UFC: Miesha Tate wants to be active upon her return; Eyeing a rematch with Amanda Nunes

One week ago today we learned that Miesha Tate (18-7) was returning to the UFC. The former bantamweight champion retired back in 2016 after she had lost her second consecutive fight.

That fight was to Raquel Pennington and prior to that, she lost at UFC 200 to Amanda Nunes. Tate had just turned 30 years old when she retired and having only lost two fights in a row, many were perplexed by her decision to retire.

However, Tate told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week that she was just ready to get away from being Miesha Tate the fighter. In her time away from the octagon, she became a VP with One Championship.

However, as a fighter, Tate was still under contract with the UFC. Tate told Helwani that she really started to get the itch to fight last year. She had a baby last June and then reached out to Dana White in September.

After meeting with White, Tate’s UFC return was inevitable. However, at first, Tate was going to compete at featherweight. The former bantamweight champion wanted to compete where she didn’t have to cut weight.

Returning to the UFC’s bantamweight division

Of course, it’s known how shallow the talent pool is at featherweight in the UFC. In fact, there was rumors going around that the division was being shut down after Nunes defeated Megan Anderson earlier this month.

As of now, featherweight is still a division, but it won’t be the division Tate competes in. After thinking about it, Tate wanted to compete at bantamweight because she’s wanting to be an active fighter upon her return.

Ultimately, the goal for Tate is to get a rematch with the UFC’s two-division champion, Amanda Nunes. Tate told Helwani that she believes she could get another crack at Nunes with a couple of quality wins.

Given her name recognition, I believe that’s about right in terms of her timeline. Tate takes on Marion Reneau (9-7-1) on July 17th. This is the perfect opponent for her in her UFC return.

Reneau is not the best fighter, but she’s dangerous. This is a good way for Tate to get back into the swing of things before she starts taking on some of the best at 135 pounds. Maybe another showdown with Holly Holm could occur later in 2021.

Who will Francis Ngannou face after UFC 260?

Francis Ngannou

This past Saturday at UFC 260, Francis Ngannou (16-3) became the heavyweight champion of the world. Ngannou knocked Stipe Miocic (20-4) old cold in the second round to become the undisputed champion.

UFC 260 was the pinnacle for Ngannou who waited nearly two and a half years to get another shot at Miocic. In their first fight, Ngannou showed his inexperience with how wild he was on his way to losing a decision.

Saturday night, Ngannou was calm and composed. He dominated the fight from start to finish and scored the biggest knockout of his career. Ngannou is now 5-0 with five knockouts in his last five fights.

The UFC has their next superstar in Francis Ngannou. For months, we figured that Ngannou would be facing Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) if he were to capture the heavyweight title. At least, that’s what Dana White had been saying.

However, Jones and the UFC appear to be at odds right now. Before the weekend, we thought we had a clear picture of the heavyweight title picture. However, it now appears that everything is cloudy.

Who will challenge Ngannou after UFC 260?

Right now, the UFC has two primary options for Ngannou’s first title defense. The first and most obvious choice is Jon Jones. Jones is considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all time.

The long reigning light heavyweight champion has been preparing for his move to the UFC’s heavyweight division. Again, prior to this latest public spat, the promotion had been saying that Jones was next for the heavyweight title.

Dana White said after Saturday that Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) could actually be the next in line for the heavyweight title. Lewis and Ngannou have already fought once in an extremely underwhelming affair that took place at UFC 226.

However, Lewis has won four fights in a row to put himself in a prime position in the heavyweight division. If Jones’ issue with the UFC cannot be resolved, I fully expect Derrick Lewis to get the next shot at the title.

The wildcard in this entire situation is Stipe Miocic. Miocic and Ngannou are 1-1 with both men having dominated one of the fights. In theory, it would make sense to do another trilogy, however, there are multiple barriers.

The former UFC heavyweight champion and his wife are getting ready to have another baby. With that and the knockout, I would expect Miocic to take some time off. Ngannou is wanting to be an active champion so that pretty much rules Miocic out.

This situation is going to be very fluid, but I would expect a resolution before the month of April is over. If I had to put money on anyone, I believe they will get the Jones situation resolved. However, when it comes to the egos involved, who really knows.

Jon Jones to the UFC: “Just f**king let me go”

UFC, Jon Jones

It is safe to say that the relationship between Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) and the UFC is not in a good place. Last summer, there was a very public spat between Jones and the promotion regarding his pay.

Jones wanted more money to move up to heavyweight and the UFC wanted to keep him on his current deal. Jones said he would just sit out until he was given an offer that he was satisfied with.

