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  • The proposed superfight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather may have been a pipe dream that went up in smoke, but that doesn’t mean that the two fighters won’t remain linked in the news. Not just because of their rumored dream fight, but because of the parallels between the two fighters as the top draws in their respective sports.

    With McGregor seeking to become the first UFC fighter to hold world titles in two divisions simultaneously at UFC 205 and his grandstanding at the press conference earlier this week, he cemented his status as the top draw in all of MMA. It’s a blueprint that fight fans will notice has been sprinkled with influence from Floyd Mayweather’s historic rise to become the highest paid athlete in all of sports.

    But Mayweather doesn’t take offense to McGregor’s supposed patterning of the way he markets himself. As a matter of fact, he’s flattered.

    Floyd Mayweather is impressed by Conor McGregor. (Getty Images)

    “If he did take anything from me, if he did steal my blueprint then, I think it’s a good thing,” Mayweather told TMZ. “I think he’s a hell of a fighter. He can fight. He can box real good. As far as stand up, he’s very good at standing up fighting. Everyone is asking me ‘are we going to fight’ and I just don’t know.”

    Yes, there are those who still ask when Mayweather and McGregor will eventually fight. As of right now, we are a long way from ever seeing that fight happen. Especially when you consider that McGregor is still under the UFC umbrella. The same can’t be said for Mayweather as he calls his own shots and answers to nobody.

    “Within my company, I’m the boss,” Mayweather said when asked about trying to make a fight with McGregor. “I call the shots. I think that the fight is very difficult to make. I tried to make that before, it didn’t happen but you live and you learn.”

    Mayweather has since said that everyone should move on from the fight happening but didn’t completely shut down a return to the ring. Because as much as he loves retirement, he loves money a little bit more.

    “I’m loving retirement, but for a couple more bucks you just don’t know.”

  • Sage Northcutt fired back verbally at Mickey Gall in a Sage Northcutt kind of way. (Associated Press)

    There aren’t too many fighters who are as nice as Sage Northcutt. He’s usually complimentary to everyone and rarely projects a semblance of anger or annoyance. But when Mickey Gall called him out shortly after defeating CM Punk at UFC 203, the 20-year-old finally showed a few cracks in his nice guy façade.

    Gall made fun of Northcutt’s spiky hair and called the young MMA prodigy “corny” and was more than happy to fight him next. Northcutt told “The MMA Hour” that he watched Gall’s expletive-laced rant and wasn’t impressed at all by Gall’s words or his performance.

    “I think just him going in and fighting two guys that had no fights — I think they were both close to 40 years old, too — it’s almost like fighting someone’s dad that only trained very little for a fight,” Northcutt said. “It was definitely interesting if you think of it that way.”

    For what it’s worth, Mike Jackson is only 31 while CM Punk is 37. Neither had much, if any, MMA experience heading into their fight with Gall. Northcutt said he expected Gall to defeat Punk but he didn’t anticipate the 24-year-old making fun of him the way he did.

    “He’s talking about my hair — he wants to punch the spikes out of my hair — and looking at that from his fights that I’ve seen and looking at his pictures, his hair kind of looks like mine,” Northcutt said. “It just doesn’t have the hair gel in it, it doesn’t look like. I’m thinking that maybe he should get some hair gel and style it or something.”

    It’s obvious that “Super Sage” isn’t one who enjoys trash talk, but he simply wasn’t going to let Gall’s words slide. And if Gall wants to face him, Northcutt said the door is open for the two to fight in December once he heals up from a staph infection.

    “All I could say is that I believe I have better grappling than him and better stand up,” Northcutt said. “If I go out there, I can take the fight wherever I want. If I want to go out there and stand up with him and knock him out, I believe I can do that. If I want to take him down and submit him, I believe I can do that also.”

  • Cristiane Justino will have her 2nd UFC fight this weekend. (Getty)

    The ongoing dilemma facing UFC president Dana White is what to do with Cris “Cyborg” Justino. The current Invicta 145-pound champion is the most dominant female in women’s MMA, but she doesn’t have a place in the UFC to call home.

    This weekend, Cyborg will have her second fight in the UFC at a catchweight of 140 pounds against Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 95 in Brasilia, Brazil. It’s a fight where Cyborg is a heavy favorite at -1200, according to Sportsbook Review.

    Another notch in the win column is probable for the Brasilian, but what Cyborg will do next is still up in the air. White recently spoke to Brazil’s Globo and stated under no uncertain terms that there are “no plans” for the UFC to add a 145- or 125-pound division.

    “As far as a heavier division, no I don’t see that happening,” White said. “I don’t see that happening any time soon, but the 115-pound division continues to get bigger.”

