December 06, 2016
The ongoing saga of what weight Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s next fight would be at has been a complicated one. However, it appears that the UFC was willing to finally open the door for one of the most dominant women in all of MMA to compete in a newly formed featherweight division.
Although Justino had fought twice in the UFC at a catchweight of 140 pounds, the Brazilian struggled mightily to make weight on both occasions and stated that she wouldn’t be able to cut below that without having severe medical issues. Without a 145-pound division, she essentially was a fighter who floated around with nothing at stake.
UFC president Dana White revealed on the UFC Unfiltered podcast that Justino, who currently holds the Invicta FC 145-pound title, was offered a pair of fights against Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie for what would be the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title. Unfortunately, Justino turned both fights down.
“I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145 pounds about a month ago,” White said. “She had eight weeks to get ready for it. She said she couldn’t make the weight.”
A second fight was offered with more time for Cyborg to make weight. Again, Justino declined.
“Then I offered her another 145-pound title fight for Brooklyn [UFC 208 on Feb. 11]. She turned it down. She turned down two 145-pound title fights.”
White expressed frustration with Cyborg’s decision considering that she has long implored the UFC to introduce a 145-pound decision. But the Invicta champion spoke to MMA Fighting and revealed her reason for declining both fights.
“In my last weight cut I almost died,” she said in a statement. “I was in the bathtub cutting weight, and I thought, ‘I will die in this bathtub.’ It was the worst weight cut in my life.”
She placed blame on nutritionist George Lockhart’s methods to get her down to the 140-pound limit but ultimately had to shed 24 pounds in seven days to make weight before her September 24 bout with Lina Lansberg, which she won by second-round TKO. She stated that she would no longer work with Lockhart and explained that the weight cut left her in treatment for 10 days. When the call came for Cyborg to open up the 145-pound division, she simply wasn’t physically ready to train and compete.
“[The UFC] invited me to fight again, but this time at my weight and for the belt, but with 10 weeks’ notice,” she said. “Knowing that I was recovering, like I said, I told them I can fight anyone in March, but I need to take care of my body, and no mention of the fact that I’m dealing with severe depression and can’t have another brutal weight cut like before. This decision is more important than the belt or the division, I’m thinking about my health.”
What appeared to be an end to an ongoing situation has only brought up more questions than answers. Will the UFC still offer her the opportunity to open up the women’s featherweight division despite her declining a pair of fights? If that door opens again, who will it be against? This certainly won’t be the last time we hear about Cyborg’s dealings with the UFC.
December 05, 2016
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor may be taking some time off from the Octagon, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be out of the spotlight.
The only person in the UFC to hold world titles in two different weight classes simultaneously is reportedly scheduled to make an appearance in HBO’s “Game Of Thrones.” According to a report by Belfast Live, one of the directors of HBO’s popular show is a huge fan of McGregor and thought that the Irishman would be a perfect fit on the show. The report also said that Mystic Mac would appear in one of the final two seasons of the show.
Although the reports have yet to be confirmed by McGregor or HBO, the lightweight champion’s manager recently told MMA Junkie that HBO has been after McGregor “for a while” and interested in getting him involved in their programming.
After defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, McGregor revealed that he would be taking some time off from fighting to focus on the birth of his first child. A return for the lightweight champ would seem to hover around early summer, which would give him time to pursue other endeavors. There have been rumors circulating that the WWE would like him to appear at this year’s WrestleMania. Aside from that, the ongoing rumor of a superfight with Floyd Mayweather continues to make headlines after McGregor was granted a boxing license in the state of California. However, the likelihood of those two ever squaring off seems remote.
December 02, 2016
Jon Jones made a startling admission about his alcohol abuse during his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience. The former light heavyweight champion is currently serving a suspension for failing a drug test prior to his UFC 200 fight and decided to deliver a tell-all interview with Rogan that revealed some interesting things about Jones.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about the two-hour interview was Jones revealing that he used to get “black out drunk” before all of his fights.
“I had this crazy thing that I would do where I would party one week before every fight,” Jones said. “And I did it throughout my whole career. And it was stupid, but it was this mental crutch that I had.”
Jones said he would drink and party all night, deprive himself of sleep and essentially do everything wrong so that he would have a built in excuse just in case he ever lost.
“I literally would, one week before every fight,” Jones said. “I would go out and I would get blacked out wasted. And my logic was, if this guy were to beat me somehow, I can look myself in the mirror and say, the reason I lost is because I got hammered the week before the fight.”