Over the past few months, it appeared that Jones and the UFC had mended their issues. Dana White even said that he was on good speaking terms with Jones and that Jones was excited about his move to heavyweight.

In the buildup to UFC 260, White kept saying that Jones would be facing the winner. However, things drastically turned on Saturday night after the PPV. Jones tweeted out saying, “Show me the money,” and that didn’t sit well with Dana White.

At the post-fight press conference, White essentially said tweeting that is a way of saying you don’t want the fight. Of course, this didn’t sit well with the former UFC light heavyweight champion who fired back on Twitter.

Jones said yesterday that the UFC was going to send him an offer this week to face the new heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3). Bones took to Twitter today to voice his frustrations so it’s safe to say he’s not happy with the offer.

https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1376588604844122113

https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1376588756556247041

What’s next for the UFC and Jones

As mentioned, this problem is the same thing that we were dealing with last summer with Jones and the UFC. There is clearly a problem with what the promotion is offering and what Jon Jones wants financially.

Jones has kept the same stance all along and I was under the impression that the offers were fixed given comments in recent months. However, it now appears that nothing has really changed.

From here, I’m anticipating there being more back and forth between Jones and the UFC. The UFC has already said that they would pivot to Derrick Lewis if they cannot finalize the matchup. This situation will definitely be one to watch over the next few days.

UFC targeting Dustin Poirier – Conor McGregor 3 for July

Arguably the biggest money fight for the UFC in 2021 is close to being finalized. Dana White said last night in his post-fight press conference that the promotion is targeting UFC 264 on July 10th for the trilogy between Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) and Conor McGregor (22-5).

Today, Poirier seemingly confirmed the date on Twitter saying, “July 10th.” The promotion has been working on booking the trilogy fight as it’s the fight that both men want after their second fight at UFC 257.

Both men hold a knockout win over the other and there’s no bigger fight to make. Dana White said this week that Poirier turned down a shot at the vacant UFC lightweight title in order to pursue the McGregor trilogy.

In terms of a business decision, that was definitely the right move. Originally, the promotion wanted to do the trilogy in May, but there were some negotiation hurdles. We know appear to be clearing those hurdles and it looks like were getting close to UFC 264 being official.

UFC 264: Poirier – McGregor 3

White also said last night that the promotion has high hopes that UFC 264 would be in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile arena. Last night might have been the final UFC PPV that was held inside the APEX.

Starting with UFC 261, the promotion is wanting to have PPVs in front of full audiences. Time will tell how feasible that is with other venues and locations. We know the next two events are already booked to have full audiences.

If the UFC does return to Las Vegas in July with a full crowd, they are doing it with the biggest fight possible. Despite the loss in the rematch, Conor McGregor is still the biggest star in the sport.

With Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, Dustin Poirier is the best lightweight in the UFC. This is a much bigger fight than the title fight in May between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira. I would expect this fight to be the biggest PPV buy rate of 2021.

UFC: Derrick Lewis could be next for Francis Ngannou instead of Jon Jones

Last night at UFC 260, Francis Ngannou (16-3) shook up the combat sports world. The Predator took on the greatest heavyweight champion in the history of the promotion, Stipe Miocic (20-4) for the second time.

When the two men first fought back at UFC 220, Miocic was able to dominate his way to a decision victory. Last night played out much differently and we saw a completely different version of Francis Ngannou.

In their first fight, Ngannou was extremely wild, had no takedown defense, and fatigued quickly. Last night at UFC 260, Ngannou showed incredible takedown defense, he was extremely poised and didn’t look remotely tired after the first round.

In the second round, Ngannou came on strong and dropped Miocic. Miocic landed a big counter right that gave him a false sense of security and he rushed after Ngannou. That’s when the Predator landed a short left that put Miocic out cold.

Francis Ngannou is the new UFC heavyweight champion and he has superstar written all over him. For months, we’ve thought that Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) would be the next in line. However, Dana White said last night that Jones isn’t a guarantee to get the next shot.

UFC could make Ngannou – Lewis 2?

At the UFC 260 post-fight press conference, White was asked about what’s next for Ngannou. He said, “If Jon Jones really wants that fight, we can make that fight tonight. (When looking at the division) Derrick Lewis is the fight to make.”

The former UFC light heavyweight champion had stated on Twitter that he wants to get paid for his shot at Ngannou. If there’s a negotiation snag with Jones, Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) is the number one contender.

The Black Beast has won four fights in a row and owns a victory over the new UFC heavyweight champion. Lewis and Ngannou are the two biggest knockout artists arguably in the promotion’s history. Their first fight was awful, but I think their second fight would deliver.

