Former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight contender Chael Sonnen is going against the grain again. While the matchup between prospect Paddy Pimblett and former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson was received with bitterness by most pundits, the ‘West Linn Gangster’ thinks people should not be so dismissive of ‘El Cucuy’.
Chael Sonnen betting on Tony Ferguson
On his official YouTube channel (transcribed by MMA Fighting), Chael Sonnen predicted that ‘Paddy Pimblett is going to get whipped by Tony Ferguson’ when they meet at UFC 296. The reasoning behind the claim comes from the list of athletes El Cucuy in his most recent outings. Though Ferguson is on a six-fight losing skid, Sonnen says we should consider the caliber of fighters he has been facing.
“Tony Ferguson is a tough fight for anybody, and Tony Ferguson has only fought real killers. These guys who got the nudge on Tony are the best of the best. Tony Ferguson, until just recently, has fought in the top-10 for his entire career.
“The point on that is Bobby Green was his sixth loss in a row, and he was still ranked in the top-10. He lost five fights in a row and was still in the top-10. I’m just speaking to the calibur of opponent that he’s taking on.”
On the other hand, Chael Sonnen also asks his fans to consider the level of competition Paddy Pimblett has faced and the massive amount of weight the Brit always gains between fights. For Sonnen, the ‘Baddy’ presents many issues that too many fans of the sport and pundits are willing to ignore.
“I look at Paddy with some real positivity, but I also look at a guy who can’t get his weight under control. I look at a guy that any time he goes on social media, or does some kind of podcast, the only comments have to do with how big he is — which is a direct contradiction to discipline and efforts being put in the gym. They don’t go together. If you’re doing the workouts, you’re burning the calories, if you’re not doing the workouts, you’re not burning the calories.
“One guy just exited the top-10, the other guy hasn’t threatened it. One guy is on a losing skid, that’s true. Another guy openly said, ‘I’m not even tough enough to go out there.’ We’re coming up on a year since the Gordon fight. Whatever the injury was, it doesn’t make a bit of difference. If a guy says [he] can’t even go out there, can’t even walk out and try, I don’t know how you’re giving him a nudge over a guy that just left the top 10.”
Michael Bisping not doubting Ferguson, either
Chael Sonnen may be in the minority when he favors Tony Ferguson against Paddy Pimblett, but he is not alone. Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping is not outright saying El Cucuy is going to win the battle at UFC 296, but wishes fans would not dismiss El Cucuy so quickly, too.
On his official YouTube channel (transcribed by MMA Junkie), the ‘Count’ shared his thoughts on the pairing.
Dana White would like to see Ferguson retire with a loss
Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White has gone on tape to share the opinion with which most people seem to agree. Though the chairman still said Tony Ferguson looked ‘damn good’ in his most recent outings, he also sees Paddy Pimblett as a step down in competition and if El Cucuy loses again, White hopes he could retire from the sport for good.
Check out the clip below (shared by MMA Junkie).
Catch Paddy Pimblett vs. Tony Ferguson at UFC 296
Tony Ferguson (25-9) is on a six-fight losing skid, with losses to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, Beneil Dariush, Michael Chandler, Nate Diaz and Bobby Green. The 39-year-old has not won a fight since he defeated Donald Cerrone via doctor stoppage TKO, in June 2019.
Meanwhile, Paddy Pimblett (20-3) is still undefeated in the Octagon, with four straight wins. During this time, the 28-year-old scored wins over Luigi Vendramini, Rodrigo Vargas, Jordan Leavitt and Jared Gordon. His latest loss dates back September 2018, when dropped a unanimous decision to Soren Bak at Cage Warriors 96.
Now, Pimblett is expected to take on Ferguson at UFC 296, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The December 16 card is scheduled to be headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Leon Edwards and former interim title-holder Colby Covington.
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