UFC: Jake Paul is serious about his desire to fight Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor, UFC

This past weekend, Jake Paul knocked out Nate Robinson in a boxing match. After the fight was over, Paul made headlines calling for a fight with former two division UFC champion, Conor McGregor.

Not only did Paul call McGregor out, but he said he’d knock him out in the boxing ring. Paul has competed twice in the boxing ring and won both fights by knockout. Granted, one was against a YouTuber and the other was a former NBA player.

Neither one of those men had any combat sports experience. Conor McGregor is a former UFC champion. He’s one of the absolute best in the sport and his only professional boxing experience came against one of the best to ever do it, Floyd Mayweather.

The former UFC champion is currently preparing to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. McGregor last fought back in January of this year when he stopped Donald Cerrone in under a minute.

The Notorious one has teased a return to boxing, but he’s interested in a matchup with Manny Pacquiao. Nevertheless, the YouTube star continues his callouts and told TMZ yesterday that his team is currently talking with McGregor’s manager.

Jake Paul vs The Former UFC champ?

Do I believe that a boxing match with Jake Paul and Conor McGregor will actually happen? No, I do not believe that the former UFC champion will step into the squared circle against a YouTuber who claims to be a rapper.

I will give respect where it’s due, and Paul certainly appears to be taking his boxing seriously. However, there are simply levels to this. You cannot beat two people with no experience then say you’re going to knockout one of the world’s best combat athletes.

Let’s say that somehow it happens. Let’s say that Jake Paul takes on the former UFC champ-champ. What would happen? I’m sorry if you’re a fan of Jake Paul, but it would be completely embarrassing.

There are levels to this and Jake Paul would be shown very quickly that he’s an amateur against real elite level combat athletes. Before I can take the callouts seriously, I’ll have to see Paul compete with someone with more boxing skills than Nate Robinson.

UFC: Donald Cerrone wants to return to lightweight in February

Donald Cerrone

One of the most entertaining fighters in the history of the UFC is not done yet. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15-1, 1 NC) has had a legendary career inside the octagon. The 37 year old holds virtually every record in the UFC.

Whether it’s the number of wins, number of finishes, or the number of bonuses, you’ll find Cowboy at the top. However, Cerrone has hit a really rough patch in his career. This patch really came out of no where over the last year.

At UFC 238, Cerrone took on Tony Ferguson. Going into that contest, Cowboy had won three in a row and a win would have likely given him a title shot. He had looked better than ever and carried a ton of momentum into that contest.

However, Ferguson got the better of him. After he lost to Ferguson, Cowboy was knocked out in the first round by Justin Gaethje and Conor McGregor. Back in May, Cowboy returned to welterweight where he fought former UFC champion, Anthony Pettis.

Cerrone lost a decision that night, however, many people believe he won that fight. Then he took on Niko Price back in September and fought to a draw. In reality, Cerrone lost the fight, but Price had a point taken away which led to the draw.

UFC’s Cowboy nearing the end?

After the Niko Price fight, UFC president Dana White said he needed to have a talk with Cerrone. Despite having been close to a title shot just one year prior, Cerrone had gone 0-4-1 in a span of 15 months.

Factoring that in with the number of battles Cowboy had been in and you could make the argument that it might be time to walk away. However, the UFC‘s Cowboy isn’t going to go out like that.

If you follow Cerrone on social media, you can see that he’s training hard for his return. He posted on Instagram yesterday that he is returning to the lightweight division and he wants a fight in February.

I started thinking of potential opponents, and I actually like Cerrone against Bobby Green (27-11-1). Green had a sensational 2020 inside the octagon. Back in October he lost to Thiago Moises, but he’s still 3-1 since June.

Neither man is ranked in the UFC‘s lightweight division, but the name recognition of both makes for a good pairing. My guess is that we will see the UFC move to book Cerrone sooner than later and I wouldn’t be shocked to hear Green’s name.

UFC Books Anthony Pettis – Alex Morono

Today, the UFC got some tough news regarding their December 19th card. The main event between Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards was called off due to Edwards testing positive for COVID-19. 

As a result, the UFC promoted Stephen Thompson – Geoff Neal to the main event of UFC Vegas 17. However, the loss of the main event also left one slot open on the stacked Fight Night card.

That’s when former UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis (23-10), decided to step in and ask for a fight. The promotion worked on it this afternoon and they have found Pettis an opponent at welterweight per ESPN. 

Pettis will be taking on Alex Morono (18-6, 1 NC) at UFC Vegas 17. There is no word yet on if this fight will take place on the main card or the prelims. Normally, this would be a sure main card fight on a fight night card, but this card is incredibly stacked.

