Dana White believes Tony Ferguson “looked off” and “slow” during his UFC 249 main event defeat to Justin Gaethje because he cut weight twice in a month.
Ferguson fell short in his bid to re-capture the UFC interim lightweight title on Saturday night falling to a fifth-round stoppage defeat in Jacksonville. The event was originally due to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with Ferguson headlining in an undisputed title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, however, it was eventually cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Despite the original cancellation, Tony Ferguson still cut 24 pounds on a week leading up to April 18, something the UFC lightweight was lauded for in many circles due to the mental toughness of it.
With the State of Florida allowing the UFC to hold the event under strict guidelines, Gaethje stepped in to face Ferguson for the interim lightweight title on a short-notice fight, however, White believes Ferguson’s decision to cut weight less than a month prior ultimately backfired.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Gaethje, because he fought an incredible fight,” White said at the UFC 249 post-fight press conference. “But I thought Tony looked off tonight. I thought he looked slow, and I would have to imagine that cutting weight twice in a month will affect you. So I don’t know if that’s it or what.
“The guy isn’t human. He’s got a chin. Nobody takes Gaethje’s punches like that – nobody I’ve seen since I’ve been watching Gaethje fight. But this kid did.”
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) May 10, 2020
As it was with the co-main event featuring Henry Cejudo, the stoppage courted some controversy as some felt Ferguson should have been allowed to fight on.
However, White felt the stoppage could actually have been earlier.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 10, 2020
“Chuck Liddell is blowing me up saying that was a horrible stoppage, and that’s crazy,” White said. “I think the fight could have been stopped a little sooner.
“Tony took a lot of damage tonight. Not only did he take a lot of damage, he took damage from a guy who f*cking hits like a truck, a guy who hits very hard, and usually knocks people unconscious when he hits people. So I actually think the stoppage was great, and I think it could have been stopped sooner.”
You can watch Dana White’s post-UFC 249 press conference in full below.