Fightful Fix is your one-stop-shop for all of today's biggest combat sports stories — from Jon Jones's camp seeing similar success for the former 205-pound champ at heavyweight, Scott Coker on Yoel Romero signing with Bellator and more — conveniently compiled in one place. Take a look below.
Jon Jones camp sees similar success at heavyweight for former 205 lb champ
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will move up to heavyweight in 2021 and his camp believes it will be similar domination from Jones in the new division. Speaking with MMAFighting's Damon Martin, Jones's coaches Brandon Gibson and Mike Winklejohn talked about their expectations for Jones next year.
“Heavyweight’s a different animal, but Jon’s spent a lot of his career training with some of the best heavyweights in the world,” Jones’ coach Brandon Gibson said. “I’ve seen Jon do hundreds of rounds with guys like [Alistair] Overeem and [Andrei] Arlovski and Travis Browne. We’ve had a plethora of great heavyweights come through Jackson’s, and Jon has been Jon Jones with all of them."
Winklejohn added to that:
“Jon has always done very well [against heavyweights],” Winkeljohn said. “He’s always had the ability to change up things and as far as fight IQ, Jon’s that guy. If he’s fighting a guy like Andrei Arlovski with a big overhand, he knows how to nullify it. If he’s fighting a guy like Alistair Overeem, who throws a big hook into a knee to the body, he knows how to avoid that."
Ali Abdelaziz interested in Garbrandt-Aldo matchup
One of MMA's most prominent manager's Ali Abdelaziz recently spoke with MMAJunkie's John Morgan about his client former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt's potential next match-up. Abdelaziz mentioned how he would be interested in a fight for Garbrandt next with former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo if he's unable to secure a flyweight title shot for his client.
“I’m interested in Cody Garbrandt vs. Jose Aldo at 135 pounds,” Abdelaziz told the publication. “If the flyweight champ is available, 100 percent Cody is the No. 1 contender. That’s what Dana White says. If he’s not available, everybody is booked or coming from losses."
Scott Coker discusses Yoel Romero signing
Bellator president Scott Coker has been making some phenomenal additions to the promotion's roster recently, with one of the biggest signings being former UFC middleweight Yoel Romero. Coker spoke with MMAJunkie's Mike Bohn about signing Romero and why he decided to pursue the four-time UFC title challenger.
“Yoel started with us in Strikeforce back in 2008,” Coker said. “Part of me wanted to do it. Part of me didn’t want to do it. After we signed ‘Rumble’ (Johnson), we had the chance to (sign) Yoel. We passed on (him). I’ll tell you, honestly, the amount of support he got coming through our doors and through the social channels really was impressive. Everybody wanted to see the Yoel Romero vs. ‘Rumble’ Johnson fight. I huddled up with my team."
Coker continued on: “I’ll tell you one thing in this situation people don’t really realize: Even if we said we were going to pass, we talk to these agents all the time – every day. Yoel’s name kept coming up and coming up. Finally, I just said, ‘You know what? Let’s do it. Let’s just add him into the mix.'”
MMA Officials who saw the most UFC Octagon time in 2020
MMAJunkie's Nolan King compiled a list of the referees who officiated the most UFC fights in 2020. The promotion held 41 events in the wild year that was 2020, with Herb Dean overseeing the most bouts inside the Octagon this year.
Herb Dean is perhaps the most notable active official in mixed martial arts today. Taking a look at his 2020 schedule, you can see why. Dean reffed more UFC main events and title fights than any of his counterparts. He served as the third man inside the cage for both Conor McGregor’s return fight and Anderson Silva’s UFC swan song. Dean officiated in Jacksonville, Fla., “Fight Island,” and at the UFC Apex.
Notable UFC fights Herb Dean officiated in 2020: Diego Ferreira vs. Anthony Pettis, Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone, Jan Blachowicz vs. Corey Anderson 2, Aleksei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum, Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro, Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, Gilbert Burns vs. Tyron Woodley, Sean O’Malley vs. Eddie Wineland, Amanda Nunes vs. Felicia Spencer, Cynthia Calvillo vs. Jessica Eye, Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov, Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker, Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2, Jack Hermansson vs. Kelvin Gastelum, Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige, Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson, Darren Till vs. Robert Whittaker, Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan, Derrick Lewis vs. Aleskei Oleinik, Marlon Vera vs. Sean O’Malley, Frankie Edgar vs. Pedro Munhoz, Aleksandar Rakic vs. Anthony Smith, Alistair Overeem vs. Augusto Sakai, Greg Hardy vs. Maurice Greene, Uriah Hall vs. Anderson Silva, Glover Teixeira vs. Thiago Santos, Rafael dos Anjos vs. Paul Felder, Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jennifer Maia, Anthony Smith vs. Devin Clark, Marvin Vettori vs. Jack Hermansson.
Cub Swanson credits different mindset for UFC 256 win
UFC veteran and longtime featherweight contender Cub Swanson secured his second consecutive win at UFC 256, defeating Daniel Pineda via a second-round knockout. Speaking with MMAFighting's Mike Heck on his show What the Heck, Swanson attributed his recent wins to an improved mindset and maturity.
