With the UFC announcing their plans for something of a middleweight extravaganza at UFC 230 in New York, the stage seemed set for an exciting night of 185lb fights, highlighted by a tantalising rematch between former foes Luke Rockhold (16-4-0) and Chris Weidman (14-3-0).
The UFC will be making their first ever appearance in Beijing, China on 24th November and reports claim they will be bringing two top five heavyweights with them.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that sources have confirmed to him that number three ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes (10-1-0) will meet number four ranked Francis Ngannou (11-3-0) in the main event in Beijing.
It may feel like a life time ago but believe it or not, we’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s boxing experiment.
It was well documented at the time that the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion made use of a number of different coaches and sparring partners in preparation for meeting one of boxing’s all time greats. There was one sparring partner who is perhaps more notorious than the others (see what I did there?). Paulie Malignaggi arrived in Dublin to train with Conor and if you take the Irishman’s word on the subject, he out performed the former IBF and WBA champion during their time together.
To mark the occasion of it being one year since their ‘relationship’ began, McGregor took to twitter earlier this week to remind everybody of the time Dana White released footage showing Malignaggi being knocked to the canvas by the UFC star.
Given their rocky history, it isn’t exactly surprising that Malignaggi took the bait, addressing the post and the pair’s ongoing issues in an interview with Sirius XM Boxing.
“His pride is hurt,” Malignaggi said. “He still thinks about the beating he caught, every day, in the gym last year. He had four seconds of highlights and it’s burning him inside that he only has four or five seconds of highlights in 36 minutes. He thinks about me every single day. His personality, his behavior pattern is very consistent with this. A year later he is still Tweeting about me. A few months after we sparred he put his only highlights on the documentary of his that came out as well. He’s really, all by himself, coming up with these ideas to think about Paulie Malignaggi.”
“I feel bad. I hurt his pride, I hurt him as a man. Sure, he gets his feelings up and his hopes up when all his pussy fans get his back on social media and believe his four seconds of highlights, that gets his hopes up. He needs a pick-me-up so he’ll post a Tweet every once in a while about me just to give himself a little pick-me-up just so his fans can tell him, ‘Yeah, Conor! You’re the man!’”
“When he lays his head on the bed deep at night, he knows he’s one of combat sports’ biggest pussies and that’s the problem. He knows who he is inside.”
“Somebody’s gotta remind him that he made $100 million. Someone’s got to remind him that he’s living the good life. He just had a baby. He had a lot of things that really should distract him to not think about Paulie Malignaggi. You make $100 million, you have a couple kids in the past year, you’ve got a documentary that came out, you just signed a big fight – I don’t know. I really feel bad for him.”
Despite being significantly outmatched on paper and ultimately in the ring too, McGregor left with his head high and his bank balance even higher, picking up a rumoured $100 million for his troubles.
The Irishman’s next challenge? Another attempt at handing an undefeated champion his first loss, something Malignaggi once again doesn’t see breaking in McGregor’s favour, claiming he “has no balls” and accusing him of taking the easy way out in his first encounter with Nate Diaz.
“Here’s the thing about Conor, I’ve said that he has no balls and he has a problem with this fight,” said Malignaggi. “Khabib is not a guy that will put you out of your misery. Remember the Nate Diaz fight, when he shot in on Nate Diaz and got submitted? Nate Diaz is a guy you don’t want to wind up on the ground with because he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu and he’ll submit you right away. If you’re gonna fight Nate Diaz, you have to keep the fight standing up. In that fight against Nate Diaz though, he’s getting pummeled in round two and he’s probably gonna get pummeled for the rest of the fight, so what does he do? He needs a way out of it because he doesn’t want to get beat up for four straight rounds. So what does he do? He goes, ‘If I take this fight to the ground, Nate will submit me and then it won’t look like I quit.’ Because if you’re fighting Nate Diaz, common sense tells you that you don’t want to wind up on the ground.”
“Conor is the one that took that fight to the ground. He shot in looking to take that fight to the ground. Why did he do that? Because he’s trying to quit. If Nate puts him in a submission, he can quit and then it looks like ‘Oh well, I had to tap out.’ But really the decision was made when he shot in that he was quitting already.”
