Conor McGregor on Recent UFC Callouts – “I accept!”

Conor McGregor, UFC

Well you had to know that the biggest star in UFC history couldn’t stay quiet for too long as people continue to call him out.

Conor McGregor is notorious for using Twitter to respond/callout fellow fighters in the UFC. The former double champion seemingly responded to some of the recent callouts today.

Now of course, this tweet doesn’t really tell us a lot about McGregor’s UFC future. What we do know is that McGregor “retired” due to the lack of options when it came to fighting. McGregor wanted an active 2020 and it’s been anything but.

Who in the UFC is calling him out?

One of the most recent callouts that makes the most sense would be Tony Ferguson. Ferguson recently told ESPN that he was wanting to either fight McGregor or Dustin Poirier next.

McGregor and Ferguson have had verbal back and forths in the past. A fight between the two never came close to getting done. When Ferguson was ready for a title shot, McGregor was boxing Floyd Mayweather.

Another person who has called out McGregor in recent months is Dustin Poirier. Poirier has fought McGregor once at UFC 178 and was knocked out in the first round.

Of course, that fight was a long time ago, and Poirier is much better know. The Diamond has wanted to get that fight back and believes he could beat McGregor if they rematched at lightweight.

One of the latest callouts is coming from the UFC‘s budding star, Khamzat Chimaev. Chimaev has been very vocal about his dislike of McGregor. He tweeted this out earlier today.

We do not know who McGregor is talking about with his cryptic “I accept,” tweet. Nobody really believes he’s retired so it would make sense that he would start angling for another fight soon. Who do you think he’s talking about in his tweet?

 

UFC: Tony Ferguson – Dustin Poirier is the fight to make

Tony Ferguson, UFC

There is no division in the UFC that is as talent heavy at the top as the lightweight division. The top five guys in the division all rank within the top fifteen in the promotions pound-for-pound rankings.

Two of the guys at the very top are former interim UFC champions, Tony Ferguson (25-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC).

Ferguson is coming off of a loss to Justin Gaethje for the interim title back at UFC 249 in May. Prior to that loss, Ferguson had a 12 fight winning streak that dated back to 2013.

Since the loss where Ferguson took a lot of damage, many were wondering what would be next for Ferguson. Ferguson laid out what he thinks the plan should be moving forward to ESPN.

Battle of two of the UFC’s best

I love what Ferguson is thinking, but realistically, I only see one of these being an option for his next UFC fight. I think the only fight that Conor McGregor will take next is a fight for the title.

With that being said, it leaves The Diamond. Poirier is coming off of an insane victory in a war with Dan Hooker back in June. Poirier is 6-1, 1 NC in his last eight fights. He holds a victory over current interim champion, Justin Gaethje.

These top UFC lightweights would make for a perfect matchup. If they were to fight, the winner would make a very clear number one contender for the winner of Khabib – Gaethje.

Of course, there are a few hurdles in the way of that. The hurdles being Conor McGregor and Georges St. Pierre. The UFC lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov, wants to supposedly retire 30-0 meaning he’d only fight two more times.

If Khabib defeats Gaethje, he said that he wants to fight GSP next year in his final fight. This is a fight the UFC is open to. The promotion will also likely try to push for a McGregor rematch given the magnitude of that fight.

Those hurdles will create a massive headache and problem for Ferguson and Poirier. These two men would be the most deserving of a shot at the title, but will likely be in limbo if Nurmagomedov wins in October.

Regardless, this is the fight that the UFC needs to put together. It makes sense from a rankings perspective, and I mean who wouldn’t want to see these two throw down?

UFC: What’s next for Dustin Poirier?

Dustin Poirier, UFC

There is no doubt that Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) is one of the best lightweights in the UFC. In fact, you could definitely say he’s one of the best fighters in the promotion.

The Diamond is 6-1 with 1 NC in his last eight fights defeating some of the best names in the sport. His lone loss coming to the UFC‘s undisputed lightweight king, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Last month, Poirier defeated Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12 in an instant classic. Poirier has had some time to heal and was interviewed by Jim Rome about his future this week.

