Coach confirms Conor McGregor is ‘retired’ from UFC, MMA

Fight fans believing it’s only a matter of time before former two-division champion Conor McGregor comes out of his latest ” retirement” whenever UFC boss Dana White presents the outspoken Irishman with a financially-pleasing deal may not want to speak with McGregor’s coach about the situation.

As noted by Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, longtime McGregor coach John Kavanagh discussed his fighter’s latest sabbatical from the Octagon during an Instagram Live session and said that, as far as he knows, the soon-to-be 32-year-old has hung his gloves up for good.

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 6/30/20

Las Vegas cleared to host May 30, June 6 UFC shows

The UFC has cleared its final hurdle to return to Las Vegas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, UFC boss Dana White confirmed to TMZ Sports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission approved the May 30 and June 6 events that will transpire at the UFC’s Apex in Vegas.

White told TMZ:

“I am so excited to be back in Vegas!!! Our Apex arena is incredible and the production value we can provide to fans is next level and it’s a safe environment for my fighters and my staff.”

Earlier this week, MMA Junkie’s Nolan King reported on UFC protocols for increased testing and additional social-distancing and self-isolation guidelines for fighters and corners ahead of shows occurring in Vegas. It’s believed these measures were necessary for the promotion to get the final go-ahead for upcoming events in the city and state.

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 5/27/20

UFC 249 canceled amid COVID-19 pandemic

UFC head Dana White had some high hopes for the sport even with the United States currently being the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. That included the UFC hosting weekly events on a private island until the pandemic passes.

It was not meant to be. White announced on Thursday that UFC 249, scheduled for next week, has been completely canceled. All future UFC events will also be postponed indefinitely.

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 4/9/20

Association of Ringside Physicians recommends ‘indefinite suspension’ of combat sports during coronavirus pandemic

It appears UFC boss Dana White is prepared to go against the advice of doctors if he plans to host multiple events during the spring and summer months. 

On the same day White announced Tony Ferguson would face Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight championship in the main event of UFC 249 on April 18 in an undisclosed location and told TMZ Sports that he’d secured a private island to host future cards, the Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) called for the indefinite suspension of all combat sports:

It is our recommendation that all combat sporting events be postponed until further notice. This includes any and all events, regardless of the number of people involved.

Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of Covid-19. In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system.

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 4/7/20

Kobe Bryant was a UFC investor, will be honored at UFC 247

Kobe Bryant made hundreds of millions of dollars in salary and endorsements during his remarkable NBA career, but he was also a very savvy investor. One of the ways he spent his money in recent years was by purchasing an ownership stake in the UFC, and UFC president Dana White says Kobe was extremely excited about the future of the organization.

White was asked by TMZ this week if the UFC is planning to honor Bryant, who has inspired athletes from all sports. White said there will be a tribute to Kobe at UFC 247 on Saturday night, and White also revealed that Kobe was an investor in the UFC and Body Armour, which is the official energy drink of the UFC.

“Kobe got a distribution from the UFC the Wednesday before the incident,” White said. “He was so pumped up and so excited. He said what everybody always says — I wish I invested more.”

White also said he knew Bryant on a personal level.

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 2/7/20

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Conor McGregor wastes Cowboy Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246

Conor McGregor against Cowboy Cerrone turned out to be the mismatch many believed it was.

McGregor destroyed Cerrone in 40 seconds to win via TKO at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on Saturday night. He caught Cerrone with a kick that stunned his opponent and then followed up with a big knee and a few punches that sent Cerrone into the cage. From there, McGregor overwhelmed Cerrone with multiple punches.

Cerrone ended up on the mat, and it was only a matter of time before referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight. Feeling Cerrone could no longer defend himself, Dean stopped the fight after 40 seconds, giving McGregor the win.

The TKO marked McGregor’s first win in the UFC since November 2016. The 31-year-old boxed against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018, and did not compete at all in 2019. He is now 22-4 in his MMA career and has finished 19 of his wins via a KO or TKO.

