Tony Ferguson: ‘It’s not the time’ to accept Charles Oliveira training offer due to desire for rematch

Tony Ferguson has all respect for Charles Oliveira and has gone out of his way to form a bond with his one-time opponent. However, he won’t be taking the Brazilian up on his offer to train together.

Ferguson (25-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) suffered his fourth consecutive loss at UFC 274 when he was on the receiving end of a viral knockout against Michael Chandler (23-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC). The finish extended a rough stretch for the former interim UFC lightweight champion, but Ferguson appears to be enlightened after the defeat.

“El Cucuy” told MMA Junkie on Friday that he intends to make drastic changes to his preparation going forward, including finding a new team to work with. Coincidentally, that revelation came shortly after Oliveira (33-8 MMA, 21-8 UFC) had extended an invitation to Ferguson to train together.

Oliveira earned a unanimous decision win over Ferguson at UFC 256 in December 2020 as part of a current 11-fight winning that included capturing lightweight gold. Ferguson is the only one of those 11 names who didn’t get stopped inside the distance, and although their careers are going on two different paths on paper, Ferguson is reluctant to take the offer.

“I have to really reflect on what he said, because Chute Boxe is a very good school,” Ferguson told MMA Junkie. “But he is in my weight class. I’m one of the only fighters that he hasn’t finished, and I went into that fight practicing zero jiu-jitsu. I didn’t do too bad. I didn’t do as bad as Dustin Poirier just sitting there laying there. I stayed active and I went for submissions everywhere. It’s not like I practiced really hard.

“I’ve got to really think about that one, because I see myself competing against him again. No animosity, but I went back there and talked to him before the weigh-in faceoffs. I told him, he was signing posting, and I walked up to him, put my hand on his shoulder and I said, ‘Hey, kid. You stay focused, all right?’ He turned around and he looked at me and he knows already. Like I told him inside that octagon (when we fought). I put my arm around his shoulder and said, ‘Walk with me.’ I’m a good scout when it comes to certain things. … I know exactly what I have to do and I can’t really say no to it or yes to it. But I know right now that it’s not the time for me to go to Chute Boxe and to train with them. There’s some local gyms out that I’m going to be part of a team and help that team grow as well as myself.”

Ferguson has shown nothing but a positive attitude in the aftermath of his most stunning career defeat against Chandler at UFC 274. It’s proven to be a wake-up call for him, though, and Ferguson said his future is bright.

“When I take a loss that I know I lose – I don’t argue with it,” Ferguson said. “I really don’t argue with it. But what I do is take the good things that I’ve taken with it and the good parts that I have learned. One, I’m more flexible than I think. Two, my mentality is strong and my will to win is f*cking there. I just have to put the structure behind it and I have to put the coaching and the technique. I have all the tools to win and to be able to get that belt.”

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