Jon Jones Has "No Intentions" On Going Back To Light Heavyweight
Longtime UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is committing on a permanent change of weight class.
The 33-year old future Hall of Famer recently sat down with Bleacher Report and had the following to say about the permanent change to heavyweight and why he has no plans to ever return to 205-pounds:
“The reason why I decided to vacate the light heavyweight belt and not hang onto it is that I knew my move to heavyweight was going to take a really long time,” Jones said. “I didn’t want to be one of those athletes to slow down the division. I feel like I’ve held onto the light heavyweight championship for so long—I’ve ruined so many people’s dreams of being the light heavyweight champion—and now it’s time for someone else to have it.
“I thought it was the right thing to do for everyone else," he continued. "I could have done the selfish thing and held onto it and come up with a bunch of excuses and lied to the fans and said I was going to come back down to light heavyweight and made all these guys wait. I didn’t want to do that. I have no intentions of ever going back to light heavyweight.”
“It’ll feel amazing,” Jones stated. “Somewhere along the line, getting that light heavyweight championship wrapped around my waist, the excitement and other emotions it should have evoked, kind of went away. It was just another day at the office. It was what we always do. But I haven’t won that heavyweight championship yet. To do that for my family, and do that for my team, and all the people that have invested in me over the years, it’ll be something new for all of us.”
Dana White Not Counting On Nick Diaz UFC Return
UFC President Dana White has never held his breath on Nick Diaz returning to the promotion and that still seems to be the case for "Uncle Dana".
When speaking with "The Schmo", White had the following to say on Stockton's finest:
“Everything that I see from Nick Diaz doesn’t look like Nick Diaz wants to or is ready to compete in this sport," White said. "This sport – even for Jon Jones, as good as Jon Jones is, you have to be 100 percent mentally, physically and emotionally ready to train, be ready for this and fight and I just don’t think, I don’t know.
“I don’t think anybody should want to see Nick Diaz fight," he continued. "Nick Diaz has been in a lot of wars, he’s accomplished a lot of great things in his career, he’s made a lot of money, he’s obviously super-famous. He’s gotten everything you could hope to get out of fighting. I just don’t know why, when I see his Instagram, why he would want to come back.”
Nick Diaz last competed in Jan. 2015 in a losing effort against Anderson Silva via unanimous decision.
Dana White and Mike Tyson Roast Jake Paul and Logan Paul
2021 begins just as odd as 2020 in the world of combat sports as we had UFC President Dana White and legendary heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson roasting a pair of brothers who owe their stardom to the world of YouTube.
When appearing on the "Shout It" podcast, Dana White decided to offer Jake Paul a little reminder of what would happen to him should he ever attempt to make the transition from fighting undersized ex-NBA athletes in boxing to the cruel world of MMA:
“Amanda Nunes will knock that kid out,” White said. “To even think about that guy fighting, he’s like ‘I’m never going to fight a woman.’ You shouldn’t, because she’ll put you in a coma. The guy is just some kid off the street.”
“One of the big problems with him right now, he’s lucky there’s a pandemic," he continued. "He’s talking smack about real people. Real people that he could run into at a restaurant some night and things like that. This isn’t a real guy. This is just some kid on YouTube.”
Meanwhile, Mike Tyson appeared on Jake's brother, Logan Paul's podcast "Impaulsive" and had the following to say to Logan about what would happen if his brother continues to call out the likes of Floyd Mayweather:
“Floyd’s gonna beat his fuckin’ ass,” Tyson told Paul’s co-host as Paul looked on. “But it’s gonna be good! It’s gonna be good, he’s gonna fight back though!”
Scott Coker Believes AJ McKee Is Bellator's Next Megastar
If you ask Bellator President Scott Coker who the brightest star in the company is, he has one quick and simple answer... featherweight standout AJ McKee.
When speaking with MMA Junkie, Coker had this to say about the undefeated rising star:
“We didn’t want to throw him into the deep end too soon because we really felt like he was something special,” Coker said. “He had to win these fights, though. It’s not like he was out there fighting taxi cab fighters. He was fighting real fights, guys that potentially could beat him equal to his talent level. But he just kept getting better and better.”
“I think he is already a big star for Bellator, and he’s on his way to becoming a megastar for Bellator and the sport," the Bellator boss added. "And, really, it’s gonna be up to us to promote him properly and keep him out there.”
