Leading up to UFC 216, Kevin Lee has argued that Tony Ferguson has technical holes in his game, and not surprisingly, “El Cucuy” has a very different take on his own style.
Ferguson has been booked to fight Lee for the interim, lightweight championship tonight at UFC 216, thanks in large part to a nine fight winning streak. When Ferguson won “The Ultimate Fighter”, and proceeded to enter the UFC officially, it was clear that he was going to be a force in the promotion. But, during his winning streak, Ferguson has forged a reputation for being a ridiculously dangerous fighter, due to his unorthodox striking, nasty chokes, and Imanari rolls.
That said, we have seen Ferguson take some heavy shots during his run, like in his thrilling bout with Lando Vannata. Lee has made note of the fact Ferguson’s been tagged in some of his recent bouts, and he’s also argued that the contender isn’t technically sound.
So what does “El Cucuy” think of Lee’s assessment of his style? Or of critics who question his unconventional approach? Well, recently Ferguson had this to say in response (quote via MMA Fighting):
“It’s very intellectual. The reason why you guys say it’s weird is because you don’t understand it,” Ferguson said. “It’s f*cking genius. Let me tell you, it’s so far past your guys’ heads it’s not even funny, because this is the next stage in everybody’s evolution. I’ve been working on this since 2008; actually, before that. I said I had a double doctorate in athletics, I’m working on my triple.”
There you have it. While it remains to be seen if other fighters start replicating Ferguson’s style, there’s no doubt he’s had a ton of success with it. Case in point, this is a guy who outscored former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos, and submitted fellow contender, Edson Barboza.
The big question is, does Lee truly have answers for Ferguson? Will he be able to put his grappling game in play? One would think that in order to have a real chance of winning, Lee will have to be able to take Ferguson down, repeatedly.
UFC 216 will be hosted by T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.