Fightful Fix is your one-stop-shop for all of today's biggest combat sports stories — from Khabib Nurmagomedov updating his stance on retirement to Yair Rodriguez's USADA suspension — conveniently compiled in one place. Take a look below.
Khabib updates stance on retirement, starts new fight promotion
The MMA world has been at a fever pitch the past few months over the impending competitive status of undisputed UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The undefeated fighter said he would not un-retire without the blessing of his mother, per Chisanga Malata.
Khabib Nurmagomedov officially announced the formation of Eagle Fighting Championship today.— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) December 2, 2020
The promotion's shows will be aired on #UFC Fight Pass.
Additionally, Khabib said he'll only end his retirement from MMA if his mother gives him her blessing. pic.twitter.com/kIunrkVD1b
During the press conference announcing his new fighting promotion Eagle Fighting Championships, TASS reporter Igor Lazorin asked Khabib the following about returning to fight the winner of Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23.
Coach says Conor McGregor will be too much for Poirier at UFC 257
McGregor's striking coach Owen Roddy has no shortage of confidence in the Irishman ahead of his rematch with Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23. Speaking with "The Bash MMA" podcast, Roddy gave his assessment of the rematch.
“I think Poirier has improved an awful lot since that first fight,” Roddy said (h/t MMAJunkie). “I think Conor has improved more since then, as well. They’re definitely two better fighters than they were when they first met, but I still think Conor is just the better fighter. I think he’s too precise. Poirier’s skills have definitely improved. His hands are very good. He’s tough, he’s durable, he sets a good pace, but I just don’t see where he beats Conor. Conor’s just too good everywhere, too precise and too clinical with his striking.”
Leon Edwards issues statement on getting COVID
Welterweight contender Leon Edward's year went from bad to worse, when he was forced to withdraw from his fight with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Vegas 17 on December 19 after testing positive for COVID-19. Edwards though issued the following statement on his Twitter account and appears to be doing well.
Another setback, but when you come from the mud you learn to put everything in perspective. This virus has affected many lives and families much worse than mine. Looking forward to getting this rebooked soon, thank you all for the well wishes— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) December 2, 2020
Demetrious Johnson shares mutual respect for Israel Adesanya
Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson appreciates the love and respect current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya showed him recently. "The Last Stylebender" was on Submission Radio and praised "Mighty Mouse" as the Ultimate GOAT. Johnson responded when chatting with MMAFighting's Mike Heck on his show What the Heck.
“I think it’s awesome,” Johnson told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I have nothing but respect for Izzy and I told him after what he did to Paulo, ‘If you keep putting on performances like that, you’re gonna be well on your way.’
Yair Rodriguez suspended by USADA
UFC featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez's rise to title contention has taken an unexpected and abrupt halt. USADA released a statement to break the news and outline Rodriguez's violations. "El Pantera" won't be eligible to compete until after March 8, 2021.
“Like all UFC athletes, Rodriguez, 28, is a member of the UFC Registered Testing Pool and is therefore subject to certain Whereabouts responsibilities, which allow him to be located for testing,” USADA officials wrote in a statement (h/t MMAFighting).
“Accurate Whereabouts information is a crucial component of an effective out-of-competition testing program because it enables anti-doping organizations to conduct no-notice sample collections, which helps maintain effective doping deterrence and detection," the statement continues.
“Rodriguez failed to update his Whereabouts information and was unavailable for testing at locations provided in his Whereabouts Filings on three occasions," it concludes. "He accrued a Whereabouts Failure in each of the first three quarters of 2020. The accumulation of three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period constitutes a policy violation under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.”
Marvin Vettori upset by Adesanya's move up to 205
UFC Vegas 16 headliner Marvin Vettori isn't happy about UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya moving up to the light heavyweight division to challenge champion Jan Blachowicz next year. Vettori, who lost a split-decision to Adesanya back at UFC on FOX 29, shared his thoughts on the decision by the champ to move up during the media day for his fight with Hermansson.
“It’s bullshit,” Vettori said at a virtual media day on Thursday (h/t MMAFighting). “It’s kind of bullshit. I think this guy just thinks he’s too much, he just thinks like he can do whatever he wants. To me, he still didn’t prove much. His last fight was good, but it was mainly like [Paulo] Costa beat himself going into that fight. The fight before, [Adesanya] he barely-Through my eyes, was basically one of the worst title fights ever and he basically lost against Yoel Romero. It didn’t really prove much, but the media are all over him."
“The main thing, to be honest, I think there’s not much great, hungry opposition in the top-5 at the moment," he continued. "We’ve got Robert Whittaker just coming out of a win with Jared Cannonier saying that he’s interested, but really not, he’s just looking forward to enjoying Christmas, which is totally understandable. But man, it was like October, November, of course you can enjoy, but at the same time if you’re really about getting the title back you should be hungry for it. The No. 1 contender’s not that hungry anymore and strong, real, hungry opposition is not there, and after Saturday there will be. He better stay and not play around at light heavyweight, this and that… stay and face me.”
Jamahal Hill not a fan of marijuana restrictions
UFC light heavyweight contender Jamahal Hill doesn't care for the restrictions athletic commissions have put on marijuana. Speaking with the media prior to his fight with Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Vegas 16, Hill elaborated on those thoughts.
“I think it’s fucking stupid,” Hill said (h/t MMAFighting). “I’m not the person you want to ask. I think it’s dumb as hell, I think everything that I’ve had to deal with as a result of that is dumb as fuck and I really think they need to focus energy on things that actually matter and not goofy shit like that."
Anthony Johnson talks UFC return
One of the most feared punchers in MMA history may soon be making his return to the Octagon. Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Johnson spoke to Morning Kombat's Brian Campbell about coming back to compete. Turns out, "Rumble" wants all the smoke.