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Tony Ferguson (24-3) is a lightweight pugilist signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. For his next outing, the 35-year-old will square off against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238, which takes place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, on June 8.
As we approach the pivotal lightweight matchup, here are five things you might not know about the man they call “El Cucuy.”
He is an advocate of the rubber guardFerguson is a long-time disciple of Eddie Bravo, the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder and inventor of the rubber guard. The technique, which requires extensive flexibility, entails controlling an opponent from one’s back in a high guard using one arm and one leg.
Despite coming from a wrestling background, “El Cucuy” is quite at home on his back, where he utilizes the rubber guard to good effect. Most recently, the BJJ black belt employed it in his third-round submission victory over Kevin Lee at UFC 216.
He was a high school sports starGrowing up, Ferguson was an active kid who excelled at a number of disciplines. During his time at Muskegon Catholic Central High School in Michigan, he competed in baseball, football and wrestling.
Playing as a first-choice defensive back, he won the 2002 state football championship. His high school wrestling accolades include being a three-time All-State selection.
He is of Mexican descentDespite the fact that the 35-year-old’s family hail from south of the border, the California-born fighter bears his Scottish-American stepfather’s surname.
Today, Ferguson pays homage to his ancestral roots through his moniker “El Cucuy.” In Mexican folklore, the nickname is a mythical ghost-like monster. He first coined the nickname when one of Ferguson’s coaches commented that his charge resembled the Central American boogie man.
He has unorthodox training methodsThe former interim lightweight champion has a reputation as an eccentric. Amongst his unusual antics are rarely being seen without sunglasses on, including when indoors. His unorthodox behavior also permeates his training regime. The relentless hard worker often posts videos of his workouts on various social media platforms.
His unusual approach has entailed working out on speed bags while dressed in business attire, doing exercises blindfolded, performing ninja-like jump and roll routines, conducting shadow boxing and kicking sessions with laser lights, and lifting dumbbells a mere two hours after major knee surgery. Prior to his aforementioned clash with Lee, Ferguson shared an image on Instagram of himself strapped into a pulley rope, which was attached to a house.
The obsessed athlete has even created his own hand-built facility in Big Bear, California, where he spends much of his training camps.