UFC: Khamzat Chimaev fires back at Israel Adesanya on Twitter

Khamzat Chimaev is rising as one of the biggest stars the MMA scene has, and he may be on a collision course in the future with Israel Adesanya. Adesanya already has a lot to worry about, of course. He’s already set to defend his title against Paulo Costa, after unifying the belt against Robert Whittaker and defending it from Yoel Romero previously. But the trash talk between these two fighters puts an eventual matchup between Chimaev and Adesanya on the radar.

Chimaev came out in Twitter in response to Adesanya’s recent dismissal of him as a threat. He said that Adesanya will lose his belt because of his words. Those words included dismissing Chimaev as “rat lip.” Fighting words to say about someone that’s capturing the attention of the sport as a whole right now.  Chimaev has earned praise from the fans as well as Dana White himself, and it looks like the UFC will market him as a future star thanks to his undefeated record.

Therefore, it’s safe to say this might not just be trash talk. Chimaev could be a real threat to Adesanya if his undefeated streak holds up. Chimaev already has three wins this year, gaining the third on the 19th when he defeated Gerald Meerschaert in an early first round knockout.

Adesanya, on the other hand, is set to take on Paulo Costa in under a week. He’s defending his belt again, and depending on the result, we may not even be talking about Chimaev taking the belt from Adesanya soon.

Chimaev, meanwhile, has also challenged experienced BJJ grappler Damian Maia to a bout via Twitter. We’ll see in due time if that becomes a real matchup.

UFC: Henry Cejudo Says Sean O’Malley Isn’t Built To Last

Sean O'Malley

For many fighters in the UFC, receiving their first loss after an undefeated career start brings them back down to Earth a bit. And Sean O’Malley, one of the most promising fighters in the organization’s ranks, received his first career loss in August when he was defeated by Marlon Vera. Not only that, but O’Malley will have time to think about his current situation as he sits out injured.

It’s a tough time for O’Malley. It’s a crossroads moment where he may either come back better or slide further. But former UFC champion Henry Cejudo doesn’t seem to have much faith in the young star. According to him, O’Malley overrates himself a bit.

Sean O’Malley not built to last?

Sean O’Malley can dish out pain but not take it. At least, that’s what Henry Cejudo implied when he gave his take on the Real Quick with Mike Swick podcast. That’s not to say that Cejudo is a hater. He claimed to have a lot of friends in common with O’Malley, and sent him advice before his fight with Vera.

“I’ll be honest with you, I actually like the kid. In some way I’m hating on him, in some way I like him. I’m weird like that. I wish the kid the best, but I also think that he thinks he’s better than what he really is. Even though he’s got the gifts, he’s got great distance, great demeanor, great fakes. Watching those like very subtle. I look at all these minor little details but he hasn’t been built to freaking last,” Cejudo said.

He continued by saying that O’Malley hasn’t been through a war yet, at this point in his career.

“You can give the pain but can you take the pain? That’s the difference between somebody like Sean O’Malley and me. Does he have better striking than me? Probably because of his length and his range, makes him a little dangerous. But you’ve just got to be the full package.”

Being a former champion in two divisions, Cejudo knows a bit about what it takes to win a belt. But his advice isn’t just some quick tips that O’Malley can apply. Rather, he blamed a lot of the problem on inexperience. The only way to solve that is for O’Malley to fight more.

That won’t be for a bit, thanks to the new injury for O’Malley. How he responds when he comes back, though, may just alter the path of his career.

UFC 253: Paulo Costa Has Big Words For Israel Adesanya

UFC 253 competitor Paulo Costa doesn’t care if Israel Adesanya is broken for their fight in late September. At least, that’s what Costa said during a virtual media day. He had some other things to say, too. Costa’s nickname is the Eraser, and based on what he said, it looks like he’s planning to erase Adesanya from the top spot in the division.

“If he’s [expletive] his pants for before the fight, bad for him. Too bad for him. I’m confident. I’m confident in myself, I’m confident in my training, I know what I did on sparring days. I know everything I am working for. I worked for cut his head off. I don’t care if his mind is broken or not. I don’t care. I go there. I will erase him,” Costa stated.

Their fight looks like it might be one for the ages. It’s only the second time in UFC history that two male fighters with undefeated records have contested a belt, after all. The last time it happened, it was in the light heavyweight division when Rashad Evans took on Lyoto Machida. That fight was in 2009, at UFC 98.

With that one being a decade in the past, this is our first time in a good while with a matchup of this sort. Fittingly, the fight will happen on the exotic Fight Island.

Costa not playing mind games before fight

Costa would clarify that he isn’t playing mind games with his opponent. He claimed not to care if Adesanya is “mentally broken” for the fight or not. According to Costa, he’ll get the result he’s looking for either way.

