At UFC 256 in December of 2020, Ferguson stepped up to face Oliveira on just a few weeks’ notice. It was an intriguing matchup as ‘El Cucuy’ was linked to Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler before that. However, because he wanted to fight, Ferguson took the fight against Oliveira who was ranked below him. With that, Sonnen says Oliveira should be thanking Ferguson for the opportunity.
“One real cool move that Tony did, he did it for Charles Oliveira and I’ve never heard Charles thank Tony, he may have thanked him but I didn’t hear it,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel (via Sportskeeda). “Oliveira was a really good fighter but he couldn’t get on a docket with one of the stars of the division. Tony was a star of the division, got up in the loft, threw the ladder down behind him so Charles could climb up.
“Charles gets done with Tony, Tony has gotta figure out what he’s gonna do, Charles goes into a world title fight, the rest is history – but Charles does not have a world title fight let alone a world championship if it’s not for Tony Ferguson,” Sonnen added.
After Charles Oliveira dominated Tony Ferguson for three rounds, he got the title shot against Chandler in May, on the same card Ferguson lost to Beneil Dariush. Oliveira ended up scoring a second-round KO to win the vacant belt and has since defended it with a submission win over Poirier.
Although Oliveira has cemented his status as the current best lightweight in the world, Sonnen hopes the Brazilian thanks Ferguson. He will have the chance to do so again as they will once again be on the same card as Oliveira will headline UFC 274 on May 7 against Justin Gaethje while Ferguson will take on Chandler in the co-main event.
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen that Charles Oliveira should thank Tony Ferguson?