Thomson has been fighting since 2001, having competed in all corners of the globe. But he’s had trouble finding his footing during his most recent run through the UFC, losing two out of three fights, including back-to-back losses entering Wednesday night.
Ferguson has been fighting since 2008, but is a much different animal than Thomson, mixing techniques into a unique eclectic style somewhat reminiscent to Anderson Silva, but somehow all his own.
As much as Thomson wanted and needed to get back on the winning track, it wouldn’t happen on Wednesday night.
From the opening bell, Ferguson used his awkward style and broken rhythms to keep Thomson out of his element. Thomson had his moments, landing occasional shots, catching a kick and dumping Ferguson to the mat, but Ferguson rolled with it – with everything – popped up and landed front kicks to the midsection, which he did frequently in the opening round.
Ferguson was mostly in control throughout the first round, but really softened Thomson up for what was to come in round two.
The second frame was when Ferguson truly opened up his striking arsenal, cracking Thomson across the forehead with a brutal elbow that split a gash and sent the former Strikeforce champion staggering across the Octagon and down to the canvas.
Ferguson followed him down and brutalized him with an assortment of punches, hammerfists and elbows that only stopped when referee Herb Dean stopped the fight due to Ferguson grabbing the fence. They were forced to restart standing, but Thomson was still on wobbly legs.
They returned to the mat, Ferguson locking on a triangle and pummeling Thomson, who continued to fight, and slipped out of the position. Ferguson continued to attack, locking on a Kimura, but again, Thomson escaped.
It was an incredible flurry of action, and stunning that a bloodied Thomson survived and answered the bell for round three.
Ferguson continued to pummel Thomson in round three, again cutting him open with a slashing elbow. The blood flowed, but Thomson wouldn’t quit. Ferguson kept working the body with front kicks and knees, but Thomson wouldn’t quit. Ferguson jabbed, elbowed, kneed, but Thomson wouldn’t quit.
They kept firing to the final horn, but Thomson wouldn’t quit. But he also wouldn’t win.
It was a hard-fought, well-earned victory; Tony Ferguson walking out of the cage with a win over the No. 9 ranked lightweight in the UFC notched on his belt and his sixth consecutive victory.
“I feel pretty bad-ass right now. Got the chance to go out there and throw a lot of punches. I thank Josh Thomson for taking the fight. The fight tested my conditioning as I haven’t been to the third round in a while,” said Ferguson after the fight.
“This is the year of Tony Ferguson.”