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: Gilbert Burns on if Masvidal wins at UFC 251: “It’s gonna be a circus”

We are just a few days away from the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island. There has been so much going on over the past few days that it’s felt like a UFC circus.

Top contender, Gilbert Burns (19-3), was removed from his UFC title fight after testing positive for COVID-19. Original number one contender, Jorge Masvidal (35-13), stepped up to replace Burns. Burns was interviewed by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto where he was asked about all of the events over the past week.

“I heard Masvidal jumped in, and to be honest, I’m happy with that… That’s the fight that everyone wanted.” Burns said to Okamoto. Burns was asked about his feelings on the fight and future opportunities to which he responded, “If Masvidal wins, things are going to get crazy in the division. It’s gonna be a circus…” Burns said with a smile.

UFC’s welterweight picture & Gilbert Burns’ future

After watching the full interview, you cannot walk away not being a fan of Gilbert Burns. Most people would be completely devastated still after losing this opportunity. However, Burns continues to smile just wanting to get back into the cage.

Burns does have a good point about the UFC‘s welterweight division. If Masvidal is able to win on Saturday, the division is going to get turned on it’s head. Masvidal is not going to fight the next guy in-line, but instead, he’s going to look for the fight with the most dollar signs.

If Usman is able to retain his UFC welterweight title, Burns might get the next shot. However, there is always the possibility that the UFC runs the fight back with Masvidal giving Gambred a full training camp. If you’re a contender in the division like Burns, you should be pulling for Usman to win on Saturday. If Jorge Masvidal is able to claim the UFC title, you might see someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor get the next shot at the welterweight title.

UFC: Jorge Masvidal on UFC 251 negotiations, “I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but I got very very close.”

UFC 251 has a main event that fans have been talking about since December of 2019. It was a wild and crazy ride on how we got to this point. After Kamaru Usman (16-1) defeated Colby Covington in December, everyone started talking about Usman fighting Jorge Masvidal (35-13). The fire began to burn hotter after public run-ins and verbal back and forths. However, the fight was not easily made.

A worldwide pandemic has put a chokehold on sports. There was no NCAA tournament, the NBA suspended it’s season, the UFC didn’t hold fights, and baseball still hasn’t played an inning. However, in early May the UFC re-opened for business with no fans in the stands. No fans means no live gate which is a big revenue source for the UFC.

While all of this is going on, the UFC was still negotiating to make the title fight between Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman. Dana White had come out publicly and stated that the plan was for the two of them to fight in July. There was no word on if the negotiations were going bad, but a single Masvidal tweet was the first big red flag.

This tweet was a signal that there were major issues with the UFC and the BMF. Masvidal continued to tweet more and more about revenue sharing and his lack of a deal. In the end, the UFC bumped Masvidal in-favor of the cheaper option, Gilbert Burns. However, when Burns tested positive for COVID-19, the UFC came back to Masvidal.

Who gave in between Masvidal & the UFC?

A question on everyone’s mind was, “Who caved?” in thinking about the negotiations. Did Masvidal just go along with it or did the UFC come back to the table with a big offer that Masvidal couldn’t turn down? Jorge Masvidal was interviewed by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani where he went more in depth.

“I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but I got very very close so I’m taking the fight. I’m happy because I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it.” Masvidal told Helwani.

It’s very apparent that the UFC came back to Masvidal with a big offer that was acceptable. Masvidal went on to explain to Helwani that he was not happy with the original cut of the PPV he was scheduled to get. You can view his full interview below.

Now after all this drama, fight fans get the fight that they’ve wanted from the very beginning. One of the sports biggest draws is getting his first title shot after 48 professional fights. It’s the matchup the world wanted to see and it’s the matchup we get to see on the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island.

 

UFC: A Masvidal win at UFC 251 could mean a quick retirement for Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor, UFC

The UFC has been on fire when it comes to news over the past couple of days. Less than a week ago, Gilbert Burns was getting ready for his shot at the title while Jorge Masvidal was working out at home in Miami.

