UFC: Per Dana White, Jon Jones isn’t being stripped of his title anytime soon

UFC, Jon Jones

One of the biggest stars in the UFC has been very vocal about his thoughts on fighter pay since the promotion kicked things off back in May.

The light heavyweight champion and current pound-for-pound number one fighter, Jon Jones, has been in a public spat with the promotion. Jones has said that he would sit out as long as it took to get paid what he wants.

With that line of thinking, many have wondered if this would prompt the UFC to strip Jon Jones of his title. However, Dana White said in an interview with Barstool that the promotion is not planning on that.

“The last time he said ‘I’m not fighting,’ he’s not fighting, so we’re feeling this thing out. When it’s time for him to fight, we’ll see,” White told Barstool. When asked about stripping him, White replied, “Not as of yet, no.”

The UFC & Jones current position

It is a very delicate situation between Jones and the UFC. Jones was very active staring in December of 2019. After all of the suspensions and issues, Jones fought and won four times over the course of 14 months.

After Francis Ngannou knocked out Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds at UFC 249, Jones and Ngannou started angling for a fight. Generalities were spoken in terms of financial figures, and the UFC had no interest in bumping Jones’ pay.

White came out and said that Jones was requesting Deontay Wilder money to fight Ngannou. This is a claim that Jones quickly refuted.

All of this drama between Jones and White came back in late May/early June. Since then, it’s been very quiet on this front. White did say he believes that they will resolve the issue.

The UFC has been cranking out cards, and I believe that they have the rest of the year figured out. The rest of 2020 may not included Jones or Conor McGregor. White guaranteed McGregor wouldn’t fight and it doesn’t appear as if Jones will fight either.

Time will tell what’s going to happen in this situation. I still believe that they will get this resolved in the end. Not sure if Jones will return to the light heavyweight division or if he’ll move up, but rest assured, Jon Jones will fight again in the UFC someday.

 

ESM’s Men’s UFC Pound-for-Pound rankings ahead of Saturday Night

One of the things that never seems to make sense to the world is the UFC rankings. If you go over to the UFC’s official rankings page, the pound for pound rankings make you scratch your head. At ESM, we have decided to throw our hat into the ring to create our own rankings that we will keep updated following every major UFC/MMA event.

Men’s Pound-For-Pound Rankings

  1. Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC)
  2. Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0)
  3. Israel Adesanya (19-0)
  4. Kamaru Usman (16-1)
  5. Stipe Miocic (19-3)
  6. Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC)
  7. Alexander Volkanovski (21-1)
  8. Justin Gaethje (22-2)
  9. Conor McGregor (22-4)
  10. Francis Ngannou (15-3)

To me, Jon Jones is still the best to ever do it inside the octagon. In reality, the man is 28-0 just like Nurmagomedov but due to an elbow rule and a picogram, he’s got two blemishes on his record. Still when “Bones” is on his game, he’s the best in the world possessing elite skills in all aspects of MMA.

In comparison to the UFC‘s official rankings you’ll notice some differences. I personally left Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway outside of the top ten. Holloway is 1-2 in his last three fights which hurts his case. Poirier was a tough call, but I went with Gaethje and McGregor from that division. I think if Poirier were to rematch both men especially the new and improved Justin Gaethje, it could be a long night for him.

Francis Ngannou is the one who needs to be ranked higher in the UFC‘s rankings. The Predator is currently ranked 14th, but he belongs in the top ten. The most prolific knockout artist in UFC history is on a Mike Tyson like tear right now. His last four fights have gone a combined 2:42 against top heavyweight competition.

UFC 251’s Potential Impact

There are a couple of fights that will have an impact on the P4P UFC rankings this Saturday. The main event of the evening features Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal (35-13). Masvidal has won three fights in a row, but if he’s able to defeat Usman, he will finally launch into the top ten pound for pound rankings. Usman will likely hold in the fourth spot with a win on Saturday night.

Alexander Volkanovski can jump in the rankings even more if he’s able to defeat Holloway for a second time. The Australian has won 18 fights in a row including all eight of his UFC fights. If he’s able to retain his title on Saturday night and do it impressively, you could make the argument that he belongs in the top five.