UFC Vegas 17’s New Fight

Pettis had been training and he’s been itching to get back into the UFC‘s octagon. Pettis last fought back in May when he defeated Donald Cerrone by decision. The fight was razor close, but Pettis was able to snap his two-fight losing streak.

The former lightweight champion has struggled to find his groove over the last few years. Late in the summer, Pettis seemed interested in fighting Anderson Silva, but that fight never materialized. Now, Pettis will get his next UFC opportunity against a hungry contender.

Alex Morono returned a few weeks ago to fight Rhys McKee. It was Morono’s first fight since he was knocked out by Khaos Williams. Morono was able to dominate the fight and win a unanimous decision.

He is now 4-1 in his last five fights in the UFC. He’ll be taking on a ranked contender and a former champion in Anthony Pettis. This is the biggest fight of Morono’s career and a golden opportunity for progression. Should be a great matchup on December 19th.

Stephen Thompson – Geoff Neal promoted to UFC Vegas 17 Main Event

Today we heard some pretty terrible news regarding the highly anticipated UFC Vegas 17 card. The original headliner between Leon Edwards (18-3) and Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) was called off. Edwards tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite the fight still being a few weeks away, Edwards would not be able to compete. Sources told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Edwards was so sick that he lost 12 pounds and had to stop training for the UFC Vegas 17 main event.

Just a crushing blow for a fighter who’s already been through a lot in 2020. The current plan for the UFC is to move the fight back to some point in early 2021. A landing spot could be UFC 257 on Fight Island although nothing is close in terms of rescheduling.

With that in mind, the current plan is for the UFC to promote Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (15-4-1) and Geoff Neal (13-2) to the main event slot. The highly anticipated welterweight matchup will still be a very high quality main event.

UFC Vegas 17’s New Headliner

Despite the depressing news about the Edwards – Chimaev fight falling through, there is still plenty of reason to be excited about UFC Vegas 17. The main thing is that the card is absolutely stacked and the new main event is a good one.

Wonderboy will be making the walk for the first time since he dominated Vicente Luque last November. Thompson is looking to get back to another UFC title shot and if he’s able to win on December 19th he will be one step closer.

Wonderboy will enter the cage currently ranked fifth in the welterweight division. Standing across from him is one of the brightest prospects in the entire UFC. Geoff Neal is a nightmare who lives up to his nickname, “Handz of Steel.”

Neal first came onto the scene on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2017. Since then he’s fought five times in the UFC and he’s unbeaten. He’s finished four of those fights including wins over Mike Perry, Niko Price, and Belal Muhammad.

This is a big step up in competition for Neal, but if he’s able to win, he’s not far from a UFC title shot. I’ve been excited to see Neal get back into the cage and this is the perfect opponent. December 19th should still be an insane night for fight fans.

Boxing: Will we see Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield 3?

Mike Tyson, UFC

Last weekend, boxing fans across the globe were treated to something truly special. Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr both came out of retirement to face off in an eight round exhibition match. The match was incredibly entertaining.

In the end, the judges called the fight a draw. However, anyone who knows boxing knows that Mike Tyson clearly won that match. I was incredibly impressed with how Tyson looked in his return to action after 15 years off.

Tyson took the match incredibly serious and it showed in the match. Jones Jr appeared to be tiring early on while Tyson looked like he could go a full 12 rounds. He looked sensational on Saturday night.

After the boxing match concluded, Tyson expressed his interest in doing this again. “I say I’ll be better the next one. I could have done everything better. Everything I was doing, I could have done it better. God willing, I’ll be better the next exhibition. This is where I belong,” Tyson said.

Tyson is putting together a league of legends where he hopes to box a few more times before hanging it up for good. There is one matchup in particular that has peaked the interest of the former heavyweight champion. That is a trilogy match with Evander Holyfield.

The boxing trilogy we thought we’d never see

Evander Holyfield has been very active on Social Media showing off that he’s ready to return to boxing. On his Instagram account you can find numerous posts of him in boxing gear training for a potential comeback.

You have to imagine that seeing the match on Saturday motivated Holyfield. Tyson is going to be looking for another legend to box and I don’t think it could get much bigger than a trilogy match with Evander Holyfield.

Holyfield has gotten the better of Tyson both times they fought. In the first match, Holyfield out-boxed Mike Tyson and finished him in the 11th round. In the second fight, Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield which caused him to be disqualified.

The bad blood between the two men appears to have faded over the years. However, boxing fans would feel like they’re right back in the 90’s if these two met once again in the squared circle. No talks of this match have occurred yet, but it’ll be interesting to follow.

BREAKING: UFC headliner between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev is off

Leon Edwards

Right now, COVID-19 is having it’s way with the UFC and now it’s struck down one of the more anticipated matchups of the winter. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that Leon Edwards has tested positive for COVID-19 and the December 19th fight is off.

