Josh Thomson can empathize with Tony Ferguson’s current predicament. While Thomson didn’t face a six-fight losing streak like Ferguson, he did experience a swift decline from being a top lightweight contender. A three-fight losing streak in 2014-15 marked the end of Thomson’s pursuit of the UFC lightweight title. One of those losses was against Ferguson at UFC Fight Night 71, which left a lasting impact on Thomson.
Thomson, now 44, recognizes the challenges of being in the cage at an older age. He has observed Ferguson’s recent struggles and finds it hard to watch. Thomson believes that Ferguson’s determination to keep fighting despite clear signs of aging and accumulated damage is concerning.
Thomson emphasizes the importance of self-reflection for fighters, especially as they age. He recalls his own moments of speaking without realizing it and the changes he noticed in his behavior post-fighting. He expresses concern for Ferguson’s well-being and his future relationships due to the toll fighting can take on the brain.
Thomson shares his own experience, noting that he was 36 years old when he faced Ferguson, the same age Ferguson was during his losses to Justin Gaethje and others. He believes that the damage sustained in those fights can fundamentally change a fighter’s body and mindset, altering their approach and abilities.
Despite the calls for his retirement, Ferguson remains determined to continue his fighting career. Thomson believes that Ferguson’s desire to capture the big fights that eluded him, like those against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, is driving his refusal to retire. However, Thomson urges Ferguson to consider the long-term consequences and to think about his future beyond fighting.
Thomson’s words of caution revolve around the idea that continuing to fight, especially at an older age, could have significant ramifications on Ferguson’s health, quality of life, and relationships. While Thomson understands the fighter’s mentality, he encourages Ferguson to look beyond the pursuit of one last fight and to consider what lies ahead for him and his family.