Dustin Poirier responds to Conor McGregor as war of words continues, no trash talk between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz

19 Sep

talkSPORT.com brings you a round up of all the biggest news and gossip from the world of UFC…

Poirier responds to latest McGregor taunt

The war of words between the two shows no signs of slowing down.

Poirier was the instigator by calling for a rematch with McGregor just days after his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Dustin Poirier was last beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov
Getty Images - Getty

The Irish fighter responded with a brutal reminder of how he ended their previous fight at UFC 178 in the first round.

McGregor then served up another reminded on Wednesday as he tweeted a picture of him finishing Poirier.

The Diamond was not one to let that go and quickly responded by saying: “Run it back tough guy!”

This feud does not look like it will end anytime soon.

UFC middleweight banned after positive drug test

David Branch pulled out of his fight with Andrew Sanchez in Vancouver last weekend for an unknown reason.

USADA announced the 37-year-old had failed an out of competition test in May as he tested positive for ipamorelin, a human growth hormone stimulator.

He has been banned for two years, which could put his future in the UFC in doubt.

Branch was on a two-fight losing streak in the promotion and also aired his frustrations on social media with his latest Instagram post.

No trash talk between Masvidal and Diaz

The war of words between fighters before a matchup is usually a given but do not expect any between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz before they meet at UFC 244.

Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Masvidal explained why there would not be any trash talk.

“Man he knows everything that there is to know about me. Between me, between real men it just takes a glance.

“You just exchange that look and know, ‘bro it’s gonna be go time player’.

Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz will fight in New York
Getty Images - Getty

“F*** we’re going man. The engines are running, we’re going. And that’s the thing. I don’t have to go back-and-forth with that dude.

“(When I stand across from him) I go ‘man that dude is coming to turn my f****** lights out’. We don’t need to be f****** talking s***.”

Conor McGregor hits out at Dustin Poirier after being called out for UFC rematch by The Diamond

11 Sep

Conor McGregor has called for more respect from Dustin Poirier after the American called for a rematch between the pair.

Poirier has set his sights on McGregor in the wake of his convincing defeat by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 last Saturday.

Conor McGregor has fired shots at Dustin Poirier after being called out on social media
Getty Images - Getty

The 30-year-old Louisiana native wrote on Twitter: “I think me and Conor running it back makes a lot of sense at this point.”

McGregor beat Poirier at UFC 178 back in 2014, when they were competing in the featherweight division, with a devastating first-round TKO.

And the Irishman was keen to remind his former opponent of that fight, while stoking the flames for a potential rematch.

He replied to the tweet: “I fed you to the canvas in 90 seconds bro. You should have spoke my name with a bit more respect in that build up. ‘McGregor’s not next’ Motherf*cker, it’s McGregor always! McGregor is the goal! Always! Say that now and I’ll think about it. #GoneIn90seconds #NicCage #AJolie.”

 

McGregor is plotting a return to the Octagon after almost a year away from the sport.

He hasn’t fought since his defeat by Nurmagomedov last October, and the Irishman claims he will happily face anyone at this point.

“I’m not going to wait around [for Nurmagomedov],” he said ahead of UFC 242.

Poirier was soundly beaten by Nurmagomedov on Saturday
Getty Images - Getty

“If Dustin goes in and does it [beats Nurmagomedov] then it’s Dustin, it could be Nate, Jorge [Masvidal], I don’t know what size.

“[I’ll fight] Anyone, Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, [Max] Hollaway rematch, [Jose] Aldo rematch, there’s so many bouts for me, so many.

“It doesn’t matter about who, it just matters me getting back in there and being who I am, not a shell of myself.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov earns £5million for submitting Dustin Poirier at UFC 242… as loser takes home just £235k

9 Sep

Khabib Nurmagomedov reportedly earned £5million ($6m) for defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Saturday night.

The Russian forced Poirier to submit with a rear naked choke in the third round of their contest in Abu Dhabi to extend his record to 28-0 and retain his lightweight crown.