Edwards was scheduled to face rising star, Khamzat Chimaev. The fight was supposed to be a real test for Chimaev to see where he’s at in his development. The fight was also the first UFC action of 2020 for Leon Edwards.

According to Helwani, the UFC is looking to rebook the matchup for early next year. However, this is now the third UFC main event that’s been altered by COVID-19 just in the last week.

Last weekend’s main event was supposed to be Curtis Blaydes – Derrick Lewis. However, Blaydes tested positive and the fight was called off. This weekend’s main event was supposed to be Jack Hermansson – Kevin Holland.

However, Holland tested positive and Marvin Vettori stepped in for the main event. Now, the most anticipated matchup of all has been cancelled with the Chimaev – Edwards matchup being called off.

UFC’s December 19th Card

Fortunately for the UFC, the card on December 19th is absolutely stacked. Fighters on the card include: Stephen Thompson, Geoff Neal, Jose Aldo, Chito Vera, Marlon Moraes, and Rob Font.

The card is still good enough to go on as is, but this is still a big blow to fight fans. You have to feel bad for Leon Edwards. Edwards has been impacted more by COVID in terms of his UFC career than perhaps anyone else.

His fight with Tyron Woodley back in March was cancelled due to COVID. Then he wasn’t able to accept a title shot at UFC 251 because England was closed down and now he tested positive for COVID which will cancel his UFC main event.

As mentioned above, the promotion will look to keep this fight together. However, there’s no telling on when the fight will be booked as of now.

UFC books Joseph Benavidez – Askar Askarov

Joseph Benavidez, UFC

The UFC is finalizing a fantastic flyweight matchup for their March 6th card. MMA Junkie was first to report that the promotion is finalizing a matchup between former title challenger Joseph Benavidez (28-7), and Askar Askarov (12-0-1).

The fight is expected to take place on the main card of the UFC 259 PPV. Both men will enter the cage ranked inside the top 3 of the UFC‘s flyweight rankings. From a matchmaking perspective, it doesn’t get much better than this.

For Benavidez, he’s going to be looking to bounce back after back-to-back losses to the champion, Deiveson Figueiredo. The two first fought back in February where Benavidez was finished in the second round.

However, Figueiredo didn’t make weight so the UFC decided to run the fight back for the flyweight title. The second fight was even more dominating for Figueiredo who put Benavidez to sleep in the first round.

Despite being dominated twice by the champion, it should be known that Benavidez is still one of the very best in the world. He’s only lost to four men in his professional career: Figueiredo, Demetrious Johnson, Dominick Cruz, and Sergio Pettis.

The knock on Benavidez is that he’s always failed to win the big one. While consistently being one of the UFC‘s best, he’s 0-5 in title opportunities. With this fight on March 6th, he will look to climb the latter once again.

UFC 259’s Flyweight Clash

Standing in the way of Benavidez will be Askar Askarov. The Russian flyweight trains under Fighting Eagle in Dagestan which of course is the gym of UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Askarov is looked at as the potential next UFC champion to hail from Dagestan. So far, he’s made three appearances inside the octagon. He fought to a split draw against number one contender, Brandon Moreno. After that he defeated Tim Elliot and Alexandre Pantoja.

Askarov is the real deal and he’s very talented. This is not going to be an easy fight for either man. Either Benavidez will show everyone that he still has enough in the tank for one more UFC title run or Dagestan will flex it’s muscles once again.

Could the New York Yankees and Cubs make a big deal this offseason?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

Many in baseball have been anxious about this unique offseason. There are so many things up in the air and the New York Yankees have been quiet so far which has fans guessing on what the bombers are doing at the moment.

From all indications, the Yankees are focused on resigning DJ LeMahieu. I was tipped off recently that the two sides were progressing towards a reunion, however, it’s still fluid with plenty of other bidders in the race.

The Yankees view DJ LeMahieu as the key to their offseason. If they resign LeMahieu, they have a general idea on where they want to go. You also have to imagine that they have a backup plan if they can’t bring him back.

There have been a lot of rumors out there regarding the Yankees and their interest on the trade market. One of the names that has been thrown around is the Indians’ All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor. 

There has been talked that the team has kicked the tires on a few other fronts. However, there’s one team that I’m thinking of that hasn’t been mentioned a ton with the Yankees as of yet. That team is the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs looking to sell?

The Cubs are going through a transition at the moment. Theo Epstein just stepped down and Jed Hoyer has taken over the team. There has also been talk that the Cubs are going to look to potentially be sellers this offseason.

They have a number of pieces to potentially trade including: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Wilson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber. At this point, Bryant and Schwarber seem to be the most likely to move, although all could be on the table.

