Dana White has eased his resistance on the potential signing of PFL star Kayla Harrison and much more — This is your Fightful Fix.
Dana White changes tune on the potential signing of PFL champion Kayla Harrison
Dana White seems to have had a change of heart regarding the signing of Kayla Harrison. White questioned if reigning PFL women’s lightweight champion Harrison (9-0) would be ready for the UFC and this caused Harrison to claim that she could make the UFC a lot of money should she get paid appropriately. White was asked again about her status with PFL but this time seemed more interested in the deal.
“Yeah, I know her contract’s up soon,” White said in an interview with Big Night Breaks (h/t MMA Junkie). “I don’t know if she’s ready to come over here yet, or her people feel she’s ready to come over here yet, but when she is, we’re ready.”
One woman who would love to fight Harrison is former UFC star and current Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. Cyborg was speaking ahead of her rematch with Leslie Smith that headlines Bellator 259. Cyborg knows that Harrison is under contract with PFL right now, but if there is a chance this fight can be made a year from now, Cyborg is open to fighting Harrison in the lightweight division
“Most people want to fight me. Everyone who is just starting out wants to fight whoever is at the top. If it happens, it will be a great fight," Cyborg said to AG Fight (h/t BJPenn.com). "I believe it can be in her category, in the lightweight division. One of the things I like to do is to increase the opportunity to have more divisions for women, to give support to the lightweight ones, for the girls who fight in this weight. The result is in God’s hands. I go there, do my best, and train. If she says she is ready, I don’t like to talk much. I like to go there, fight and do my best."
Kamaru Usman Congratulates Charles Oliveira but Says Khabib Nurmagomedov is on Another Level
Kamaru Usman has praised the performance of new lightweight champion Charles Oliveira following his win over Michael Chandler at UFC 262. "Do Bronx" won the title after a chaotic fight with "Iron" and earned the victory via TKO in the second round. "The Nigerian Nightmare" gave Oliveira his props for his win but admits that Khabib Nurmagomedov would be a bridge too far should he coax "The Eagle" out of retirement.
“For the ones who truly know, (they) know what would happen in that fight,” Usman said to TMZ Sports. “More power to Charles Oliveira. I’m impressed by him and I’m a fan of what he’s been able to do in his career. But I just think there are levels to the game and I think Khabib is a different level.”
“I think Khabib did watch the fight. Was he intrigued and thinking, ‘Hey I want to get back in there … probably not. He’s a man that’s happy. He is happy with his life. He’s happy with the direction that it’s gone, and yeah, I think he’s retired.”
Cody Garbrandt believes a win over Rob Font could result in title shots at bantamweight and flyweight
Cody Garbrandt is hoping that a win over Rob Font on Saturday night could earn him title shots at bantamweight and flyweight. Garbrandt was expected to drop down to flyweight to face Deiveson Figueiredo for the title at UFC 255. However, "No Love" was forced out of the bout due to an injury and will now stay at bantamweight in the main event of UFC Vegas 27. Garbrandt is hoping a win will also earn him a crack at the flyweight title as was the original plan.
“I’m looking at being a two-time weight division champion. That’s my goal. Whatever comes first,” Garbrandt said at media day (h/t BJPenn.com). “I know we have a little bit of a circus act upfront with Aljamain and Yan, they have to run that back. Aljamain just had neck surgery, so that’s going to be prolonged for a little bit. I feel like this fight right here is a title eliminator, so I finish Rob on Saturday, I have options. I have options, at bantamweight and be next in line for that, it works out perfect for me."
Leslie Smith sees advantages over Cris Cyborg ahead of Bellator 259
Leslie Smith is aware of the task at hand ahead of her rematch with Cris Cyborg and despite being a massive underdog, sees some advantages over the champ ahead of Bellator 259. Smith fought Cyborg for the first time back in 2016 at UFC 198 when she lost via TKO. Smith knows she’s facing a tough adversary, but she feels there are advantages she enters the bout with that she didn’t have the first time.
“We both changed,” Smith told MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s Bellator 259 media day. “We both have been doing this for a long time, and I know that I have a much higher level of fight maturity, fight knowledge. I’m more cerebral. I have a better understanding on how to create and exploit opportunities than I ever did, but I know that she has changed a lot, too. I think as our styles have evolved, I think this has made the fight a lot more interesting than the first fight.”
Smith also talked about the recent news that Dana White has refused to entertain the idea of loaning out St-Pierre to face De La Hoya in a match promoted by Triller Fight Club, bashing the upstart promotion’s repeated efforts to get his permission. St-Pierre might have prevented such an outcome before that if he’d seen things through with the MMA Athletes Association, a short-lived organizing effort in which he took a major role in 2017.
