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Victory in the cage continues to elude Tony Ferguson.

‘El Cucuy’, formerly the UFC’s interim lightweight champion, suffered his seventh loss in a row late on Saturday night in Las Vegas as he was outpointed by Paddy Pimblett across three rounds of mostly one-sided action in Las Vegas. The defeat is the latest setback for Ferguson, who entered 2020 with a 25-3 professional record in mixed martial arts and now — just three years later — stands with a ledger of 25-10.

Ferguson, who created headlines in the lead-in to the fight by undertaking David Goggins’ infamous ‘Hell Week’ training regimen, did not appear to have the same tenacity that characterised earlier performances in his career, as he appeared a half-step behind Pimblett throughout the majority of the bout.

Speaking after the event to the media, UFC CEO Dana White said that Ferguson should seriously consider retirement but appeared to stop short of saying that the organisation’s matchmakers would stop offering him fights — perhaps deliberately placing the onus on Ferguson to decide his next step less than two months out from his 40th birthday.

But judging by a post to social media, Ferguson isn’t thinking of stepping away from the sport just yet.

“Love my fans and supporters,” Ferguson wrote in an Instagram Story. “You are all f*cking fire. I met lots of you tonight, keep the faith MF’s. One foot in front of the other bitches. Remember what I said crew — Champ.”

In his own post-fight comments to the media, Pimblett was critical of calls for Ferguson to retire, saying that this would be a decision for him and him alone. However, the UFC does not traditionally keep fighters around who post extended sequences of losses but BJ Penn was reportedly offered a fight despite his own set of seven losses before he was released from the organisation stemming from an outside-of-the-cage incident in 2019.