UFC: Colby Covington tells Dana White he’ll “Take care of Street Judas Masvidal”

UFC, Colby Covington

Former UFC interim welterweight champion, Colby Covington (15-2), isn’t shy about calling out anyone in the UFC. Covington has made a name for himself over the last few years as someone who talks a lot of trash, but he goes in and backs it up. Covington was recently interviewed by BJPenn.com and he was very open about calling out another top welterweight.

“I know Dana’s having a dispute with ‘Street Judas’ Masvidal right now… Hey Dana, you know who to call. Call me, bro. I’ll finish ‘Street Judas’ off. I’ll send that dude to the morgue, he won’t ever fight again. He’s got the BMF title but that’s not even a real title, it’s a participation trophy. He’s really got the SMF title right now. The saddest motherfcker, or the scaredest motherfcker. It wasn’t a money issue, it was a scared issue.”

The trouble between Masvidal and the UFC

It’s been no secret that the UFC has been having trouble with the BMF, Jorge Masvidal (35-13). Masvidal was originally slated to fight Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title next week, but he’s been in a public dispute with the company regarding revenue sharing. Gilbert Burns was able to get the title shot due to the failed negotiations.

Now, Masvidal is sitting on the sidelines with no opponent. Recently, I wrote about a few possible fights for Masvidal as he sits on the sidelines. The fight that makes the most sense for the division is Covington. The two men were once as close as brothers, but they have turned bitter rivals. Both taking every chance they get to throw shade at the other.

The Perfect Matchup

After Covington lost his title fight to Usman in December, he has yet to find an opponent. Masvidal is looking to fight someone who will generate a nice payday for him. This sets up perfectly for the two of them. Masvidal/Covington would be a big fight that the UFC could make for later in the summer. If the fight were to take place, it would setup the winner to fight the winner of the July title fight between Usman and Burns.

The more personal a fight is, the more it sells. Masvidal has developed into a star over the last year, and you know that Covington knows how to sell a fight. Not sure if the fight will actually come together, but it would solve a lot of problems that are currently going on in that division. I believe the UFC is going to figure everything out, but this would be a great place to start.

UFC: John Kavanagh on Conor McGregor; “As for now, he’s retired”

Conor McGregor, UFC

It has almost been a month since the UFC‘s most popular fighter of all time, Conor McGregor, took to Twitter to announce that he had retired. This is not the first time or the second time that McGregor has done this. Counting this occurrence, McGregor has retired three times. Because of that, many (including myself) doubt the sincerity. McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, was recently asked about his star’s retirement.

“Is Conor retired?” Kavanagh said. “Yes, he is as far as I can tell. That’s what he said, isn’t it?” When pressed by another who asked him to convince McGregor to fight, Kavanagh followed with, “I can’t convince Conor to do sh*t.”

The reality is that Conor McGregor is going to do what Conor McGregor wants to do. Do I believe that he’s retired? Absolutely not. However, until he says he’s coming back, you have to assume he’s not. I think that’s what Kavanagh is doing at the moment. McGregor is the type of person who is filled with surprises, so no one should be surprised by anything from the UFC‘s first double champ.

Status of McGregor and the UFC

There are several big fights waiting for McGregor if he decides to continue fighting. He is likely the next guy in line to fight for the UFC lightweight championship following the title fight in September. He could also fight Nate Diaz or Jorge Masvidal. McGregor is frustrated right now because he wants to stay active, but the UFC is not giving him the chance.

The UFC does not want to lose out on a Conor McGregor gate which usually double anyone else’s. UFC President, Dana White, came out and said that it’s tough to lose out on a McGregor gate. Now, it’s not been made public why McGregor wasn’t given offers, but it’s easy to make the connection. The UFC does not want McGregor to fight without a crowd. McGregor wants to fight now, and because of the disconnect, he’s “retired”.

UFC: What’s next for Nate Diaz?