Coker continued: “Here’s a kid that is extremely intelligent. He’s a good looking kid. He’s built well. He’s marketable. He can talk. He has this swagger about him, and I call it the X-factor. Some people have it, and some people don’t.
“He’s gonna definitely have his opportunity to raise his level of how people feel about him being the best in the world when he fights the winner of the Sanchez vs. ‘Pitbull’ fight in the finals of this tournament," he concluded.
Mike Brown Says Kyoji Horiguchi Is "Grossly Underrated" And Details Return From Injury
RIZIN 26 has come and passed and in the headliner of the evening, Kyoji Horiguchi once again found himself with gold around his waist and hardware in his hands after he quickly dispatched Kai Asakura to reclaim the promotion's bantamweight championship.
One of Horiguchi's cornermen for the bout was none other than Mike Brown, who told MMA Junkie that his pupil was "grossly underrated" and went in-depth about the Japanese-born fighter's return from a gruesome knee injury:
“I think he’s grossly underrated, but that happens a lot when you’re fighting outside the UFC," said Brown. "But if you look at his record, his pedigree – I mean, it’s incredible. He’s got a great record, and now he’s fighting at 135 where he’s much smaller than guys – I think he can fight at both weight classes fairly easily – but with a few extra pounds, I think him fighting at 135, it’s given him more power."
“That extra muscle is improving his shots, and he’s getting guys out of there a lot more easily than at 125 pounds," he added. "When you’re a smaller guy, and you have 10 less pounds behind your shots, it’s a little more difficult to get guys out of there with your shots.
“I think that’s brought some attention because he was on a nice winning streak and finishing guys. He had that 10-second win over Ian McCall, winning the Rizin grand prix tournament, he had three fights in two nights there, two wins over Darrion Caldwell, who’s a very tough fight and is much bigger than him – I mean, NCAA champion, so tall and just a difficult stylistic matchup for a guy like Kyoji. Before he was with us at ATT, he fought Demetrious Johnson and kind of got outwrestled in that fight," Brown concluded. "But that just showed his improvement and ability to get back to his feet in the Caldwell fights.”
Jared Gordon Is Ready To Make A Run At UFC Gold
The ink is barely dry on UFC featherweight contender Jared Gordon's new deal with the promotion but that's not stopping the 32-year old from laying out his plans on making a run at the 145-pound belt.
Gordon (16-4) recently spoke with MMA Junkie Radio and had the following to say about his new deal and his plans for 2021 and beyond:
“I’m in the right place," the fighter stated. "I just got a new contract, I’m coming off a win, I got a nice raise, I’m back at ’45. I really feel like I’m gonna hit a stride here. I think I’m flying under the radar, too. My game is underrated. I have a skillset that most people do not possess.”
“When I take people down, they normally don’t get up,” Gordon said. “I’m beating you up on the floor and in ground strikes, I’m top five in UFC history. I think I’m in front of GSP, and I’m behind Kamaru (Usman), I’m behind Khabib (Nurmagomedov) and Tatiana Suarez. I put up numbers. I take you down, you’re gonna have a hard time there.”
He continued, “If you look at me on paper, it’s like, ‘Oh this guy is 4-3.’ I lost to two guys that are ranked top 10, Ferreira and Oliveira. My other loss is in a ‘Fight of the Night’ that I was winning every round, every judge’s scorecard – my hamstring ripped off my pelvis so I was on one leg in the third round…if you know what you’re talking about and you look at my record on paper, you’re like ‘well, this guy has fought some monsters,’ and I was fighting out of my weight class. So I think I’m flying under the radar, and I know I’m gonna hit my stride, and I’m gonna go on a tear.”
Gordon is scheduled to make his return to the octagon on Feb. 20 where he'll face Danny Chavez.
Oscar De La Hoya Wants Rematch With Floyd Mayweather
It appears as if after 12-years out of the ring, former middleweight champion Oscar De La Hoya is getting the itch to return to active competition.
The Mexican-born former champion spoke to the media following Canelo Alvarez's recent victory over Callum Smith and had the following to say about a potential return to the ring:
“I’ve always prided myself in fighting the very best, and why go after the second-best? Why not go after the guy that beat [Canelo]? Why not go after [Floyd] Mayweather, for instance, in a revenge fight? That’s something that’s very intriguing. We’ll see how I feel, and then we’ll take it from there.
“I would definitely think about [fighting Canelo]. But my eye is on a bigger prize. For any fight that you might have lost or that was close or whatever, it’s always gonna be a thorn. I strongly feel that with the way I’m feeling and the way I’ve been training and the way things are unfolding, it could be very interesting.”