Khabib defended his lightweight belt on Saturday
Getty Images - Getty

It was the first time Khabib had been inside the Octagon for almost a year, his last fight being the infamous victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229 last October.

For that bout the unbeaten 30-year-old allegedly made $2m, but was fined $500,000 for his part in the post-fight brawl, which saw him vault the cage to attack members of McGregor’s entourage.

While the payout figures are not official, Khabib’s career earnings now total slightly over $8m, according to MMA Manifesto, meaning he’s come a long way from the $16,000 sum he was given for his first fight in the company back in 2012.

Poirier entered the bout on the back of a four-fight win streak and, while he was dominated from the start in the searing heat, earned praise for his performance.

The Louisiana native took home considerably less that the champion, making just £235,000 ($290,000).

Before the fight, Khabib spoke about the dangers of making huge sums of money.

“I like money but the important thing is that not everything is about money,” he said.

Khabib dominated Poirier from the start and submitted him in round three
Getty Images - Getty

“Money is very important, but, at the same time, money can be very dangerous too.

“If money gets inside your mind it is bad but, when you have it in hand your hand, it is good because you are able to help people.

“When money gets inside you head, that is when it is a problem.”

UFC 242 estimated payouts

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov: $6,090,000
  • Dustin Poirier: $290,000
  • Curtis Blaydes: $165,000
  • Belal Muhammad: $135,000
  • Paul Felder: $106,000
  • Edson Barboza: $95,000
  • Muslim Salikhov: $77,500
  • Ottman Azaitar: $73,500
  • Omari Akhmedov: $72,000
  • Carlos Diego Ferreira: $51,000
  • Islam Makhachev: $49,000
  • Joanne Calderwood: $45,000
  • Zak Cummings: $43,000
  • Nordine Taleb: $33,000
  • Shamil Abdurakhimov: $27,000
  • Mairbek Taisumov: $27,000
  • Sarah Moras: $26,400
  • Don Madge: $27,500
  • Andrea Lee: $22,000
  • Davi Ramos: $21,000
  • Zubaira Tukhugov: $18,000
  • Takashi Sato: $17,500
  • Teemu Packalen: $16,000
  • Liana Jojua: $15,900
  • Lerone Murphy: $13,500
  • Fares Ziam: $13,500

Conor McGregor and Edson Barboza failed to do what one slice of tiramisu did – beat Khabib Nurmagomedov

7 Sep

Twenty seven men have stepped into the octagon with Khabib Nurmagomedov and every single opponent has left battered and bruised.

Never in mixed martial arts has one fighter been as dominant, nor as vicious, as the ‘Eagle’ once the cage door closes and Dustin Poirier is next in his sights.

The defending lightweight champion will put his world title on the line against the interim champion, with the ‘Diamond’ well aware of the sheer magnitude of the task he is facing in Abu Dhabi at UFC 242.

Khabib just about made weight on Friday ahead of UFC 242
YouTube

In fact, it can be argued Nurmagomedov has only lost one round of a fight in his professional career. And plenty of critics will tell you he eased off the gas in the third round of his grudge match with bitter rival Conor McGregor in Las Vegas last October to demolish the ‘ Notorious’ in the following round.

And while no man has ever bested Khabib, the Russian has always struggled with his weight cuts down to the 155lbs lightweight limit. Considering he walks around at almost 30 pounds over that limit, it is clear to see why.

Back in 2017, MMA fans seemed destined to finally get the fight they had craved for so many years as the UFC booked Khabib in to face Tony Ferguson at UFC 209. With Conor McGregor focusing his attention on a Floyd Mayweather super fight, the interim belt was put on the line.

But what happened next horrified and stunned the fight community in equal measure, with Khabib rushed to hospital at 4am on the morning of the weigh in upon a doctor’s recommendation as a result of the excruciating pain in his liver.

For the third time, a fight between Ferguson and Khabib was to be cancelled to injury and fans were left devastated once again. But the story was not yet over.

