Conor McGregor has once again expressed his belief that he is the UFC lightweight champion, even going as far as saying "Khabib was never crowned at UFC 229" — Fightful has you covered on all of the news in the MMA world.
Conor McGregor still believes he is the UFC lightweight champion
According to Conor McGregor, his reign at the top of the UFC lightweight division is still going.
That may seem an odd declaration, given that McGregor clearly lost by submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov when they fought two years ago. But that result hasn’t stopped McGregor from being supremely confident that he would win a rematch, and now, he’s gone as far as to say that what happened after their UFC 229 fight nullifies Nurmagomedov’s claim to undisputed championship status.
A prolonged feud preceded the fight, and Nurmagomedov immediately vaulted over the octagon fence after his victory, attacking McGregor’s cornerman. That act of aggression sparked a chaotic brawl featuring both fighters and their teammates.
In an interview with ESPN, McGregor pointed out that because of that incident, Nurmagomedov did not participate in the customary ceremony where the title is presented to the winner after the fight. In his eyes, that casts doubt on his rival’s championship status.
“I am the champion. Do you know that the unified title was never crowned? The unified title was never crowned that time in October 2018. Khabib fled the cage and left me fighting with his family members in the cage. The post-fight ceremony never took place, so I still feel like I am the champion here, and I will go in and prove that. I’ll prove that with my performances and time will show. The cream always rises to the top, and the world is about to see it.”
McGregor has spoken about a potential rematch on multiple occasions, but he appears to have accepted that a second fight with Nurmagomedov won’t happen.
Nurmagomedov met with UFC President Dana White in Abu Dhabi this weekend, and White gave a vague update on Nurmagomedov’s retirement status during Saturday’s UFC Fight Island 7 broadcast, stating that Nurmagomedov wants to see how the lightweights scheduled for UFC 257 perform before deciding if he comes back to fight again.
Whatever decision Nurmagomedov makes, McGregor doesn’t think he’ll be part of it.
“I think he’s afraid to fight me, that’s for damn sure, and I don’t blame him,” McGregor said. “I fought the best of him on that night, he fought the worst of me on that night. He knows it, I know it, his team knows it. I have the answer to destroy that man. He can pull the wool over people’s eyes for only so long.
“It is what it is, I know there’s surrounding things regarding the family and that, and if he’s retired and that’s it, I wish him well. But I am who I am and I am at the top, so time will show.”
Cody Garbrandt challenges Jose Aldo to a fight in April
Cody Garbrandt was anxious to build on his stunning knockout against Raphael Assuncao this past June until a series of health issues gave him the toughest fight of his career.
The former bantamweight champion was one of more than 20 million Americans who contracted COVID-19 over the past year, and the disease definitely took a toll on him. Being forced out of a flyweight title shot was ultimately the least of his concerns, as he battled symptoms for several months. The issue was exacerbated by an additional injury after he suffered a torn vein in his arm caused by blood clots. He was forced to go on blood thinners while still recovering.
After months of recovery, the Ohio native finally started feeling like himself again before the New Year. Now that he’s back in training, Garbrandt is anxious to fight again.
“Finally, it’s been about a month and a half that I’ve felt I would say 100 percent, no symptoms,” Garbrandt told MMA Fighting. “Feeling great that the stress that I’m putting on my body doing MMA and all the training that I’ve been doing, my body is retaining it really well, holding really well to the stress that I’ve been putting on it. I’m excited.”
Now that he’s healthy again, Garbrandt doesn’t want to waste any more time waiting.
“I’m targeting a fight with Jose Aldo in April, that’s what I’m shooting for,” Garbrandt revealed. “I had the title fight at 125, I’m the next in line, but obviously they have to do the rematch. I’m not going to sit and wait eight months. It’s not something I want to do. So I feel like staying at 135 and fighting Jose Aldo will be a great matchup. It’s a fight a lot of fans can get behind."
“I feel my best performances are in front of me, so why not challenge yourself with a Jose Aldo? He’s still dangerous. He’s still there. He’s down in [my] weight class now. He’s coming off a win, I’m coming off a win. We’re both in the top five, so I think it’s the perfect fight to make.”