Three Day Fury

Friday night, Burns tested positive for COVID-19. By Saturday, talks had begun for Masvidal to replace Burns and by Sunday the fight was official. Now, Masvidal is fighting UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman (16-1), on Fight Island. If Masvidal is able to win on Saturday, the biggest draw in the sport could be lured out of retirement.

Conor McGregor (22-4) shocked a lot of people when he made the announcement that he was retiring (again). McGregor returned back in January and promptly finished Donald Cerrone in under one minute. McGregor looked to be back, and said in his post-fight interview that anyone could get it next. One of the guys sitting in the front row that night was the BMF, Jorge Masvidal.

Masvidal vs McGregor is a UFC dream

There is no question that Conor McGregor is the biggest star in the history of the UFC. Right now, Jorge Masvidal’s star stock is shooting through the roof. If Masvidal is able to win on Saturday, the UFC could choose to make arguably the biggest title fight in the history of the sport. McGregor retired due to a lack of opponents and frustration with the UFC. In Masvidal, McGregor would find a very willing dance partner.

You would love for a fight between the two men to be held with fans, but even with none, you could be looking at the biggest UFC PPV of all time. The fight doesn’t have the personal heat the McGregor/Nurmagomedov did, but you could make the argument that Masvidal will be a bigger star than Khabib if he’s able to win Saturday. On top of that, McGregor would be aiming to become the first three division champion in the history of the sport.

Of course these are big ifs because there is a massive hurdle standing in the way of Jorge Masvidal. Usman is one of the very best fighters in the world, and he presents a very tough matchup for Gamebred. For now, fans can dream about the Masvidal/McGregor matchup, but the UFC welterweight divisions boogieman will be a major roadblock in the potential dream matchup.

BREAKING: Kamaru Usman – Jorge Masvidal is done. Fight set to main event next Saturday’s UFC 251 card

The deal is done. The UFC has agreed to a deal with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Jorge Masvidal (35-13) for next week’s UFC card on Yas Island. UFC‘s first Fight Island card is going to be headlined by the fight that was talked about all year long. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has been on this story from the beginning.

How did we get here for UFC 251

Jorge Masvidal won the UFC‘s Male Fighter of the Year award in 2019 after three impressive wins. He won the BMF title, and was set to take on the winner of Kamaru Usman/Colby Covington. After Usman successfully defended his title, Masvidal set his targets on the Nigerian champion. The two had a run in at the Super Bowl which added more fuel to the fire of their fight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9rkmAs2UE&feature=emb_logo

It’s no secret that Masvidal has become a big UFC star, and he wanted to be paid like it. However, wanting to get paid like a star is where the fight negotiations took a turn for the worse. The UFC became frustrated with negotiations and gave the fight to Gilbert Burns over Masvidal. However, Burns tested positive for COVID-19 which opened the door for this fight again.

The UFC came to the table with a strong offer, and they got the deal done. Late last night, the two sides were very close to a deal, and they two sides reached an agreement today. Masvidal was flown on a private jet to Las Vegas to begin his testing precautions for the fight.

The fight that needed to happen

This is the fight that UFC fans wanted all along. Two massive stars who had legitimate beef going into the fight. This is the proper main event that the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island should have. In sports, you have rare times where you need to capitalize on a fighter’s stardom. This is the time to capitalize on Masvidal’s stardom. He needed to fight for the title, and it’s a very good thing that the UFC was able to pull this off.

UFC is close to finalizing Kamaru Usman – Jorge Masvidal for UFC 251’s main event

The UFC is close to finalizing the welterweight title fight that the fans have been anxious to see this entire year. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that the UFC is progressing in talks to book Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Jorge Masvidal (35-13) for next week’s UFC 251 card on Fight Island.

The UFC is making a push

Late Friday evening, the UFC heard some bad news as top contender, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for COVID-19. After Masvidal’s contract negotiations fell apart to fight Usman for the UFC title, the surging Burns got the shot. Following the news of Burns’ positive test, the UFC went into scramble mode. The likes of Masvidal and Colby Covington were both offering to step in.

