Tony Ferguson is a man who doesn’t lack for confidence.
That bravado is rooted in merit, as “El Cucuy” enters his interim lightweight championship bout with Kevin Lee in the UFC 216 headliner on Saturday on a nine-fight winning streak. However, Lee isn’t as impressed. “The Motown Phenom,” who enters the matchup on a five-fight winning streak of his own, believes Ferguson has been walking a tightrope in some of his Octagon appearances.
“Tony is super aggressive. That’s kind of what he relies on. Even though you say he’s won [nine] fights in a row, I look at a lot of them and say, he could have lost a lot of those,” Lee said on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast. “He was getting getting his ass whooped by [Abel Trujillo], he was getting his ass whooped by [Rafael] dos Anjos….I do give Tony a whole lot of respect.
“He’s talking about training like a caveman. There’s a reason why cavemen are extinct, they don’t last too long. I don’t think he’s filled the holes in his game. I’m gonna go out there and show those holes. “
Ferguson owns notable victories over the likes of dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thomson and Gleison Tibau, to name a few. Lee’s resume isn’t filled with as many well-known names, but a closer look reveals some impressive results. In recent fights, he handed Magmoded Mustafaev his first defeat in 12 outings, snapped Francisco Trinaldo’s seven-bout Octagon winning streak and choked out submission specialist Michael Chiesa.
Still, Ferguson has downplayed Lee’s skills and accomplishments leading up to their meeting at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Lee can only hope that his opponent’s overconfidence is more than just a front.
“That’s up to him. If he don’t want to, then he’s gonna see,” Lee said. “Because I’m taking it like the biggest fight of my life. I love easy money. I wish he wouldn’t [take me seriously].”