It almost caught up to him when he faced Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 and was pushed to the brink by the Swedish fighter in a showdown recognized as his most difficult challenge to date. Jones ended up winning a narrow decision but realized that perhaps something would need to change.
“I trained for the fight, but I definitely had this thing where I felt invincible,” Jones said. “And I did a lot of wild stuff leading up to the fight. I definitely didn’t give it my all. Really partying, drinking, staying up all night.”
However, Jones self-destructive process continued and caught up with him outside of the cage when he was involved in a hit and run back in 2015 that resulted in his first suspension and subsequent stripping of the UFC light heavyweight title. That was the wakeup call he says he needed and decided to sober up.
“My relationship with alcohol was never healthy, and I never went through a period in which I had a mature, healthy, responsible relationship with it.”
Jones said that he abstained from partying and drinking before his return fight against Ovince Saint Preux for the interim title at UFC 197. Surprisingly, he doesn’t believe his performance was any better because of it.
“The first fight I did not (party and drink), it was my worst performance,” Jones said.
With his suspension ending next July, Jones said that there will be a new Jon Jones returning to the Octagon in 2017. Still under the age of 30, Jones believes that he’ll right his previous wrongs and the best Jon Jones will finally arrive.
If nothing else, Conor McGregor is certainly stirring the pot in regards to a rumored boxing match with retired boxer Floyd Mayweather.
The Irishman obtained a license to professionally box in the state of California this week, further fueling speculation that the UFC star is angling toward a fight with Mayweather. McGregor’s agent and the California State Athletic Commission both confirmed with ESPN.
The current UFC lightweight champion is taking a brief hiatus away from the sport as he awaits the birth of his first child in early 2017. But he’s been adamant about fighting Mayweather and has demanded $100 million if the fight were to come to fruition. However, Mayweather remains retired and hasn’t expressed interest in fighting again.
Mayweather recently posted a $100 million check from his blockbuster fight with Manny Pacquiao last May and stated he was “happily retired” in the Instagram post. But that won’t stop McGregor from pursuing the fight. All it has done is drummed up interest and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe told ESPN that it was a “calculated effort to gain more fans.”
“Conor McGregor can say anything he wants to but he has a boss and his name is [UFC president] Dana White,” Ellerbe said. “He is under contract to the UFC and if he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he can’t because his bosses wouldn’t allow that to happen.”
Ellerbe went on to say that the new UFC owners wouldn’t risk putting their biggest star in a boxing match with Mayweather.
“The brass [from WME-IMG] who recently purchased the UFC [for $4 billion earlier this year] are very smart people and they would never — and put this in bold caps — let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather because everyone knows what the outcome would be. He would get his ass beat from pillar to post.”
Echoing sentiments constantly shared by Mayweather, Ellerbe stated that the retired pound-for-pound king is his own boss and doesn’t have to answer to anybody. Regardless, he commends “Mystic Mac’s” approach to generate interest.
“He’s done a masterful con job to try to trick people that he could actually pull this off,” Ellerbe said. “Nobody is mad but it’s a con job trying to make people think this is real and even mentioning him and TBE in the same breath is disrespectful, completely disrespectful. Isn’t this the same guy who tapped out three fights ago?”
And Ellerbe punctuated his statement by saying that although he respects what McGregor has accomplished, Mayweather has absolutely no interest in fighting him in a boxing match.
“I respect all fighters who step in a ring or the Octagon, but Floyd is in the Bahamas enjoying life. He’s not thinking about Conor McGregor or anyone else.”
December 01, 2016
There were a lot of disappointed fans when the UFC announced that Conor McGregor had given up the featherweight title he’d won at UFC 194 by knocking out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds.
There was also speculation, including from John Kavanagh, McGregor’s highly respected coach, that the decision wasn’t McGregor’s. UFC president Dana White vehemently disputed that contention in an interview Thursday with Yahoo Sports.
McGregor won the lightweight belt at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 when he stopped Eddie Alvarez in the second round. White promised at the post-fight news conference that night that McGregor would be forced to make a decision which belt he wanted to keep, and on Sunday, it was announced he’d decided to keep the lightweight.
McGregor hasn’t commented publicly, though, and so Kavanagh’s words attracted a lot of attention.
They felt they had to make this for a title in order for it to sell so they brought in another interim title that Jose Aldo already has and then bumped Jose Aldo up to the current undisputed champion. Which just seems ridiculous to me.
