possibilities for both these fighters, it seems like every outcome of this fight is a lose-lose situation for the UFC.

Tony Ferguson’s losing streak

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There was a time when Tony Ferguson was one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. Rightfully named ‘El Cucuy’, he had one of the most impressive winning streaks in the promotion. His reign included victories against Rafael dos Anjos, Donald Cerrone, and many others. Moreover, the 39-year-old was pitted against Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the fight was canceled numerous times.

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For 7 long years, Ferguson remained undefeated in the UFC. But all that changed when he fought Justin Gaethje at UFC 249. Gaethje’s violent style proved too much for Ferguson, who lost the fight via TKO (5th round). Unfortunately, after that, Ferguson could not get back to his winning ways.

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Following this, the former UFC interim champion lost to big names like Charles Oliveira, Michael Chandler, and Nate Diaz. At UFC 291, ‘El Cucuy’ lost to the unranked Bobby Green. Now, just 4 PPVs later, he is scheduled to fight UFC’s rising star Paddy Pimblett.

Paddy Pimblett’s controversial victory

Paddy Pimblett has had an opposite career trajectory to his UFC 296 opponent. While Ferguson has been on a losing streak, Pimblett has been on an impressive 6-fight win streak. Moreover, the Liverpool-born has won all of his 4 fights in the UFC. However, his last fight got him more criticism than praise!

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At UFC 282, ‘The Baddy’ faced Jared Gordon. At the end of the bout, all three judges scored every round in Pimblett’s favor, as he won by a unanimous decision. However, almost everyone who watched the fight disagreed with the decision. Countless fans and critics felt that Gordon was robbed of a win against Pimblett.

Moreover, UFC’s official stats show that Gordon was ahead of his opponent in total strikes and total takedowns. With this controversial victory, Pimblett found himself in a negative spotlight.

Tony Ferguson retires if he loses?

At 39 years of age, Ferguson is undoubtedly past his athletic prime. Further, with 6 consecutive losses, fans are already talking about the former UFC interim champ’s retirement. Recently, UFC CEO Dana White also discussed this possibility.

In a recent press conference, White was asked about Ferguson’s future in the UFC. Replying to this, the promotion’s boss gave an intriguing answer. “I’m sure if he loses to Paddy, he would probably look at calling it. He’s had a great career, done a lot of things, had a lot of big fights,” he said.

As per White, the 39-year-old would probably step out of the octagon for good if he loses. However, this farewell would certainly not sit well with fans. For years, Tony Ferguson has been one of the most loved UFC fighters. And to see him hang up his gloves after a 7-fight losing streak isn’t exactly what the fans want.

All to lose, nothing to win for Paddy Pimblett & Tony Ferguson?

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If ‘The Baddy’ ends up losing to his UFC 296 opponent, it will severely affect his stature as a rising star. The wave of controversy that started at UFC 282 with a shocking win against Gordon will amplify after a loss against Ferguson. At the same time, a win for the California native will not open many doors for him. Ferguson is already 39 years old, and almost all fans feel that the UFC star can’t fight for a very long time.

On the other hand, a victory for the Liverpool-born isn’t rewarding either. There is no doubt that it will be great for Pimblett’s resume, but no one really likes a ‘rising star defeating an old out-of-form legend’ story. All things said it seems like no possible outcome of this fight will be beneficial for the UFC or either of the fighters.

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Ever since this bout was announced, the entire MMA world has been bashing the UFC for making such a mismatched fight. But what are your views on this fight? Also, who do you want to see come out victorious at UFC 296 in December? Do share your opinions in the comments section below.

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Watch this story: Conor McGregor Beefs With Nate Diaz, Dustin Poirier, Joe Rogan & Tony Ferguson On The Same Day

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Written by:

Sushant Sharma

901Articles

One take at a time

Sushant Sharma is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports who has a keen understanding of the complex commercial nature of the sport. With a degree in Commerce from a prestigious institute, Sushant has a unique perspective on the multi-million-dollar industry that surrounds the UFC. He is an avid fan of the sport and has been following it closely since 2016.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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