“Digging down and finding out where your head is at when a fight is about to come, I used to get to a dark place and that’s not really a place I want to go anymore. I got kids, I enjoy my life and I’m having a good time." Swanson said. "I don’t feel like I need to go there anymore. This time was the first time I kind of accepted that, ‘Hey, it’s time to evolve,’ and I feel like I was struggling with that over the last four or five years. Sometimes you show up, sometimes you don’t, sometimes it’s, ‘What’s my deal?’ But this one it just clicked and I felt like I graduated, in a sense, to a new level.”
Ex-Invicta FC champion Vanessa Porto talks Bellator signing
Former Invicta FC flyweight champion Vanessa Porto joined the growing list of recent Bellator free agency signings. She chatted with MMAFighting's Guilherme Cruz about the move from Invicta FC to Bellator and discussed a potential rematch with Cris Cyborg.
“You never know, right?” Porto said of a potential rematch with the Bellator featherweight titleholder. “The opportunity, a good offer, you never know. But I don’t know, let it happen.”
UFC's Jared Gordon celebrates sobriety
UFC featherweight Jared Gordon shared an inspirational tweet over the extended Christmas weekend, Gordon has shared his battles publicly before with pain medications and heroin, but he is now five years sober from that. Gordon said the following on his Twitter.
They say at five years of sobriety you get your marbles back. That with in your first five years you’re still a “new comer” or “beginner.” God willing ill be sober for the rest of my life and can live a lifetime of service and gratitude. pic.twitter.com/D9y5ky3KtK— Jared Gordon (@JFlashGordonMMA) December 27, 2020
Gilbert Burns on COVID battle, missing UFC 251
No. 1 UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns spoke with MMAFighting's Guilherme Cruz about missing his UFC 251 fight with UFC welterweight champion due to COVID-19 and why it turned to be a blessing for the Brazilian title challenger.
“I feel better that I didn’t fight,” Burns said. “I know that sounds weird but if I got that virus and for any reason tested negative, I was going into the fight and I wasn’t feeling good. Don’t get me wrong, even if I’m not feeling good, I’m going to fight anyways. I’m not going to pull out, especially for a title fight. I’m going to give my best. I don’t know if my best will be enough but I’ll never pull out of the fight. But to take me out and I got home and started getting sick, I definitely see it as a blessing.”
Calvin Kattar sends warning to Max Holloway
UFC featherweight contender's Calvin Kattar and Max Holloway will kick off the new year for the promotion when they headline UFC Fight Island 7 on January 16. Kattar chatted with MMAFighting's Mike Heck on his show What the Heck about the fight with Holloway and how the former featherweight champion shouldn't overlook him.
“It’s a good opportunity to show that I’m that guy,” Kattar said. “There’s these guys out there touting Max like he’s still the champ, and I think he may even be still focused on the champ. But to overlook me would be a mistake."
Anthony Joshua on potential of Tyson Fury fight happening
British boxing heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have had a rivalry that has been brewing for years now, with boxing fans around the world frothing at the mouth at a potential matchup between the undefeated champions. In a recent guest column for Boxing News Joshua talked about the potential of a fight with Fury happening in the near future.
"How close is the Fury fight? I promise you conversations are happening. But until you hear it from me, don't buy into anything" Joshua said. "I'm serious about the fight so when I announce it you'll know it's real. I'm taking my time because there has been a lot of back-and-forth for year. I've been chasing this road to undisputed and when the time is right I'll announce it and I'll have my mind fully focused on the job at hand."
Sean O'Malley on rematching Marlon Vera
UFC bantamweight prospect Sean O'Malley clearly has no love lost for the first and last man to defeat him, Marlon Vera who beat O'Malley back at UFC 250. O'Malley talked about what it would take for him to rematch Vera on a recent episode of his podcast.
“For me to rematch (Vera), he’ll have to be on a win streak. It’ll have to make sense. I feel like I’m just a different level fighter. That would be like fighting someone backwards,” O’Malley said (h/t BJPenn.com).
UFC releases short film on bantamweight #1 contender Aljamain Sterling
The UFC recently released a short film on their YouTube account about top bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling titled "Aljamain Sterling: Not Broken". The film depicts Sterling's upbringing and some of the struggles he overcame to make it to this point in his career. The short film which is directed by Rory Karpf goes into Sterling's upbringing, some of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, and how wrestling changed his life.
"He made us feel small, weak, stupid, useless," Sterling said about his father. "One of the things about him that I don't think I could ever forgive, is the domestic violence with my mom."
Scott Coker has no problem with waiting to book Velasquez-Macfarlane II
Bellator President Scott Coker sat down with MMAJunkie's Mike Bohn and discussed a variety of topics. A notable talking point was the potential of a rematch between new Bellator women's flyweight champion Juliana Vasquez and former champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane. Velasquez snagged the belt away from Macfarlane at Bellator 254 winning a pretty clear unanimous decision and Coker doesn't see the rush for a second fight between the pairing.
“If Ilima wants to do it, sure we’ll consider it, but I’m not sure it’s something that’ll happen right away,” Coker said. “That’s something that I think we should build up then promote it back, and maybe we take that back to Hawaii sometime before the end of the year. That would be a lot of fun.”