    This puts Cyborg in a bind as she struggled mightily to make 140 pounds for her last fight against Leslie Smith. Video circulated of the grueling weight cut that brought Cyborg to tears. She’s made it clear that she is unable to make 135 pounds and that leaves White limited on options for the toughest woman on the planet.

    The prevailing thought is that there aren’t enough 145-pound women to fill a new division and make it competitive. However, the same was initially said about the women’s bantamweight division that Ronda Rousey ruled for a few years. Today, the playing field at 135 pounds is far more level than what it was when it debuted in 2013. In the past year, the title has changed hands three times, with Amanda Nunes currently holding the belt.

    Speaking of Rousey, a fight with Cyborg is still the biggest showdown in all of women’s MMA. Rousey’s future remains uncertain but with her no longer being the 135-pound champion, it’s possible that this fight could still be made. Cyborg has actively called for it and now White has addressed the potential fight.

    “I think in a perfect world, what everybody would love to see is Ronda vs. Cyborg, so everybody is waiting on — I’m sure Cyborg is, too — is the return of Ronda Rousey,” White said. “When she does return, I’m sure [Rousey is] gonna want to fight for the title, probably defend it and then maybe fight Cyborg. I don’t know. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”

    But if Rousey doesn’t return, White is hoping that a few of the top-tier names in the 135-pound division will move up in weight to challenge Cyborg.

    “I think that Cyborg has made it clear that she can’t make 135 pounds. We do have a couple of really good girls at 135 that would like to fight Cyborg, that would like to move up and take that challenge,” he said. “The dream fight for Cyborg is obviously the Ronda Rousey fight, but there’s other big names out there like Miesha Tate, Holly Holm and possibly — and I know Brazilians don’t like seeing Brazilians fight — but possibly Amanda Nunes.”

    But, as it stands right now, Cyborg remains a woman who may be the most dominant force in women’s MMA, but she cannot be a champion in the UFC unless something drastic changes in the near future and a new division opens up for her.

  • In an unfortunate bit of news, the younger brother of UFC commentator Kenny Florian has died at the age of 33.

    Kirk Andrew Florian went missing on Saturday and Kenny took to Twitter on Monday to ask if anyone had information about his brother’s whereabouts and suggested they contact the Dover Police Department in Delaware. He later deleted the message.

    But Kirk had died on Sunday. Kenny confirmed his passing on Instagram.

    “Always loving. Always loved. Always my little brother Kiki. Kirk Andrew Florian 6/22/83-9/11/16,” Florian posted along with a picture of Kirk. “Thank you all for sharing his picture/information. Go tell your loved ones that you love them.”

    There has been no further information regarding the circumstances surrounding Kirk’s death released by the Dover police as of Wednesday afternoon.

    Kenny Florian is currently a commentator for the UFC but had an impressive career fighting in the UFC. He was a finalist in the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and unsuccessfully challenged for the UFC featherweight and lightweight championships. He retired from fighting in 2011 and took a position as a commentator with the UFC.

    Kirk Florian looked to walk in his older brother’s footsteps and tried his hand at mixed martial arts. According to MixedMartialArts.com, he amassed a 3-0 amateur record and had his last fight in 2013.

  • U.S. wrestler Kyle Snyder celebrates after winning gold at the 2016 Olympics. (Reuters)

    If a pro wrestler couldn’t get the job done as a UFC fighter, maybe an Olympic gold medalist will fare differently if given the opportunity.

    Twenty-year-old Ohio State University junior Kyle Snyder became the youngest American in history to win a wrestling gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Now the highly decorated wrestler has his eye on competing in the UFC and took to Twitter to make his intentions public.

    He would later speak to Fox Sports and expand on the tweet.

    “I want to fight,” Snyder said. “Basically what that tweet means. I love wrestling, I really do. I would want to continue wrestling but I want to do both at the same time. I want to pursue my wrestling career, wrestle in World Championships and the Olympic games, but if the scheduling could work out and I can become an elite fighter, then I want to fight in the UFC as well.”

    If Snyder made the leap, he would be the most accomplished wrestler on the UFC’s roster. During his first three years of college, Snyder amassed a record of 179-0 and only gave up a single takedown.

    In a past interview with FloSports, Snyder mentioned competing in five Olympic games, which would take him all the way to 2032 and the age of 36. It’s not known whether or not those intentions are still intact.

    Either way, with fighters who possess a collegiate wrestling background becoming more and more successful in the UFC, the prospect of Snyder joining the mixed martial arts promotion would be huge. Not to mention his youth gives him a lot of time to join a gym and learn the nuances of MMA.

    Snyder went on to say that he hopes to make the jump to MMA soon, but won’t do so until he feels he is 100 percent ready.

