Charles Oliveira has been told that Tony Ferguson “put down the ladder” for him to climb up the UFC lightweight division.
Oliviera recently submitted Justin Gaethje in the first round at UFC 274. The win was supposed to mark the second defence of his lightweight belt, but he was stripped of his title after missing weight by .5lb for the fight.
The Brazilian has finished all of his past 11 opponents other than Ferguson, being taken the distance by ‘El Cucuy’ when they fought in December 2020. Oliveira and Ferguson are on good terms and were filmed encouraging each other before their respective fights at UFC 262 last year.
MMA analyst Chael Sonnen thinks Ferguson has played an integral role in Oliveira’s rise, stating: “Tony Ferguson put the ladder down so somebody else could climb up. That somebody was named Charles Oliveira. Charles Oliveira is not where he is today and he is not the champion of the world if it is not for Tony Ferguson. Period.
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“Tony, who’s up in the loft, he’s ranked number five in the world. At 155 pounds at that specific time you have to understand the timeline. At that specific time, we had five stars. We had 10 amazing fighters, we had 5 stars and the amazing fighters couldn’t get on the docket with the stars.”
Ferguson went unbeaten in five years during his prime at lightweight, winning 12 fights during that period. The former interim champion is now without a win in his last four fights, being knocked out cold for the first time in his career by Michael Chandler in his last outing.
Oliveira recently welcomed Ferguson to train with him at his Chute Boxe gym in Brazil. Ferguson was appreciative of the offer, but respectfully turned it down as he thinks a rematch with Oliveira is inevitable once he gets back in the winning column.
“I’ve got to really think about that one, because I see myself competing against him again. I know exactly what I have to do and I can’t really say no to it or yes to it,” Ferguson told MMA Junkie.
“I know right now that it’s not the time for me to go to Chute Boxe and to train with them. There’s some local gyms out that I’m going to be part of a team and help that team grow as well as myself.”