Holloway could get back into the top ten if he’s able to regain his title. 2019 was not a great year for the former champion losing two fights. However, the Blessed Era can make an emphatic return if he’s able to dethrone Vokanovski on Saturday night. Fight Island definitely has the potential to shake up our UFC men’s pound for pound rankings.

UFC: Glover Teixeira – Thiago Santos to headline September 12th Fight Night

Anthony Smith, UFC

The UFC has finalized a big-time light heavyweight matchup to headline their September 12th card from the APEX. According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the UFC has finalized a fight between top contenders Glover Teixeira (31-7) and Thiago Santos (21-7).

Big fight for the UFC’s light heavyweight division

This is a big fight when it comes to pecking order in the light heavyweight division. Teixeira has seen a resurgence in his career since the beginning of 2019. Teixeira will be getting ready to turn 41 years old on fight night, but he’s rattled off four consecutive wins including a stoppage over top contender, Anthony Smith

Teixeira is trying to fight for one more chance at the UFC title. Teixeira’s one shot at the title came back in 2014 against Jon Jones. Since losing that fight, Teixeira has gone 9-4 in the UFC. A win over Santos would put him in prime position for one more chance at the title. However, winning is not going to be an easy task.

We have not seen Thiago Santos since he last fought against Jon Jones at UFC 239. Santos tore his ACL in the fight, and now he’s ready to return. Santos has looked like a completely different fighter since he moved up to 205 pounds. Prior to the Jones fight, Santos had won four fights in a row including knockouts over Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz.

A win for either man on September 12th could mean a shot at the light heavyweight title. The division is in flux right now while Jon Jones figures things out with the UFC. Dominick Reyes is likely to get the next shot or perhaps Jan Blachowicz. However, the winner of this fight in September will not be far behind.

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: “Everybody Should Get Paid More,” Says Joe Rogan

Fighter pay has always been an issue on the forefront of the UFC world, but more recently that matter has been brought back up by some of the biggest stars seeking better paydays. Jon Jones has fought quite publicly with Dana White and has asked to be released by the UFC, while Jorge Masvidal has also told the league to let him go if he’s not worth it. He asked why he should have to fight for half as much as his previous outing because his opponent isn’t the same draw, a question that’s hard for the UFC to answer.

Conor McGregor walking away from the sport again, at least for now, can also be seen as frustration with the financial side of the sport. His brief jump to boxing was, after all, motivated at least in strong part because of the greater payday compared to MMA.

The situation surrounding how much fighters make will continue to be a talking point this year, especially as it’s affecting some of the most well known and mainstream talents in the sport, and it’s led to Joe Rogan giving his take on his podcast.

“I think everybody should get paid more. I think it’s a crazy way to make a living. I think you should get the most amount of money you can possibly get,” Rogan said. However, he did acknowledge that it’s a business and that the league doesn’t have unlimited money to spend on its fighters. “I don’t talk finances with them, but I know the WME people who own it are hurting, bad. They’re laying people off. Most businesses are hurting. All the entertainment business is (expletive).”

“You should get paid an incredibly generous amount of money to step into a cage fight for millions of people to see,” Rogan continued.

The matter of pay isn’t going to leave the conversation for a while, with the UFC still having ongoing disputes to clear up with Jones and Masvidal. Whether things will turn out in favor of the fighters or the company remains to be seen, but with the coronavirus pandemic preventing the UFC from collecting money at the gate from ticket sales at live events, it doesn’t seem like the company has the resources currently to deliver on an ideal outcome that would reward all of its fighters and please fans in the process.

UFC: Trouble at the top; McGregor, Jones, and Masvidal frustrated with the UFC

UFC, Dana White

UFC President Dana White seems to have a problem on his hands. Three of the top stars in the UFC have all come out in the last week expressing their frustrations with the company. Everything started with the failed Jon Jones/Francis Ngannou negotiations. Then it spilled into the Jorge Masvidal/Kamaru Usman negotiations. Then out of no where on Saturday night, Conor McGregor announces he’s leaving the sport because of where things stand with him. The world is going through a pandemic which has already created a lot of issues for the UFC, but the UFC’s biggest problems start at the top.

