Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson: Top 5 MMA Finishes

Ahead of Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson’s next competitive MMA matchup this April, 18th 2020 in Brooklyn, the time is ripe to revisit the best finishes of his career so far.

He will face the undefeated UFC lightweight champion Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov. This matchup may well turn out to be one of the greatest lightweight fights of all time! With almost 80% of his victories achieved before the bell, the former interim lightweight champion is one of the UFC’s fanciest finishers.

Ferguson was an NCWA college wrestler, where he did pretty well becoming an NCWA All-American and National Champion. He made the All-State selection in wrestling three times winning the 152lb division in 2002.

Following college, Tony worked in marketing and sales during the day and picking up shifts as a bartender at night. One night, while working a bar shift, a patron talked to him about his wrestling background and invited him to work with some young mixed martial artists on their wrestling. Shortly after this, he decided to pursue a professional mixed martial arts career.

Style wise, he’s a very unorthodox free-spirited type of fighter, and in any given situation he’ll pull out unexpected moves seemingly out of nowhere!

Did you remember when Anthony Pettis dropped him in an early second round? He rolled away on his back, but if the other guy’s standing up, guess what? Upkick! That’s what he also did to Justin Edwards in The Ultimate Fighter Season 13.

When Josh Thompson tried to throw him, what did he do? He literally rolled over his body and out of his arms, that’s what. He’s got that stereotypically awkward and unpredictable 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu ground game, and he’s very partial to using elbows.

After his victory against Kevin Lee, he was given a black belt in 10th Planet Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Eddie Bravo, and if you watch his boxing carefully, you’ll see he’s also got that covered to at least amateur level.

So with his solid fundamentals, his MMA boxing is excellent and probably the most underrated part of his game, but that’s understandable because of how many other crazy elements he’s able to throw in as distractors.

All these skills combined make Tony Ferguson one of the most sensational and atypical fighters the MMA world has ever seen.

  1. Vs. Abel Trujillo – UFC 181
  2. After a three-win streak, Ferguson faced Abel Trujillo, known for his heavy hands, in December 2014 at UFC 181.

    In the early first round, ‘El Cucuy’ was surprised by a right hook from his opponent and was dropped. Less than one minute later, Trujillo took him down and kept up the pressure with striking and ground and pound.

    Tony lost the round but got the job done in the next with a rear naked choke submission at the end of the second round.

    1. Vs. Mike Rio – UFC 166
    2. Before this fight, Ferguson was out from competition for over a year while healing from an arm injury incurred from his bout against Michael Johnson.

      He returned to find victory once again. This fight did not go beyond the first round, as Tony landed a lot of strikes on his opponent, obliging him to shoot for the takedown. This allowed Ferguson to finish the fight with a D’Arce Choke.

      Tony won the bonus of ‘Submission of the Night’ thanks to his sterling performance.

      1. Vs. Ramsey Nijem – TUF 13 Finale
      2. Ferguson officially made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale against Ramsey Nijem to determine the winner of this contest.

        Ferguson defeated Nijem by knockout in the first round to win a UFC contract and also received the Knockout of the Night bonus. June 4th 2011, marked El Cucuy’s joining the big league. After this bout, he returned to the lightweight division.

        1. Vs. Kevin Lee – UFC 216
        2. Ferguson was supposed to face Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209 for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship. However, prior to the weigh-ins for the event, Nurmagomedov was hospitalized due to the ill-effects of his weight cut, and the bout was cancelled yet again after three attempts.

          Finally, Ferguson obtained a new title shot for the interim lightweight championship a few months later facing Kevin Lee in the main event of UFC 216. He was dropped by Lee in the first round but succeeded in his attempt to knock him down.

          At the end of the round, he was taken down, with Lee dominating and landing lots of ground strikes. Despite Kevin Lee’s takedown in the third round, Ferguson managed to stop the bout with a triangle choke to claim the interim lightweight championship.

          Unfortunately, in April 2018 he withdrew from his fight against Nurmagomedov and was stripped by the UFC of his interim title.

          1. Vs. Katsunori Kikuno – UFC 173
          2. After his Submission of the Night on Mike Rio at UFC 166, Ferguson faced Katsunori Kikuno on May 24, 2014 at UFC 173. He won the fight by knockout in the first round.

            The next bout for Ferguson will be against the current undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, a bout now booked for the fifth time. The pair will meet on April 18th, 2020 as the main event of UFC 249, which will take place in Brooklyn, New York.

            So there we have it, 5 of the best Tony Ferguson finishes. ‘El Cucuy’, with that go-getting, unrelenting-warrior, (what do you call that, martially-Mars energy?) is certainly one of the most spectacular fighters in the octagon today, so narrowing down just a Top 5 from among his 25 wins was a bit of a challenge!

            So from the list above, what’s your favourite Tony Ferguson fight moment? Which fighter would you like to see get KFK’d next? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram.

            For more MMA, check out our Top 5 MMA series featuring the likes of Anderson Silva, Ronda Rousey, Cung Le and many more! …and after you exit the cage, ENTER the FUniverse of Top 5’s, Top 10’s, exclusive interviews, wear your own KFK Official gear with pride, and subscribe for all manner of mixed-up martial arts on YouTube!)

Arnaud has trained in Taekwondo from the age of 18. He's also trained for several years in Shotokan karate (brown belt) and Muay Thai. He's trained in combat Sambo and wrestling, having competed in France and other countries in the tough, versatile 150lb weight category. Arnaud is a great fan of all martial arts and combat sports and loves watching different styles (eg. MMA, boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai) used in the UFC, Bellator, Glory and World Championships. Overall, he's passionate about fighting and keeping a martial warrior mindset.

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