The attendance at T-Mobile Arena was over 19,000, and the gate was over $11 million, ranking it as the fourth-largest in UFC history. McGregor took home a Performance of the Night bonus for his effort.

The UFC seems eager to set up a McGregor vs. Jorge Masvidal fight at some point in the future.

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 1/19/20

Robert Whittaker believes Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t lose anytime soon

28 men have tried, 28 have failed. After Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, he improved to 28-0 and looked unstoppable in the process.

For middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, he doesn’t believe the Russian will lose for a long time. He says his skill set is super impressive given everyone knows what he will do, but they can’t stop it. That of course, is the wrestling.

“I don’t see Khabib losing anytime soon,” Whittaker said on his Grange TV podcast. “I just can’t. He put work on Dustin (Poirier). Dustin is a great fighter. And, you know, every opponent that goes in there to fight Khabib knows what Khabib is going to do. They know. So I’m sure Dustin worked wrestling defense rigorously, like the entire camp.”

In the fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov kept on coming forward and going for takedowns and throwing strikes. He didn’t appear tired at all, and even escaped a tight guillotine choke.

Yet, for Robert Whittaker, the takedowns and escaping the choke was not the most impressive thing for the middleweight champ. Instead, it is the Russian’s chin.

“Khabib is something else,” Whittaker said. “His cardio, his subtle technique, his arm endurance, his stamina, and what blew me out of the water was his chin. He copped one of Dustin’s textbook left hands on the button of his chin.”

Of course, Khabib Nurmagomedov has taken some heavy shots from both Poirier and Conor McGregor in his past two fights. Yet, he kept on walking forward. For Whittaker, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ability to take a heavy shot, his cardio, and wrestling is so impressive that no one will be able to beat him. So, the Aussie champ expects the Russian to reign supreme over the lightweight division for quite a long time. And, there is no reason to doubt Whittaker right now.

By: Cole Shelton

UFC Uruguay: Liz Carmouche on first fight with Valentina Shevchenko, expectations in title rematch, experience facing Ronda Rousey

Liz Carmouche gets a rare opportunity on Saturday night when she battles Valentina Shevchenko for Shevchenko’s flyweight title in the main event of UFC Uruguay.

Carmouche (13-6) made MMA history when she was in the UFC’s first ever female fight when she headlined UFC 157 back in February 2013. Early on, Carmouche had Ronda Rousey in a bit of trouble, locking her in a standing rear-naked choke/face crank. But the UFC Hall of Famer escaped and won the thrilling affair late in the first round.

Realizing she was too small to compete at 135 pounds, Carmouche moved down to flyweight at the end of 2017. Moving down proved to be the right decision, as Carmouche has gone 2-1 to earn a crack at Shevchenko.

Days before her second shot at glory, Carmouche sat down with Sporting News to discuss her fight with Shevchenko in September 2010, if she thought she’d ever get to this point and what valuable experiences she took from taking on Rousey.

(Editor’s note: This interview was edited for clarity.)

Sporting News: How much do you remember from the first fight against Shevchenko?

Liz Carmouche: Not much because I was still so green. The biggest thing I took from the fight was that I was actually supposed to fight her sister and that’s who I signed the contract for. The organization was super shady and pulled one over on me when I arrived at the fight. I was able to pull off a win by an upkick and cutting her a bit. The doctor had to stop it because of the excessive blood loss.

SN: Since the fight took place so long ago, were you able to find any highlights to study from?

LC: Not at all. The organization was super shady. The fight wasn’t very well lit as it took place outside in a dark area on a reservation without any cell phone reception. I had friends and family at the fight as I liked having one of them to record my fights so I can have tape and study. I haven’t been able to find anything.

I showed up to the venue and Valentina was on the poster. After talking with the promoter, I was promised to pay her an extra couple hundred bucks and a daily per diem which they didn’t do.

