White: Ferguson 'looked damn good' before Chandler's KO
UFC president Dana White doesn't think Tony Ferguson's knockout loss to Michael Chandler was a sign that the former interim champion is on his way out.
"He looked damn good in that first round," White said at the UFC 274 postfight press conference, according to MMA Fighting.
Ferguson's performance over his last three fights had raised questions about his status as a contender; he suffered successive dominant losses to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira, and Beneil Dariush from 2020-21.
But the 38-year-old showed flashes of the old "El Cucuy" against Chandler, tagging him early in a back-and-forth opening round and then doing damage from bottom. Chandler went on to score a "Knockout of the Year" candidate with an incredible front kick in Round 2.
"It's not like, 'Oh my God, Tony got dominated and looks like he doesn't even belong here,'" White said. "Tony looked damn good right up until he got caught. And you know, in this game, anybody can get caught with anything."
White said he still considers Ferguson a top-10 lightweight in the promotion. Ferguson entered the fight ranked No. 7; Chandler was No. 5.
White praised Chandler's kick, calling it "the most vicious knockout I've ever seen."
Ferguson had a CT scan come back negative and was released from hospital Saturday night.