Masvidal was supposed to fight Usman from the very beginning. Masvidal was asked initially to take less money which is why the conversation fell apart. Burns in-return got the shot at Usman. However, the UFC came back to the table with Masvidal looking to make a deal after the Burns fight fell through. Helwani reported this morning that both Usman and Masvidal are on their way to Las Vegas.

The fight that always should have happened

One has to feel bad for Burns. Burns’ winning streak earned him a title shot, but now his shot is no longer guaranteed. After Burns tested positive, the UFC has put the full-court press on to make Usman/Masvidal for next week’s PPV on Yas Island. If the fight is remotely competitive, you might see the two men fight twice given that Masvidal is stepping up on one week’s notice.

If this fight does get finalized today, next week’s card is being given a massive bump. While Burns is insanely talented, he’s not the star that Jorge Masvidal is. Masvidal fighting Usman is way bigger for the event than Usman fighting Burns. There are still some hurdles to overcome including COVID testing and required quarantine periods before the two men land on Yas Island, but I’m pretty confident that barring any hiccups, Kamaru Usman will be fighting Jorge Masvidal next Saturday night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9rkmAs2UE

 

UFC: Masvidal willing to step in for Burns, will the UFC make it happen?

Late Friday evening, next week’s UFC 251 card took a massive hit. The main event was taken out by a positive COVID-19 test from welterweight challenger, Gilbert Burns. UFC champion, Kamaru Usman, did not board the charter flight to Fight Island after the news came out. There is no official word from the UFC yet, but the original number one contender has voiced his interest in stepping in.

What will the UFC do?

No disrespect to Gilbert Burns, but this title shot always belonged to Jorge Masvidal. After Masvidal was named fighter of the year in 2019, he earned the title shot. There was so much heat between him and Usman that the fight was guaranteed to sell. However, the negotiations went south when Masvidal was expected to take less money for the title fight than he received for the BMF fight against Nate Diaz.

Negotiations spilled out into the public and Burns was given the shot over Masvidal. Now, Gamebred is saying that he will step in on a week’s notice to take the fight. The question is, will the UFC make it happen? Will the UFC pony up the money it will take for Masvidal to get the shot?

Anything is possible, but my guess is no. If the UFC couldn’t make the fight happen over the course of months of negotiations, I don’t think they will make a last minute fight happen. I think they will be content with rescheduling Burns/Usman for a later date. I hope I’m wrong because I believe that Masvidal deserves to be in that main event spot.

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: 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3moBU-ax_M

UFC: Jorge Masvidal is expecting to fight in 2020

The MMA world is wondering what is next for the UFC‘s BMF. Jorge Masvidal has been sitting on the sidelines since last November after winning the BMF title at UFC 244 capping off his incredible 2019. He was originally scheduled to fight for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 251, but contract negotiations saw the fight get scrapped. Earlier this week, I wrote about what could be next for Masvidal. However, I stated in that article that the one question that is still unanswered is whether or not Gamebred will fight this year. He took to his YouTube page to give his answer on the question.

UFC’s BMF is planning on a fight in 2020

Masvidal stated that he is fully planning on fighting at some point this year. In his video, he talks about the fact that his management team has come up with a formula for what he’s worth, and he won’t fight for less. The UFC has been keeping the show rolling with fights almost every week since early May. However, Masvidal has expressed his frustrations with the UFC‘s lack of interest in giving him the money he deserves to fight for the title. The offer that was on the table to fight Kamaru Usman for the title was not enough which is why Gilbert Burns is fighting on July 11th and not Masvidal

Gamebred responds to Dana White

In another video, Masvidal talked about UFC president, Dana White. He talked about how White’s job is to make the most money for the UFC while Masvidal’s job is to make the most money for himself. With that in mind, the two, “Won’t always see eye to eye.” Masvidal sounded more optimistic about fighting in these videos than his tweets over the past few weeks. I think the two sides are still far away from any form of an agreement, but I do think one will come together. The UFC has shown over the years that they can strike a deal with the most difficult fighters. The Diaz brothers and Tito Ortiz are prime examples. I think the two sides will meet in the middle, and we will see Gamebred near the end of 2020 perhaps getting the winner of Usman/Burns.