UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou admits he wasn't quite ready to face Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title at UFC 220...but rest assured that won't be the case at UFC 260 — Fightful has you covered on how Ngannou plans to leave UFC 260 with the heavyweight title draped over his shoulder in the rematch and other news from around the world of combat sports.
Francis Ngannou: "I Didn't Spend Enough Time In The Octagon" Ahead Of UFC 220 Title Bout
Rewind to UFC 220, the hottest heavyweight contender in the world, the seemingly unstoppable Francis Ngannou was poised to become the new face of the company after becoming the UFC heavyweight champion. However, reigning-champion Stipe Miocic had other plans and would dominate the aforementioned Ngannou en-route to a unanimous decision victory to retain his UFC strap.
"I had two different feelings from that fight," Ngannou said on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
“First, obviously I was very upset and disappointed that I didn’t win the fight," Ngannou told Rogan. "As everyone who is fighting for the title, you want to go out there victorious. But to be honest, I always look in that fight since the fight day, just after the fight, I look at it and now I’m like, ‘This is good.’ I learned too much in that fight because even though I was on the level, fighting for the world title, I still have some missing parts in my game and in my experience."
“I remember I was asking myself, questioning myself like, ‘Okay, how does it look like to go into three rounds?," pondered Ngannou. "Basically I was going into a potential five rounds and I’ve never been in three rounds. How did it look like, how is it to prepare for this kind of fight? I had a fight like six weeks earlier so I was having a lot of questions. Then after that fight I was like, ‘Okay, I get it.’”
Leon Edwards: Khamzat Chimaev In For A "Rude Awakening" At UFC Vegas 21
UFC lightweight contender Leon Edwards and UFC President Dana White's newest shiny toy Khamzat Chimaev have been scheduled to face each other on three separate occasions and the pair are finally slated to compete in the main event of UFC Vegas 21 in March.
Edwards has plans to completely derail the Chimaev hype train during the aforementioned main event.
“They probably want to push this kid up, trying to rush him, right?” Edwards told Submission Radio. “Like they do everyone else. They’re trying to get him a big win under his belt, trying to push him towards the title, probably. So that’s probably why they’re trying to keep the fight going. But they’re in for a rude awakening come March 13, and I cannot wait to get my title shot after this.”
“For me the upside is, I think take out the champion, right?” Edwards said. “He’s one of the biggest names in the division, I think, from how much they’re putting into him, how much attention they’re giving him and how much Dana’s getting behind him. So, if I go out there and beat the guy that they’re picking to win, that they want to win anyway, then that puts me in a perfect position for a big title fight. So, that’s the only reason, really.
“At the time, people like Wonderboy was on offer and stuff like that, and I didn’t think they had the same buzz around to get me to where I need to get to," said Edwards. "And I’m on an eight-fight win streak, I beaten all these guys already, and so that’s it really. They put all the hype around him, [so for me] just to go out there and show him that I am on another level, and that’s it, that’s the hype, nothing else."
Bellator Signs Khasan Magomedsharipov, Younger Brother Of Zabit
The younger brother of UFC featherweight contender Zabit Magomedsharipov, Khasan, has agreed to a multi-fight deal with Bellator, according to MMA Fighting.
Much like his brother, Zabit, Khasan competes in the featherweight division and has compiled a 5-0 record in other promotions to begin his professional MMA career.
Magomedsharipov's promotional debut has yet to be set.
Bellator recently announced the return of their live event schedule as well as an exclusive deal with Showtime which begins on April 2 as well as a light heavyweight grand-prix which is headlined by the promotion debut of former UFC title challengers Yoel Romero and Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.
Bellator Agrees To Deal With BBC To Stream Events On iPlayer In The U.K.
Not only did Bellator agree to a deal with Showtime, the promotion announced that they've also agreed to a deal with the BBC to stream all of their 2021 events on the network's iPlayer streaming service.
The deal will see all of the promotion's United States and European events for the entirety of 2021 be streamed on the iPlayer service, beginning with their April 2 event that's headlined by Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire defending his title in a rematch against Emmanuel Sanchez.
Britain Hart Reacts To Jenny Savage Post-Fight Run-In
At BKFC: KnuckleMania, Britain Hart spoiled the debut of former UFC contender Paige VanZant, taking a unanimous decision over the former UFC women's strawweight contender.
After the fight, fellow BKFC fighter Jenny Savage rushed the ring and doused Hart with water before being separated from Hart.
