UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje explained why he felt bad for Tony Ferguson following the main event of UFC 249.
Gaethje beat Ferguson to the punch for nearly 25 minutes until the referee stepped in and stopped the fight just before the final minute late in the fifth round. It was the most complete performance of Gaethje’s career and proves that he’s an elite fighter at 155lbs. For Gaethje to go in there and systematically dominate Ferguson for nearly five full rounds, it was absolutely incredible to watch.
The stoppage was not without controversy, however, as referee Herb Dean stepped in and waved off the contest after Gaethje hurt Ferguson late in the fight with a jab, though Ferguson was still on his feet. Ferguson immediately protested the stoppage, though he later said he understood why the ref did what he did.
Speaking to the media following the event, Gaethje explained that he understands why Ferguson was frustrated with the stoppage.
Gaethje: I feel bad for [Ferguson] because if that was me I'd be f*ckin' pissed because I come in here to die. I told my coaches in the back, "You're not gonna like it but I'm ready to die tonight." That's the mentality you have to come in here with.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) May 10, 2020
Gaethje: I feel bad for [Ferguson] because if that was me I’d be f*ckin’ pissed because I come in here to die. I told my coaches in the back, “You’re not gonna like it but I’m ready to die tonight.” That’s the mentality you have to come in here with.
Gaethje has said many times that he is willing to die in the Octagon if he has to, and Ferguson has the same mentality as he does. The fact is, this is a dangerous sport and anyone who steps into the Octagon has to know the risks of what comes with the territory. For a fighter like Gaethje, dying inside the Octagon is a very real possibility. So while Ferguson may not have handled the loss eloquently like some may have hoped, at least Gaethje understands why he was so upset with the stoppage.
Do you feel bad for Tony Ferguson like Justin Gaethje does?