The Jon Jones Situation

Back in early May, the UFC was riding high after being the first major sport to return to action. UFC 249 was a huge success, and so many fighters were chomping at the bit to get back into the octagon. One of those fighters was UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. Jones has flirted with the idea of moving to heavyweight for the last couple of years, and after Francis Ngannou’s performance at UFC 249, “Bones” was ready to take on the challenge.

The two men exchanged some public jabs through Twitter, and stated that they wanted to fight each other if the money was right. Jones said that he wanted to be paid more to make the jump up in weight to take on the heavyweight knockout artist. Conventional wisdom was that Jones would probably get a pay bump, but then Jones took to Twitter to voice his frustrations.

This was just the beginning of this saga. There was some public back and forth between White and Jones before Jones came out and asked to be released. Jones went on to announce on Twitter that he would vacate his light heavyweight title. Jones is widely considered the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, and he’s one of the biggest names in the sport. White acknowledged the fact that Jones was a partner in the business, and stated that they would figure things out eventually. Jones took to Twitter as recently as yesterday to voice his frustrations stating: “Everything was good until I asked for a piece of the pie…”.

Jorge Masvidal wants answers or a release

By all accounts, the UFC was fully planning on having Jorge Masvidal fight Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title on July 11th. Masvidal had an incredible 2019, and the two men have had verbal altercations which has put a lot of steam behind the fight. Despite not bringing in money from live gates, it appeared that the fight would get done. However, everything changed when Masvidal took to Twitter to voice his frustrations.

Following the Jones situation, it appeared that we had a second failed negotiation with the UFC. Since this tweet, there has been a lot of public remarks made by “Gambred” regarding the revenue split between the fighters and the UFC. The July 11th negotiations are pretty much dead, and Masivdal is wanting answers from the UFC. After defeating Tyron Woodley, Gilbert Burns is likely going to get the title shot over Masvidal due to the fact that he’s willing to accept the smaller purse to make the fight happen. Masvidal is now in this incredibly frustrating position where he doesn’t have an opponent, and he doesn’t have any prospects. White said that Masvidal just signed a new seven fight deal months ago which gives the UFC way more leverage in these negotiations, but it’s still frustrating for the welterweight.

Conor McGregor Walks Away. . . For now

UFC 250 was another huge success for the company. The fights were incredible and the PPV numbers were trending very well. Five minutes hadn’t gone by after the Amanda Nunes fight had ended before Twitter became the platform again for a big statement. This one coming from the biggest star the sport has ever seen.

Conor McGregor shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from fighting right after the event had concluded. McGregor has been very active on social media lately showing off his training and calling out multiple fighters. McGregor has told White that he wanted to fight as soon as he could. White said last week that he would recommend that McGregor wait until Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje fight in September. This obviously was incredibly frustrating for the Irishman to hear.

McGregor stated at the beginning of 2020 that he wanted to be very active this year. He wanted multiple fights, and he wanted to regain his lightweight title. If McGregor had followed the advice of White, he would likely not fight again until December, if not 2021. That would be another year-long layoff for McGregor. He stated in an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that we wanted to fight Gaethje for the interim title in July.

The UFC was not willing to make that happen, and they did not offer McGregor another opponent. As a result, the superstar was left just sitting there. Frustrated by the entire thing, McGregor took to Twitter to announce his retirement. To me, this sounds a lot like the UFC is not too eager to make a Conor McGregor fight with no fans in the stands. It would be a massive PPV, but they’d be missing out on a $10+ million gate. In my opinion, that is playing a massive role in the UFC’s hesitancy to give him a fight. Now, I don’t believe that McGregor is actually retired, but I do believe that there are major problems between the UFC and their top draws.

Where does the UFC go from here?

The UFC needs to get a handle on this situation. It is one thing for one fighter to publicly come out with an issue, it’s another ballgame when three of your biggest stars are asking to either be released or retiring altogether. The UFC still does not have a main event for their big July 11th card. If it was me, I would try to work things out with Masvidal to get the original fight booked. If I couldn’t make that happen, I’d try to get McGregor to headline the card. Missing out on a live gate is not worth losing Conor McGregor for good. The UFC needs to sit down with these guys and figure out the best path forward for everyone. As White stated, these guys are partners with the company when they become stars. The situation is tense right now, but I think eventually we will see cooler heads prevail. As a fan, I’m hoping that we get to see all three men fight again at some point in 2020. You have to believe the UFC would like that as well.

