Everybody is talking about the UFC’s latest matchmaking, including Josh Thomson.
There’s been a lot of fights announced by the MMA world-leader this month, but none catch the eye quite like the lightweight matchup between Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296.
Ferguson, 39, is on the longest losing streak of his career at six. The former UFC interim champion has been defeated by the likes of Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Nate Diaz and more blockbuster names. One more loss on Ferguson’s record would tie him with BJ Penn for the longest losing streak in UFC history.
‘El Cucuy’ hopes to end his run of bad luck against England’s Pimblett, who is riding a six-fight win streak.
Thomson’s Take On Ferguson vs. Pimblett
Thomson, a former foe of Ferguson, believes that’s easier said than done.
“Tony is not what he was,” Thomson said on Weighing In. “What concerns me though is that the physical strength at the age that Tony’s at and the damage that he’s taken… it’s the physical strength. Can he take the shots that Paddy will give him on the feet? And not only that, Nate’s probably got one of the best, if not the best, guillotines in the game, and he caught him with the guillotine. But Paddy’s got the physical strength to really drive it home in terms of getting to the guillotine, getting to the triangles, those type of things.”
“I think the grappling goes towards Tony, but Tony’s physical strength, he’s not a strong guy. He was able to maneuver himself out of positions with some of his flexibility, his awkward style of grappling, just the flexibility, the goofiness of how he trains, that whole Eddie Bravo style. But, he can’t do it anymore.”
‘The Damage He Took…’
At almost 40 years of age and tons of wars endured inside the Octagon, Thomson believes Ferguson isn’t the same fighter he was once was.
“You see him doing the knee slides… he doesn’t even go all the way to his knee anymore. Like he just kind of walks through it. So, his body is banged up and he can’t do whether he thinks mentally he can do it. He just physically he can’t do it. He’s damaged his body too much. His elbows are probably f*cked up from punching and from arm-bar defenses with that Charles Oliveira fight.
“The damage he took mentally and I think physically in that Justin Gaethje fight, definitely not good. The knockout by Michael Chandler, those are just the three that really are fresh in my mind that did the most work. Not a good situation, man. Paddy, look, no matter how shitty of a performance he had [against Jared Gordon], he’s young, he’s spry, he’s got power in his hands. He’s physically strong… he’s a lot faster.”
Thomson Sees It As A ’50-50 Fight’
Thomson likes the 28 year-old Pimblett’s chances in this fight, but the former UFC fighter isn’t counting out ‘El Cucuy’ completely.
“There’s just things that you notice when you start to age and I see it in him,” Thomson continued. “I’m not knocking him. I love Tony Ferguson, man. I’m a huge fan, always been a fan. I just look at Paddy, the speed’s gonna be a factor. I agree he doesn’t have a lot of power. But, if I’m able to hit you two or three times before you can start defending, I don’t need a lot of power. I just need to hit you in the right spots.
“If Tony’s able to come out and have a first round like he did against Michael Chandler. He might be able to finish Paddy… as much as I want him to win this fight, he’s got his hands full [with Pimblett].
“This is a 50-50 fight to me,” Thomson said of Ferguson vs. Pimblett.