De La Hoya, 47, hasn't competed in a sanctioned boxing match since 2008 where he lost to Manny Pacquaio via eight-round TKO which marked his fourth loss in 7 bouts.
Corey Sandhagen and Israel Adesanya Open As Heavy Betting Favorites For Upcoming Bouts
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is moving up to light heavyweight to attempt to become the promotion's eighth two-weight class champion when he meets UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in the main event of UFC 259.
The undefeated middleweight champion has opened as a -265 favorite over the Polish-born light heavyweight champion who comes back as a +225 underdog to retain his title.
Rising UFC bantamweight contender Corey Sandhagen has opened as a pretty big favorite over former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Frankie Edgar for their Feb 6. co-main event bout.
The 28-year old contender is a -300 favorite while the fan-favorite Edgar comes in as a +250 underdog for the bout.
Odds courtesy of Best Fight Odds.
Takanori Gomi Goes On Rampage After His Dogs Are Banned From RIZIN 26 Event
Everyone loves dogs. But it appears as if Takanori Gomi is going a bit far.
Prior to his RIZIN 26 victory against Koji Tanaka, the former UFC lightweight contender went on an absolute rampage against the promotion's officials because his dogs weren't allowed at the venue.
Gomi told MMA Fighting that he's very disappointed that he couldn't take his furry friends into the event: “I am in love with my dogs, I just got a second puppy. I care for them more than anything. I’m upset that SSA won’t allow me to bring them into the arena.”
Study Shows Massive Number Of UFC Bouts Canceled In 2020
According to MMA Fighting's Shaheen Al-Shatti, there was 285 UFC bouts canceled over the entire year of 2020.
I've never been great at math, but I counted 285 canceled UFC bouts in 2020.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) December 31, 2020
For context, that number devours 2019’s: 138.
So before we all collectively tell this year to kick rocks, join me, friends, in building a dream card out of 2020’s lost fights.https://t.co/30pG1LKNLl
Rafael Fiziev Compares Knocking Out Renato Moicano To "Punching Cabbage"
Surging UFC lightweight prospect Rafael Fiziev gained the biggest win of his MMA career when he viciously knocked out Renato Moicano at UFC 256.
Fiziev, 27, had some harsh words for his UFC 256 counterpart when he appeared on the "What The Heck" podcast:
“I understand one moment, OK, maybe if he feel good, if he feel good and I go to ground maybe he start wrestling, I stand up, I do this again," Fizaev explained. "And I know now after this moment Renato is more scared, more—everyone, after this knockdown, it’s like you start scared. You start to think. I don’t think he was ready to fight after this. He tried to stand up after and he, like, still flying, you know?”
Fiziev added, “After the fight, when the referee stopped the fight and I go happy and Moicano stand up, after 15-20 seconds he was still falling down and you could tell the room was spinning for him.”
“Every time when I feel that I punch guys, for example, I feel like it’s throwing the cabbage and you kind of punch the cabbage, so it’s kind of the same feel as when you punch the cabbage," he concluded. “Before when I was younger, many times I practice for this [makes tossing up cabbage and punching motion]. Boom. It feels nice. Anybody at home can try this now.”
Amanda Ribas Plans To Outshine Conor McGregor At UFC 257
Fan-favorite UFC women's strawweight contender Amanda Ribas takes on Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257, the same pay-per-view that boasts Conor McGregor in the night's main event in a rematch against Dustin Poirier.
When appearing on the "What The Heck" podcast, Ribas laid out her plans to "not just be another fighter on the undercard to Conor McGregor":
“I study a lot of my opponents,” Ribas said. “I watch her first fight, her second fight, her third fight so I can see that she’s getting better and better. And I hope in this fight that she comes with the best version of her because I want it to be a really big fight.
“This is the card with McGregor and Dustin so we need to do a very big fight because I don’t want to just be one fighter on a McGregor card. I want people to say, ‘Did you see that fight Amanda had against Marina? It was a big fight.’ I want people talking about my fight. Not just, ‘Oh, they fought on a McGregor card.’ I want [to steal the show].”
“I hope I can win this fight and I’m asking God to give me his blessing because I’m training so hard,” Ribas stated. “I hope it can be a TKO, or a submission. It doesn’t matter which way. I want to win the fight, eat my chocolate, and watch [McGregor vs. Poirier].”