“One of the things about the Ali Act is that it prevents these long-term contracts, and that is exactly what Dana White is using in order to prevent GSP from having this fight,” Smith told MMA Fighting. “But you know what would have made an even bigger difference in all that is if GSP had stuck with his union organizing effort that he started in 2017. I believe that they had the very best setup of leaders that everyone would have followed, and that if they had had conviction and stuck with it that something would have happened."
“As we know, they abandoned that effort, and GSP got a contract to fight in the UFC for a title after several years off, immediately after making that [union] effort. That would have made the biggest difference if they hadn’t done that.”
Valerie Loureda’s life goals: ‘kill’ inside the cage
Valerie Loureda may only be 22 but the rising Bellator star has caused quite the stir in her young MMA career. Speaking ahead of her fight with Hannah Guy at Bellator 259 but always receives some criticism for her modern approach to being an MMA fighter. Loureda is known for her Tik Tok and Instagram as much as her fighting ability and has been targeted by some critics. One of her most vocal critics was her previous opponent, Tara Graff, whom she said accused her of being “demoralizing to the sport” and harassed her every day online. She knocked out Graff at Bellator 243 and danced in celebration.
“When I get into the cage, I’m there to do one thing, and it’s to kill,” she said to MMA Fighting. “Once it happens, I turn back into myself. And the dancing is pettiness, because no one wants me to do Tik Toks and this and that bothers everybody, so I’m going to dance in your face.
Loureda has even been offered a reality show featuring her and her sister. She declined in favor of building her MMA career.
"I was like, ‘Hold on.’ I’m going to be a little patient, because I’m 22 years old, and right now, I still need to focus 100 percent of my time into training. When I’m training, I’m training 100 percent. I’m a completely different person than I am outside of the gym. When I feel like the moment is right, I’m going to do something crazy different.”
Austin Vanderford finds Fabian Edwards' prediction ironic
Austin Vanderford has dismissed claims from Fabian Edwards that he is a higher caliber of fighter than his previous opponents. Vanderford (10-0) doesn’t think his opponent has previously competed against his caliber of fighter – a sentiment Edwards (9-1) had expressed in a reverse way about Vanderford earlier during Wednesday’s pre-fight media availability.
“That’s funny because I feel the same way about him,” Vanderford told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “He hasn’t ever fought someone like me. Something is going to give. We both have our opinions about ourselves and how we feel and something is going to give. I’m confident in the skillset I bring and the pressure I’m going to bring. I’m either right or I’m wrong.”
Edson Barboza suggests fight with Max Holloway next
Edson Barboza scored his first knockout victory since moving down to the featherweight division at UFC 262, stopping Shane Burgos in round three, and wants a shot at the upper echelon of the 145-pound class going forward. Following back-to-back wins over Makwan Amirkhani and Burgos inside the octagon—and a controversial split decision loss to Dan Ige in 2020—Barboza hopes his next opponent is someone ranked among the five best in the UFC.
“I want to fight a top-5, man,” Barboza said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I think I deserve to fight a top-5 given my history in the UFC. Something that motivates me to call for a top-5 opponent is knowing that it will be a great fight. I love to fight the best,” he said. “Can you imagine a fight between Max Holloway and I? I’m a huge fan of Holloway, I love his fights, he’s one of my favorite fighters. It would be awesome, man.”
Brett Johns explains his decision to part ways with the UFC for Bellator
Bantamweight Brett Johns explained his decision to part ways with the UFC for Bellator, saying that “they weren’t willing to pay the money.” Johns went 5-2 overall in the UFC from 2016 to 2020, and he finished off his run in the Octagon with back-to-back wins over Montel Jackson and Tony Gravely. The Welshman is only 29 and is just hitting his prime as a martial artist. And Johns has admitted that Bellator paid him what he believed he was worth.
“Basically, in a nutshell, we looked at the contract after it was finished, and we looked back at our career with the amount of fights that we had, the people that we had fought, and financially things didn’t add up in our mind. So we got on a call with the UFC and tried to renegotiate our contract and they didn’t feel like I was worth that money, but we knew I was," Johns said to MMA Junkie. "We looked at the other guys in the division, and there was a couple of guys who had similar fights, I won’t name specific names, but there was a fighter who was 5-2 such as us, but I didn’t feel he had fought the caliber of competition that I personally did. He was making about $20,000 more. So we approached the UFC with that, and they turned around and said they weren’t willing to pay the money, so we tested the waters of free agency, and Bellator came up. I haven’t looked back since."