The only undefeated entity in professional sports is Father Time and legendary UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem knows that his time is almost up — Fightful has you covered on what Overeem had to say about his future in the fight game and much more news from around the world of combat sports.
Alistair Overeem Admits Championship Window Is Closing
Legendary kickboxing champion-turned future Hall of Fame UFC'er Alistair Overeem knows his time to become a UFC champion are numbered.
"I’m still improving. Still getting better. It would be nice to get a win over Volkov, and inch evermore closer to the title shot,” Overeem told SCMP ahead of his UFC Vegas 18 main event against fellow-heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov.
“Because to be honest, I’m getting too old for this. So, we’ve got to hustle. We’ve got to close it out," admitted Overeem.
“I don’t think it’s too healthy if you’re going to fight above 42,” Overeem said. “Everything until 42 is good, but you see it on Anderson Silva, right? You see it on the fighters. They’re getting a little slower and I just don’t think that is the way to go.”
Justin Gaethje Comments On Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler And Tony Ferguson
Former UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is calling out seemingly the entire lightweight division.
When UFC President Dana White claimed to have a big fight for Nate Diaz on the cusp, the MMA masses thought Justin Gaethje was going to be the man across the octagon from the Stockton-born Diaz...but Gaethje has other plans.
"I mean, with the way this sport works, I’m no fool,” Gaethje told MMA Junkie when speaking on matchmaking for his next bout.
“He’s one of the top three biggest superstars in the sport even though he hasn’t fought in a long time," said Gaethje. "And in the position I’m in, I need a win. It could be Nate Diaz, it could be Rafael dos Anjos, it could be Charles Oliveira, it could be Michael Chandler, it could be Conor McGregor. And when I attain that win, I will then get the title shot."
“The reason why this is happening with Poirier is because Dana White used, he tried to, he did, he (explicit) Tony (Ferguson) and Dustin,” Gaethje added. “He said (explicit) you guys, I’m going to take Chandler, and he’s going to be the backup for this title fight. That all happened four months ago. We are humans, we have principles, we have morals, and that’s what that is. That’s why Dustin Poirier is saying (he won’t fight Chandler). Well, I would assume. I don’t talk to the guy.”
Gaethje would then turn his attention to Tony Ferguson and never buying into the hype of the former interim UFC lightweight champion, whom be brutally knocked out at UFC 249.
“Guys constantly went in there and fought in the chaos and refused to create space," said Gaethje. "I don’t know why, [Anthony] Pettis and [Donald] Cerrone, these guys weren’t able to do what I did. But I think that was there the whole time.
“Fans not being there really helped, stayed focus, keep everything internal,” Gaethje continued. “That’s a huge factor when you’re fighting Tony because just his face alone makes you wanna fight. I don’t think he’s done by any means, I just don’t think he’s an elite lightweight. I don’t think he ever was. I just think his skills were really effective in the way people were fighting him.”
Stephen Thompson Thinks Gilbert Burns Is Kamaru Usman's Biggest Threat
Stephen Thompson knows a thing or two about being in a UFC welterweight title fight.
"Wonderboy" thinks Gilbert Burns will provide current champion Kamaru Usman with the biggest challenge of his career when the pair stand across the octagon from one another in the main event of UFC 258.
“I think this is going to be Kamaru Usman’s toughest fight for sure,” Thompson said on the "Weighing In" podcast.
“I mean (Burns has) got the ground, he’s a high-level jiu-jitsu practitioner," Thompson added. "He's got good striking, he’s been knocking dudes out. So I think he’s the better well-rounded fighter he’s faced, even Colby Covington. But Usman, on top of that, he’s an intelligent fighter. He’s got pressure and cardio for days. He’s got a gas tank like no other, but I do believe he can outwrestle Burns."
“I think he could wrestle him and neutralize his jiu-jitsu," said Thompson. "His top game is really, really good, especially up against the fence. If he can get him pinned up against the fence where he’s able to control his opponent’s hips, I think he’s got it. But the thing is, getting in there. Burns’ striking is fast. That dude’s explosive. He may not have the reach Kamaru does, but he’s explosive and you saw it against Tyron Woodley. He knocked him down, something I wasn’t able to do.”
Abu Azaitar Suspended Following USADA Violation
UFC middleweight Abu Azaitar has been suspended for seven months by USADA following four positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs.
The suspension would've exceeded seven months, but Azaitar was cooperative with USADA and provided proof that a doctor prescribed the substances.