SN: Looking back, did you ever think you’d be at this point in your career coming out of that fight?

LC: Not at all. Are you kidding me? At that point, I was still going to college full-time and dragging around my textbooks every time I had to go away for a fight. I was taking last-minute phone calls for matches, training, and working. I was doing all of that and not even sure if fighting was something that had a future for me. It really didn’t look like women were making a career out of it. So, I certainly didn’t know if that was something I could do. Fast forward to nine years later and where I am at, I could never have anticipated this. Ever.

I had zero interest in going to college. I used my GI Bill to help pay for training. I hated doing group projects or deal with people in the class who aren’t paying attention. That made me go insane. I was looking for any way out. My sanity was fighting. I looked forward to every day because of fighting. I had to keep my grades up or lose my GI Bill because it was paying for everything to help me train.

SN: Do you take anything from the Rousey fight that you could bring into Saturday?

LC: I took a lot from that Ronda fight. What that taught me was one – just how to manage my time. One of the things I had to do was that I was told by the UFC PR team that they need a minimum of two hours every day just to do interviews. I’m like, ‘That’s a lot of talking. Two hours every day. Are you kidding me?’ I figured out with those two hours how to budget my time. At night, I had to work and I was still going to school and doing all this stuff. I learned how to manage my time efficiently.

The other thing I learned is the adversity that I can face under everything I went through with the buildup to that fight. I knew I wanted that fight. I knew I could win that fight. I had no doubts about that in my mind. I wasn’t sure if I had a future in my fight career. Even though I lost that fight, I knew that there was plenty I could take away from the experience. I knew the work ethic I needed to put in to be that much better to learn from the lessons that were taught to me that day and how to take away and learn and grow as a fighter.

What I also took away was that I wasn’t even fighting in the correct weight class. When she rehydrated, she was enormous compared to me. I was still 135 when I walked into the Octagon. I’m genuinely a flyweight. Ronda looked like she was 155. I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, here we go again. I’m at another disadvantage.’

I’ve learned so much and grown from that fight. For me to focus on that fight would be taking a step backward and I’m only going forward.

SN: The fight ends and contemplating went wrong, did you think getting a title shot was possible since the company hadn’t implemented any more weight classes at that time?

LC: After the Ronda fight, I wasn’t sure what the UFC held for me. I think coming out of that fight, I didn’t know if losing that fight meant that I could get cut because I knew the rumors at the time was how easily fighters could get cut from the UFC. I didn’t know what that meant for me and also if I was kept on, how long it would take to get back into title contention. I certainly didn’t think at the time it would be at flyweight. I thought it would have to happen at bantamweight again or possibly have to go up a division.

SN: The consensus among MMA pundits is that Valentina is the second-best female fighter in the world behind Amanda Nunes. How do you view Valentina as a fighter?

LC: As the person standing in the way of my belt because that’s all I see.

Written By Steven Muehlhausen

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mma/news/ufc-uruguay-liz-carmouche-first-fight-with-valentina-shevchenko-what-she-expects-in-the-title-rematch-and-what-she-learned-from-facing-ronda-rousey/13yl4wr2r39am17tly6sgsyv9k

Demetrious Johnson’s next ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix opponent confirmed

On Friday night in Manila, Philippines, Tatsumitsu Wada (21-10-2) defeated Gustavo Balart (8-1) and advanced to the semi-finals of the ONE Championship Flyweight Grand Prix.

All three judges scored the bout in favor of the Japanese mixed martial artist but the decision has proven to be controversial. Balart appeared to be the more effective of the two fighters in all three rounds. He used his patented forward blitz to close the distance and unload fast and powerful punches. He also scored with plenty of well-timed leg kicks throughout the bout. Wada had his moments too, but they were few and far between.

With his unanimous decision win against Balart, Wada has earned a three-round bout with former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson.

Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (28-3-1) recently moved forward to the semi-final round after he submitted Yuya Wakamatsu (10-4) with a brilliant guillotine choke at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo, Japan. Johnson was tested by the 24-year-old at times in the first round and it wasn’t exactly the walkover that many fans had anticipated before the event.

The other ONE Flyweight Grand Prix semi-final bout will see former ONE flyweight champion Kairat Akhmetov go head-to-head with former title challenger Danny Kingad.

The event and dates of these two flyweight bouts are yet to be announced.

Original Article

By: Jake Nichols

UFC 235 Predictions: Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz

Cody Garbrandt is in the spot that former champions like Jose Aldo and Joanna Jedrzejczyk have also found themselves in, with two losses to the champion and no way to move upwards, but he’s also significantly less proven in the division than those two. Garbrandt’s title win over Dominick Cruz was a brilliant performance, but his path to the champion was somewhat questionable; knockouts over Almeida and Mizugaki allowed him to cut in front of the elite contenders to face Cruz. With Cruz’s constant injury issues, Garbrandt essentially has no relevant wins in the current landscape of the division; Cody has a point to prove going into his fight at UFC 235, and he’ll look to use his bout against Pedro Munhoz as an example of why he rocketed up the division in 2016.

Meanwhile, Pedro Munhoz has been quietly rising the ranks for a while now, with excellent wins over Rob Font and Bryan Caraway. “The Young Punisher” has looked sensational as a grappler and has shown off a vicious kicking game in his last two, losing only once in his last seven fights. Scheduled to be on a PPV main card for the first time in the UFC, Munhoz looks to bring his brand of violence to the former champion, and join the current bantamweight champion as the only fighters to professionally defeat Cody No Love.

No Love

Cody Garbrandt’s game is far deeper than it is broad; Garbrandt really only excels as a pocket boxer, but his ancillary skills do a good job funneling his opponents into the area of the fight where they can’t compete. Undefeated as an amateur boxer and undefeated on his road to the championship, Cody “No Love” became the last hope of Team Alpha Male to defeat a resurgent Dominick Cruz; Garbrandt delivered in sensational fashion, but two losses later, he needs a statement win to keep himself in the mix.

Garbrandt’s game is largely “wait for the other guy to swing, and then punch him until he stops functioning.” For an amateur boxer, Garbrandt’s arsenal is oddly narrow; his shot selection is largely limited to the 2-3 and the 3-2, but it worked until UFC 217 due to tight mechanics and insane speed. Garbrandt’s best-case scenario for a fight looks something like his sub-minute KO of Takeya Mizugaki, in which he was able to force exchanges out of his opponent at will and put him down with the first clean connection.

The Cruz performance wasn’t only surprising in the sense that a prospect off a lower-level win took out one of the most highly regarded bantamweights ever, it was also shocking in the sense that “quick KO artist without proven wrestling” seemed to be the perfect matchup for the elusive champion to shine. Garbrandt’s excellent scrambling allowed him to deny every one of Dominick Cruz’s reactive takedowns, and that left Cruz walking into the pocket without one of his primary threats to pit his loopy blows (better at long range when his opponent chases after him) against a faster and crisper puncher willing to wait on him.

As impressive as that performance was, Garbrandt didn’t really fight against type; standing in the pocket swinging 3-2s and 2-3s worked when Cruz didn’t have the fundamental soundness that Garbrandt did, and that allowed Garbrandt to showboat as Cruz swung his long hooks, counter cleanly, and follow Cruz out with flurries as he retreated. The same thing didn’t work against Dillashaw; TJ was able to hang in the pocket with Garbrandt, and that meant that he was able to feint and draw out the (relatively predictable) attack patterns of “No Love” to outdo him in exchanges. Also concerning was Garbrandt’s underdeveloped kick defense; while Garbrandt is one of the mechanically strongest boxers in the UFC, the narrowness of his game and his lack of adaptability meant that Dillashaw was able to outstrike him regardless.

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