There might not be a bigger anomaly in MMA than the UFC‘s Nate Diaz (20-12). Diaz has blossomed into a superstar over the last couple of years after his two fights with Conor McGregor. Diaz marches to the beat of his own drum, and he’s uncensored at all times. He’s even been awarded the chance to slap UFC President, Dana White. The last time we saw Diaz, his fight with Jorge Masivdal was getting called off due to a cut. Since then, we haven’t heard much. So what is next for the 35-year-old from Stockton?

UFC’s next steps with Diaz

Diaz is on the shortlist for the biggest stars in the sport. However, he’s notoriously difficult to make a deal with from the UFC‘s side of things. Diaz knows what he’s worth, and he’s not afraid to just walk away from the table if he’s not paid. Most of the time, they find some middle ground, but if it favors anyone over the last couple of years, it favors Diaz.

Diaz has said that he would prefer to stay at 170 pounds if he does fight again. He said that he wasn’t interested in cutting the extra weight to lightweight. However, there is one fight on this shortlist of matchups I have that would have him return to lightweight, and I think it’s one fans would love to see.

Tony Ferguson

This one is a little outside the box, but how much fun would this be? This is a matchup that many in the media have floated around for the last couple of years. Both are two of the most entertaining fighters in the business with endless cardio. Ferguson (25-4) is coming off of a UFC interim title loss to Justin Gaethje, and he needs another opponent when he’s ready. Some have suggested Dustin Poirier, but I’m thinking of someone with a little more star power.

This fight would such a fun fight to promote. Two extremely interesting personalities, and two guys who are not opposed to going to war with the other. Again, Diaz has said he doesn’t want to cut back down to lightweight which makes this one less likely, but I think Ferguson is the type of opponent that he would do it for.

Jorge Masvidal

It’s no secret that there’s a contract dispute with Jorge Masvidal and the UFC. Masvidal (35-13) was supposed to fight for the title, but contract negotiations have nixed that. Masvidal beat Diaz last November for the BMF title, but fans were robbed of a definitive ending when a doctor called the fight off due to a cut over Diaz’s eye. Prior to the fight being called off, Diaz had some of his better moments in the fight.

A fight with Diaz would pay Masvidal what he wants. A fight with Masvidal would also get Diaz motivated to get back into the cage. If the UFC wants to make a big-time fight later in the fall, I think they could run back the BMF title fight. Hopefully a rogue doctor at ringside wouldn’t call this one off before the fans could get the ending that they deserve.

Conor McGregor

If you want a fight that makes 100% sense on all sides, look no further than this one. Conor McGregor (22-4) and Diaz have fought twice with each fighter gaining a victory. Diaz shocked the world back at UFC 196 when he submitted McGregor in the second round. McGregor won the rematch by majority decision at UFC 202 later that year.

The two men are two of the biggest stars in the sport. They are 1-1 in their head-to-head matchups, and they need a conclusion to the rivalry. McGregor has “Retired” for now due to the lack of fights that were being offered to him. Let’s be clear, McGregor is not actually retired, but more frustrated with the current situation. Diaz is just waiting on the UFC to call him and offer him something worth fighting for.

An easy fix to everything would be pairing the two men up for the fall. Will it happen? I personally don’t think so. I think it’s more likely that Diaz and Masvidal fight again before McGregor and Diaz. The reasoning is that I think the UFC is likely going to give McGregor the winner of Khabib/Gaethje for the lightweight title near the end of the year. If Diaz still hasn’t fought by the time McGregor gets his shot, I think the trilogy fight likely becomes his next fight.

Imagine if McGregor wins the title back in late 2020. If he does it against Khabib, the UFC could either conclude that trilogy, or the UFC could give Diaz a title shot concluding the McGregor/Diaz trilogy. All of these are fun possibilities to think about. I’m not sure who Diaz is going to fight next, but I know for a fact it’s going to be someone with some name recognition.

UFC: Jon Jones is willing to sit out to benefit other fighters

UFC, Jon Jones

UFC light heavyweight champion, and the GOAT in many pundits’ eyes is willing to walk away from the sport for a considerable amount of time. Jon Jones is back in the news today after he appeared on Steve-O’s Wild Ride Podcast. Jones was asked about his feelings on the UFC and Jones stated, “I have no interest in fighting for the UFC.” When asked some follow-up questions, Jones talked about being willing to sit out to benefit fighters down the line.