USADA released the following statement on Azaitar's suspension:
"Azaitar, 34, tested positive for tamoxifen and/or tamoxifen metabolite 3-hydroxy-4-methoxy-tamoxifen as the result of urine samples collected on August 25, 2020, September 4, 2020, September 9, 2020 and September 17, 2020. Tamoxifen is a Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List. After being notified of his positive test, Azaitar provided evidence (including medical records), that he was prescribed tamoxifen by a physician to treat symptoms. Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator used therapeutically to treat certain types of cancer in females and also prescribed off-label for males with various other conditions. Although the substance was taken at the direction of a physician, Azaitar lacked a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and his subsequent application for a retroactive TUE was denied due to lack of sufficient medical justification. Under the applicable rules, Azaitar was eligible for a reduction to the period of ineligibility based on the specific circumstances of his case and for his Full and Complete Cooperation. Azaitar’s seven-month period of ineligibility began on August 25, 2020, the date his first positive sample was collected."
Abu is the older brother of Ottman Azaitar who was released from the UFC after breaking COVID-19 protocols at the promotion's latest stint on Fight Island.
Sam Alvey Needs To Cut Over 40 Pounds Ahead Of Return To Middleweight
Ahead of his return to the middleweight division at UFC Vegas 23, Sam Alvey needs to shed a ton of weight.
“I got about 40 pounds to go, but it’s OK,” Alvey told MMA Junkie. “I’m not used to it recently, but I’m used to it a lot throughout my career. I always walked around 225, and now I’ve got to work my way back down to 185 pounds. If I can lose 25 pounds, then cut the last 15, that’ll make everything pretty easy. Well, easy, quote-unquote, it’ll never be easy. But it’ll be worth it when I’m getting my hand raised.”
“I’m the easiest guy in the world to work with because I don’t have any criteria,” Alvey said. “They ask, ‘Hey, you want to fight this guy over here?’ I say, ‘Let’s do it!’ and that has always been the case. It’s led to some bad weight cuts, it’s led to some short-notice fights, but I think that’s why they like me so much, because I’m the guy that says ‘yes,’ always.”
Neil Magny Fires Back At Khamzat Chimaev
Longtime UFC welterweight Neil Magny has had enough of the promotion's new shiny toy, Khamzat Chimaev.
Chimaev took the opportunity kick Magny while he was down following the latter's unanimous decision loss to Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Island 8.
Magny responded to the surging welterweight contender via Twitter:
"Where was this energy a few months (ago) when you had opportunity to fight me?" asked Magny.
“I don’t hand pick opponents like you do, I’ve fought the best guys in the UFC for the 8 years. Something you know nothing about," Magny said. "Make sure you keep that same energy when you see me in person! I’ll give you my word, that I’m slapping you on sight and teaching some respect!”
Michael Chandler Predicts Ben Askren Will Knockoht Jake Paul
April 17 marks the date that former ONE Championship welterweight champion and former UFC welterweight contender Ben Askren will step into the boxing world to face YouTube sensation Jake Paul in an eight-round boxing bout.
UFC newcomer Michael Chandler offered up his prediction on the upcoming bout:
“I’m telling you, Ben Askren’s gonna beat Jake Paul,” Chandler told ESPN's Ariel Helwani. “Listen, you can say Ben Askren’s boxing isn’t that good, and it’s not, I will agree with you on that. But when it comes to dirty boxing, under hooks, pushing, pulling, grabbing heads. I mean, you’re gonna be in there for eight rounds straight, 16-24 minutes plus a minute in between, Jake Paul will get worn down, Ben Askren won’t. Depending on the ruleset, depending on the referee, depending on how quickly they’re going to break ’em up, Ben is gonna wear on ’em, close the distance, then it’s gonna be really hard to punch Ben Askren when he’s up in your face, pulling on you, punching you to the body, punching you to the head. Albeit, they may be pitter-patter… Ben Askren knocks out Jake Paul, seventh round.”
Tito Ortiz Keeps Position In Huntington Beach City Council
Former UFC Hall of Famer and light heavyweight champion-turned politician Tito Ortiz nearly had his position on the Huntington Beach City Council taken away.
Following hours of debates and presentations, the former UFC champion will keep his post as Honorary Mayor Pro Tem of the city following the deliberation after a consideration of a vote of no confidence after Ortiz refused to wear a mask to council meetings and making several uncanny statements.
PFL Announces Lightweight Roster For 2021 Season
After COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 PFL season, the promotion is loaded up and ready for their return with the 2021 season.
The promotion officially announced their lightweight roster for the upcoming season, earlier today, which includes several former UFC competitors, and most notable former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis:
- Ahkmed Aliev (19-6)
- Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-5)
- Clay Collard (18-8)
- Johnny Case (27-7-1)
- Marcin Held (26-7)
- Joilton Luttenbach (34-8)
- Mikhail Odinstov (18-2)
- Anthony Pettis (24-10)
- Loik Radzhabov (13-2-1)
- Natan Schulte (20-3-1)