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Monday, 07/29/2013, 12:12 pm

EXCLUSIVE | Tony Ferguson Talks Rehab From Broken Arm & His Octagon Return in October at UFC 166 | Late Night Cage Side Radio

By JAKE CHASTAIN

BJPenn.com’s Late Night Cage Side Radio had a fantastic lineup this past week and one of the guests on the show was former TUF Champion and UFC lightweight, Tony Ferguson. Tony came onto the airwaves to join  Kinch and Chase Raymond to talk about all the things going on in his career, his upcoming fight with Mike Rio in October, and what we can expect from him coming back from his recent injury. Tony will be coming off of the first UFC loss of his career to Michael Johnson over a year ago and will look to right the ship as he takes on Mike Rio at UFC 166 on October 19th in Houston, Texas. Ferguson had lots to share with the fans and here are some of the highlights from Tony’s interview on Late Night Cage Side Radio:

He first talked about how his broken arm was healing following his rehab and how it was feeling now:

“Everything seems to be normal,” he said. “It’s good. I think it’s better than before. My left arm is actually a little bit stronger than my right arm actually, so it’s kind of funny.”

He was then asked if he was anxious to make his return to the cage. He agreed and stated, “It’s going down. UFC 166, October 19th over in Houston, Texas.”

“Me and Mike Rio both are going to go out there throwing punches but I’m going to come out with my hand raised, that’s the only difference.”

Ferguson was then asked what he did while his arm was broken: He replied, “I did a lot of cardio when I had my cast on because it was hard for me to sit around. I couldn’t really lift a lot so what I did is I did a lot of legs, I did a lot of staircases, and I did things that kept my body weight down because I couldn’t lift a lot.”

When asked how the year layoff had affected him he said it helped him gain a little of his passion for competition back.

“I’ve been competing since I was around 4 or 5 years old in sports and so for me to keep going for like years and years and years and not have a break,” he explained. “When you keep competing for a long time sometimes you just get burnt out.”

Tony Ferguson was 3-0 in the UFC prior to his last bout in May of 2012 against Michael Johnson.  When asked how hard it was to come back from such a loss he replied, “It’s hard, man. And you have to rebound. It takes so much for an athlete to rebound if they’re not built a certain way.”

As much as he feels he’s learned from that loss to Johnson he explained, “We’re not going to look back at that last one. What we’re going to do is aim to make it better.”

He was then asked to comment on how he’s mixing up his camp to make sure the year long layoff does not mess with his performance come October 19th.

“You don’t want to peak too early or anything. So what I do is I go a couple on, one off,” he explained.“I’m listening to my body, you know?  I’m not over-doing the weights, I’m not over-doing the jits, I’m not over-doing the boxing or the Thia. It’s just all one big huge plethora of unorthodox conditioning. It’s controlled chaos.”

Ferguson was then asked if he thought that the UFC was pairing him up with other TUF competitors on purpose or if he didn’t pay much attention to it.

“I think they know what they’re going to get out of fights, you know what I mean? You got a couple tough guys in the octagon they’re expecting there to be fights,” he said. “They know we’re gonna come to scrap.”

Ferguson, who also has a wrestling base like his upcoming opponent, was asked if he thinks that Rio is going to try to take him to the ground in their upcoming fight. He stated, “If he’s gonna choose to bring it to the ground he’s going to find out how slick I am.”

Tony was then asked to give his thoughts on the upcoming TUF season which will feature both men and women competitors.

“I’m actually looking forward to watching this one,” he said. He also said that if there would have been females on the season in which he won, “it would have created a little more chaos.”

Although he feels this season will be extremely entertaining he also said that he feels it is not going to get out of hand. He stated, “Everybody remembers that they’re there to fight and I’m sure Dana will remind them.”

Tony also talked about how winning TUF has impacted his career and how.

“I love it. It’s amazing. Just being able to stay in contact with a lot of the good people that are involved with the UFC and when you don’t see them for a long time, like when I posted that I have a fight coming up I got lots of love from people that work within the Zuffa industry and it just feels good to be able to see that.”

“I have to say that the biggest thing that I’ve gotten from being with the UFC for so long seeing how some of these armature guys in the local circuits look up to us as UFC fighters. And the more involved we get in the UFC and the more they see us on TV, the hungrier I see these guys get. And they listen, so you try not to steer these guys in the wrong direction.”

Ferguson was also asked to talk about his unique head movement and how that became a part of his game. He explained, “When I started fighting it just kind of naturally happened with all of my footwork from wrestling and head movement. Some guy told me that my shadow-boxing sucked and from that point on I made it my ultimate thing to never get hit and to do all the damage.”

Tony Ferguson was originally a welterweight in the UFC but recently made the drop down to the lightweight division. He was asked how hard it was for him to make the weight-cut to 155 pounds. He replied, “I think it was a little more difficult in my head than it was anything.”

He continued, “This fight I’m going to listen to my nutritionist, which I didn’t have in my last couple fights. I got a really good program. I’m going to take the Munoz approach and I ‘m not going to do the sauna, eat right, I’m going to sleep right, make everything good and I’m going to eat all the way up until fight time and I’m not going to use the sauna.”

He then talked about what he’s been working on most in his game now that he’s had over a year off to contemplate what needs the most work.

“Being open in my game. This is mixed martial arts,” he explained, “the more you mix it up the farther you’re going to go in this sport.”

When asked what his biggest fear or concern was heading into this next fight with Mike Rio was he replied, “Slipping on the mat, that’s my only worry.”

“I’m not worried about any of the above, just making sure to keep my feet underneath me.”

Ferguson was also asked to give his opinion on the trash talking that is becoming a big topic in the MMA world as of late. He stated, “I think it’s good for the sport, it keeps it colorful, as long as it’s clean.”

And finally Ferguson was asked what his goals for the remainder of this was:

“First thing I’m worried about is getting that 3-1 number to 4-1. Mike Rio is obviously the first person right there,” he said, “get toward that belt. That road to gold is mine.”

To close the conversation Ferguson was asked to tell the fans here at BJPenn.com what they could expect in his upcoming fight at UFC 166 in October against Mike Rio. He replied,

“I see it has having tons of transitions and it’s going to be slick. I see a couple punches here and there, level changes, blast-doubles, omoplatas, and crazy arm-bar snapping kind of intensity. It’s just gonna be crazy. I know he’s going to be working hard, I’m sure he’s lifting, looking to be as explosive as hell and so am I. I’m gonna be slick as heck and just look for a nice match out there. Just look for us to use the whole entire cage.”

We thank Tony Ferguson for joining Kinch and Chase on Late Night Cage Side Radio and we wish him the best in preparation for his UFC 166 bout in October. 

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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