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Who’s Next? International Fight Week 2016 Edition

John Michael Edwards

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1

Eddie Alvarez vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: Eddie Alvarez was hands down the brightest star of this star-studded weekend. Judging from both he and Rafael dos Anjos’ performances against their last few opponents, who would have expected Alvarez would slice through the now former champion with such ease? Next up for the newly crowned Lightweight king should be the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov who last fought at UFC on FOX 19 back in April, defeating late replacement Darrell Horcher.

 

2

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas/Karolina Kowalkiewicz winner: Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha went to battle once again and like the first time although Jedrzejczyk came out on top, there was no discernable gap in combat skill between the two, as the fight was close for the majority of its duration. While this may not be the last time the two rivals face off, the champs next opponent is most likely to be the victor of the Rose Namajunas versus Karolina Kowalkiewicz who face off at UFC 201 at the end of this month.

 

3

Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor: This is a no-brainer fight if there ever was one. Jose Aldo’s fight against Frankie Edgar had a similar, albeit less dramatic feel as Alvarez/dos Anjos. With Edgar being on a tear, the biggest question mark in this fight was ‘How will Aldo look coming off of his knockout loss to Conor McGregor?’. And the simple answer to that was ‘great!’ Aldo fought with a more conservative, counter-punching approach than usual, and he appeared to be a hair quicker than his opponent, slipping and sliding just out of Edgar’s range for the entirety of the fight. Assuming McGregor does return to the division he reigns over, unifying the belts will be in order…should he not, though, one Max Holloway is prime for his chance to rule the Featherweight division.

 

4

Daniel Cormier vs. Brock Lesnar: Ok, yes this is farfetched and out of left field, but hear me out: If Teixeira should lose to Anthony Johnson, that would mean that Cormier has essentially cleared out the division having already defeated Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, the top two Light-heavyweight contenders, and with Jon Jones possibly headed towards long-term suspension. This fantasy fight would also depend on Lesnar and his situation and motivations (if he wants to fight more, and if he wants to go for gold or just have big fights). If by chance it’s the latter, Cormier would definitely be the matchup that would draw the most intrigue.

 

5

Will Brooks vs. Edson Barboza/Gilbert Melendez winner: Will Brooks had a successful debut with his new promotion, defeating veteran Ross Pearson by unanimous decision. Judging from Bellator alum, Eddie Alvarez’ trajectory, it would be no surprise if he was somewhat fast-tracked in the division. A victory over either Edson Barboza or Gilbert Melendez would put him probably a win away from a title shot.

 

6

Amanda Nunez vs. Ronda Rousey: If Eddie Alvarez was the biggest winner this weekend, Amanda Nunes was not far behind. Just like Alvarez, Nunes stepped into the cage against a tough, hard out of an opponent and made very quick work, as she bludgeoned Miesha Tate from start to finish, winning by TKO in the first round. It’s a safe bet that the UFC would prefer Ronda Rousey as champion (it’s business.) so it would come as a surprise to absolutely no one if this matchup was made, particularly for the Madison Square Garden card in November.

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Conor McGregor

Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture

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When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.

“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.

Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”

White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”

Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.

The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.

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Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219

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On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.

“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter.  “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox.  My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.

Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.

Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia. 

 

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Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’

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Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.

Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.

Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.

McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”

This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”

White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”

White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.

The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.

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