The Yankees and the Cubs have history when it comes to big deals. The Yankees traded away Aroldis Chapman a few years ago to the Cubs which netted them Gleyber Torres. One of the better moves Cashman has made during his time as GM in my opinion.

Who could the Yankees target?

If the Yankees are interested, who should they call about? To me, the two most obvious choices would be Kyle Hendricks and Wilson Contreras. Hendricks is one of the more reliable starters in the NL while Contreras is one of the best catchers in baseball.

Both of those spots are obvious areas of weakness for the Yankees currently. We’ve seen and heard about the Yankees current dilemma with Gary Sanchez. They are still trying to decide what to do with him at the moment.

Another option could be Javier Baez. The former NL MVP runner-up is scheduled to become a free agent after next season just like Lindor. If the Yankees don’t land LeMahieu, perhaps they could work out a deal for Baez as their SS for the future.

There are a lot of possibilities and again, a lot will be driven by what happens with DJ LeMahieu. There’s no real smoke between the clubs right now, but don’t be shocked if you hear about the Yankees and Cubs chatting at some point this offseason.

UFC Matchmaker: Paul Felder – Al Iaquinta

A few weeks ago, Paul Felder (17-6) became the hero at UFC Vegas 14. Islam Makhachev was supposed to headline that card against Rafael Dos Anjos. However, due to staff infection, he had to pull out of UFC Vegas 14.

The card was left without one half of the main event six days before the event. The UFC searched for a replacement and found it at the commentary table. Felder was scheduled to call the action, but decided he would step up for the promotion.

Felder hadn’t fought since February and hadn’t stepped into an MMA gym in months. Admittedly, Felder said that he had somewhat lost the passion for competing. However, he was in shape due to training for a triathlon so he decided to give it a go.

With nothing to lose and a lot to gain, Felder stepped into the main event at UFC Vegas 14. He did come up short against RDA, however, he found that fire to compete again. He said he wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 

Just a few days ago, Felder tweeted out that he was ready to go. Now that Felder is ready to jump back in the cage, who should the UFC pair him against. I think the best choice is right there in the top ten with Felder.

Potential UFC Lightweight Matchup

I think the perfect opponent for Felder would be Raging Al Iaquinta (14-6-1). Iaquinta is currently the tenth ranked lightweight in the UFC and he’s in a very similar position as The Irish Dragon.

Both men are currently on two-fight losing streaks. However, they are still in the top ten and they deserve a quality matchup in their next fight. Both of these guys love to trade and it would make for a very exciting fight.

When looking at the division, this fight just jumps out at me. Again, they are both in a very similar spot and you know that they’d put on a show for UFC fans. Neither have an opponent at the moment, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the promotion try to make this happen.

PFL signs boxing’s P4P best, Claressa Shields

PFL made headlines yesterday when it was announced that the promotion had reached a deal with Claressa Shields. MMA Junkie first reported the news. Shields is an two-time Olympic Gold medalist in boxing and is widely considered the pound for pound best in the sport.

The 25 year old phenom is the fastest to get to 10-0 as a professional boxer and she hold multiple belts in multiple weight classes. In boxing, she’s clearly in a league of her own, but she’s ready to challenge herself in the world of MMA.

PFL is no stranger to signing Olympians as arguably their biggest star is two-time gold medalist, Kayla Harrison. Harrison was a gold medalist in Judo and PFL has invested a ton into her.

The transition for Harris was easier than the transition for Shields will be. We’ve seen over and over that the transition from grappling is so much easier than the transition for pure strikers. And that’s what Shields is, a pure striker. Specifically, a pure boxer.

She has no kickboxing or Muay Thai experience and she has no grappling experience. Nevertheless, the 25 year old is willing to challenge herself which is why she signed the deal with PFL. Last year, she voiced her interest in potentially making the jump.

PFL’s next star?

It’s such an interesting move for Shields. It’s a no-brainer if you’re PFL, but Shields is the absolute best in her sport currently. This is not the same thing as Conor McGregor crossing over to boxing for a match with Floyd Mayweather.

It’s so much tougher making the MMA jump. Just ask James Toney how his matchup against Randy Couture went. However, I will say that Shields does have a few things going for her. One, she’s a world class athlete. Two, she’s still very young.

PFL is going to give her the slow build in MMA. My guess is that they will give her very favorable matchups to start things out. Do not expect her to get thrown in with a world class grappler like Kayla Harrison.

Although a matchup between the two might be the long-term play for PFL. At the end of the day, this is a big signing for PFL. Shields can become a superstar and I’m very curious to watch this play out. At the moment, she’s planning on continuing her boxing career while having one-off lightweight MMA matches.