“That’s why I train so hard to not prepare for my opponent. I prepare for me, as good as I know I am now. I can fight for no weights, free weights, like the old times of Vale Tudo. That is my mindset. That’s how I feel about that,” Costa said. Vale Tudo, of course, is a Brazilian form of fighting with little rules. It’s known for its rougher and grittier feeling compared to most martial arts.

Before his last fight, against Yoel Romero, Costa had defeated every opponent with a finish. The run up to the Romero fight had five straight TKO victories, in fact. Only two fights in Costa’s career have not ended in TKO. The first was a submission victory, and the second was the unanimous decision against Romero.

Adesanya, on the other hand, is a bigger star who doesn’t have as impressive of a record in finishes since arriving in the UFC. But he’s already been tested at the highest level, unifying and defending the middleweight title.

That title will either remain in Adesanya’s hands or will find its way to a new owner later this month. But no matter who wins, the fans will be treated to a clash of two of the more entertaining fighters the UFC has in its arsenal.

UFC: Paige VanZant And Husband Have COVID-19 In Strange Turn Of Events

Paige VanZant

Paige VanZant is one of the more recognizable faces in the female divisions of the UFC, but despite that fame, she can’t catch a break career wise. She was submitted in the first round in her last fight after recovering from her third career fractured arm, and now, it looks like she’s been hit with another ailment: COVID-19.

That might keep her out of her scheduled debut for the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. It’s set for November, so there is still time for her to recover, but it doesn’t look like VanZant is doing the best right now at this moment in time.

She’s not the only one in her household to have the disease. Her husband, Austin Vanderford, was set to fight in Bellator but was removed from the Bellator 246 card because of testing positive. According to VanZant, Vanderford is the one that caused her to pick up the disease herself, and she spoke on Instagram about her condition.

Vanderford may have passed the virus to VanZant

VanZant took to Instagram recently and in the post, she makes the claim that the virus came from her husband, Bellator fighter Austin Vanderford. She also went to YouTube about it and uploaded a video called “MY HUSBAND GAVE ME COVID!!” which covers the same thing.

Interestingly enough, this is the second time that Vanderford has had a positive diagnosis.

“I’ve taken like 12 Advil today, because I have a migraine so bad that I feel like my head’s going to explode,” VanZant said in the video.

Fortunately for her career however, the virus seems to run its course in most people quickly enough that it may not pull her away from her debut fight with BKFC which is still set for November. With that being said, it looks like VanZant’s symptoms are pretty strong at the moment, so one can only hope the situation doesn’t get more serious than it is right now.

UFC: Brian Ortega Ready To Hit Chan Sung Jung In The Face

Brian Ortega, UFC

One of the most interesting fights this coming October looks like the one that will feature Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung. It’s not a title fight or even a number one contender fight, but the mild case of bad blood in the runup to the bout paints an interesting picture of the fight between two fan favorites.

Both could reasonably contend for the title within the next year or so, both have their own fanbases rooting for them to win, and the two camps already had a bit of an altercation which saw a police report filed against Ortega. The incident had Ortega slap Jung’s translator, Jay Park, and while Ortega has said things aren’t personal because of that incident, he didn’t deny that it is a bit personal in other ways.

Oretga can’t wait to hit Jung in the face

Just because Ortega isn’t hung up on the incident with Park doesn’t mean he’s not looking forward to getting to lay hands on Jung. While speaking to MMAJunkie, he claimed the fight is semi-personal.

“It’s not too personal. It’s basically semi-personal. Usually, you sign a contract and you fight someone and you understand that that’s your opponent and you have respect for them. But me and him lost respect for each other, and now I guess if you want to call it personal, it’s personal. But it’s more of someone I don’t like that I want to hit in the face that I get to without going to jail,” Ortega elaborated.

He also said that he’s expecting, in his words, a “slugfest.” With some technical work, too, of course.

“Me and him kind of already have our thing where we want to hit each other in the face. So honestly, I just see a slugfest and some technical work. But yeah – we kind of don’t like each other.”

The dislike between the two fighters is interesting because it seems more genuine than some of the feuds in the UFC. Some fighters take to over the top trash talk to sell their fights. Sometimes, there’s back and forth social media wars for weeks leading up to a bout.

This fight doesn’t quite have that. It doesn’t appear Ortega and Jung like each other, and neither one is making a point of publicizing that to get eyes on the fight. It’s not a publicity stunt as much as it is a simple fact.

Their fight is set for October 17th, and it may result in a number one contender rising at featherweight – but that, of course, all depends on how the ranking committee decides to value the outcome.