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him, but I know I’m the far superior fighter skill-wise, speed, power, conditioning, and that’s what I want to test myself with. I know I’ll knock him out. I’m excited about that fight.”
Garbrandt then went on to reveal his plans after he fights Aldo. "Knock him out – just stay sharp and get ready for the winner of Figgy and Moreno in August or September, and then fight whoever wins out of Petr [Yan] and [Aljamain] Sterling towards the end of the year, maybe a December card. That’s my plan.”
Jessica Eye downplays bad blood with Joanne Calderwood
Jessica Eye has more important problems to give her attention than a supposed grudge against upcoming opponent Joanne Calderwood.
It was missing weight in her most recent appearance against Cynthia Calvillo that actually caused the dust-up with Calderwood after the flyweights engaged in a back and forth war of words over social media. While that may be adding extra motivation for Calderwood ahead of Saturday’s fight, Eye downplayed any bad blood she had with her Scottish opponent no matter what’s been said in the past.
“I don’t have beef with anybody,” Eye said on Tuesday at UFC 257 media day. “If you have beef with me, it’s probably because you don’t like yourself and I’ve said something about you that you don’t like about yourself."
“To be honest, I really didn’t know there was an animosity but I guess that’s what happens when you are arguing with people via social media. I don’t really feel there’s beef. If that’s what’s going to get her out of bed to come to fight me, OK. How do you have beef with another fighter? She never did anything to me. I don’t even know her. Come on, now.”
Rather than spend much time thinking about Calderwood or their supposed beef, Eye would rather focus on her recovery from gallbladder surgery, which helped her deal with many of the problems she had faced from recent performances.
Eye revealed that her gallbladder was essentially a dead organ when doctors finally figured out what was wrong with her and had it removed.
Lerone Murphy hopes to earn an opportunity to face vets like Cub Swanson in the future
UFC featherweight Lerone Murphy is taking a patient approach to his career as he readies himself to compete once again on Fight Island.
The unbeaten 29-year-old squares off against Douglas Andrade this Wednesday on the main card of UFC Fight Island 8. The event takes place at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi and will be headlined by a welterweight bout between Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny.
Murphy hopes to build upon his sensational first-round finish of Ricardo Ramos n July for his first promotional win, following an impressive showing in his Octagon debut when he fought Zubaira Tukhugov to a split draw at UFC 242.
In an interview with Mike Heck of MMA Fighting, Murphy revealed that he "hopes to get the opportunity to face off against veterans such as Cub Swanson in the future"
Check out the full interview below.
Fabricio Werdum ranks his favorite UFC submission wins
Fabricio Werdum achieved what many fighters dream of achieving in their MMA careers.
The veteran heavyweight became a champion in the UFC – the leading MMA organization on the planet.
Werdum fought out his contract with the UFC in July 2020 and signed with rising promotion PFL putting an end to an impressive eight-year run win the company. Some of his best moments were courtesy of his elite submission skills.
Speaking in Spanish on the latest episode of MMA Junkie’s Hablemos MMA, Werdum ranked his four submission wins in the UFC. Below is how ‘Vai Cavalo’ grades his handiwork on the UFC canvas.
In first place, Werdum ranked his guillotine victory over Cain Velasquez as the best of his career.
“I like all submissions, but the Cain Velasquez is a very special moment in my life because I was in Mexico dedicating so much time and focused to become champion in the UFC, and I was able to achieve it."
“I like it very much because I had been training that guillotine with many wrestlers I hired. I trained with many wrestlers working from guard on the bottom to see what would come up and it just kept coming up – guillotine, guillotine, guillotine. So of course, the Cain Velasquez win is very special and that’s why I put it in the first place like my favorite (submission).
“I won the title plus I did it in Mexico, so it was a very special moment in my life.”
In second place, Werdum placed his armbar win over fellow Brazilian "Minotauro" Nogueira.
“The second one has to be the one over ‘Minotauro.’ I had lost to him in Japan (back in Pride FC in 2006), and Minotauro is a great friend. It was also a very special moment because it was in Brazil."