  • The future of Jon Jones’ MMA career may be up in the air, but the lingering impression is that the former pound-for-pound champion will get a title fight upon his return. Both light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and top contender Anthony Johnson expressed their displeasure with UFC president Dana White’s insinuation – and now you can add the man who pushed Jones to the limit to that list.

    “It wouldn’t be fair, giving him a title shot,” Alexander Gustafsson said on The MMA Hour. “I’m not saying I’m going to get it. I’m just saying, after everything that happened, it’s not fair to other fighters too, who’ve been working their asses off and they’ve been fighting each other. So, not a title shot right away. Just give him a fun fight first and that’s it.”

    Gustafsson gave Jones all he could handle at UFC 165 in 2013. Jones won a unanimous decision but was battered and bloodied by Gustafsson throughout the fight. Since the Jones loss, Gustafsson has gone 2-2 and recently pulled out a unanimous decision against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 203 after dropping back-to-back fights to Cormier and Johnson.

    Jones has been sidelined with a temporary suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission for his failed UFC 200 drug test that saw the former champion pulled out of a title fight with Cormier three days before the event. Jones is set to attend a disciplinary hearing in October to see what punishment will be levied, if any. However, White stated that Jones did not take the supplements (Hydroxy-clomiphene & Letrozole) indicated on his failed drug test and the punishment could be lessened significantly.

    Gustafsson is interested in being the one who welcomes Jones back to the UFC whenever he is able to return.

    “I’m up for suggestions (for my next opponent), so why not?” Gustafsson said. “But let’s see what they say. I’m up for suggestions, so whatever they give me, I’m down with. A second fight with Jones, who knows. It’s going to be good though.”

    As for Jones, he certainly does have his sights set on a title fight. However, the title he is interested in could be the UFC heavyweight title that Stipe Miocic defended Saturday at UFC 203. Jones has teased the possibility of moving up to the heavyweight division before, and now it appears that “Bones” is open to the opportunity should it present itself.

    “If it was for the actual title I would totally do it,” Jones said on Twitter. “I’m starting to realize the hype is real with (Miocic). He’s legit, (it) would be the challenge of a lifetime.”

    Perhaps Cormier, Johnson and Gustafsson have nothing to worry about after all.

  • If people were upset before with CM Punk landing a spot on a UFC pay-per-view event with no previous MMA experience, things won’t get any better after learning how much the former WWE superstar made for losing in a two-minute drubbing at the hands of Mickey Gall at UFC 203.

    According to the Ohio Athletic Commission, CM Punk earned $500,000 for his first-round submission loss to Gall. That payout was the third highest of all of the fighters who competed at UFC 203. Main event competitors Alistair Overeem ($800,000) and Stipe Miocic ($600,000) were the only fighters to earn more than the debuting Punk. This was on a card that included tenured fighters such as Urijah Faber ($160,000) and Fabricio Werdum ($375,000).

    As for his opponent, Gall raked in a paltry by comparison $30,000 (includes a $15,000 win bonus) for dominating Punk over the course of the short affair.

    Punk came into that fight as much as a +335 underdog, according to Sportsbook Review. However, the lack of experience and fact that he was an overwhelming underdog didn’t matter much considering how many people likely purchased the pay-per-view to see whether or not the former pro wrestler could make the successful transition into the world of MMA. Punk ultimately proved to be in way over his head at UFC 203 and got in zero offense against Gall. UFC president Dana White spoke to Fight Network’s John Pollock and suggested that Punk’s next MMA fight “probably won’t be in the UFC.”

    CM Punk earned a whopping $500,000 for his blowout loss to Mickey Gall. (Getty Images)

    While some poked fun at the manner in which CM Punk lost, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor respected Punk for stepping into the Octagon.

    “I’ll tell you what, fair play to him,” McGregor said to TMZ. “Because he got in there and fought, and not a lot of people do. Not a lot of people have the balls to make that walk, so fair play.”

    McGregor was recently engaged in a war of words with several WWE superstars after he suggested that many of them were not as tough as they thought they were. He even went as far as to threaten to “slap the head off the entire WWE roster.” But when it came to Punk, McGregor stated that the former pro wrestler was cut from a different cloth.

    “Got his ass whooped. God bless, he got his ass whooped,” McGregor said. “Those WWE guys are straight [expletive], I told you so, but he isn’t. He got in and fought. So fair play to him. Respect.”

  • Following his victory over Travis Browne at UFC 203, Fabricio Werdum kicked Browne’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. (AP)

    The heavyweight fight between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne may have been respectful for fifteen minutes. But after the final bell is when the bad blood spilled into the cage and a brawl between corners nearly commenced.