“Now, Khabib is not a guy that’s known as a submission guy. Now, I’m not a mixed martial arts expert, but Khabib is more of a ground and pound guy, which means you don’t have the option to be submitted really because Khabib will just keep you on the ground and punish you and beat you and beat you and beat you. Now, granted, Conor has some skills standing up a little bit and maybe Khabib will have a hard time getting it to the ground, but if the fight ends up on the ground, it’s only a beating for Conor. So how is a guy with no balls gonna take a good beating for five rounds when he looks to quit as soon as he gets uncomfortable? That’s the question of the day really.”
It is certainly a bold move for McGregor to make his UFC return following a two year hiatus against a fighter of Khabib’s quality and experience, yet it does not feel surprising. We’ve become accustomed to boldness when it comes to Conor and his shenanigans. The idea of a warm up fight to knock the rust off would likely have gone down like the proverbial lead balloon should it have been suggested to the former champ champ.
It is a match up which Malignaggi can only see going one way, with Conor once again looking for a way out.
“The fact is he’s gonna look for a way out of that fight too,” Malignaggi added. “Look at round five of the Diaz rematch, he’s literally running for his life. Who does that? With the fight hanging in the balance, who runs for the entire final round?”
“He was given the decision in a close decision that could have went either way but who takes that chance though? These are all character flaws of a man with no balls. When you’re a fighter you can tell right away who has character and who doesn’t. The guy has none so he tries to play it up in other ways so he covers up the fact that he has no balls.”
Glover Teixera was all set to finally square off with Jimi Manuwa in a match up the British contender had been pursuing for years. Unfortunately for Manuwa, he now finds himself looking for a new dance partner for the UFC’s visit to Sao Paolo, Brazil next month.
Late last night, Ariel Helwani broke the news that Teixera was out of the UFC Sao Paolo main event as a result of an injury. Shortly after, Jim Edwards confirmed he had received reports of the veteran Brazilian picking up a shoulder injury which had forced him from the card.
According to ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley (10-0-0), he is fully healed up following the foot injury he sustained against Andre Soukhamthath and sources suggest he is hoping to return to action at UFC 229.
Posting to his Instagram story this weekend, the 23-year-old prospect teased his 340,000 followers that a fight announcement was imminent. An anonymous source close to O’Malley cited by MMAJunkie claims that undefeated ‘Sugar Sean’ is hoping to face number 12 ranked bantamweight Alejandro Perez (21-6-1) when he returns to action, although the source did add that the fight has not been booked yet as Perez is yet to be medically cleared.
Despite this, it would appear that O’Malley has been granted his wish based on the somewhat cryptic tweet he posted this evening, hinting that he would be opening the PPV portion of the event.
Following last weeks announcement that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will put his title on the line at UFC 229 against Conor McGregor (perhaps the worst kept secret in UFC history), fans have been speculating what the rest of the card will look like.
The UFC have wasted little time in beginning to fill out the rest of the card and while rumours continue to circulate that the co-main event will see top five heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov square off, the promotion have confirmed a number of other fights for the Las Vegas event.
For Israel Adesanya (14-0-0), his scheduled fight against Derek Brunson (18-6-0) at UFC 230 is nothing more than a straightforward way to add a fifteenth victory to his perfect professional MMA record.
Speaking to Luke Thomas on this weeks episode of the MMA Hour, Adesanya didn’t shy away from calling it as he sees it and in his eyes, Brunson is “in over his head on this one”.
It is a match up which is being billed by Cage Warriors as the biggest fight in European MMA and it’s easy to understand why.
In a little over three weeks time, local hero Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett (14-2-0) will make the familiar walk to the cage at Liverpool’s Echo Arena to meet Søren “The True Viking” Bak (11-1-0) with the winner being crowned the Cage Warriors lightweight champion.
One of the most prestigious titles in European MMA – the Cage Warriors featherweight title – is set to be decided by a four-man tournament, split across two blockbuster events.
The Cage Warriors 145lb title has propelled the likes of Conor McGregor and Paddy Pimblett to MMA stardom, with four of the last five Cage Warriors featherweight champions going on to sign with the UFC.
The self proclaimed most violent man in the UFC is at something of a cross roads in his career.
Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (29-6-0) is once again a free agent, having fought the final bout of his contract against Dustin Poirier in Calgary last month and UFC President Dana White would be happy to see “The Underground King” move on if he decided it was The right thing to do at this stage of his career.