Gilbert Burns doesn't plan on needing much time to become the new UFC welterweight champion at UFC 258 when he stands across the octagon from Kamaru Usman — Fightful has you covered on what Burns plans to do at UFC 258 and much more from around the world of combat sports.
Gilbert Burns Predicts Finish Over Kamaru Usman At UFC 258
UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns is planning to end the night early on February 13 when he faces Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight championship at UFC 258.
“I see a finish. I just can see a finish," Burns told TMZ Sports ahead of his first UFC title bout.
"I’m very dangerous," said Burns. "I got good weapons. I’m making sure everything is getting sharp. The last two weeks until the day of the fight I’m going to make sure everything is in control. Everything that I can control I will control. I’m going to sharpen every single tool that I have, and I believe I will be the one that will finish Kamaru on February 13. I don’t know (when), but inside the three or four rounds I think will be able to get a finish."
Rory MacDonald Open To UFC Return
Former UFC welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald is open to a UFC return following his current run in PFL.
The former Bellator welterweight champion has signed with PFL and will compete in their upcoming welterweight season and hopes to take home the $1 million prize and become the promotion's 170-pound champion.
“UFC comeback? Possibly. We’ll see," MacDonald told a fan during a recent Q&A session on his official YouTube channel.
"We’ll see. I plan on doing some of my best fights in PFL in the next couple of years while I’m with them, but you never know what’s going to happen after that,” said MacDonald. “My upcoming fight is April 29 in, wait, I don’t know where it is yet, but April 29 I believe. That will be will be my first round of the PFL regular season."
Curtis Blaydes Plans To "Break" Derrick Lewis At UFC Vegas 19
The heavyweights take center stage at UFC Vegas 19 on February 20 when Curtis Blaydes meets Derrick Lewis inside of the UFC octagon.
The bout, originally scheduled for November 20 was rescheduled for February 20 after Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19.
“I envision him either coming out aggressively and me taking him down immediately,” Blaydes told Line Movement's James Lynch. “Or, him kind of being more of a counter striker and him slowly going back towards the cage with his back heels. Then, me just walking him down and getting to his hips and rinse and repeat until he breaks.”
Ben Askren Needed UFC's Permission For Jake Paul Boxing Bout
Ben Askren is technically retired from Mixed Martial Arts, but the 36-year old former ONE Championship welterweight champion admitted that he needed permission from the UFC in order to take on YouTube sensation Jake Paul in a boxing match on April 17.
"He does not seem to like Jake Paul too much, that's seeming to be totally true," Askren told MMA Junkie when asked about his meeting with UFC President Dana White to get the green light to box Jake Paul.
“We had a nice phone call," said Askren. "Probably the most cordial phone call Dana and I have ever had. Both Dana and Hunter (Campbell) were relatively easy. They didn’t really have many complaints. They signed off on pretty much – there was some annoyingness with (promoter) Triller was looking at a whole bunch of different dates, so I had to get a bunch of different dates approved, so that was kind of difficult a little bit, but besides that, everything was all smooth.”
Rafael dos Anjos Claims To Be A "Bad Matchup" For Conor McGregor
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos claims that if his scheduled bout against Conor McGregor at UFC 196 happened, it would've resulted in an easy win for himself.
The 36-year old Brazilian had to pull out of the scheduled UFC 196 main event against the aforementioned McGregor due to injury, which ignited the legendary McGregor-Diaz rivalry, but if their fight went on, "RDA" says that his calf kicks would cause major trouble for the brash-Irishman.
McGregor, 32, suffered his first TKO-loss at UFC 257 against Dustin Poirier and Poirier's calf kicks were the deciding factor in the bout as the bevy of kicks caused McGregor to be rendered motionless and allowed Poirier to tee off with several punches before referee Herb Dean waved off the bout.
