EXCLUSIVE | Coach Eddie Bravo hopeful Tony Ferguson will choke Pettis, set up fight with McGregor

Tony Ferguson

This Saturday night, in the co-main event of UFC 229, Tony Ferguson will return from a nasty LCL injury to take on former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in a key lightweight contender bout.

According to Ferguson’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach Eddie Bravo, this brutal LCL injury is now soundly in the rear-view mirror. We won’t be seeing any lingering side-effects of it come fight time.

“He’s recovered beautifully; he’s done everything he needed to do for recovery,” Eddie Bravo said of Tony Ferguson on episode 100 of BJPENN.COM Radio. “He’s been wearing those, like, blowup pants that compress your leg, and he’s been doing red light therapy. He’s been doing everything. His work ethic is incredible, including his recovery work ethic.”

Ahead of this fight, Eddie Bravo has done his part to help Tony Ferguson construct the perfect game plan to defeat Pettis. That being said, he knows that once the cage door closes, there’s no telling what his notoriously wild and unpredictable student will do.

“He does whatever he wants to,” Bravo explained. “I’m just here to, I’m just here to suggest different moves and strategies and philosophies on the ground. That’s it. He’s the one who makes all the decisions.”

“It’s like trying to tell Led Zeppelin how to put a chorus together,” he added, detailing the experience of coaching Ferguson through a fight. “You know, [Pettis is] definitely one of the most dangerous guys in the lightweight division. We’re not taking him lightly at all. He could end the fight anywhere; on the ground, on their feet. He’s got unorthodox strikes. And he’s got the attitude to throw the unorthodox strikes. You know, a lot of the guys can do the fancy stuff, but once they get in the octagon, they’re really cautious, and they don’t really throw anything. But now Pettis, Pettis is a lot like Tony. Where Tony’s gonna throw two spinning elbows in a row, you know what I mean? Or a flying kick off the fence.”

As Eddie Bravo suggests, Tony Ferguson is easily one of the top lightweight fighters on the planet. In fact, an impressive win could propel him into a fight with the winner of UFC 229’s Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor main event.

In a perfect world, Bravo would like to see McGregor win this main event so that Ferguson can fight him early next year. He feels Ferguson could not only beat McGregor on the mat, but also hang with the Irish striking savant on the feet.

“Conor’s the one,” Bravo said. “Tony would destroy him on the ground. All we gotta do is get him on the ground. And Tony has the stand up to hang with Conor. Tony’s fucked up Edson Barboza, Tony fucked up Rafael Dos Anjos, Josh Thomson, [Katsunori] Kikuno; all these guys with great standup, Tony’s fucked ’em up. All of ’em. So obviously, we gotta respect Conor’s power, but I think Tony can handle Conor on his feet. And once he drags him down, Tony’s got too much firepower for Conor.”

“I want Conor to win ’cause I want Tony to fight Conor,” he said. “Being involved in that would be the ultimate. And you know, and then Tony would get mad pay, which is great. So I’m hoping Conor wins. I’m hoping it’s Tony [vs.] Conor sometime early next year.”

In order for this McGregor vs. Ferguson fight to happen, of course, Ferguson will need to defeat Anthony Pettis at UFC 229. Eddie Bravo is confident his pupil can make it happen. He’s predicting a tough fight, but ultimately, a D’arce choke win for Ferguson.

“Tony’s taking [Pettis] very seriously,” he said. “Both these guys are right there at the top. Unorthodox, unpredictable, very confident, and have the physical ability to do all the fancy explosive spinning crazy wild shit that people love. It’s very important. You need to let everybody know, and he is doing that. He’s doing a great job of letting everybody know that he’s right there at the top with Khabib and Conor. You can’t start talking about the best lightweights in UFC history without Tony’s name being thrown in there. And he’s gonna let everybody know that he’s right there at the top, and you don’t want anybody to forget that.”

“If everything goes right, [Ferguson’s] gonna bully him. He’s gonna throw him up against that cage, throw him around, break his will, and then D’arce him. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

What do you think of Eddie Bravo’s comments on Tony Ferguson?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/5/2018.