Tony Ferguson was in good spirits after his bloody UFC 229 win | INTERVIEW

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Ferguson talked to the UFC on FOX crew after his impressive victory at UFC 229 over Anthony Pettis.

- Welcome back to a now empty arena. KB, T-Wood, and the Count here, and now a big welcome is in order to Tony Ferguson, El Kukui victorious tonight against Anthony Pettis. And we definitely want to talk to you about your fight, Tony, but I got to ask you first about the melee that ensued after Conor and Khabib fought. What did you take away from their fight and that situation afterwards?

- Absolutely unprofessional. I think it was uncalled for. We're trying to clean this sport up, bring it towards Olympic level, and I think it was a bad part on Khabib. I think he should've just took his win, took the belt, walked away like a man.

But instead, we got to see this melee, which is embarrassing. I just spoke with [INAUDIBLE] and Ariel. You see this in all different sports, man. You really do. You have heated teams that are going to go after each other. I see it, but you're supposed to squash that stuff inside this octagon.

Absolutely, I'm upset. I'm appalled, but I'm ready for the next one. I'm the champ, straight up.

- Obviously, this must be upsetting for you because, obviously, you just went out there and had a crazy performance against Anthony Pettis, former interim champion. You're definitely next in line for this title shot. This can stagnate when you fight next. How are you-- how are your emotions dealing with the performance at the end of that?

- Hey, things got to move on. They took my belt after four months, OK, not even that. After I got injured, they took my title, but I'm still smiling. I'm going to continue to still smile.

I'm going to go back to the drawing board. I'm going to watch my film. I'm going to throw salt in everything because, obviously, I got rocked. I handled it [INAUDIBLE] composure, and I came out with the victory. Like I said, it was TKO.

- So this week, I think it's fair to say, you had a chip on your shoulder, and for good reason. And for good reason, I agree. As you said, four months, they took the belt off you. I'd be really pissed as well.

- Yeah.

- But a lot of emotions, of course. People may be saying you came back too quick, all this stuff. You went out there. You beat the guy. You've probably got a title shot on your hands next. How do you feel right now? Do you feel like that chip is somewhat erased, or is it still there?

- No, I said my piece. I really did. I said my piece, but you can't expect me to, like, be happy with all the things that were going on in the media, actually feeding it.

When it all happened, you know, with Conor and Khabib, it was going to make for a good fight. We obviously knew it was going to be a stylistic matchup. You have a stylistic striker versus a bear mauler, man, and honestly, I'm a Midwest tough guy, and I'm west coast savvy. I'm a big, dangerous threat for both of these guys.

So technically, right now, I honestly think that Khabib is the champ. If I'm still the number one contender, then you've got to give me the money fight versus Conor. It's either way, man. It doesn't matter, but they're both scared of me. They can't run away, and they can't hide forever because I'll find you.

- Well, I tell you what, Tony. A moment ago, you said you wanted to watch the tape and criticize your own performance. Let's run some right now. What we--


KARYN BRYANT: Now, listen, the beginning of the second round, you did get rocked. But you dug deep. You got creative in how you flowed out of that. How did you put this sequence together to be able to finish the fight?

- This whole entire camp, I was thinking baseball. I was thinking throwing fast pitches and change the angle where they're going. And throw some changeups in there and throw some curveballs. He was blocking pretty good, and you saw the pre-fight things that UFC embedded. And what I noticed, was I was throwing my jabs, I was hitting his gloves. I was like, OK, we got to throw some curveballs at him now. We got to throw some curveballs. Get him to open up. I started throwing some stomach [INAUDIBLE], and I started to open them up, and I saw-- I seen him gas. So soon as I started seeing him gas, we knew that that was the game plan. Make him quit, because he quits and all of his other fights.

TYSON WOODLEY: And when you guys were in the fight, it was a point in time when you guys both had a cut, you were both bleeding. What stopped-- what caused the referee to actually stop the fight--

- I wasn't bleeding actually. He was bleeding the whole entire time.

TYSON WOODLEY: Oh, it was his blood on you.

- He was bleeding in my face, and so [INAUDIBLE] was just kind of-- I think the ref was saw that. He was bleeding profusely, and it was getting all over my eyes--

TYSON WOODLEY: Because we were confused on what happened. They stopped the action. You guys were in a bit of a brawl.

- I was excited.

- And then they just stopped it.

- I was excited. I was ready to go. It was reminding me of the Josh Thompson fight. It really did.

I battle in depression. I thrive under chaos, and I was controlling it the whole entire time. I was starting to find my foot on his hip. I was starting to look for some rubber guard.