Where does Jones and the UFC stand?

The short answer is not in a good place. After all of his ups and downs, Jones returned in December of 2018. Jones fought four times in fourteen months leading many to believe Jones was back for good. It was the most active we had ever seen Jones in his career. When the pandemic hit, a lot of things changed with Jones and the UFC. By all accounts, Jones and the UFC were on good terms. That is until Jones started asking for a raise to fight UFC heavyweight contender, Francis Ngannou.

When Jones went to the UFC and asked for more money, he was shut down immediately. Jones claims he never asked for a specific dollar amount while Dana White claims that Jones’ demands were astronomical. Following White’s comments, a very public back and forth began between the two men. Jones went as far as to demand a release from the UFC.

Where do we go from here?

Now, we are in this weird spot. Things have seemingly calmed down, and Dana White has sounded more optimistic lately even saying that they would, “Work it out.” However, Jones’ appearances on Steve-O’s podcast would seemingly indicate otherwise. Jones continues to reiterate that he wants no part of the UFC, and he feels that sitting out now will move the needle more in the direction of the fighters.

I really think they will get this worked out eventually. The UFC has had a long history of making deals with fighters that are difficult. However, Daniel Cormier brought up a good point recently when he talked about the fact that Jones being out for a long time made him realize he’s able to live a life outside the UFC. Jon Jones doesn’t need the UFC. He’s made enough money to retire. If he walks away now, many people would label him the greatest to ever do it. It’ll be facinating to watch this continue to play out. I think it’s going to simmer down for a while, but I think Jones could be approached by the UFC after the August title fight between Cormier and Stipe Miocic. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jon Jones in the UFC, but I’m not sure when he’ll be back.

UFC: Curtis Blaydes Embraces The Heel Role After Decision Win

Curtis Blaydes, UFC

UFC heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes picked up his fourth straight win at UFC on ESPN 11, but not everyone is a fan of the way that win came. Blaydes, despite having a large number of TKO victories, has been accused of a “boring” fighting style thanks to his wrestling based background and the way he uses it in the octagon, and didn’t improve his reputation during his fight against Volkov where his victory came from a unanimous decision after outlasting his opponent rather than an exciting finish.

According to Dana White, the performance was underwhelming, but the criticism doesn’t seem to have gotten under Blaydes’ skin. When speaking to reporters, he seemed to embrace his spot among the UFC’s heels.

“I know who I am now. I’m the heel. You don’t like what I do? I like to make you mad. I like to win. That’s probably the best part about this win, is I predicted this, and I did it. Twenty-five minutes. Didn’t look the best, but I’m OK with having a gritty win like that, and I know a lot of fans didn’t like it, and I’m OK with that. It makes me happy,” Blaydes said.

Blaydes is one of the next contenders in line for the title but it remains to be seen who his next opponent will be. After two earlier losses to the higher ranked Francis Ngannou, it doesn’t look like a third fight is coming soon between the two.

And current champion Stipe Miocic is already set to defend his title against Daniel Cormier in a third fight, with the location having been recently confirmed as the UFC APEX facility.

It leaves Blaydes in an awkward position, but ultimately, he acknowledged that the matter of his next opponent isn’t in his own hands.

“I fought Justin Willis, ranked below me. I fought Abdurakhimov, ranked below me. I fought Junior, ranked below me. I fought Volkov, ranked below me. Like what? No. I don’t know, man. This is probably not the best time to answer that questions so I’m going to leave that alone.”

Things aren’t easy for Blaydes as a title contender right now, but as long as he continues to win, the UFC won’t be able to ignore him as a title contender regardless of popularity or style. His winning, after all, has remained fairly consistent as of recent.

UFC: Dana White on Curtis Blaydes; “How do you give him the title shot over Francis?”

UFC, Dana White

Curtis Blaydes talked a lot of smack leading up to UFC on ESPN 11, and the boss took note of everything that Blaydes was saying. Blaydes said that he planned on ragdolling his opponent, and made comments about how he should get the next title shot. Earlier this week, I wrote about how that would be an issue considering the fact that he’s lost twice to the top contender in the division, Francis Ngannou. Dana White took to the podium after the fight, and delivered a very direct quote to Blades: “You look stupid.”