After seeing the fight, "RDA" knew his calf kicks would be very troublesome for McGregor:
“I don’t see myself as a good option for Conor. I’m a southpaw," dos Anjos told Sherdog.com. "I have a grappling game that is dangerous for him, I use a lot of those calf kicks."
Marc Goddard Sends Message To "Cold And Cynical Souls" Who Bash Fighters After Loss
After the UFC 257 main event ended, social media was set ablaze with memes, gifs and videos mocking Conor McGregor after he suffered a TKO loss against Dustin Poirier...which didn't sit well with referee Marc Goddard.
The fan-favorite longtime UFC referee took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the masses:
I know that for the most part I’m throwing this out there to an uncaring social media abyss but don’t mock or berate fallen fighters. To the cold & cynical souls who know not a single ounce of what it takes please, don’t do that.— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) January 24, 2021
Re my last tweet, this isn’t aimed at any specific fighter but it’s obviously amplified this weekend. Ive put my arm around & consoled many a broken man/woman post fight who at that time believe their world to collapse. Take it from me their words & cries can haunt. Thank you.— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) January 24, 2021
Alexander Volkov Plans To Finish Alistair Overeem At UFC Vegas 18
UFC heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov doesn't envision his main event against the legendary Alistair Overeem at UFC Vegas 18 to end in anything but a finish.
Volkov (32-8) is coming off of a knockout victory over fellow heavyweight contender Walt Harris at UFC 254 and sees his bout against Overeem ending in similar fashion:
"Alistair Overeem used to be one of my favorite fighters when I was at the beginning of my professional career,” Volkov told MMA Junkie.
“Surely, we have different styles," said Volkov. "I’ve always been impressed by his physical power, the ability to deliver accurate and hard punches, as well as his work in the clinch."
“In this regard, I know his strengths and weaknesses very well. Lately, he has worked more economically, but nevertheless, he remains just as dangerous. It is unlikely that our fight will last all five rounds. I’m sure I can catch him making a mistake.”
When speaking on his preparation for the bout amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Volkov said it's gotten easier to train as time has gone on:
“Primarily I’ve had the chance to train in a gym since the time of my fight vs. Curtis Blaydes,” Volkov said. “During lockdown in Moscow, I had to train at home. I developed strong functional skills and had lots of strength to conduct a five-round fight. But I didn’t have what the bout required – wrestling and sparring sessions in the gym. When training for the fight against Walt Harris, I followed our strategy of 2018 with a focus on the development of physical conditioning and allocation of more time to wrestling.”
Jairzinho Rozenstruik Hopes To Face Jon Jones At Heavyweight
UFC heavyweight contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik is excited to see longtime UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones make the transition to the heavyweight division.
Rozenstruik (11-1) is scheduled to face the undefeated Cyril Gane at UFC Vegas 21 on March 13 but "Bigi Boi" has his eyes set on one of the best fighters in MMA history:
“It’s exciting and it’s a big motivation Jon Jones in the heavyweight division,” Rozenstruik told MMA Junkie.
“Because you know, that guy is one of the best and he’s going to come in and try to do his thing," said Rozenstruik. "You as a fighter in the heavyweight division train hard and you have to make sure that if you get that fight, you win. You don’t want to go in there and do something crazy and lose the fight. You want to go in there and win, it doesn’t matter what it takes. For me, it’s a big motivation.”
“Yeah, that would be nice,” Rozenstruik said. “I mean, he’s the greatest of all-time. Everyone wants to fight the greatest of all time and see where you’re at in your career."
“If you get that fight you’re going to be even more motivated, and yeah, you would be working harder for what’s coming," Rozenstruik added. "Jon Jones is one of the best, but that doesn’t mean that you want to lose against Jon Jones. You want to win against the best. To be the best, you have to beat the best.”
Mario Yamasaki Plans To Return To Refereeing MMA In 2021
The last time Mario Yamasaki, one of the most recognizable referees in MMA officiated a bout was at UFC Belem in February 2018...but he's on his way back.