UFC: Jorge Masvidal Wants Answers from UFC after failed negotiations

One of the UFC’s brightest stars is asking for some answers from his employer. Jorge Masvidal became a huge star during 2019 after he knocked out Darren Till, Ben Askren, and won the BMF title against Nate Diaz back at UFC 244. Masvidal’s huge year made him the number one contender in line to fight the winner of the Kamaru Usman/Colby Covington fight back in December. Usman went on to win that fight which would setup the big title fight with Masvidal. All year long, this fight was anticipated to headline the UFC‘s big July PPV. Even after the pandemic hit, the UFC seemed to be pushing to book this fight for July 11th. Those talks have come to a screeching halt.

There seemed to be some back and forth going on with negotiating the finances for the fight. Masvidal said in an interview with ESPN’s Kenny Mayne that when the Jon Jones situation was going on, he started taking a look at the holdup in his own negotiations. Masvidal stated that the UFC decided to pull his offer off the table, and offer the title fight to another fighter for a lot less money. He said that the fighter is willing to take the fight which leaves him in a weird position. We can all assume that the fighter he’s talking about would be Gilbert Burns. This week, Dana White said that Burns would likely be next for the title after his win against Tyron Woodley.

Revenue Split

Masvidal mentions in his interview that most major sports in America have about a 50/50 revenue split between the owners and the athletes. He mentions that the deal that was being offered to him or the athletes was for about 18% of the revenue. Upon investigating the numbers further, Masvidal wants answers from the UFC, which is why negotiations have gone south quickly. White came out this week and said that they will not beg anyone to fight with everything going on. There are a lot of fighters who just want action, but the top draws are still wanting their money.

Where to go?

To be honest, I’m really not sure where we are going to go from here. Gambred has mentioned that if he doesn’t get compensated fairly, he would like to be released. Masvidal joins Jon Jones as the second fighter to ask for a release due to failed negotiations with UFC brass. White came out this week said this week that he was confident the UFC would work things out with Jones. They will likely get this figured out with Masvidal as well. It’s clear that some issues have come to the surface recently between the UFC and some of their top athletes when it comes to fighter pay. With everything going on, Burns is likely going to get the next shot at Usman which will leave Masvidal without an opponent. Maybe the UFC tries to book a fight with Gamebred and his former friend, Colby Covington. Honestly, that fight might sell more than Masvidal’s fight with Kamaru Usman. Time will tell, but you can catch Masvidal’s entire interview with Kenny Mayne below.

UFC: Realistic Super Fights to Make

There has been a lot of craziness going on in the UFC with people calling for super fights, and others like Jon Jones saying they will walk away until he gets compensated for a super fight. With all these discussions going on, I started thinking about the UFC and super fights that could be made. Right now, the sports world is still not back to normal, but the UFC is pushing forward with events. The UFC will eventually bring fans back to the arena and when they do, there are several realistic options for super fights. Let’s breakdown some of the fights that the UFC could make to earn large paydays for the company and the fighters who are seeking a fat check.

Francis Ngannou vs Anthony Johnson

For this first one, I wanted to target a fight that could realistically come together quickly. This could be a fight that comes together before fans are even back in the stands. You might question this fight at first, but once you think about it, it starts to make sense. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) hasn’t fought in over three years since he lost to Daniel Cormier for the second time at UFC 210. Johnson announced after the fight that he would be stepping away from the sport to pursue other avenues. The decision came as a shock to everyone because Rumble was peaking in his career. He was coming off of a five-year stretch where he went 12-2 with nine knockouts. The only man to defeat him was Cormier, who did it twice. When Rumble was knocking people out, it was scary to watch. His knockouts over Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader, and Jimi Manuwa were impressive, to say the least. Rumble announced late last year that he would be returning to the UFC, but he said he hadn’t decided which division he would compete in. He originally said that he intended to compete at heavyweight, but he suggested that he might try to drop down to 205 for another run at the light heavyweight title. I think he should come back to the heavyweight division to stand across the octagon from someone possibly even more terrifying.