UFC title shot isn’t in the cards for Blaydes right now

White pointed out the fact that his performance did not back up the smack that Blaydes had talked all week. White also mentioned the fact that he’s lost twice to Ngannou, so waiting for a title shot makes no sense.

“He gassed out after the third round. . . If I was him I wouldn’t wait, I’d stay active.” White said in his post-fight press conference. Blaydes does not strike me as a stupid human being. There is no way that even he could watch that performance, and make the assumption that he should be fighting for the UFC heavyweight title next. Nobody would want to see Curtis Blaydes fight for the title after his win over Volkov.

Winning + Excitement = Title Shot

If history has taught us anything about the UFC, it’s taught us that you not only have to win, but you have to be exciting to get a title shot. Blaydes had a lot going for him after his last few performances, but tonight was a devastating blow to his stock even in a win. If he would have came out and finished Volkov early, White would probably have said; “Yeah, I’d probably wait for the title shot.” Look at what Dana has been telling Conor McGregor over the last few months. However, Blaydes looked horrendous in victory, and White knows that his fan base has no interested in seeing him fight for the title anytime soon.

With Reebok deal set to expire, who will be the next exclusive apparel company for the UFC?

UFC, Dana White

Back in December of 2014, the UFC agreed to a landmark deal that made Reebok the exclusive athletic wear provider of the UFC. The six-year deal was a huge step for the company that was seeking to fall more in-line with mainstream sports. However, over the past six years, the deal has received plenty of criticism from pundits and fighters. Many fighters said that they lost out on a ton of money from sponsors when the Reebok deal went into effect. The deal is expiring in December, and the world is starting to wonder what are the next steps for the UFC. Will they resign with Reebok or will they go in a new direction?

UFC President, Dana White, has hinted that the company would not be resigning with Reebok following the termination of the Reebok deal over the past couple of months. Then, White seemingly confirmed that when he announced on “The Schmozone Podcast” that the company would be moving in a different direction. “The Schmo” asked White if the UFC would sign with one of three companies: Nike, Under Armour, or Venom. White seemed hesitant to answer at first, but then replied, “Yes, it will be one of the three.”

The UFC & Nike

The one the jumps off the page as an early favorite to me would be Nike. Nike has a history with UFC athletes having sponsored Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Junior dos Santos in the past. Nike is known as the premier outfitter in American sports. Nike is the primary outfitter for the NFL, MLB, and the NBA. It would only make sense for the UFC to try to ink a deal with Nike to join the stable of sport leagues. It would seemingly legitimize the UFC even more than it already is. If I had to place a bet at this stage, I would say that Nike is the safest bet to replace Reebok in 2021.

The UFC & Under Armour

Under Armour is one that is fascinating for a number of reasons. UA is known as one of the biggest athletic apparel companies in the world, yet, the company isn’t the primary sponsor for any major sport league. UA is a major sponsor in the college ranks, but no professional league uses Under Armour as their primary sponsor. Under Armour sponsored UFC Hall of Famer, Georges St. Pierre, so they have experience with the sport. Maybe UA makes a big push to become the primary sponsor for the UFC. They will definitely be in the running, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them become the sponsor.

The Underdog

The suggestion that caught me off guard was Venom. Venom has a long history with combat sports including sponsoring many UFC fighters over the years. They are a company that exclusively provides combat sports/workout apparel. Venom is currently the primary sponsor for the world’s best pound for pound boxer, Vasiliy Lomachenko. With the history in combat sports, it doesn’t surprise me to hear their name mentioned, but I’m not sure it’s entirely realistic. I could be 100% wrong, but in the end, I think the UFC will go a little more mainstream with their pick. I’m sure we will get our answer in the coming months on who will be taking over for Reebok in 2021. You can catch White’s full appearance on “The Schmozone Podcast” below.