    Werdum, who defeated Browne by unanimous decision, engaged in a heated war of words with Browne’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan (who also trains Ronda Rousey) before Bruce Buffer announced the result. The former heavyweight champion punctuated the argument with a swift front kick to Tarverdyan’s chest. Both corners spilled into the middle of the Octagon, ready for battle, while Werdum went into a fighting stance.

    Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed as both corners were escorted out of the cage and the decision was finally read. The near melee was part of a bizarre fight that saw Werdum open the bout with a jumping sidekick to Browne’s face. Later in the first round, Browne attempted to block a Werdum punch. Immediately after he parried, Browne turned away in pain from what appeared to be a dislocated finger. The Hawaiian heavyweight attempted to call a time out to referee Gary Copeland, but was met with a left hook from the Brazilian.

    Copeland finally paused the fight and brought a doctor in to check on Browne’s injured hand and ultimately allowed the fight to continue. The issue with this was that an injury due to a legal move should have resulted in a TKO victory for Werdum under the unified rules of MMA. However, that wouldn’t happen and the fight continued and saw Werdum claim the decision victory with scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-27.

    It was Werdum’s first victory since losing his heavyweight title to Stipe Miocic in May while Browne dropped his second consecutive fight and has now lost three of his last four.

  • C. B. Dollaway suffered what might be the weirdest MMA injuries ever. (Getty)

    Everything appeared to be on track for UFC 203 to take place in Cleveland after all of the fighters made weight on Friday evening. However, an elevator would have its say and wreak havoc on the card, resulting in one fighter needing to be removed due to an injury.

    C.B. Dollaway was forced out of his scheduled light heavyweight showdown with Francimar Barroso after an accident that took place in a Cleveland hotel after the UFC 203 ceremonial weigh-ins. Dollaway, along with several fighters, were trapped in an elevator at the Wyndham Hotel after it malfunctioned and apparently dropped. Although the other fighters came out unscathed – aside from being startled – Dollaway suffered a back injury that doctors said would take him out of his UFC 203 fight the day before the pay-per-view.

    Other fighters in the elevator included Urijah Faber (who posted video of the incident), Fabricio Werdum, Yancy Medeiros and Brad Tavares.

    The UFC released a statement following the incident:

    UFC announced that CB Dollaway has had to withdraw from his scheduled bout at UFC 203 due to an injury he suffered last night as a result of an elevator accident at a hotel in Cleveland.

    UFC officials have been in communication with hotel management, and the hotel is currently evaluating and investigating the issues surrounding the incident.


  • Cristiane Justino made her UFC debut in May. (Getty)

    The dream showdown between Ronda Rousey and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino seemingly went up in smoke after Holly Holm knocked Rousey out last November. The mere concept of these two dominant forces in women’s MMA meeting was built upon the premise of both being invincible. But with Rousey suffering her first loss and the entire women’s bantamweight division being turned upside down over the past year, the focus has shifted away from bringing the fantasy bout to fruition.

    However, Cyborg still has her sights set on a potential Rousey fight.

    Speaking to MMA Junkie, the Invicta FC featherweight said she still envisions a fight with Rousey.

    “I respect all the girls regardless of who they are,” Justino said. “But I believe there’s a ‘novela’ [Brazilian soap opera] between Ronda and I that we need to finish. I think that’s a fight everyone wants to watch.”

    Cyborg is currently scheduled for her second UFC fight against newcomer Lina Lansberg in the main event of UFC Fight Night 95 on Sept. 24 in Brasilia, Brazil. The bout will be fought at a catchweight of 140 pounds. The primary sticking point for a potential Rousey-Cyborg showdown has been the weight and that appears to remain an issue. However, with Rousey no longer the 135-pound champion, a catchweight fight could be possible.

    Rousey’s future remains unclear although UFC president Dana White has said that the former champion would return at the end of 2016 or early 2017. Some question whether Rousey will ever come back but Cyborg believes that Rousey should return. Not just to fight her, but because she holds a great deal respect for her and what she’s brought to women’s MMA.

    “I hope she [comes back],” Justino said. “She has a lot of fans. She helped MMA grow a lot. I can’t be selfish and say she didn’t. I think she did a lot for the growth of MMA. I think many girls out there are her fans, and she can show that losing is not giving up. Losing is about coming back and persisting and fighting for your spot again.”

    Justino is hoping that Rousey is learning how to deal with a loss and come back stronger. Although she’s not sure whether or not Rousey has resumed training, she would welcome a bout with the former champ with open arms. But it’s up to Rousey to decide if she wants it.

    “I think they ask the same [questions] to her,” Cyborg said. “I think everywhere, they ask the same thing. That’s why I think this fight needs to happen. So that we can finish our careers saying we did that great fight and not that we should have done that fight. We did it. So let’s wait. If she takes that initiative. It’s up to her.”

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