This week, Late Night Radio caught up with Tony Ferguson, who is coming off of an impressive Submission of the Night win at UFC 166, where he submitted Mike Rio with a D’arce choke at 1:52 of the first round.
On how he feels about his performance at UFC 166, his wrestling, and the D’arce Choke finish:
“I was real happy. My stand-up felt kind of sloppy at first, I don’t want to say gun-shy, but it took a second for me to be able to get my rhythm in, but anytime he shot in I went into wrestler mode, and he didn’t stand a chance. It kinda upset me that he said his Florida wrestling was better than my Michigan wrestling, so I had to put that to the test, and I still have that 100% takedown defense, so I’m happy.
No one really takes me seriously in the wrestling department, but when you see me get down on the mat, a lot of people just say that my transitions just kill everybody, and my conditioning backs it up… I slapped that D’arce on him right away, and I knew he was strong, he wasn’t going to be a sucker for it, so I didn’t rush it. But as soon as I dotted him up, he didn’t like it, and I could see that his stamina ended up decreasing after every hit. I was like “alright, I can do this,” every time I hit him I just watched him and was like “I’m gonna get it again, watch, check it out.”
In my head, I already had a game plan that I was gonna finish the fight via sub, whether it was a rear naked choke, or spider web armbar, or doing that, which is my favorite, the D’arce. Fortunately, it fell in the right spot. I knew he was going to go for a leg, and I have a whole series of counter-attacks and finishes from whether it’s the left leg he goes on, or it’s the right leg, and fortunately he set it up directly for the darce, I couldn’t have asked for a better chess move and just sure enough, it just sunk right in…like old faithful, bam! Done!”
On what he plans on doing with the Submission of the Night bonus, and how UFC middleweight Tim Boestch got him extra bonus money.
“Nothing yet man, I’m just chilling, already found myself back in the gym this week a couple of times already, I had a couple of two-a-days, right now I’m just hoping to get inside the cage again. Other than that, probably just going to get something decent to drive, probably get another car.”
“I think I was sitting right next to [Boestch] actually, it was funny that he said that, he was like “Hey Dana, I hear everything in Texas is a little bit bigger!” And Dana looked at him and was like “Really? Alright. How does 60 sound, you f—ers?” And I was just like “hell yeah!” I was more impressed because I was like “aw damn, I’m on the Facebook prelims, and…nobody really looks to the Facebook prelims but once in a while, and [Dana] was like “if you don’t want to be on Facebook prelims then you better have a kickass fight, and you can go on live,” and I was like “cool…” but the money ticket was the sub of the night.”
On his 17 month lay-off, recovering from his broken arm, and how he felt during fight week.
“I didn’t miss a beat. I was so eager when I had my cast on, I was just doing everything with 3 limbs. The sweat thing kinda sucked with the cast and stunk after a while, but as soon as I got that baby off, I was just taking the steps necessary to get it back in condition but not rushing it, so I’d listen to the doctor…and when he told me it was good to go, my first thing was to hit the speed bag again. I don’t know if you’ve seen clips of me hitting the speed bag… it’s kinda like how Nick Diaz has 30 minutes of speed bag [practice].
You know what? I kept really relaxed, during the whole week I didn’t have to use the sauna for my weight cut, I was healthy, I was explosive, and my conditioning was great. So my camp was really happy and healthy, and I had good music this time, too, so I brought that with me when I was in the back, and I warmed up great in the morning, I had a couple hours to lay off, then we took our bus ride there, I had a good blowout, had some sweat going on, I wasn’t trying to kill it, my legs were good, so I was just kinda dancing in the back, trying to keep lose. I used to do the same thing back in the day, but I used to just have a CD player, and if I moved too much, then the damn thing would skip. So then I just got used to kinda sitting in one spot and just chilling. So that’s how I was in the back. Even in the walkout I was the same way. It was funny, he was trying to mean mug me in the beginning, and I was like “alright, cool, I’ll play the game,” and I just smiled at the guy, and he wanted to shake hands afterwards, and I was like “alright, cool, whatever.” The hard part was already done, which was the training…it was just autopilot as soon as I got back into the cage. It felt good.”
On the financial difficulties of the extended layoff:
“I have to be thankful to my sponsors, you know. My sponsors…management… for hooking me up, helping me out, helping me with plans, thinking “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” and setting future goals for everything. This time that I had during my break, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do with my career, and where I wanted to go, and how serious I needed to take it. And you know, we did it the right way. Without the support of my wife, or having my clients come through, or without a plan, it would have been hard. It would have been a hell of a lot harder, I wouldn’t have stood a chance. But I took the steps that I had to take, me and my family, and we just made good decisions, and we kicked ass in the end, so it was good. And I won’t let that happen again.”
On a rematch with Michael Johnson:
“I know he’s doing good, it’d definitely be a lot better to go in there and fight him this time, I have a game plan, not just “be level-headed and go for his head” maybe go in there and twist off his ankle, do something different, know what I mean? I know his weak spot, and it shows. I know he said he was a wrestler, but I think my wrestling is a little bit better than his, too. So if it’s in the works, let’s make it happen, but otherwise, I’m just interested in any person that comes up right now. I just want to fight before the year is done.”
On theoretical match-ups with Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez
“Well these guys like to stay in the pocket, they like to bang, so that’s perfect. I love that, that’s me all day. I get more slick when people want to do that. I think about it all of the time. When you say you want to mix it up, you can either be stubborn-headed, or you can try to mix it up. If they had opened up a little bit more with leg kicks…they were just banging. They just wanted to knock each other’s heads off.”