I still believe Jones is the big favorite to get the next shot, but Derrick Lewis is a very compelling option. So what about Stipe Miocic? If Miocic comes back at all, he’s going to need to take some time.

His wife is getting ready to have a baby and that was an awful loss. Miocic needs to take a little time and perhaps he can come back and get another crack at the UFC heavyweight title in early 2022.

BREAKING: Dana White announces UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially retired

The UFC lightweight division will officially crown a new champion in 2021. Dana White came out this evening and announced that lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), is officially retiring at 29-0.

Back in October at UFC 254, Khabib announced his retirement after he defeated Justin Gaethje. However, Dana White has insisted that he believed Khabib was feeling the emotions of the moment and he thought he’d come back to try for 30-0.

For months, we’ve been in this weird limbo with the lightweight division. White continued to say that the UFC lightweight champion wasn’t officially retired and they held a number of meetings to talk about his future.

Finally, Dana White has thrown in the towel. Khabib Nurmagomedov is staying retired and the lightweight division will move on. The UFC president announced the news on his Twitter account that Khabib is going to retire at 29-0.

Khabib’s UFC Legacy

In the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, it’s extremely rare to see someone retire undefeated. If you think about all of the greatest fighters to have ever fought in the UFC, nobody walked away with a perfect record.

Jon Jones is widely considered the greatest to ever do it. However, even Jones has a no contest and a DQ loss on his UFC record. Khabib Nurmagomedov has a clean 29-0 and nobody can say anything.

The UFC’s lightweight division has been the most exciting and dynamic division within the promotion over the last few years. Khabib has reigned supreme and he’s taken out all of the top challenges in dominating fashion.

Outside of Khabib, four men have held a piece of the UFC lightweight title since 2017. Those four men are Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Tony Ferguson. Khabib dominated and finished the first three men on that list.

The fight that we never got to see was Khabib against Tony Ferguson. The UFC booked that fight five times, but all five times it fell through. It truly wasn’t meant to be, but considering the direction their careers have gone, I believe most people think Khabib would have won that one too.

Simply put, Khabib is one of the greatest to ever make the walk inside the UFC. His dominance was something truly special to watch and it’s easy to see why Dana White so badly wanted him to fight again.

Khabib is keeping the promise he made to his mother after his father passed away from COVID last year. The UFC’s lightweight champion promised his mother that the Gaethje fight would be the final one and despite White’s best pitches, The Eagle is keeping his promise.

UFC denies closing featherweight despite claims from Megan Anderson

Maybe the UFC isn’t getting rid of the women’s featherweight division after all. Yesterday, Megan Anderson (11-5) announced on her Twitch that the promotion was not going to be retaining her after her contract had expired.

Anderson also said that the UFC had informed her that they were getting rid of the featherweight division. Multiple outlets have received word back from the UFC and the promotion is denying that they are getting rid of the division.

The UFC has confirmed that Megan Anderson is no longer a fighter for the promotion. With Anderson gone, the featherweight division is down to just a few fighters overall. As mentioned in the article yesterday, the only featherweight contest booked is in May.

That was said to be the final fight for the featherweights, but it might not be. Danyelle Wolf and Felicia Spencer will fight in May with the future of the featherweights up in the air at the moment.

What is happening in the UFC’s women’s featherweight division?

Amanda Nunes (21-4) is the UFC’s two-division champion and is one of the biggest stars for the promotion. She has been very vocal about keeping the featherweight division open. Dana White has acknowledged that they would do what the champ wants in this case.

However, with letting Megan Anderson walk and having so little featherweights, what should we make of the situation? I believe that moving forward, the UFC’s featherweight division will exist only in name.

Nunes will still be the champion, but until they can add more talent, the division will be on pause. If there’s a fighter outside the UFC who rises up through the rankings at 145, you might see a matchup with Nunes materialize.

However, I think the UFC is closing the division in terms of it being an active vision. They will keep it listed to allow Nunes to have her champ-champ status, however, the division itself will essentially be put on ice.

UFC: Dana White’s Contender Series targeting June return

UFC, Dana White

One of the UFC‘s key avenues for new signings has a target for it’s return. John Morgan of MMA Junkie tweeted out last night that the promotion is currently targeting a June return for Dana White’s Contender Series.

The Contender Series wrapped up a ten week run last November. The UFC more than twenty new fighters to the roster on this latest round of The Contender Series. According to Morgan, the promotion has already started booking fights for the next season.