UFC: Neil Magny Calls Matchup With Robbie Lawler ‘Even Better’

Robbie Lawler

UFC welterweight Neil Magny will fight in the co-main event of the upcoming Fight Night event on the 29th, but that almost wasn’t the case. That’s because his opponent was originally Geoff Neal, who was forced to withdraw from the bout earlier this month because of a sudden health scare. In fact, Neal went as far as to say on Instagram that he almost died.

Missing the fight under those circumstances is perfectly understandable, but it left Magny without an opponent. That is, until the matchmakers came through with an interesting bout involving a former champion.

Robbie Lawler has three straight losses and it’s been a little over a year since his last fight, but he’s giving it another go and Magny is the opponent this time. And according to Magny, it’s a matchup he’s excited for.

Neil Magny calls the fight with Lawler an even better opportunity

“It caught me a little off-guard. First, when I got the email about Geoff Neal falling out, I was kind of bummed and it was like, ‘Hey, man. Geoff Neal fell out of the fight; we’re keeping you on standby. The next day was like, ‘Hey, Robbie Lawler wants to fight,’ and I was like, ‘Holy crap. This is even better,’” Magny told MMAJunkie during a virtual media event.

Magny is currently looking to climb in a tough division. He’s near the bottom of the top fifteen, but with some of the other names in the division, that’s not a bad spot. The higher positions are closely contested, but Magny thinks a win over Lawler would elevate him.

He claimed a win would definitely put him in the top 10. He also claimed it would put him on the path to getting a title shot in the future.

“If I go out there and put on a great performance against him, then I’m fighting guys in the top 10 and moving closer to that title shot. I’m not going to be as naive and say I beat Robbie Lawler on Saturday and I’m getting a title shot on Monday,” Magny admitted, while remaining optimistic. “I know there’s some work to be done as far as working my way through ranks and that kind of thing, but a win over Robbie Lawler definitely propels me in the right direction.”

Lawler’s last fight was a defeat against Colby Covington during August of last year. Magny, on the other hand, is on his second straight victory and last defeated Anthony Rocco Martin as recently as June at UFC 250.

Both of those wins came this year, giving Magny good momentum to break into the top 10 going into the last stretch of 2020.

UFC: Israel Adesanya Up To Follow Jon Jones At Heavyweight

UFC, Jon Jones

The heavyweight division of the UFC got more interesting when Jon Jones announced his plans to vacate the light heavyweight belt and move up. Jones has cleaned out most of the division over the course of his career, but new challenges await at heavyweight. One of those challenges could be a clash with Israel Adesanya, who will now almost certainly miss on a chance to take Jones on at light heavyweight.

Right now, of course, Adesanya is a middleweight. It makes the idea of a matchup at heavyweight a bit awkward. There’s a larger size gap between middleweight and heavyweight than there is between heavyweight and light heavyweight.

However, it doesn’t seem like the larger gap is deterring Adesanya from pursuing a fight with Jones at some point in the future. Maybe even the near future. Adesanya was open to the chance of fighting Jones at light heavyweight but wanted to defend his middleweight title first. He did that in March, against Yoel Romero. Now, jumping up for a high profile superfight isn’t off the cards.

Will the fight ever happen? Adesanya thinks so.

In a recent virtual media event, Adesanya had some strong words for Jones and said that he hasn’t moved away from his plans.

“One hundred percent. It doesn’t change my plans. My plan is still going forward as planned. So, yeah, same thing. Look how long it took him to move up to heavyweight, finally. Like I said, he was expecting me to do it straight away, when I hadn’t even defended my belt yet. I’ve defended my belt twice now, I want to defend it a few more times and then do what I set out to do,” Adesanya said.

He likened Jones to the pot calling the kettle black. He said, however, that he hopes current heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou doesn’t ‘break’ Jones – presumably because Adesanya himself still wants a shot at the former light heavyweight champ.

In any case, the fans win if this matchup happens – Adesanya has never lost and is currently 19-0 with a habit for entertaining wins, and Jones has a history of dominating some of the best competition in the UFC. If the two ever do meet at heavyweight, it’s almost guaranteed to be one of the closest and most entertaining bouts we’ve seen in a long time.

UFC: Justin Gaethje Has Confident Words For Khabib Nurmagomedov

The buildup to the lightweight title unification fight between Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov has been great so far. The two are set to fight for the belt in October, but the war of words has already started.

Khabib has said that he’ll drown Gaethje with his ground and pound skills. Gaethje, on the other hand, believes he’ll counter it with a ‘zone of death.’ Pretty aggressive language for both fighters, and it shows just how confident both are in their abilities.

Gaethje spoke to former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping on the Believe You Me podcast. During the appearance, he pointed out his experience in wrestling and gave some reasons for his own confidence going into this one.