Is there anyone more terrifying in the UFC right now than Francis Ngannou (15-3)? Ngannou lost his way with two lackluster performances a couple of years ago, but since then, he’s fought four times with none of those fights going more than 90 seconds. Ngannou has rattled off four consecutive knockouts against Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Last month, Ngannou took on the undefeated, Rozenstruik in a matchup that was much anticipated. Rozenstruik called Ngannou out, and Francis made him aware that calling him out was a mistake. Ngannou destroyed the previously unbeaten Rozenstruik in just 20 seconds. I think it’s safe to say that Ngannou is the hardest hitter that the UFC has ever seen. It’s remarkable to say, but he reminds me of a prime Mike Tyson when he fights. Right now, Ngannou is left without a dance partner. There was some back and forth with him and Jon Jones, but that fight does not look like it’s going to materialize. Ngannou should be fighting for the title, but Cormier and champion, Stipe Miocic are in the process of negotiating the conclusion to their trilogy. Ngannou needs someone to fight, and Rumble Johnson needs a big name for his return. Sign me up right now for two of the most prolific knockout artists in UFC history going head to head. Whoever wins the fight would be first in line to fight for the title after Cormier and Miocic fight. You know this fight will not go to the ground and you have to believe that someone would be going to sleep. It’s a fight that gets my heart racing just thinking about it.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko 3

Normally you wouldn’t consider a trilogy fight where one fighter is 2-0 in the series to be a super fight, but this isn’t your normal circumstance. The two best female fighters in the world are Amanda Nunes (19-4) and Valentina Shevchenko (19-3). I completely disagree with the UFC’s women’s P4P rankings where they moved strawweight champion, Weili Zhang, ahead of Shevchenko. No disrespect to Zhang, but she doesn’t have the resume to be ranked ahead of Shevchenko. Shevchenko has looked invincible since the UFC created the flyweight division. She is 5-0 and not a single one of those fights was even remotely competitive. Shevchenko is truly the full package with no weaknesses in her game. Her last loss came as UFC 215 to Amanda Nunes. I believe that Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, but I believe that Shevchenko won the last fight between the two of them.

Since 2015, the only person to make Amanda Nunes look mortal is Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes has put together a resume that puts her easily in the top spot to be the greatest female fighter of all time. If you think of the all-time greats in women’s MMA, she’s beaten them. When you think of the most famous names in women’s MMA, you think of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Miesha Tate, and Holly Holm. Well, Nunes beat all four of those women and none of them made it to the second round. She is the only woman in UFC history to hold a belt in two weight classes at the same time. The only real challenge she’s had was that fight against Shevchenko. These two women are just operating on an entirely different level. Nunes is fighting Felicia Spencer this Saturday at UFC 250 and once Shevchenko recovers from her injury, she will likely be facing off with Joanne Calderwood. I don’t see either challenger posing a threat to the two champions. Assuming they both get through those fights victorious, I think you should pair them up again. If you look at the rankings, there is no one in those weight classes who will give them trouble, and the toughest women in their divisions have already been defeated by them. The only fight that would make sense is pairing these two back up for a massive fight in terms of legacy. Shevchenko does have the opportunity for a second champion versus champion fight in the future with Zhang, but I think Zhang needs to fight Rose Namajunas and perhaps another fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk before she moves up to 125 to challenge “Bullet”.

Jon Jones vs Israel Adesanya

This is the matchup that you dream about when you think about super fights. Two undefeated champions facing off with some heat between the two of them. There is no question that these two men do not like each other, and this fight would be massive for UFC fans all over the world. Israel Adesanya (19-0) burst onto the UFC just two years ago, but he’s already blossomed into one of the biggest stars in the sport. Sporting a perfect 19-0 record, Adesanya has defeated Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero, and Anderson Silva in the last 17 months. The Nigerian native has dazzled fans with his flashy striking style and his confident personality. Adesanya has a little work to do in his own division before moving up to 205, but “The Last Stylebender” already has a time frame for his move. Adesanya will fight the undefeated, Paulo Costa (13-0), at some point this year. If Adesanya gets through Costa, his last fight before a move up would likely be a rematch with Robert Whittaker or a fight with Darren Till depending on who wins their fight in July. Adesanya says that he wants to come after Jon Jones in 2021.