Conor has only been (champ) 11 months since he won that title. There have been many, many examples of fighters waiting 15 months, 18 months before defending it. He’s 11 months and they stripped him of it. I thought it was very short-sighted by the UFC how they went about doing it.
White said McGregor decided on his own to give up the belt. And because there hadn’t been a title defense yet in 2016, White said he decided to elevate Aldo from interim champion to regular champion and have Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway fight for the interim belt in the main event of UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto.
Since losing to McGregor in Boston on Aug. 17, 2013, Holloway has reeled off nine consecutive victories.
“Look, I let Conor fight [Nate] Diaz and then I let him fight Diaz again,” White said of matches at UFC 196 and UFC 202, respectively, that the fighters split. “Then there was the whole 155-pound thing I let him do. But at the end of the day, him doing that tied up the division for a year. There’s a logjam there and a lot of guys were [angry].
“This was my way to fix the logjam. I wanted Aldo to fight Holloway for the belt, but he needed more time. So I looked at it and I said, well, it makes sense to make Aldo the champion and then have Holloway and Pettis fight for the interim title, and when Jose’s ready, barring any crazy injuries, the winner can fight him.”
White was surprised to learn of Kavanagh’s comments and denied he’d unilaterally stripped McGregor of the featherweight belt.
“He’s misinformed,” White said of Kavanagh. “Yeah, he doesn’t know all that has gone on, I guess. Do you think I just did this? This was Conor’s decision.”
McGregor obtained a California boxing license on Wednesday, and much has been read into that. It increased speculation that he’d fight retired superstar boxer Floyd Mayweather, but Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe squashed those rumors in an interview with ESPN.
It’s all a game. It’s all a calculated effort to gain more fans. He got a boxing license. Congratulations to him. Conor McGregor can say anything he wants to but he has a boss and his name is Dana White. He is under contract to the UFC and if he wanted to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he can’t because his bosses wouldn’t allow that to happen. The brass who recently purchased the UFC are very smart people and they would never — and put this in bold caps — let him step into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather because everyone knows what the outcome would be. He would get his ass beat from pillar to post.
White told Yahoo Sports on Thursday that a bout with Mayweather won’t happen, reiterating a statement he made in May.
“I have no idea what Conor is doing,” White told Yahoo Sports when asked his opinion of McGregor obtaining a boxing license. “Conor’s Conor. He does his thing. But he’s under contract to me. Who knows with this guy? Who knows what he is up to. I just let Conor be Conor. And the other thing is, it’s fun to talk about this fight and what might happen, but what commission would let that fight happen? Really, think about that.”
It’s just McGregor doing a brilliant job of keeping his name in the news, even when he’s on the sidelines.
November 29, 2016
Daniel Cormier’s removal from the main event at UFC 206 has caused a ripple effect throughout the MMA world that ended up seeing Conor McGregor having to “relinquish” his UFC featherweight title.
The light heavyweight champion was scheduled to defend his title in a rematch with Anthony Johnson at the pay-per-view event on Dec. 10 in Toronto. However, his injury caused the UFC to elevate the co-main event between Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway to the main event and turned that bout into a UFC interim featherweight title fight. But in order to do so the UFC had to promote fellow interim titleholder Jose Aldo to full titleholder and strip McGregor of the title he won last December when he knocked Aldo out in 13 seconds.
It’s a messy road that nobody seems to be happy with. But McGregor’s massive fan base decided to blame Cormier for the sequence of events.
“Just think about how ridiculous that is, that it’s my fault Conor McGregor got stripped,” Cormier told “The MMA Hour.” “I didn’t say ‘I’m not going to fight so he can lose his belt.’ It doesn’t matter to me.”
Cormier ultimately said that the decision to strip McGregor will probably affect his fans more than it does the Irishman because he has already made history as a two-time champion and he can “do whatever he wants.”
While McGregor has remained silent since the announcement, his coach aired out his grievances in an interview with “The Red FM Breakfast Show.”
“It was a very messy set of circumstances which led to doing it,” John Kavanagh said. “They lost a main event [at UFC 206] and then they haphazardly threw together a new main event.”
“Conor has only been 11 months since he won that title,” Kavanagh said, while citing the move as “ridiculous” by the UFC. “There have been many, many examples of fighters waiting 15 months, 18 months before defending it. He’s 11 months and they stripped him of it. I thought it was very shortsighted by the UFC how they went about doing it.”