UFC: Nunes Retirement Talk Causes Annoyed Response From Dana White

UFC, Dana White

The UFC has a number of current star fighters who might not return for future fights, including Conor McGregor and Jon Jones, but another name joining that list for different reasons could be Amanda Nunes… The same Amanda Nunes that’s currently the champion in both the women’s bantamweight and women’s featherweight divisions, meaning her retirement would put the UFC in a bad spot in multiple places.

After all, Nunes just defended her featherweight title at UFC 250 and is the largest draw on the women’s side of the sport right now, surpassing others such as Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg during her eleven fight winning streak. And the featherweight division which Nunes recently defended her crown in is less appealing without her in it, lacking the same star power in the rest of the rankings.

So it’s safe to say that when Dana White learned of Nunes’ talk about possibly retiring at this point, he wasn’t happy.

“I will kill her… I literally just told Sean [Shelby] and Mick [Maynard] in the last meeting, ‘Let’s get this division built for her. Let’s build this division for her, and let’s start figuring this out. And now she’s talking about retiring?” White said on the Schmozone Podcast.

There’s not a comparable talent on the featherweight roster to Nunes. Cris Cyborg was just about the only name favored over Nunes at 145 lbs, but she would end up knocked out within the first round against Nunes and is now in Bellator rather than the UFC. Felicia Spencer was able to survive five rounds without getting finished, but still lost her recent title challenge by unanimous decision.

That leaves a big question: who would replace Nunes as the face of both the women’s bantamweight and women’s featherweight divisions if she does go through with her possible ideas about retiring?

The answer isn’t clear to the fans and it doesn’t seem like it’s clear to Dana White, either.

“You know how I always say, ‘If you’re talking about retiring, you probably should.’ Unless you’re where she’s at. In this time, when I got guys crying about money, one of our female fighters, who could go on and keep doing this for a long time, is saying, ‘Maybe I retire now.’ She’s got plenty of money and she can do it,” White continued.

It hasn’t been a good few months for the UFC when it comes to the business side. The league is already suffering financially from lost ticket sales, and at the same time, it could lose talents such as McGregor, Jones, Jorge Masvidal, and now Nunes. The bantamweight belt is still vacant, and it looks like Henry Cejudo will remain retired.

The UFC has always had something of a star power problem, where the league doesn’t create as many marketable star athletes as others such as the NFL and NBA, but that problem could get a lot worse this year depending on how things go. And depending on what happens, this specific situation could cast doubt on the future of an entire division.

UFC Announces fight cards for June 20th & 27th

UFC, Dana White

UFC President, Dana White, went on ESPN early this afternoon to confirm and announce the full cards for the planned UFC Fight Nights on June 20th and 27th. Both cards will be taking place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The June 20th card will be headlined by heavyweights, Curtis Blaydes (13-2) and Alexander Volkov (31-7). That fight was announced earlier this month. The June 27th card is being headlined by a highly anticipated lightweight matchup between Dustin Poirier (25-6) and Dan Hooker (20-8). Let’s dive into some of the fights that were confirmed by White this afternoon.

UFC Fight Night – June 20th

Next Saturday night, the UFC has a pretty stacked card that will air on ESPN and ESPN+. One of the fights that I’m looking forward to is the co-main event of the evening between featherweights Josh Emmett (15-2) and Shane Burgos (13-1). Both of these two men are finishers, and bring multiple fight winning streaks into the event. A win for either guy could net them a top-five opponent in the featherweight division. Emmett is one of the more powerful punchers in the featherweight division, so anytime he’s booked, you might get to see a highlight reel knockout.

Another fight that stands out on the main card is Jim Miller (31-14) and Roosevelt Roberts (10-1). That fight will kick-off the UFC’s main card on ESPN. A quick turn around for Roberts, as he just competed back on May 30th against Brok Weaver. If Roberts is able to take out the veteran, Jim Miller, you could see a ranking in his future. This fight is being fought at a catchweight of 160 pounds. There are several very solid fights on the card next Saturday, and you can view the entire fight card here.