“It was after we did ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and it was the grand finale of the event and we were the main fight. And something else that I’d like to add, that people may not know, in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ there’s a challenge and against ‘Minotauro’ it was in carts and against Cain Velasquez it was penalties. So many people don’t know, but I won both challenges and I also won the fights. ‘Minotauro’ takes second place.”
And then finally, in third place, Werdum put his most recent armbar win over Alexander Gustafsson.
“The third one has to be against Gustafsson,” he said. “How prepared and how concentrated I was. It was also the last fight of my UFC contract, so I needed the win.
“In the MMA world if you have victories everything goes well, but if I were to leave the UFC with a loss, the negotiations with PFL or any other organization would’ve been different. They would’ve been like, ‘Hold on a minute. You’re coming off a loss, you can’t demand all of this.’ But since I got the win, the way I did it, and over a name fighter like Gustafsson, I need to put that in third place from everything that came from it.”
Patricio Pitbull sarcastically congratulates Max Holloway for his historic win
There’s no denying the fact that Max Holloway and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire are two of the best featherweights on the planet. However, the latter isn’t so much impressed with the former UFC featherweight king.
This past Saturday night at UFC Fight Island 7, the former UFC champion in Holloway competed in his first non-title tilt since June 2016. In the said bout, the Hawaiian would go on to set nine UFC records in a masterclass at the expense of the No. 6 ranked UFC contender, Calvin Kattar. One of which is the most significant strikes landed in a single fight (445).
On Tuesday, the current Bellator featherweight and lightweight king offered up his congratulations to Holloway and his great performance very sarcastically.
“Congrats @BlessedMMA on breaking the @ufc record of most insignificant strikes landed in a fight.” Patricio Pitbull tweeted.
When it comes to records within his own promotion, Pitbull owns nine in his career overall. Perhaps the most notable of those Bellator history marks being his all-time high wins (19), wins in title fights (9), and most featherweight finishes (11).
The Bellator champ Patricio Pitbull looks better than ever on his current six-fight unbeaten streak and next awaits a rematch with Emmanuel Sanchez in the semi-finals of the Bellator featherweight Grand Prix.
Would you be interested in a future bout between Holloway and Pitbull?
Henry Cejudo takes a shot at TJ. Dillashaw on two-year anniversary of knockout
Henry Cejudo took a shot at rival TJ. Dillashaw on the two-year anniversary of the night he knocked him out at UFC on ESPN+ 1.
It was at UFC on ESPN+ 1 on January 19, 2019, when Dillashaw dropped down to 125 pounds in order to win a second UFC title. At the time, he was the UFC bantamweight champion and Cejudo was the UFC flyweight champion, fresh off of an upset win over Demetrious Johnson. That night, Cejudo didn’t even need a minute to finish Dillashaw, stopping him in just 32 seconds via TKO.
The quick loss was bad enough, but what happened next for Dillashaw hurt his career and changed the landscape of the UFC flyweight and bantamweight divisions forever. Following the bout, Dillashaw tested positive for PEDs and was suspended for two years. He was forced to vacate his 135 pounds title, and in a double whammy, Cejudo would win the bantamweight belt his next bout.
In the two years since Dillashaw retired, Cejudo had wins over Marlon Moraes and Dominick Cruz. He later retired after finishing Cruz at UFC 249, but he has kept a very active social media profile during his time off. On the two-year anniversary of UFC on ESPN+ 1, Cejudo decided to take another shot at the “snake” Dillashaw, and he sent a message to the entire flyweight division. Take a look at what “Triple C” wrote on his social media on Tuesday.
2 years ago today, I saved an entire division who’s head was on the chopping block. Call me what you want but you must first call me the flyweight savior. I hope you hear that @daico_deusdaguerra. Don’t forget to wish me a happy anniversary. ------ #snakekilla pic.twitter.com/q3oou3Gq0g— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) January 19, 2021
"2 years ago today, I saved an entire division whose head was on the chopping block. Call me what you want but you must first call me the flyweight savior. I hope you hear that @daico_deusdaguerra. Don’t forget to wish me a happy anniversary. #snakekilla"
Roxanne Modafferi is glad she isn’t having another rematch, expects to submit Viviane Araujo
Roxanne Modafferi is happy she gets to fight someone new.