“Honestly, I was just talking, I didn’t even recognize her,” Hart told MMA Fighting.
“I thought it was literally some random, and I’m joking, but I really did," Hart said. "I thought it was some random-ass prostitute. I didn’t even think it was Jenny Savage because she was wearing this tube top, her makeup was ridiculous, and she’e just spazzing out, hair flying everywhere and it took me a second to realize who it was. When I realized it was Jenny Savage, I was like, ‘Dude, you need to chill out.’ She’s crazy.”
Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman Comment On UFC 258 Main Event
The long-awaited UFC welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Gilbert Burns is finally upon us in the form of UFC 258.
The teammates-turned rivals will clash in the main event of UFC 258 on Saturday, February 13 and during that main event, Gilbert Burns explained why he and Kamaru Usman are very different fighters.
“That’s the difference between me and Kamaru,” Burns told MMA Fighting.
“Kamaru looks first to domination. He wants to dominate you, put you in a bad spot, make you tired, wear you out and then beat you up. I’m different on that than Kamaru," Burns explained. "I want to finish you, I want to beat you up, knock you out, submit you. If I cannot, if I think you’re going to stay there, then I think of domination. But first, I’m thinking of finishing. That’s what I’m looking for and I’m looking forward to being dangerous everywhere in that fight.”
Usman commented on the upcoming bout, by saying when the pair step into the octagon, there are no friends in there for those potential 25-minutes.
“The paycheck is always nice when you have a circus like the last one and the one before that, but you know, this one, a lot of people are writing us up like friends and teammates fighting each other,” Usman told MMA Junkie. "At the end of the day I don’t see this anybody, there’s no friends in there.”
“What could be more personal than someone you train with every day saying ‘I see what you have, I want that, I’m going to take that from you?’,” Usman pondered. “What could be more personal than that? So each and every one of these I approach the same.”
Kelvin Gastelum Focused On Being "More Present" At UFC 258
UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum plans to be "more present" during his bout against Ian Heinisch at UFC 258.
Gastelum (16-6) admits he needs to be more focused at UFC 258 amidst being on a three-fight losing streak heading into the bout.
“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it much,” Gastelum told MMA Junkie.
“I’ve just been concentrating on this fight and concentrating on Ian Heinisch and being more present – being more aware and more present into who Ian Heinisch is. That’s who I’m focused on," Gastelum admitted. “For my past two fights, I’ve maybe gotten away from that a little bit. I’ve thought about my loss. After Israel, I wanted to get back on the horse and fight Darren Till. I knew that if I won, it might’ve propelled me to where I wanted to be. (It was) the same thing with the Jack Hermansson fight. I knew I needed to get back on a winning streak. I was just focused on more ahead than actually being present and focusing on my actual opponent.”
Corey Anderson Not Overlooking Dovledzhan Yagshimuradov
Bellator recently announced an eight-man light heavyweight grand-prix that's slated to begin April 9.
Former UFC light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson is scheduled to face promotional newcomer Dovledzhan Yagshimuradov in the tournament but Anderson is being careful to not underestimate Yagshimuradov, regardless of not many MMA fans (or himself) being familiar with his opponent.
“I definitely had to do a quick Google,” Anderson admitted to MMA Junkie.
“First of all, I had to make sure my manager spelled his name right because I thought he was butt dialing and sending a bunch of random letters, and when I put it in (Google) it actually came up," Anderson explained. "I’m like, ‘Wait. This is a person’s name.’ After doing my research, I’m like, ‘I can’t look past this guy because I didn’t know him. This guy actually has a pretty good style, he has a pretty good record and he’s well-known from where he’s from. I did my research. He’s a big name over where he’s from, and just because we didn’t know him, (that) doesn’t mean anything. So I’m not looking past anybody.”
Alexa Grasso Explains Decision To Move To Flyweight Division
UFC women's strawweight contender Alexa Grasso has no regrets moving up to the women's flyweight division for a showdown with the "future" Maycee Barber at UFC 258.
Ahead of her co-main event bout, the Mexican-born contender explained why she's much more comfortable at 125-pounds rather than her longtime-home of 115-pounds.
“I loved strawweight, and I was determined to be a strawweight no matter what,” Grasso told MMA Junkie.
“But the truth is that, with this change, my body has matured and it’s changed," Grasso admitted. "My muscles have grown, and I think that this change was an excellent decision. I feel very happy, I feel great. This is a new path, you know. I’m new to the division, so I’m coming full strength, and just like I did at strawweight, I want to be at the very top.”