Saturday, April 6, 2024

Paddy Pimblett defends Tony Ferguson from retirement calls after UFC 296: ‘It’s the person’s decision’

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LAS VEGAS – Despite being on a seven-fight losing streak and two months shy from turning 40, Paddy Pimblett doesn’t think people should be calling for Tony Ferguson’s retirement.

Pimblett (21-3 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who defeated Ferguson (25-10 MMA, 15-8 UFC) in a unanimous decision on the main card of Saturday’s UFC 296, doesn’t like how fans and pundits are calling for “El Cucuy” to hang up the gloves. In fact, not only does he think that it’s solely Ferguson’s decision, but after fighting 15 minutes with him, he genuinely believes Ferguson can still hang in the octagon.

“It’s mad the way people are telling him to retire,” Pimblett told reporters at the UFC 296 post-fight press conference. “It’s the person’s decision who’s fighting of when they want to retire. No one will ever tell me when to retire. It’s my decision.

“If Tony wants to keep getting in there and fighting, he can. I think if you put him in there against someone lower in the division, like a Mark O. Madsen or Drakkar Klose or someone like that, he beats them.”

Ferguson, once considered one of the world’s best lightweights while on a 12-fight winning streak, is in a historic career rut.

Ferguson hasn’t won a fight since June 2019, when he defeated Donald Cerrone. After that victory, Ferguson was viciously beaten by Justin Gaethje in a UFC interim lightweight title fight that headlined UFC 249. The loss sparked this current losing skid, which includes defeats to Charles Oliveira, Beneil Driush, Michael Chandler, Nate Diaz, Bobby Green and now Pimblett.

Even though Pimblett described his bout against Ferguson as a “lose-lose situation” in the buildup to the event,  the Englishman was surprised to see Ferguson’s toughness, and he’s glad to add his name to the resume.

“He survived. He’s one of the toughest men out there, and hat’s off to him,” Pimblett said. “He’s an absolute legend. As I said before, no one should tell that man to retire. He can retire on his own back when he wants to.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 296.

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