Ferguson grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, of Mexican heritage. His surname of Ferguson comes from his Anglo American stepfather. As a southern California native living in a small Midwestern town, Ferguson’s father enrolled him in sports at a young age to help him make friends and fit into his new surroundings.
Ferguson took to athletics extraordinarily well, and went on to earn 12 varsity letters at Muskegon Catholic Central High School in football, baseball and wrestling. He was the starting defensive back for the 2002 state football champions and was a three-time All-State selection in wrestling, winning the 152 lbs division in 2002.
After high school, Ferguson enrolled at Central Michigan University before transferring to Grand Valley State University. He also did a stint at Muskegon Community College. He went on to garner NCWA honors twice, winning the NCWA national championship in the 165 lbs division.
Ferguson moved back to California to be closer to his extended family, working in marketing and sales during the day and picking up shifts as a bartender at night. One night while tending bar, a patron talked to him about his wrestling background and invited him to work with some young mixed martial artists on their wrestling.
Ferguson had signed with the UFC in 2011 to compete as a welterweight on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos.
Ferguson was the third pick of Team Lesnar and the fifth overall. Ferguson was matched up with alternative, Justin Edwards, for his preliminary bout. After a back and forth first round, Edwards was able to take Ferguson down. But while on the ground, Ferguson landed a devastating upkick that knocked out Edwards. With the win, Ferguson moved on to the quarter-finals.
For his quarterfinal fight, Ferguson fought Ryan McGillivray, quickly earning the KO win after catching McGillivray with a short uppercut and following up with ground and pound. The win moved him into the semi-finals where he faced his teammate, Chuck O'Neil.
A night of celebration takes place at the Ultimate fighter house but soon turns ugly when Ferguson begins mocking a teammate (Charlie Rader) for having his son taken away. Ferguson refuses to apologize and continues to mock him by yelling "Where's your kid at?". O'Neil then promises Rader to "take his (Ferguson's) dreams away".
Ferguson defeated O'Neil in the final episode via TKO in the third round, sending him to the finals to face Ramsey Nijem.
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 via knockout in the first round, making him the winner of the Ultimate Fighter Season 13. Ferguson also earned the Knockout of the Night bonus for his finish of Nijem.
Ferguson returned to lightweight when he faced Aaron Riley on September 24, 2011, at UFC 135. While the fight was competitive early, Ferguson landed a strong left uppercut, and Ferguson dominated the remaining two minutes of the round. Immediately after the end of the first round, Riley told his corner that his jaw was broken. The fight was declared a TKO victory for Ferguson.
Ferguson next faced MMA veteran Yves Edwards at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. Ferguson won via unanimous decision.
Ferguson was expected to face Dennis Hallman on May 5, 2012, at UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller. However, Hallman was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Thiago Tavares. However, Tavares was forced out of the bout with an injury and replaced by Michael Johnson. Ferguson lost against Johnson via unanimous decision.
Ferguson faced Mike Rio on October 19, 2013, at UFC 166. He won via 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 via knockout in the first round.
Ferguson was expected to face Danny Castillo on August 2, 2014, at UFC 176. However, 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. After losing the first round, Ferguson rallied to win the bout in the second round via submission.
Ferguson was expected to face Yancy Medeiros on February 28, 2015, at UFC 184. However, Medeiros pulled out of the bout citing injury and was replaced by Gleison Tibau. He won the fight by submission in the first round, which also earned Ferguson 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, which earned him 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. However, 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 saw Ferguson docked one point due to an illegal upkick, Ferguson finished Barboza with a d'arce choke submission in the second round. He earned a Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonus with this win.
A rematch with Michael Johnson was briefly scheduled for March 5, 2016, at UFC 196. However, 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. Subsequently, 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. However, Chiesa pulled out of the fight on June 27 citing injury and was replaced by promotional newcomer Lando Vannata. Despite being dropped and nearly finished with strikes in the first round, Ferguson rallied to defeat the fatigued Vannata via submission in the second round. Both participants were awarded a Fight of the Night bonus.
Ferguson faced former champion Rafael dos Anjos on November 5, 2016, at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale. He won the fight via unanimous decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night for their performance.
The pairing with Nurmagomedov was scheduled for a third time at UFC 209, this time for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship. However, 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 is expected to face Kevin Lee on October 7, 2017 at UFC 216 for the interim UFC Lightweight Championship.
Ferguson is married and has a son, Armand Anthony, born April 28, 2016.Ultimate Fighting Championship
The Ultimate Fighter 13 Tournament Winner
Fight of the Night (Three times)
Knockout of the Night (One time)
Submission of the Night (One time)
Performance of the Night (Three times)
Longest winning streak in lightweight division history (nine)
PureCombat Welterweight Championship (One time)
2015 December Fight of the Month vs. Edson Barboza
National Collegiate Wrestling AssociationNCWA National Champion (2006)
NCWA All-American (2006, 2007)
North Central Conference Champion (2006, 2007)
Michigan High School Athletic Association
MHSAA Division IV State Champion (2002)
MHSAA Division IV All-State (2000, 2001, 2002)