“I’m waiting for the pandemic to be over so I start applying to the athletic commissions again,” Yamasaki told MMA Fighting.
“I’ll go back to refereeing as soon as possible,” said Yamasaki. “Maybe not in the UFC, but Bellator, PFL, Shooto, other promotions, so I can be in the sport. It will be up to the athletic commissions to accept me back and license me and start giving me fights to referee.”
“The UFC has given me everything I have in terms of exposure, travels and all my knowledge,” Yamasaki added. "I lived through the pinnacle of MMA, the golden era. Only joy. I have nothing to complain, only to thank. Twenty years there, it’s not for everyone.”
Javier Mendez Questions Conor McGregor's Preparation For UFC 257
Javier Mendez, the longtime coach of Khabib Nurmagomedov questions Conor McGregor's preparations for his UFC 257 bout against Dustin Poirier, a bout that would see McGregor suffer his first career TKO loss.
“When I saw Dustin start going for the leg kicks, I go, oh my God, Conor’s stance is not made for checking properly, leg kicks like that,” Mendez told MMA Fighting's Submission Radio.
“Especially calf kicks," said Mendez. "So, I thought that was going to be a major problem and then when he hit Dustin with the good shot and Dustin took it, that’s when I kind of knew, oh boy, things are gonna change and sure enough they did. It was a great game plan from Dustin to work the leg kicks, calf kicks and it was a bad judgement on Conor’s part to not be prepared for that."
“I don’t understand how you cannot be prepared for something like that," Mendez stated. "When that’s what everybody’s going to. Khabib, I told him, I reminded him every day that ‘Justin’s coming after your legs, Justin’s coming after your legs.’ Every day I was telling him that. And you would think that you would be reminded also because that’s a big weapon. Until fighters learn how to deal with it, it’s gonna be a big weapon.”
Michael Chiesa Reacts To Dustin Poirier's Knockout Over Conor McGregor At UFC 257
UFC welterweight contender had nothing but great things to say after Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor at UFC 257.
Chiesa was impressed with Poirier's performance, just three days after Chiesa would have a main event win of his own on Fight Island against Neil Magny:
“Dustin Poirier is such a good guy, such a good ambassador for the sport,” Chiesa said while appearing on "What The Heck" on MMA Fighting.
“It’s easy to get sold and caught up into the hype," Chiesa admitted. "I mean, this is Conor McGregor we’re talking about. This guy has done some phenomenal things in the octagon. He’s had some stellar performances and his career has basically just been one big highlight reel."
“But the best prediction I heard came from Belal Muhammad," added Chiesa. "He hit the nail on the head, give that guy some credit. [He said] Poirier has been more hungry, he’s been active, fighting the toughest fights. Conor’s last fight before this one—no disrespect to my guy ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone—that was a very favorable matchup for Conor. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype. I’m very, very happy for Dustin Poirier. He deserves it.”
Charles Oliveira Believes A Win Over Dustin Poirier Would Entice Khabib Nurmagomedov To Return
Surging UFC lightweight contender Charles Oliveira has his eyes set on the undefeated UFC lightweigt champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Fresh off of a win over fan-favorite Tony Ferguson, Oliveira hopes to stand across Dustin Poirier in the UFC octagon in the near future in hopes to entice Khabib Nurmagomedov out of retirement.
“You have to respect the man, 29 wins in a row, never lost in his career,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting.
"He’s dominated everyone he’s fought, he’s beaten the big names in the division," said Oliveira. "But he hasn’t fought me, so he can’t say he’s levels above everyone. He can say he’s better than the ones he fought. Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, he fought them both, so he can say he’s better than those two, but he can’t say since he never fought me."
“Me beating Dustin Poirier and becoming champion, that could definitely entice him to return," Oliveira added. "He does, he goes straight for the belt. But I don’t see him coming back. He made a promise over his father’s grave, so let’s focus on what has to happen here, which is Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier for the lightweight belt.”