Boxing legend George Foreman believes Conor McGregor should call it a day in MMA and pursue a boxing career, Daniel Cormier encourages Dana White to "keep trying" to entice Khabib Nurmagomedov back and much more — Fightful fix covers the latest news from combat sports in one article for you.
George Foreman believes Conor McGregor can beat Manny Pacquiao in boxing
Conor McGregor had a disappointing return to MMA at UFC 257 when he was knocked out by Dustin Poirier and boxing legend George Foreman believes he should continue his career in boxing. Foreman also predicts that should he box Manny Pacquiao in the future that "The Notorious" could beat him. The pair have long been rumored to be facing each other but recent reports suggest that Pacquiao is facing off with Ryan Garcia next.
“It’s hard for McGregor to accept it but he’s a better puncher than he is in MMA. I’d rather see him in boxing matches now. I think if he has a fight with Pacquiao he can actually beat him – good rules, over 10 rounds, McGregor can beat him," Foreman claimed to The Irish Times. "He’s already adjusted to boxing, he’s not going to do good in MMA anymore. Pacquiao is very good as a matter of fact, but McGregor can beat him in a boxing match.”
Daniel Cormier encourages Dana White to “keep trying” to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to return
Daniel Cormier believes Dana White should keep trying to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight again. Nurmagomedov announced his retirement after his victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Despite "The Eagle" retiring, UFC President Dana White has been determined to convince him to fight again. And his AKA teammate Cormier believes that is the right pursuit to potentially get him back.
“I mean, he just dominated a very tough Justin Gaethje. So yeah that’s why he’s the man that’s why he is the absolute man and that is why Dana White continues to ask him to come back to fighting," Cormier said to Helwani (h/t essentially sports). "I wouldn’t stop, I’d go ten meetings. Every time he’d be willing to take a meeting I would keep talking, I’d keep trying to convince him.”
T.J. Dillashaw picks Petr Yan to retain his title against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259
T.J. Dillashaw believes that the UFC 259 clash between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling will be determined on if Yan has improved on his MMA wrestling. Yan’s only defeat in his pro MMA career came to Magomed Magomedov in 2016 via a split decision where he was taken down a few times. He did eventually avenge the loss and despite it being almost five years ago, Dillashaw thinks wrestling could be a major factor in the fight.
“He lost in the past to a guy that’s in Bellator just by getting outwrestled, so we’ll see the gains he’s made in his MMA wrestling,” Dillashaw said to Mike Swick on the “Real Quick with Mike Swick” podcast (h/t MMA Junkie). “I would still probably put my money on Yan just because he’s a little more well-rounded, structurally and, on the feet. I think he’ll be able to keep the distance good enough. But you can’t underestimate a tough-nosed wrestler. So he can’t be counting his chickens before they hatch because he’s trying to call me out, but he’s got to get past Sterling and stay on top."
Daniel Cormier believes Derrick Lewis may punch harder than Francis Ngannou
Daniel Cormier believes Derrick Lewis may have as much power as Francis Ngannou. According to Cormier, Ngannou's decision loss to Lewis in 2018 may have been as uneventful as it was because the Cameroonian was weary of the "Black Beast" and the power he possesses.
“People, there is a reason Francis Ngannou was so tentative in his fight with Derrick Lewis,” Cormier said on DC & Helwani (h/t BJPenn.com). “He stood and took pictures with Derrick Lewis because of the power coming back in his direction. So let’s not go acting as if Derrick Lewis doesn’t have the power to match anyone in the heavyweight division—even Francis Ngannou.”
John McCarthy on Derrick Lewis’ punches on unconscious Curtis Blaydes
"Big" John McCarthy has weighed in on the controversial ending to UFC Vegas 19 where Derrick Lewis landed two punches to an unconscious Curtis Blaydes before referee Herb Dean could stop the fight. McCarthy has defended Dean and said that although Lewis didn't need the extra shots that unless the referee pulls him off that he is within his rights to do it.
