Dana White confirms that Dustin Poirier turned down a UFC lightweight title shot, Alex Volkanovski will stay in the U.S. for Brian Ortega fight — all this and more in Thursday's Fightful Fix.
Dustin Poirier turned down UFC lightweight title for Conor McGregor fight
UFC President Dana White confirmed to TSN that Dustin Poirier was offered a UFC lightweight title fight.
Poirier, according to the UFC boss, prioritized a money-making trilogy fight with Conor McGregor instead.
Dana White told me that Dustin Poirier was offered a shot at the lightweight title and decided to pursue the Conor McGregor rematch instead.— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) March 25, 2021
Alex Volkanovski will stay in U.S. for Brian Ortega fight
UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski will remain in the United States while he recovers from a positive COVID-19 test.
Volkanovski vs. Ortega was pulled from UFC 260 after Volkanovski tested positive for the novel coronavirus. UFC President Dana White confirmed the champion will remain stateside to accelerate the re-booking process.
"We're talking about rescheduling that one ASAP," White told TSN. "These guys will all have to go home and quarantine. Going there and coming back again. It makes more sense for them to stay here and we try to turn this fight around."
Per Dana White, Alexander Volkanovski will remain in the United States while they look to re-book his title defence against Brian Ortega.— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) March 25, 2021
Full interview: https://t.co/JnLxyuFg6h pic.twitter.com/UYQBHQIQEw
Randy Couture has confidence in Jon Jones at heavyweight
Legendary two-division UFC champion Randy Couture has confidence Jon Jones can make a smooth transition to the land of the giants.
“I’ll be interested to see,” Couture told MMA Fighting. “He’s a big guy, he’s a tall guy. I think he’s taller than I am. I think he’s 6-foot-3, I’m only 6-foot-1. He certainly has the frame to put on the mass, and technically, he’s as good as anybody."
“It will be interesting to see how he works around bigger, stronger guys, cause that is a challenge. You’ve got to approach them differently. You don’t want to go head up with a guy that’s that big and that strong.”
Tyron Woodley needs to "go out on top"
Tyron Woodley has had a rough stretch; however, he is not prepared to ride out into the sunset losing to Vicente Luque at UFC 260.
“Life is not always a straight path,” Woodley told reporters at the media day for UFC 260 (h/t MMA Fighting). “It can be, but we make choices, and I made choices in my life that veered me off that path. Those are things that I have to deal with, and quitting is not an option. I’ve got to go out on top like I plan to do.”
“I think karma’s real, and you’ve got to pay the piper at the end of the day,” he mentioned.
Neil Magny not waiting around for Khamzat Chimaev
Khamzat Chimaev confirmed his impending return following a tough bout with COVID-19 complications, but Neil Magny is not waiting around for him.
“I think a lot of us don’t truly know what these young fighters go through,” Chimaev's manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN. “It’s impossible to live inside their heads and inside their bodies, and sometimes they say things out of frustration or they are just mad they can’t do what they love to do. Khamzat has been doing this all his life, so he’s almost felt crippled not being able to train, but he’s healthy now and he’s going to start training."
“I was talking to him this week and he even said he’s going to be swimming with alligators and sharks, and doing movement with these creatures, as part of a special training program.”
Magny is interested in the fight, but he will not wait around for Chimaev's recovery.
“I will fight him any day of the week,” Magny said in a text message sent to MMA Fighting. “But there’s no way I’m putting my career on hold so that he could hopefully fight me come July."
“He needs to focus on getting healthy first. The ass-whooping he’s been asking for is long overdue, and is waiting on him.”
Justin Gaethje unsure why he is left out of lightweight mix
Justin Gaethje is noticeably absent from the lightweight division.
Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor, Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush are all in the works, but Gaethje has nothing scheduled.
“Who knows, man,” Gaethje told Full Reptile (h/t MMA Fighting). “I can’t talk about it a lot right now—I’m sure me talking about it [in the past] is the reason I’m here. Who knows? Maybe I pissed someone off. I don’t know."
“All I know is since I was 12, 13 years old, I listened to Dana White do interviews and explain what he wanted in a fighter, and I’m that motherfucker.”
Gaethje sees himself as the ultimate company man.
“If I get disrespected, it’s gonna be hurtful because I really bought into what [Dana] talks about. So it’ll hurt, because I feel like a company man from day one. I don’t ever want to go anywhere else, I don’t want to fight anywhere else. But my principles are the most important thing to me. We’ll see what happens.”
Francis Ngannou's coach on preparations for Stipe Miocic rematch
Francis Ngannou has not had a chance to show off the improvements that plagued him in the first Stipe Miocic fight, but his coach Eric Nicksick promises they are there.
“Every night. I watch it,” Nicksick told MMA Fighting ahead of UFC 260. “It’s creepy as can be but I watch it every night. When I was on Fight Island, and the fight got announced, I started watching the tape and I’ve watched it numerous times prior to that but I just made it a nightly regimen for me. Just as far as mannerisms and watching movements and patterns.
“It’s definitely overdoing it. It’s not healthy. I should turn it off, I will definitely admit but it’s just something that it’s almost been a valued tradition now. My wife is going to be over that pretty soon, too. I plug it on and watch it quite a bit. I just think it’s important to put the time in, especially giving the guy I consider the greatest to ever do it in Stipe Miocic, the respect that he deserves.”
James Krause offers to coach Julia Avila
Julia Avila was booted from her gym and James Krause is offering a new home.
Avila has publicly stated that she is no longer welcome in her gym. Krause, one of the new breed of premiere coaches in MMA, has offered to take her in.
Come through....— James Krause (@TheJamesKrause) March 25, 2021
Sean O'Malley responds to Megan Anderson backlash
Sean O'Malley is finally addressing the backlash after Casey Kenney made disparaging remarks about Megan Anderson on O'Malley's podcast.
“I didn’t say anything bad, did I?” O’Malley asked Ariel Helwani (h/t MMA Junkie). “I think that’s just a… I mean, you can’t let… if someone… you can’t let someone else’s words affect how you feel emotionally... If you said something about me, and I… I don’t know. It’s… I don’t know. I don’t know. She’s not a co-worker anymore. It is what it is.”
Anderson appeared to respond to O'Malley's statement.
Stay classy ------— Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) March 24, 2021
Thomas Almeida prepared to hand Sean O'Malley a losing streak
Thomas Almeida is ready to hand Sean O'Malley another loss.
“I always want to win, so this is for sure a must-win,” Almeida told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day at the UFC Apex. “I always go for the victory. I put pressure on myself: win, win, win. That’s it.”
“I’m super excited,” Almeida said. “Sean is a great fighter, very talented guy, but I know if I go in there and throw all the tools that I have, I’m going to win, for sure.”