Tony Ferguson’s Navy SEAL training for UFC 296 worries fellow fighters

Tony Ferguson's decision to undergo Navy SEAL training with David Goggins has his fellow fighters worried.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 3 weeks ago
Tony Ferguson’s Navy SEAL training for UFC 296 worries fellow fighters
Icon Sportswire, IMAGO

Ahead of his UFC 296 bout with Paddy Pimblett, Tony Ferguson decided to add to his training. Recently, “El Cucuy” put himself through the grueling Hell Week training under the guidance of former Navy SEAL turned triathlete and best-selling author David Goggins

And that decision has a few of his former colleagues worried. 

Tony Ferguson becomes the first pro athlete to complete ‘Hell Week’

For the uninitiated, Hell Week is a phase of an aspiring Navy SEAL’s training that involves measures aimed at pushing them to their limits. It involves five and a half days of cold tolerance and physical endurance exercises under four hours of sleep. 

In the worst cases, things can turn deadly

Tony Ferguson’s version of Hell Week is, of course, different. According to Goggins’ post of their first day of training, the former interim champion went through ‘3+ hours of high-intensity, tempo cardio, over 600 push-ups, tons of chest exercises, stair climber/assault bike/rowing/elliptical.’

The session was so grueling it had Ferguson vomiting at one point. 

But he became the first professional athlete to complete the ritual, leaving Goggins impressed. 

“I have had many people try yet he is the first one to get through it,” he wrote in another Instagram post. 

“I broke El Cucuy on Day One, or at least I thought I did. I had him deep in the hurt locker and figured the questions were soon to be coming. 

“I told Kish [Goggins wife] late that night ‘this motherf–r is done!’

“But, I was wrong. He woke up on Day Two even more fired up to go. There was never a question asked. His response was always the same, ‘OK, Coach.’”

David Goggins and Tony Ferguson during their training.
David Goggins and Tony Ferguson during their training (screenshot by MMA Fighting).

Tony Ferguson’s training draws concern

There is no questioning Tony Ferguson’s toughness, both physically and mentally as he has shown throughout his MMA career. The fact that an accomplished MMA star spurs on and tries to change things up after six straight losses is commendable. 

However, his decision to put himself through these specific measures drew concerns from fellow fighters. 

For one, former double-champ and Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier isn’t sold on the idea that SEAL training under Goggins would help Ferguson snap his skid. 

“It’s just other things, other reasons why he’s losing, and I don’t know if David Goggins is going to be able to change that,” Cormier said in a recent episode of his ESPN show. 

“The weathering and the beatings that you take in that octagon can’t be fixed just by mental approach and working harder in the gym. 

“It just takes something a little bit more.”

Chael Sonnen and former champion Rafael dos Anjos briefly discussed it on social media. 

In his recent appearance on Michael Bisping’s podcast, Sonnen spoke further, echoing a similar sentiment as Cormier’s.

“I love how hard Tony is working, and good things come from hard work. There’s no question. 

“But there’s nothing — not the stair stepper, not the throwing up, not the lunges, not the sprints on the track — there’s nothing that you’ll be doing in the Octagon against Paddy. 

“And no matter how much you want to say it’s cross-training or it helps, you might even be right. But I’m right, too. That’s not what the judges are gonna be watching for.” 

For Chael, Tony Ferguson should focus more on what he could actually use inside the Octagon. 

“So if you’ve only got so much energy at an older age like Tony, you might want to spend it in jiu-jitsu.

“You might want to spend it in wrestling. You might want to spend it in sparring. Something that resembles what you’ll be doing opposite Paddy on December 16.” 

MMA: UFC 291 - Ferguson vs Green Jul 29, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights Bobby Green (blue gloves) during UFC 291 at Delta Center. Salt Lake City Delta Center Utah USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY 20230729_szo_si8_0263
Ferguson during his fight with Bobby Green at UFC 291 in July. | JeffxSwinger / USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

A peek at UFC 296

Tony Ferguson vs. Paddy Pimblett will take place at the main card of the December 16 event in Las Vegas. ‘Paddy the Baddy’ sees it as a ‘lose-lose’ situation for him. 

“This is a lose-lose situation for me because when I beat him, people are going to be like, ‘Tony was finished anyway. He needed to retire anyway. 

“But if the unthinkable happens and I do lose, I’ve been beaten by a finished Tony Ferguson.”

Opening the PPV card is a welterweight bout between Vicente Luque and the undefeated Ian Machado Garry. And right after Tony Ferguson-Paddy Pimblett is another 170-pound clash between Shavkat Rakhmonov and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.

The co-headliner features Alexandre Pantoja’s first title defense as the flyweight champion. He will take on number four-ranked Brandon Royval in a rematch. 

At the top of the bill is the long-talked-about welterweight championship bout between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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