Jon Jones (26-1-1) is in a little bit of a weird spot. Widely considered the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, Jones is currently in a contract dispute with the UFC. Jones’ last three fights didn’t sell extremely well, and Jones didn’t give fans a reason to want to tune in. Jones has almost looked like he’s just been going through the motions in his last couple of fights. When he came back and won the title against Alexander Gustafsson, Jones had that killer instinct. He finished Gustafsson and made a statement in doing so. Since then he’s had okay decision victories over Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes. The Santos fight was a split decision, and a lot of people believed he lost the fight to Reyes. Jones seems to be the victim of fighting to his competition level. When he doesn’t see someone as a major threat, he just goes through the motions in the fight. Jones had been asking for a fight with UFC heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou, which led to this contract dispute. Jones wants to get paid more, and he probably should get paid more. However, from the UFC’s perspective, they are looking at a guy who hasn’t sold well in his last few outings which doesn’t give them the incentive to pay Jones more. Jones has said he would vacate the title due to all of this, and if he goes through with that, this super fight kind of goes out the window. This fight would need to be for the light heavyweight title, but if Jones leaves the UFC for a while, the steam behind this super fight goes with him. I think the UFC will work things out with Jones and he will defend his title towards the end of the year. Assuming Jones gets through that fight victorious, he can wait for Adesanya. If both guys take care of business, the UFC should look to book Adesanya/Jones for the light heavyweight title at International Fight Week next July at the newly built Allegiant Stadium which holds over 60,000 fans.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor 2

Did you think there’d be a super fight list without the biggest draw in the history of the sport? Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Conor McGregor (22-4) are the two highest-paid fighters in the UFC. They are global stars who sell at the highest level and they hate each other. Khabib Nurmagomedov is arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world. The man is an absolute animal who has never really been challenged in his 28 fights which sounds insane. Nurmagomedov has mauled every man that has stepped across the cage from him, and his last two performances have been his best showings so far. Last September, Nurmagomedov fought Dustin Poirier for the undisputed lightweight championship. Poirier had captured the interim lightweight title, and came into the fight with an incredible amount of momentum coming off wins against Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway. Many people thought Poirier would give Nurmagomedov trouble, but there was no trouble at all. There were a couple of times where Poirier threatened Khabib, but for the most part, it was a one-sided mauling. Prior to that fight, Nurmagomedov faced off against the famous Irishman at UFC 229. Nurmagomedov dominated that fight even rocking McGregor on the feet. Khabib would go on to submit McGregor in the fourth round. Afterwards, a brawl broke out which saw “The Eagle” attack McGregor’s corner, and Nurmagomedov’s corner attacked McGregor. There is just too much there between the two men to not run the fight back. The one hurdle standing in the way at the moment would be interim champion, Justin Gaethje. Gaethje and Nurmagomedov are scheduled to fight later in the summer to early in the fall.

Conor McGregor is the biggest star in UFC history and there’s not really a close second. McGregor soared to fame and became the first fighter in UFC history to hold a belt in two weight classes simultaneously. After he destroyed Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title at UFC 205, McGregor jumped to the world of boxing to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match which netted McGregor a $100 million payday. After the Mayweather fight, many wondered if McGregor would ever return to the sport of MMA. The UFC stripped him of both of his titles and the divisions moved on. Nurmagomedov won the lightweight title while McGregor sat on the sidelines. McGregor would make headlines for his actions outside the octagon which included attacking a bus that held the lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov. There was so much heat between the two men leading up to their fight at UFC 229. Following the loss, McGregor stepped away from the sport for another lengthy layoff. Throughout 2019, McGregor seemed to be getting back to his roots. He was starting to get his personal life in order, and he seemed to be dedicating himself back to the sport that made him a superstar. It was announced that McGregor would return against Donald Cerrone back in January. McGregor never looked better, destroying Cowboy Cerrone in just 40 seconds. There is no question as to what is the biggest fight the UFC can possibly make. No disrespect to Justin Gaethje, but the biggest fight the UFC can make is Conor McGregor getting his second chance at the undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Obviously, Gaethje will get the next shot as the interim champion, but I can promise you that the UFC front office will be praying for a Nurmagomedov victory. A Nurmagomedov/McGregor rematch for the UFC lightweight championship would be the biggest fight in the history of the sport.