“So Derrick did what he was supposed to do. The problem for Derrick is that Herb is behind him, so he’s got to move. Blaydes falls away from him. Trust me, that time for Herb is going in slow motion. He’s trying to get there as fast as he can, and it seems like it’s taking forever," McCarthy explained on the “Weighing In” podcast he co-hosts with UFC vet Josh Thomson (h/t MMAJunkie). "It’s really fast. Derrick Lewis is able to land a lot of shots one second at a time. He got there as fast as he can. Is Derrick Lewis wrong for hitting Blaydes when he’s unconscious? No. That’s basically what happens at times.”
Stephen Thompson calls out Kamaru Usman: "Fight somebody you haven’t fought yet"
Stephen Thompson is hoping to get a chance to win the welterweight and take on Kamaru Usman. Thompson has been vocal about getting a chance to take on the champion as he's the lowest rank fighter at no.5 who Usman hasn't already defeated and "Wonderboy" is hoping he gets his shot.
“It was super cool to actually see Usman say that anybody can get it,” Thompson explained. “That leads me to believe that I have a possibility to make this thing happen. If the fans love it, the UFC likes to get behind it. As of right now, I see a lot of people saying I should get the next title shot, that I should be next for Usman. But you never know, so I’m staying in shape, I’m working out, gotta get this hand checked out and hopefully, we can make this thing happen," Thompson told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. "I think it would be an awesome fight and Usman even said that his toughest fight would be with someone like me where it would be hard to prepare for, a difficult read, I’m the third-best in the division with takedown defense so I think it would be a fun fight. And that’s why I want it because it would be a great fight. Obviously, it would be great to fight for the title again, but I like Usman. I think he’s a great guy, good champion and it’s the time to really test my ability at that level who is the best."
Jairzinho Rozenstruik plans to against Ciryl Gane in UFC Vegas 20 main event
Jairzinho Rozenstruik is looking to get back on the winning streak after his loss to Francis Ngannou when he faces Cyril Gane at UFC Vegas 20. Rozenstruik is well aware Gane has a lot of hype behind him and he’s looking forward to ending that and igniting his own momentum. Rozenstruik and Gane were originally supposed to be the co-main event on March 13 but were moved to the main event this weekend.
“Fighting two weeks earlier or later doesn’t make much of a difference. We are going to fight anyway so let’s be the main event anyway. For me, it won’t have any impact on my training. I think he is doing his thing and is phenomenal. But, he is now facing me and it will be a totally different fight. He is a different type of heavyweight fighter," Rozenstruik said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. "It is an interesting fight and I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to fighting wherever it takes place. One thing I know, I will be ready to be the best version of myself and shine. Right now, a win over him will keep me on the same spot. I’ll be open to fighting everybody."
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Boxer Clay Collard vows to defeat Anthony Pettis in PFL debut
Clay Collard was granted his wish when he was given Anthony Pettis to kick off the PFL 2021 season. The first event will feature the debut of former UFC fighter Collard (18-8 1NC), who returns to MMA after a successful stint in boxing. “Cassius” was vocal about facing former UFC 155-pound titleholder Anthony Pettis in his latest interview, and the promotion immediately capitalized on the potential lightweight barnburner.
“I wanted him or the champ first, and they gave me him. I couldn’t be happier. I’m ready to fight; to show up and make a statement right out of the gate. He’s definitely going to control the distance, throw kicks,” he added. “I think we may see a little bit of wrestling out of him. I plan on seeing Anthony Pettis, you know, Showtime," Collard said to Sherdog. "He’s going to bring it, I’m going to bring it, and we are going to fight. Preferably, we catch him early. Yeah, that’s preferable, but this fight can go anywhere. It can be a three-round war. He’s very talented, and he’s tough, and he’s been to the top of the game, and so have I. This fight can go anywhere. I plan on going there and trying to do it early.”