Over her last several fights, she has rematched the likes of Andrea Lee, Sijara Eubanks, and Jennifer Maia. Now, at UFC Fight Island 8, she will fight Viviane Araujo for the first time, which Modafferi is very excited about.
Although Araujo is ranked below her, Modafferi is eager to share the Octagon with her.
“I fight whoever the UFC offers me but I’m just happy I’m not having another rematch. Like yes, it is somebody knew, I think I’ve had nine rematches,” Modafferi said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “I didn’t even think about it until I fought Andrea Lee and it would be better if I fought somebody knew.”
Modafferi enters UFC Fight Island 8 as a +270 underdog but is just happy her friends and family get to make money off her again.
“Wherever it goes I shall implement my gameplan,” Modafferi said. “I’ll hit her, knock her down and submit her. Bet on me and make some money.”
If Modafferi wins on Wednesday, it would be the first time she wins two fights in a row since 2017 when she beat Priscilla de Souza and Sarah D’Alelio. A win would also be a big one for the 36-year-old as she knows a win puts her in a good spot to fight someone higher ranked at flyweight.
Zebaztian Kadestam teases new tricks on his journey back to ONE welterweight championship
Former ONE welterweight champion Zebaztian Kadestam says he’s an improved fighter ahead of his imminent return to competition.
Kadestam will take on the unbeaten Gadjimurad Abdulaev at ONE: Unbreakable this Friday in Singapore. Abdulaev is replacing Kadestam’s originally slated opponent, Raimond Magomedaliev, on short notice, but the former champion is expecting a tough fight nonetheless.
“He competed on ONE Warrior Series, and he just took the guy down and tried to stay on top and ride it out on points,” Kadestam said during Monday’s ONE: Unbreakable Media Day, confessing that he doesn’t know much about his upcoming foe. “It’s not anything new for me."
“There wasn’t much to study,” Kadestam added. “I studied what I could. He looks like he prefers the ground."
“I think he’s going to come out strong and try to wrestle hard.”
This bout will Kadestam’s first since he surrendered the ONE welterweight title to Kiamrian Abbasov via unanimous decision in October of 2019.
Abbasov still holds the title, having most recently defended it with a come-from-behind knockout win over the formerly unbeaten James Nakashima.
Kadestam confesses he was very impressed by the champion’s resilience and heart in that fight.
“Abbasov showed heart,” he said of his former foe. “He got tagged in the beginning. He broke his nose, I believe. He showed the heart of a champion. He came through and got a nice finish. I enjoyed that fight.”
While Kadestam has plenty of respect for the champion, he’s determined to earn a shot at redemption and reclaim the title that was once his.
Conor McGregor explains why he would like to fight Al Iaquinta in the future
Conor McGregor has made it clear he wants to fight all the top-ranked lightweights and revealed Al Iaquinta is on that list.
McGregor is set to return to the lightweight division at UFC 257 against Dustin Poirier and the Irishman has said it will be the start of a lengthy run at the division. If he goes out and beats Poirier, McGregor will likely fight a top-five opponent next time out. However, he says he would be open to fighting Al Iaquinta.
“I would like to fight Al Iaquinta at some stage, I’d like to fight Al. I don’t know, I’d just like to fight him, I’d like to fight Al,” McGregor said to ESPN. “He has said a few things and I actually like Al, I think he is a funny guy. Real estate agent and all, that is even funnier in its self. He has little team Longo and those guys, I would like to fight Al.”
Conor McGregor is coming off a 40-second knockout win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. The fight marked his return to the sport after he was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title at UFC 229. The Irishman scored KO wins over Eddie Alvarez and Jose Aldo to win the lightweight and featherweight titles.
Al Iaquinta, meanwhile, has not fought since UFC 243. There, he lost a decision to Dan Hooker which was his second in a row after losing to Donald Cerrone. Iaquinta does hold notable wins over Kevin Lee, Jorge Masvidal, Diego Sanchez, and Joe Lauzon. He’s also top 15 lightweight.
Would you like to see Conor McGregor fight Al Iaquinta at some point?