Gaethje and the ‘zone of death’

“I was a Division-1 All-American…” Gaethje said. “Division-I college wrestling in America is the highest level other than going to the Olympics and wrestling on the international level. But we’re not wrestling anymore.There’s going to be a zone in front of me. It’s not very big. It’s going to be a zone of death, and if I have to represent death every time he enters the zone, that’s what I’m the best (at) – creating carnage, creating car crashes.”

Gaethje stated further that creating as many of these ‘car crashes’ as possible is his goal. He also spoke about his current training partners, which includes some of the top current NCAA wrestlers, who he even admits to struggling against in training. He also had a reflection to make from his past fights.

“I have never not come out of the cage with my opponent not being broken from physical damage,” Gaethje said. There’s not much of a lie there. Gaethje only has two career losses and both of them were Fight of the Night performances where his opponent didn’t get off easy. “He’s never not walked out with a lot of physical damage, so we’re going to see who’s going to impose their will. It’ll be interesting. I do think it’ll be a battle for the ages.”

Nurmagomedov is unlike any opponent that Gaethje has faced before. However, his victory against Tony Ferguson in the fifth round is proof that Gaethje can hang with some of the top ground fighters in the game.

At UFC 254, we’ll see if that experience is enough to hang with Khabib, who is still undefeated and on the hunt for a 30-0 record before retirement. It will be a while before the event takes place. It’s scheduled for October 24th, 2020. But based on the talk so far, it looks like it’s worth the wait.

UFC 252: Daniel Cormier Has His Own Training Bubble For Stipe Fight

It’s safe to say that the upcoming rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic is a big deal. It’s the main event at UFC 252 and also marks a trilogy of fights between the two heavyweight stars. It also looks like it’s going to be Cormier’s last fight.

For obvious reasons, Cormier is putting in quite the effort in training for it. However, 2020 is not a normal year. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, training is a little more complicated. For Cormier, there’s the added complication of having two kids and a pregnant wife, which is enough reason for extra caution.

How is Cormier handling the unique problem?

Just like the NBA has decided to move its players and teams to a closed off location to protect them from exposure, Cormier has opted to keep himself away from his family for their own good. He talked with TMZ Sports about preparing for the upcoming fight in his own ‘bubble’ style training environment, which he says that his family understands.

“Yeah, I got a pregnant wife who’s 7.5 months pregnant. Two kids, a 9-year-old, an 8-year-old, and I’m not even living at home because I’m having to prepare for this fight – but that also shows the commitment from the family to understand what I’m trying to do here is so special,” Cormier said.

For Stipe Miocic, this will be his third straight fight against Cormier. For Cormier, it’s his second straight against Miocic and the third in his past four fights overall. It’s an unusual situation, but this is certainly the last fight between them.

Cormier believes he has a chance to go out as one of the greatest with a victory.

“I think that all the things I’ve done at heavyweight and at light heavyweight makes me one of the greatest fighters of all time, period! But, if I become a 2-time heavyweight champion there’s only a few guys that’ve done that before in their careers. I think that by being the most dominant heavyweight of all time twice would make me the greatest heavyweight UFC’s ever seen,” Cormier continued further.

We won’t have to wait long to find out the result to the fight and which one will come away with the heavyweight belt, however. It’s set to be the main event of UFC 252, and that’s practically right around the corner on August 15th.

EA Releases Top Fighter Rankings For Upcoming EA Sports UFC 4

It’s been a while since EA Sports jumped onto the MMA scene, after the company had originally been clowned by Dana White for not being interested in making a UFC game. Since then, things have changed. EA Sports UFC is considered a successful game. The series is headed to its fourth installment, EA Sports UFC 4, which is set to come out later this month.

Ratings updates are one of the main features in new sports game releases and this one is no exception. EA Sports has released the updated rankings for the top fighters, causing some to raise eyebrows at their choices.

The top fighters in the game

Amanda Nunes comes in as the top fighter in the game which isn’t too much of a surprise. She hasn’t lost since 2014 and so far she’s cleaned out everyone that’s coming for either one of her belts. There’s no obvious challenger that has a good shot at knocking her off, which is probably what placed her higher than Jon Jones in the rankings.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is also unsurprisingly at number three with one of the longest win streaks in the UFC. His undefeated record is good enough to make him one of only four five star fighters in the game.

The first surprising decision might be the placement of Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko is the last of the five star fighters, but comes in above Henry Cejudo. Cejudo has a longer winning streak than Shevchenko currently does, and won and defended two belts during the stretch of wins. Shevchenko, on the other hand, has just defended her flyweight belt against shallower competition.

Some other dominant fighters such as Stipe Miocic, Georges St-Pierre, and Kamaru Usman are also listed as four and a half star fighters instead of five star fighters. The decisions on ratings will raise some eyebrows for sure, but on the other hand, ratings in these kinds of games always do.

If fans want to see changes, the best they can probably do is make their opinions known on social media and wait to see what EA Sports decides to do.