UFC Fight Night – June 27th

A huge main event is scheduled for this fight night in the UFC’s lightweight division, but there are solid fights up and down the card. The card is not 100% complete, so there will be additional fights added to this card as we get closer to the 27th. One of the fights that has caught my eye is Aspen Ladd (9-1) taking on former title challenger, Sara McMann (12-5). Ladd suffered her first career loss at the hands of Germaine de Randamie, but bounced back big-time with a third round TKO victory over Yana Kunitskaya at UFC on ESPN 7. Ladd has really good grappling skills, but it’ll be interesting to see her go up against the Olympic silver medalist, McMann.

The co-main event of the evening should be action packed between the always entertaining, Mike “Platinum” Perry (13-6), and Mickey Gall (6-2). Look for Perry to fight with a ton of urgency in this one. Perry is coming into the night after going 1-3 in his last four fights. A win over a solid guy like Mickey Gall would really get him back on track. For Gall, he’s trying to win his second consecutive fight after he was finished by Diego Sanchez. More prelims will be added to the card, but you can view the card as is right here.

UFC: Khabib Nurmagomedov-Justin Gaethje title fight targeted for UFC 253 on Sept. 19

Arguably the most anticipated UFC title fight of 2020 is getting closer to being official. Combate is reporting that the UFC is close to finalizing the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Justin Gaethje (22-2). The anticipated matchup would headline UFC 253 on September 19th. UFC President, Dana White, has recently said that they were targeting this matchup for September.

Nurmagomedov looks to overcome a tough 2020

For champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, 2020 has not been the best of years. He was scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, but was forced to pull out of the event due to travel restrictions in Russia. Following that, his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, was diagnosed with COVID-19. He’s been in critical condition for a significant portion of time. Despite all of this, Khabib has been in the gym and said to be more motivated than ever to defend his UFC lightweight title. He’s said to be using everything from this year as motivation for him to put on the best performance of his career.

Nurmagomedov has been one of the more dominating fighters the UFC has ever seen. His record is almost confusing because you never see someone reach a record like 28-0 in MMA. Nurmagomedov’s last two performances were the best of his career. At UFC 229, Nurmagomedov smashed bitter rival, Conor McGregor, then submitted him in the fourth round. After being suspended due to a post-fight brawl, Nurmagomedov made his return last September against Dustin Poirier. Poirier had won the interim lightweight title in Khabib’s absense. The fight was very similar to the McGregor fight in that Nurmagomedov had his way before submitting Poirier in the third round. Nurmagomedov might be facing his biggest challenge yet in the form of current interim champion, Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje looks to continue his run to the undisputed UFC title

Back in April of 2018, Justin Gaethje was knocked out in the fourth round by Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 29. It was the second straight knockout loss for Gaethje, and he realized he needed to make a big career change. Gaethje said that he would start to have fun in the middle of a brawl which would leave him susceptible to counters which would hurt him badly. Gaethje and coach, Trevor Wittman, started working on Gaethje being more technical and patient inside the octagon. Since the mental change, there has been nobody more impressive in the UFC‘s lightweight division than Gaethje.

Since the loss to Poirier, Gaethje has gone 4-0 with four knockouts including three in the first round. Gaethje’s last performance against Tony Ferguson was truly the “Highlight” of his career. Despite Nurmagomedov being the champion, many people believed that Tony Ferguson was the best lightweight in the world. The two were scheduled to fight before Khabib couldn’t leave Russia. Gaethje decided to step in, and he put on the best performance of his career. Outside of getting dropped in the second round, Gaethje controlled the entire fight before stopping Ferguson in the fifth round to win the UFC‘s interim lightweight championship. These two lightweight superstars are on a collision course, and only one man will leave the undisputed lightweight champion.

The Takedown

This is a very fascinating matchup to breakdown when you think about it stylistically. To date, nobody has been able to stop Nurmagomedov from taking them down. Gaethje is a tremendous wrestler, but in college, he was known for his defensive wrestling. He was incredibly hard to take down. Looking at the two, Gaethje definitely has the advantage on the feet. Gaethje has incredible hands and arguably the best leg kicks in the business. This fight will truly come down to the takedown. If Nurmagomedov can get Gaethje to the ground, it will be just like another Khabib fight. If he can’t, it could be a long night for the Russian. I cannot wait to break this fight down as we get closer to UFC 253.