Anthony Johnson excited for a new beginning with Bellator: ‘We can compete with the UFC’
Anthony Johnson is raring to go for his Bellator debut when he takes on Yoel Romero in the light-heavyweight Grand-Prix. Johnson and Romero aren’t the only high-profile signings that Bellator has added heading into its 2021 campaign. Established fighters like Rustam Khabilov, Brett Johns, and Vanessa Porto could make their Bellator debuts this year, and former UFC contenders Corey Anderson and Cat Zingano already found success in their first Bellator fights. And "Rumble" believes this level of competition can help Bellator compete with the UFC.
“I’m just ready to go and fight. I look forward to the competition that’s out there. I think we can compete with the UFC with what we have. A lot of people think that just because the Bellator promotion isn’t what the UFC promotion is that the fighters aren’t the same caliber, and there’s always levels to everything. Every business, every promotion. But Bellator is no joke. Look at my guy, my teammate Michael Chandler went over there and destroyed Dan Hooker. Smoked him. But I knew that was coming. I’m like, y’all don’t realize how dangerous Michael Chandler is. And even though he came from a smaller promotion, he’s still an elite fighter," Rumble said on The Spaniard Show podcast hosted by Charlie Brenneman (h/t MMA Fighting). " He wasn’t there being the champ and fighting the best of the best for no reason. He went to war with Eddie Alvarez and to me, Eddie Alvarez is for sure the greatest fighter ever in my opinion because he’s been to every organization and won the title. People don’t give that man credit. I also see that fans are now starting to understand that you don’t have to be just a UFC fighter to be successful and be able to feed your family and be something. So don’t be afraid to go outside of the box if there’s other things out there you want to be able to do in other promotions, go for it. Try it out. And I think Bellator for me was the right move.”
Christian Lee motivated as ever to get a quick win at ONE on TNT 2 with baby due shortly
Christian Lee is aiming for as quick of a finish as he can get so his wife doesn't have to stress when he fights on ONE on TNT 2. Lee (14-3), who is the ONE welterweight champion, will have a hectic April as Lee takes on Timofey Nastyukhin (14-4) on April 8. That’s less than three weeks prior to his wife Katie’s due date to give birth to the couple’s first child.
“I think it’s best just to have a healthy balance between the two. I haven’t missed any one of my wife’s pregnancy checkouts so far, and I don’t plan on it. I am going to be flying out pretty far along in the pregnancy. She’s going to be about 37 weeks. (After the fight,) I’m on the first flight back home. For me, I’m absolutely 100 percent focused on my fight, but I’m just praying to God that I get back in time before my baby is born because I definitely wouldn’t want to miss that for the world. It’s just more motivation for me,” Lee said on MMA Junkie Radio. “I love the pressure. I love having more at stake. It just helps me work harder. With my wife being pregnant, at the time, it’s just even more reason to push for an early finish because I don’t want her to stress out watching me fight.”
Holly Holm looking to earn Amanda Nunes fight with a win over Julianna Pena
Holly Holm is hoping to earn her featherweight title back and sees the path goes through Juliann Pena. Holm lost the belt back in March 2016 and she’s had multiple shots to get it back and was most recently denied in her attempt against Nunes at UFC 239 in July 2019. Nunes holds both the bantamweight and featherweight title and having already lost to “The Lioness” by first-round head kick TKO, Holm knows she needs to make a strong case for herself, and the only way to do that is by fighting the most viable contender.
“What makes that even harder is that Amanda fights at two different weight classes,” Holm said. “I want to show that I deserve to be there for the belt. … I want to fight the top girls, because in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best. I’m not just always waiting for the title fight. I want to fight to get there. That’s the whole goal. Otherwise, what am I doing this for? I’m not doing this just for the paycheck. I’m not doing this just to participate. I’m not doing it just to say I did it. I’m doing it for a purpose because I want to be the best in the world," Holm told MMA Junkie. “In order to be the best in the world, I have to fight the best in the world and beat them, which is for the belt, so whatever I need to do to get there. Obviously, make the right decisions for that. It’s not like I want to fight a (debuting fighter). I want to fight the top. Otherwise, how am I going to show that I’m ready for this title fight?”