No matter how you slice it, the decision has been considered very unpopular with fans of the sport and it’s going to take a lot to justify anybody but McGregor as the UFC featherweight champ.
November 28, 2016
Jose Aldo is not completely satisfied with being UFC featherweight champion.
The UFC announced on Saturday that Conor McGregor would “relinquish” the UFC featherweight title, which would make Aldo the champion, while Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway will compete for the interim featherweight title at UFC 206.
“I was always the champion and will always be as long as I’m in the featherweight division,” Aldo told Brazilian TV show Planeta SporTV. “No matter what happens, I will always be the champion. I had no doubt about it. The moment I lost, I knew the belt would be mine. It was a matter of time. It’s not the way I wanted, but I’m happy because I know I’m the champion.”
Although Aldo said that it wasn’t the way he wanted to become champion again, he isn’t surprised by how it all transpired.
“I knew that would happen,” Aldo said. “To me, I never stopped being champion. I lost that fight because of an accident. I knew that I would win a rematch, that I would be champion again. It’s not my fault that he’s such a [expletive] he was never the champion. I don’t see myself losing to anyone in this division or any other (division).”
Although being champion may sound good to many, it’s not totally good news for Aldo. Despite reclaiming the 145-pound throne, he still looks to avenge his 13-second knockout loss to McGregor last December. But he’ll likely have to square off with the winner of Pettis-Holloway first to unify the titles.
“First, I want to defend my title, and then go after a fight with him (at lightweight),” Aldo said. “Just like Dana (White) said, we can choose who we want to fight, so I want to fight him. That’s what will happen.”
November 21, 2016
One of the greatest heavyweights of all time is coming to Bellator.
During the broadcast of Bellator 165: Chandler vs. Henderson, the MMA promotion announced the signing of Fedor Emelianenko and that “The Last Emperor” will be making his promotional debut at Bellator 172 on Feb. 18 against Matt Mitrione at the SAP Center in San Jose.
“It’s great to be back in business with Fedor,” Bellator MMA president Scott Coker said about the man he worked with during his time at Strikeforce. “The man is a legend both inside and outside of the cage and I’m elated to bring him back stateside for the American MMA fans to witness him fight Matt Mitrione in San Jose. He and I go quite a ways back, and I look forward to continuing to build our partnership here in Bellator MMA.”
Interestingly enough, Fedor will return to the very arena where he suffered defeat at the hands of Fabricio Werdum in a massive upset back in 2010. It was Fedor’s first loss in nearly a decade and the Russian fighter hasn’t quite been the same since. In his last outing, he barely survived against journeyman Fabio Maldonado but ended up being gifted with a controversial decision.
Regardless, the return of Fedor is still a coup for Bellator as they continue to chip away at the UFC’s popularity. Along with Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz, the promotion is looking to make a significant impact on the MMA world in early 2017.
But what would make that impression even more significant is if the promotion could manage to pull away Georges St-Pierre, who is in the midst of a contact dispute with the UFC.
There was some buzz about GSP, who was in attendance at Bellator 165 and posted a photo of him backstage alongside Coker, Fedor and Rory MacDonald. The image led to speculation that the French-Canadian could be considering joining the growing promotion. MacDonald, who trains with St-Pierre, joined Bellator as a free agent earlier this year despite being one of the top-ranked welterweights in the UFC.
— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) November 20, 2016
With GSP meeting with the new UFC owners early next year in an effort to hash out a new deal, it is possible that he could return to the promotion. But it’s always wise to keep your options open and this could be exactly what the former champion is doing.
November 16, 2016
Now that Conor McGregor has disposed of Eddie Alvarez and become the UFC’s first fighter to hold world titles in two different weight classes simultaneously, the options for his next fight are plentiful. But according to Nate Diaz, the one fight the UFC doesn’t want to make is a rubber match between him and McGregor.
As a matter of fact, Diaz questions whether the UFC wants him and McGregor in the same building.
Diaz spoke to ESPN about what he feels is the MMA promotion protecting their prized possession. He even went as far to suggest that he was denied tickets for UFC 205 by Dana White because there wasn’t enough room.
“As soon as [McGregor wins], hundreds of people are turning around and staring at me,” Diaz said. Instead of having floor seats, he was relegated to watch the fight from a club box at Madison Square Garden. “I’m like, ‘Hey, what do you want me to do? The UFC didn’t even want to give me tickets to this fight. I think they gave Nick Jonas my seat.”