But he didn't want any part of that. I think when he found that my foot was already on his feet, that's when he started to posture up, and he wanted to strike a little bit. I had some some good ankle picks underneath him--

KARYN BRYANT: Ankle picks, baby!

TYSON WOODLEY: Ankle pick.

- We knew an ankle pick was coming. [INAUDIBLE].

- The tactics of the fight were perfect. You walked him down. Of course, he's a kicker. You got to crowd a kicker. Don't give him that space.

But you had him pressured. You had him on the back for almost the entire fight. So as I say, perfect. Perfect game plan.

Second round, though, you did get caught with that big shot. How did you feel? How rocked were you?

- I thought it was awesome. I don't-- I thought it was amazing. I mean, literally--




TONY FERGUSON: I'm not even playing. I don't spar. I don't spar. I haven't sparred in probably, like, four or five years. I'll be real with you. You guys are, like, what? How do you not do that?


TONY FERGUSON: So the one part is, is when I get hit like that, it's like-- it's like, ooh, you're right inside the game, and the only person that can realize that are fighters like us. When you get hit, it's either fight or flight. And for him, it was flight, man, and for me, it was fight the whole entire time. When he kicked my leg, too, and I saw his face, like, just I smiled and I went back [INAUDIBLE], he didn't know what to do.

MICHAEL BISPING: Well, [INAUDIBLE] fight as well. It's like when I fought Anthony Silva, he got me this flying knee in the third round, then he made it just more of an epic performance. Obviously, that made the fight so much more enjoyable. It had the crowd going absolutely crazy here.

I know you're focusing on the task at hand. You've got a guy trying to take your head off. But the crowd were going absolutely ballistic. It must've been a lot of fun.

- I'm a fan favorite. I'm going to always be a fan favorite. We took the show tonight. We knew exactly what was going to happen between Conor and eat Khabib.

But seriously, I had so much fun fighting Anthony Pettis. He was a game opponent. We both made our debuts in the UFC at the Ultimate Fighter 13 finale.

I knew I was going to face this guy like I was going to fight Edson Barboza. I'm cleaning out this division. You got to watch out for that 175 [INAUDIBLE].


- I knew that was coming.

- I'm right here. And-- and no animosity. The best part is, this is my division. I'm cleaning it up. These guys are chicken shit.

I don't want to fight-- I don't want to fight anybody that doesn't want to fight me. But you know what, Dana? Let's make it happen. Give me-- give me Khabib. Give me Conor.

It doesn't matter who, but don't don't neglect me anymore. Don't take my title anymore. You got to pay me, dawg. Let's go.

TYSON WOODLEY: Ferguson, quick question. When you're looking at Anthony Pettis, what he does best is striking. He's one of the most creative strikers we've seen.

I actually thought it was the element of surprise because you were walking him down. You were actually throwing more jabs. You were landing with more strikes. Was that a part of the game plan, to make him think you would go for the take down, go for the rear naked choke, go for the D'arce?

That's what you're known for doing. You actually went out there and was outstriking him. Is that something that you guys planned on in training camp?

- I wanted to outstrike him. I really did. He was a game opponent in his striking. Very savvy in his art. Right? He went for the Showtime kick. He didn't get it. We--

TYSON WOODLEY: You went for the Showtime as well out there.

- The one part is I was expecting to go toe to toe. I love to go toe to toe with anybody, any weight class. You give me anybody. It doesn't matter what weight.

We'll go toe to toe, and I'll say the first person that steps outside of that loses. That's my game right there. I have the hands. I've been knocking people out at 170 pounds.

I was finishing people at 155. I got bored. Now, I'm technically knocking out these dudes.

MICHAEL BISPING: Real quick, what was Eddie Bravo saying to you after it was-- of course, you were emotional. I understand all of that. I was talking about it earlier. But what was Eddie saying to you?

- He was just proud of me. He knows how much I went through for this whole entire camp. I think my whole entire just aura, this whole entire year, I've been training like an Olympian. No BS.

I've been going for my night runs. I have my crew. I brought up new people, kept my circle really small, and I have to thank a lot to my wife, my son, and my family for supporting me and never leaving, and these guys for always setting the pace for me to clean it up.

KARYN BRYANT: Awesome. Well, Tony, listen, we're so happy you're back. It looked like your knee wasn't bothering you at all, which is awesome. Listen, whatever you're doing, keep it up because it is totally, totally working.

- I have an equation. Just let me finish with this. It's-- it's effort times consistency equals confidence, and I'm shining baby.

KARYN BRYANT: Nice. He absolutely is, folks. Tony Ferguson, the one and only, victorious tonight over Anthony Pettis. Congratulations.