Anthony Armand Ferguson Padilla is an American professional mixed martial artist. He currently competes in the Lightweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is a former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion. Ferguson debuted in 2008, and has been with the UFC since he won The Ultimate Fighter 13 in 2011. He is trained in freestyle wrestling, boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, and Wing Chun.
Ferguson began his professional MMA career fighting in small organizations around California in 2007. Notable matches in his early career include a win over kickboxing champion Joe Schilling and a loss to future World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) fighter Karen Darabedyan.
The Ultimate Fighter
Ferguson applied to compete in the UFC's reality series The Ultimate Fighter multiple times. In 2010, he was finally accepted to compete in season 13 of the series after amassing a 10–2 professional record and winning the welterweight championship in PureCombat. He competed as a welterweight on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos.
Ferguson was selected as the third pick for Team Lesnar. In his first fight, Ferguson defeated Justin Edwards by knockout in the first round. He next faced Ryan McGillivray in the quarterfinals and won by a TKO in the first round. He then faced Chuck O'Neil in the semifinals and won by TKO in the third round to advance to the final.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Ferguson officially made his UFC debut at the Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale against Ramsey Nijem to determine the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 13. Ferguson defeated Nijem by knockout in the first round to win a UFC contract. He also received the Knockout of the Night bonus.
Following his debut, Ferguson returned to lightweight and faced Aaron Riley on September 24, 2011, at UFC 135. The fight was stopped after the first round after Riley said he had a broken jaw, resulting in a TKO victory for Ferguson.
Ferguson then faced MMA veteran Yves Edwards at the Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. Ferguson won via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 29–28).
Ferguson was expected to face Dennis Hallman on May 5, 2012, at UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller. Hallman pulled out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Thiago Tavares. Then, Tavares was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Michael Johnson. Ferguson lost the fight by unanimous decision.
After over a year away from competition while healing an arm injury incurred in his last fight, Ferguson returned to face Mike Rio on October 19, 2013, at UFC 166 which was the beginning of his twelve fight win streak. He won by D'Arce choke submission in the first round. The win also earned him his first Submission of the Night award.
Ferguson faced Katsunori Kikuno on May 24, 2014, at UFC 173. He won the fight by knockout in the first round.
Ferguson was expected to face Danny Castillo on August 2, 2014, at UFC 176. After UFC 176 was cancelled, Castillo/Ferguson was rescheduled and took place on August 30, 2014, at UFC 177. Ferguson won the fight via split decision.
Ferguson faced Abel Trujillo on December 6, 2014, at UFC 181. Ferguson won the bout in the second round by submission.
Ferguson was expected to face Yancy Medeiros on February 28, 2015, at UFC 184. Medeiros pulled out of the bout, citing injury, and was replaced by Gleison Tibau. Ferguson won the fight by submission in the first round which also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.
Ferguson faced Josh Thomson on July 15, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 71. He won the fight via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 30–26) and earned his second straight Performance of the Night bonus.
Ferguson was expected to face Khabib Nurmagomedov on December 11, 2015, at the Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale. Nurmagomedov pulled out of the fight in late October, citing injury, and was replaced by Edson Barboza. After a back-and-forth first round that had Ferguson docked one point due to an illegal upkick, Ferguson finished Barboza with a D'Arce choke submission in the second round. He earned his third consecutive Performance of the Night bonus as well as a Fight of the Night bonus.
A rematch with Michael Johnson was briefly scheduled for March 5, 2016, at UFC 196. On January 27, it was announced that Johnson withdrew from the bout due to injury. In turn, the bout with Nurmagomedov was rescheduled and expected take place on April 16, 2016, at UFC on Fox 19. On April 5, Ferguson pulled out of the bout due to a lung issue. He was replaced by promotional newcomer Darrell Horcher.
Ferguson was expected to face Michael Chiesa on July 13, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 91. Chiesa pulled out of the fight on June 27, citing injury, and was replaced by promotional newcomer Lando Vannata. Ferguson won his second straight fight via D'Arce choke and was awarded another Fight of the Night bonus.
Ferguson fought former champion Rafael dos Anjos on November 5, 2016, at the Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale. He won the fight by unanimous decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night, which gave Ferguson his sixth post-fight bonus in his past five fights.
The pairing with Nurmagomedov was scheduled for a third time at UFC 209, this time for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship. Prior to the weigh-ins for the event, Nurmagomedov was hospitalized due to the ill effects of his weight cut, and the bout was cancelled yet again.
Ferguson faced Kevin Lee on October 7, 2017, at UFC 216 for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship. He won the bout by triangle choke submission in the third round.
A bout with Nurmagomedov had been scheduled for the fourth time on April 7, 2018, at UFC 223. On April 1, 2018, Ferguson reportedly tore his fibular collateral ligament while walking on the set for a pre-fight media obligation and was forced to withdraw from the event.
Ferguson faced Anthony Pettis on October 6, 2018, at UFC 229. He won the bout via corner stoppage after two rounds. Pettis' longtime cornerman and coach, Duke Roufus, informed the referee that he would not continue after suffering a broken hand. Their performance earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.
Ferguson next faced Donald Cerrone on June 8, 2019, at UFC 238. He won the fight via TKO due to a doctor stoppage after Cerrone blew his nose between rounds 2 & 3 which caused his swollen right eye to completely close, rendering him unable to continue. This fight earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.
Ferguson was scheduled to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight Championship on April 18, 2020, at UFC 249, but after Nurmagomedov was unable to leave Russia due to restricted air travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Ferguson then agreed to compete for the Interim UFC Lightweight Championship against a late replacement in Justin Gaethje at the event. On April 9, UFC president Dana White announced that this event was postponed and the bout eventually took place on May 9, 2020. He was outstruck by Gaethje for all five rounds, eventually losing the fight via TKO in the fifth round. This fight earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.
Ferguson faced Charles Oliveira on December 12, 2020, at UFC 256. He lost the fight via unanimous decision after being dominated and controlled on the ground for most of the fight.
Ferguson faced Beneil Dariush on May 15, 2021, at UFC 262. He lost the fight via unanimous decision being once again controlled on the ground for the majority of the fight.
Ferguson faced former Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler on May 7, 2022 at UFC 274. Despite a strong first round, Ferguson lost the fight via knockout early in the second round.
Ferguson was scheduled to return to the welterweight division to face Li Jingliang on September 10, 2022, in the co-main event of UFC 279. However, Ferguson instead moved up to the main event to face Nate Diaz, after his original opponent Khamzat Chimaev was pulled from their fight due to missing weight. Ferguson lost the fight via a guillotine choke submission in the fourth round.
Ferguson returned to the lightweight division to face Bobby Green at UFC 291 on July 29, 2023. He lost the fight via technical submission due to an arm-triangle choke in the final seconds of the third round.
Ferguson faced Paddy Pimblett on December 16, 2023, at UFC 296. He lost the fight via unanimous decision. With the loss, Ferguson tied B.J. Penn for the longest losing streak in UFC history.