“I’ve been fighting for a while, I have 40 fights, and I want these last four or five years to really mean something every time I get into the octagon… I really want to leave a legacy” Poirier told Rome.

When asked about what he wants next, Poirier said, “It needs to be a really big name or a title fight. I’ve been doing this for 10 years in the UFC, and I still love fighting, but I want these fights to mean more than just a fight.”

What should the UFC do?

Given how brutal the last fight was with Hooker, I would still give Poirier a little time before offering him a fight if I was the UFC. If he’s not going to get a title shot next, ESM’s Olivier Dumont suggests he start with Tony Ferguson (25-4).

Like Poirier, Ferguson is also a former UFC interim lightweight champion. Ferguson just suffered his first loss in May after going on a winning streak that spanned seven years.

A fight between the two men would determine a clear number one contender in the lightweight division. The fight would be a fight that fans would love to see.

Another matchup that the fans would love to see is the rematch with the sports most famous fighter, Conor McGregor (22-4).

McGregor is retired for now, but he’s likely going to fight for the title upon his return to the octagon. However, if the UFC persuades him to take another fight, Poirier makes perfect sense.

The two men fought at featherweight years ago, and McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round at UFC 178. The two men are much better now and a rematch would be fascinating to watch.

One outside the box idea that I like would be a fight with Nate Diaz (20-12). Yes, Diaz has said that he doesn’t want to cut to 155 anymore, but this fight was already scheduled once. The fight was originally scheduled for UFC 230.

If Poirier wants a big name, he’s not going to get much better than Diaz. Who knows when we will see Diaz again, but a fight with Poirier would be one I’d be excited for.

There are several avenues the UFC can go with Poirier. I think Ferguson is the most likely if you ask me, but it will be interesting to see how the promotion moves forward with The Diamond.

UFC: Halfway through 2020, what has been the FOTY so far?

We are officially halfway through 2020. The UFC has put on some incredible cards, and the UFC has overcame a worldwide pandemic over the last two months to bring sports back to the world. There have been some incredible fights so far in 2020, but what has been the fight of the year?

Best of the Rest

This year has been so much fun when it comes to the UFC. We have seen the return of Conor McGregor, we’ve seen highlight reel knockouts, and we’ve seen some unforgettable fights. I have come up with a list of the three best fights of 2020, but there are several fights beyond my list that have brought many to their feet. Some of the fights that come to mind are: Emmett/Burgos, Felder/Hooker, Yadong/Vera, and many more. However, the three fights I have picked, I believe stand above the rest.

Justin Gaethje vs Tony Ferguson – UFC 249

When this fight was announced in April, did you expect anything else? Tony Ferguson (25-4) was the boogieman of the lightweight division, and Justin Gaethje (22-2) lives up to his name in being the highlight of the lightweight division. After UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, was pulled from his fight with Ferguson due to COVID-19 restrictions, Gaethje stepped up.

The UFC booked Ferguson/Gaethje for the interim lightweight title at UFC 249. The smart money was on Ferguson leading into the fight. Ferguson hadn’t lost in eight years, and many believed that he was the best lightweight in the world. Gaethje might have been the most exciting fighter in the world, but his reckless style has caused him to drop a few of his bigger fights. However, it became very apparent from the beginning, this was not the old Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje immediately took the center of the octagon throwing sharp and crisp combinations at Ferguson. “El Cucuy” was fully prepared to go to war firing back. The first round was action packed with Gaethje hitting Ferguson often. However, most got the sense that Gaethje would slow down as the fight went on. In the second round, Ferguson picked up his pace and dropped Gaethje near the end of the round.

Personally, I thought Ferguson was going to assume control, but that wasn’t the case. Gaethje came right out in the third with the same pace he started with. However, he was much more calculated. Gaethje was smart and picked his shots wisely against the former UFC interim champion, Ferguson. After putting on a clinic in the later rounds, Gaethje smashed Ferguson’s nose which caused Ferguson to turn away. The referee stopped the fight giving Gaethje the interim title. Both men threw everything they had at the other in an absolute war for five rounds, but on May 9th, Justin Gaethje was the better man.

Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker – UFC on ESPN 12

Man, I think I’m still recovering from this one. This past Saturday at UFC on ESPN 12, Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) and Dan Hooker (20-9) put on an absolute show. The fight was booked earlier in the summer after Hooker had called Poirier out back in February. Poirier was coming off a title shot against Nurmagomedov, and was looking to get back to victory. A win for either man would put them squarely in title contention.

There was really no feeling out process with this fight. After throwing big kicks early, both men looked to focus completely on the other man’s face. In the first two rounds, Hooker did a fantastic job of landing clean and precise shots. Poirier was landing his shots too, but Hooker seemed to have the cleaner lands. Several times early, both men ended up in close quarters just throwing reckless power shots at the other.

Late in the second round, Hooker unleashed a combination that would have put most lightweights down. In fact, if it wasn’t for the cage, I’m not sure Poirier would have stayed on his feet. Poirier went back to his stool down to rounds to the contender from New Zealand. At this point, I thought we were looking at the next UFC title contender in Dan Hooker.

Starting in the third round, Poirier drastically turned the tables. Both men were still throwing all they had at the other, but it was Poirier who was now landing the cleaner shots on Hooker. Both men really started to fatigue in the middle rounds, but Poirier seemed to have just a little more in the tank.

The last two rounds were where Poirier really won the fight. Hooker had slowed massively, and Poirier was taking advantage. Despite getting caught a few times coming in, Poirier’s relentless pace took over in the later rounds. Both men were absolutely battered coming down the stretch of this one.

The fight went to the scorecards and all three judges gave the fight to Poirier. Hooker had won the first two rounds on all scorecards, but Poirier won the final three rounds. A tremendous back and forth battle that will go down as one of the better fights in UFC history.

Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk – UFC 248

You really can’t get much better than the fight between UFC strawweight champion, Weili Zhang (22-1), and former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4). A few years ago, Jedrzejczyk was known as the best female fighter in the sport. Since losing the title back in 2017, Jedrzejczyk has desperately tried to get back to UFC gold. UFC 248 gave her the chance.

Weili Zhang is the first UFC champion to be born in China. She is turning into a superstar, but she needed an opponent that could truly shine a light on her greatness. She found that opponent back in March when she took on the former champion, Jedrzejczyk.

This fight was so special because it was on the highest of levels, and the action was non-stop. From the opening bell, both ladies threw precise combinations at the other. The pace was unlike anything that I had ever seen in a title fight. Both women were putting everything on their shots, but it wasn’t wild.

This was a striking match on the highest of levels. Jedrzejczyk was really light on her feet throughout the entire fight landing great shots from the outside. Zhang did a tremendous job at stepping in and countering as Jedrzejczyk threw. Both women hit the other frequently, and they hit each other clean. Watching this fight you just had to keep wondering when someone was going to get tired.

All the way into the championship rounds, the women never slowed down. Both ladies pushed forward throwing everything. You had spinning attacks, leg kicks, head kicks, straights, uppercuts, hooks, you know it. It was a striking clinic put on by both women. Both women were visibly beat up, and the fight was razor close.

Entering the final round, I don’t think anyone knew who was winning. The fight was dead even at all times. Every time one woman would land, the other would land a counter. The UFC fans were getting spoiled back in March. In the end, two of the three judges gave the fight to the champion, Weili Zhang. The fight was truly one of the best fights I had ever seen, and it was at the highest level of the sport for a UFC title.

The UFC’s FOTY in 2020 (So far)

All three of these contenders are excellent fights, but if I’m going to give the award, it’s going to Zhang and Jedrzejczyk. The fight was truly a thing of beauty. The perfect balance of technique and violence. It never turned into a brawl where technique went out the window, but you would think with the damage that both women suffered, it was a massive brawl with no defense on display. Also the fact that it was for the title puts it over the top. Women’s MMA has come so far over the last few years, but the fight that Zhang/Jedrzejczyk put on back at UFC 248 is the greatest female fight of all time, and it’s not close in my opinion.

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.