UFC: Jon Jones Vacates Title Over Dispute With Dana White

The light heavyweight division has long been one of the deepest in the UFC, and right now, it looks like the division will be shaken up once again by the departure of champion Jon Jones. This wouldn’t be the first time Jones has been removed from his position as the champion – Jones has had to earn the title back in the past thanks to his troubles outside of the ring with legal problems and USADA – but it would be the first time that he’s vacated the belt willingly.

The reason? His ongoing dispute with Dana White over payment.

This wouldn’t be the first time that fighters have complained about their pay, but it looks like the spat between Jones and White is going to go further than others have. The other comparable situation, of course, is Conor McGregor’s jump to boxing. Jones is also interested in boxing, but it’s more uncertain at this point whether he’ll return to the UFC, while such a return didn’t seem like an impossibility when McGregor took his fight with Mayweather.

Jones revealed his intentions on Twitter, which is the place where the rest of his fight with White went down. He said that he has nothing to gain by fighting for the title and recommended a fight between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz for his title, which presumably, will be vacated due to Jones’ own request.

He touched on the inherent danger involved in fighting in the UFC, as part of his argument that fighting isn’t worth it unless the UFC gives him a superfight. Based on Dana White’s responses in a recent press conference, it doesn’t look likely that Jones will get what he’s looking for.

Jones will vacate his title with a record of 26-1 with one no contest, one of the best records that the UFC has seen. He defended his title from Reyes in a decision in February, and for most of his career, the only thing to hold him back from remaining champion indefinitely has been his own problems. While Jones is indeed a controversial fighter, a lot of fans would still like to see him around the sport – even if they hope that someone else defeats him for the light heavyweight crown.

Just how well will Jones do in boxing if he does vacate his title officially and jump to the other most popular combat sport? That’s an unknown, but interestingly, Jones has at least one offer from a fight, from former UFC light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa. At the very least, the fight would be something to see, with Jones’ debut in boxing likely drawing both a lot of viewers and a larger payday than the UFC offers.

UFC: Dana White fires back at Jon Jones after demanding release from contract

UFC, Dana White

There’s nothing like a good old fashion Twitter war between UFC president Dana White and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Jones demanded his release after stating that DeontayWwilder is paid vastly more than him, somewhere in the $25-30 million range, while Jones is making less than half of that.

“Don’t be a f—ing liar,” Jones expressed on Friday, via Twitter. “My reputation has already taking enough hits. I don’t need this bulls— Dana. I never asked for [Deontay Wilder] numbers. And how about since [Wilder] is making $30 million, we settle for half of that. Since you said I’m the [greatest of all time] and everything.”

Jones, who is one of the best fighters in the world, believes he deserves more pay and less BS from White, who continues to undervalue him and ignore his requests. Jones wants a heavyweight fight against Francis Ngannou, and while White has stated that Jones continues to ask for a specific amount of money, Jones has denied those claims.

“He can do whatever he wants,” White said Saturday, per ESPN. “He wants to sit out, fight, he can do whatever. He can say whatever he wants publicly. It’s his God-given right in America. He can say whatever he wants. When he’s ready to come back, he can.

“In one of his tweets, he said I tarnished his name. I tarnished you? You’ve done a very good job of tarnishing you.”

One of the significant issues that Jones faces regarding an increase in pay is his legal history and the questionable image he provides for the UFC as a whole. He has been arrested multiple times throughout his career, and at 32 years old, it doesn’t seem White is willing to give him what he wants.

Hypocritically, White continues to coin Jones has the best MMA fighter of all time but refuses to pay him more than some of the lesser-known athletes. White did indicate that being the best does not make you the most valuable in terms of selling, which ultimately plays a significant factor in the overall numbers.