Diaz and McGregor engaged in two of the most anticipated fights that he UFC has ever put together. When they initially met in March, Diaz upset McGregor by scoring a second-round submission over the brash Irishman, who was a -450 favorite according to Sportsbook Review. The two met again in August, with McGregor taking a five-round decision. Both fights were fought at the welterweight limit of 170 pounds.
If there was to be a third fight, McGregor stated after UFC 205 that it would be at the lightweight limit of 155 pounds. While that fight generates a ton of interest, Diaz just doesn’t believe the UFC will pull the trigger.
“The UFC knows that’s a bad idea for him,” Diaz said. “Why didn’t I get tickets to this fight? I said, ‘I’ll leave him alone. I don’t want to fight the guy. Just let me get a seat.’ Me and my brother, they didn’t want to let either one of us in here.”
Aside from a third fight with Nate Diaz, McGregor’s options include a defense of his featherweight title that he won in December against Jose Aldo, a showdown with unbeaten No. 1 lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov and a jump back to welterweight for a fight with 170-pound champion Tyron Woodley.
Oh, and there’s that still-buzzing but improbable super fight with Floyd Mayweather that has picked up steam all over again. The two have been battling it out through the media and McGregor stated he wanted $100 million to engage in a boxing match with the retired pound-for-pound king.
“I want $100 million cash to fight him under boxing rules,” McGregor said at 1 OAK nightclub in NYC on Tuesday night. “He’s afraid of a real fight.”
With so many options, Diaz doesn’t feel confident that he’ll land the fight. And while other potential opponents openly plead for a shot at the two-division champion, Diaz will just sit back and wait to see what happens.
“People question me, ‘Hey, when you gonna fight [the trilogy fight against McGregor]?’ ” Diaz said. “I know that everybody needs to see that. If I’m gonna do something, that’s what I’m gonna do — but I’m not begging for it. If anybody should be asking for the fight, it should be him. He’s the one that has something to prove.”
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November 14, 2016
Conor McGregor’s stock soared to new heights when he became the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in separate weight classes simultaneously when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
Already a wanted man by fellow UFC fighters, the target on the brash Irishman’s back has grown exponentially. The UFC featherweight and lightweight champion has plenty of options when he returns to the cage to defend either title. But if he wants to add a third world title to his collection, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is more than open to granting McGregor the opportunity.
Woodley, who is coming off a majority draw at UFC 205 against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, may be forced into an immediate rematch. But there is money to be made if McGregor wants a crack at his title. The two engaged in a brief war of words over the weekend and Woodley is ready to revisit that challenge.
“I’m gonna talk to my management team and we’re gonna see what’s next for me,” Woodley said at the post-fight press conference. “I don’t know if Mr. McGregor wants to go for a third belt. It looked like he was talking a little noise in the back so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”
Woodley isn’t quite sure that McGregor will be up for the challenge because of the size differential, even though McGregor did face Nate Diaz at 170 in a pair of fights earlier this year. Woodley is noticeably bigger than McGregor and figures he’d be in a no-win situation if he opted to fight him. Still, if Notorious wants it, he can get it.
“If he wants the fight, we can sign it right now,” he said. “I’m good on the fight. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for him to fight me.”
Speaking of Nate Diaz, he also would like another shot at McGregor. And after UFC 205, Nate showed up at McGregor’s post-fight celebration at Marquee in NYC with his brother Nick Diaz. Although no words were exchanged, you have to assume that Diaz is looking to take that lightweight title off of McGregor’s hands at the rubber match.
But perhaps the most interesting individual who wants a piece of McGregor isn’t a fighter at all. WWE vice president of talent and part-time pro wrestler Paul “Triple H” Levesque was present at UFC 205 and spoke to The Telegraph about the possibility of bringing McGregor to the WWE.
“He could come over, he’s got it all, man – he’s got the personality, the skills, the talk,” Triple H said. “He’s an entertainer, for sure.”
With McGregor seemingly prepared for a standoff with the UFC in regards to owning a stake in the company, a door could be open for McGregor to participate in the WWE in a similar fashion that Floyd Mayweather did when he had a match with The Big Show at WrestleMania 24 in 2008.
“He could do just as well as Floyd Mayweather when he fought the Big Show,” Triple H said. “That really worked. Conor could do it for sure.”
The WWE has already set their sights on Ronda Rousey, who recently said that her MMA career could be coming to a close soon. And with McGregor’s crossover appeal, it’s possible that the Irishman could show up in some form at next year’s WrestleMania.
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