Whenever it debuts, this will be the fifth season of DWCS. So far, the show has done an incredible job of bringing new talent to the UFC. Some of the notable veterans are “Suga” Sean O’Malley, Dan Ige, Geoff Neal, Edmen Shahbazyan, Maycee Barber, Ian Heinisch, and more.

The reason the show is so exciting is the fact that fighters usually go all out to earn themselves a UFC contract. You will usually see several finishes in one night of fights and Dana White was very generous with contracts this last season.

Another batch of UFC fighters

As mentioned, season four was another hit for the UFC. The promotion brought in several fighters with a lot of talent and several fighters have already made their impact felt within the promotion.

Some of the standouts from last season include Phil Hawes, Jordan Leavitt, Dustin Jacoby, Jimmy Flick, Cory McKenna, and Natan Levy. The only one who has not made their UFC debut is Natan Levy.

However, we are including him here because the promotion is very high on him. Levy is from Israel and could be a key fighter for the promotion’s development in that region of the world.

The rest all have a combined record of 7-0 inside the octagon. The Contender Series is a proven avenue for the UFC to sign new talent and I can’t wait for June to roll around. Should be another fun round of fights and another batch of great talent that will be inserted into the UFC.

UFC will make Yan – Sterling 2 as soon as possible per Dana White

The only title that changed hands last night at UFC 259 was the bantamweight title. Former champion, Petr Yan (15-2) was disqualified in the fourth round and Aljamain Sterling (20-3) became the UFC bantamweight champion.

It was the first time in the history of the promotion that a title has changed hands due to a disqualification. In the first round, Sterling was smothering with his pressure on Yan. However, Yan landed a massive shot and dropped Sterling late in the first.

From that moment on, Petr Yan seemed to be in complete control at UFC 259. At least, that’s what I was seeing. In the fourth round, Aljamain Sterling was clearly starting to break. Yan was doing some serious damage and you got the feeling that the fight wouldn’t last much longer.

Late in the fourth round, Sterling went for a sloppy takedown. Yan pushed Sterling’s head straight to the mat and Sterling stayed low to avoid a knee to the head. Yan looked over to his corner for advice and one of his cornermen said he was good to throw a knee.

The former UFC champion threw a huge knee that landed flush on Sterling. Sterling was hurt badly and after a few minutes, the referee called a stop to the action. Because the ref had warned Yan a little before the knee, the fight was ruled a DQ due to the intentional knee.

UFC’s Plans

Dana White was asked in the post-fight press conference what the plan was. He stated that the UFC matchmakers are going to meet on Tuesday and they will get the rematch between the two men booked as soon as possible.

White also acknowledged that he believed Yan was well on his way to winning the fight. However, the decision to knee was baffling to him. Sterling was cleared at the hospital and Yan came out of the fight with no injuries.

With that, the UFC will likely book the rematch in the early summer. I could see June being the targeted timeline for this matchup. Of course, we will likely find out more this week, but I expect this rematch to be booked as soon as possible.

The UFC releases Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem

Tonight, there has been a massive shakeup in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. The promotion has moved forward with cutting two of the all time greats. This evening we learned following a report from MMA Junkie that the UFC has cut both Junior Dos Santos (21-9) as well as Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC).

A couple of months ago, Dana White announced that the promotion would be letting go of some big names in 2021. However, it’s been relatively quiet for the last couple of months which made many of us think that the cuts were over.

However, the UFC has cut a former heavyweight champion and a former title challenger. Both, Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem were ranked inside the top 12 of the heavyweight division at the time of their release.

The decision to cut Overeem is an interesting one. Alistair Overeem was just in a main event a couple of weeks ago at UFC Vegas 18. Overeem was on this last leg of his career where he was searching to become a UFC heavyweight champion.

That is one of the few things that Overeem has not achieved in his career. The Demolition man had won two in a row leading into his main event against Alexander Volkov. Overeem was dominated which derailed his heavyweight title dreams. Now, it appears that the dream will never come to fruition.

Former UFC heavyweight champion and fan favorite gone

The decision to release former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos, made more sense than Overeem for the promotion. Despite JDS being one of the more popular fighters in the history of the division, Dos Santos has fallen on hard times.

The 37 year old has been knocked out in four consecutive fights. This four-fight losing streak followed a three-fight win streak which included a win over Derrick Lewis. After the Lewis win in 2019, it appeared that JDS had one more run towards UFC gold.

However, Francis Ngannou stopped that and then Dos Santos was knocked out three times in 2020 alone. According to reports, both heavyweights are still planning on competing. You can imagine that other promotions will be calling these two up sooner than later.