It transpired that on an episode of the UFC’s Embedded series, Nurmagomedov was seen at a restaurant with his close friends enjoying slices of tiramisu.

While it is not clear whether or not Khabib indulged himself in the delicious dessert, Ferguson was left mortified.

“I would love to fight Khabib, but there’s no guarantee he’s going to show up and make the weight.” Ferguson said on the MMA Hour. “I found out, too, the he was eating tiramisu, a couple weeks ago on Embedded.

“I’m like, what is this guy doing? Really? It’s plain disrespectful, it unprofessional.

“My next fight needs to be a title fight. I’ve earned every single right of the way,” Ferguson continued. “Somebody that’s guaranteed to show up. I’ve done all my homework, I’ve done, made my ends me for this fight.

“But if we’re talking Khabib, there’s got to be some sort of guarantee or insurance for this, man. It’s a crazy bug that I can’t squash and it’s a tough pill to swallow right now.”

While the notion of Khabib devouring a calorie-loaded cake in the build up to a huge fight seems ridiculous, the MMA world made several jokes at the Russian’s expense.

So much so, the two-time Sambo world champion felt the need to actually declare to the world he was not bested by a slice of cake.

“I no understand why people talk about this. I don’t eat this,” Nurmagomedov told MMA Fighting. “We’re going to restaurant and we chill together, everything, but [I was the only one] cutting weight.

“The other guys, no cutting weight, and everybody eat everything. But I don’t eat any of this stuff. I eat only my food. I no understand why people talk about this.

“Somebody ordered cake and somebody eat cake — of course somebody eat cake — but I don’t eat nothing.

“I don’t eat this cake. I did nothing, but I don’t understand why people talk about this.”

UFC 242: How Dustin Poirier can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov and shock the world in Abu Dhabi

6 Sep

Dustin Poirier is aiming to make mixed martial arts history on Saturday evening by becoming the first man to beat Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Both ‘The Diamond’ and the reigning lightweight champion have made the 155lbs lightweight limit, meaning the UFC 242 main event in Abu Dhabi will officially take place.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier is sure to be a brilliant fight
UFC

27 men have entered a cage against Khabib and fallen short, to put it politely. Amidst a tangle of limbs and broken bones, the Russian has battered every single opponent he has ever faced.

His last fight, his first defence of the lightweight belt, ended in controversy which has caused his lengthy delay from the sport.

After delivering on his brutal promise to smash Conor McGregor, ‘The Eagle’ took flight and jumped out of the cage and was hit with a nine-month ban and a $500,000 fine.

In that period, interim title holder Poirier has emerged as a genuine threat to the established order and is hitting his physical and tactical peak. The Louisiana-native was at his destructive and brutal best against pound-for-pound king and featherweight champion Max Holloway back in March.

Such is the 30-year-old’s confidence after his devastating run to world title contention; the American Top Team pupil believes he has the power and skill to stop Khabib.

“I keep going back and forth,” he said. “I feel like I can submit Khabib, but feel like I’m going to stop him.

“I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I’m either going to knock him out or I’m going to submit him. I’m going to finish Khabib Nurmagomedov.”

But the question which has been on the lips of every MMA fan since Khabib made his UFC debut in 2012 still remains; How do you beat him?

Khabib has arguably only ever lost one round in his professional career and never looked remotely flustered let alone hurt

Although the odds are stacked against Poirier from pulling off a huge upset, here at talkSPORT.com we have broken down the fight and analysed just how ‘The Diamond’ can pull off one of the greatest upsets in UFC history.

1. Accept there will be tough moments

It is unlikely an opponent will ever be able to out-wrestle Khabib
BT Sport | YouTube

One of McGregor’s biggest regrets from his fight camp after his loss last October was that he respected Khabib’s wrestling too much and did not work on his own offence.

The Irishman is one of the most dangerous strikers in the game but was never able to lay a proverbial glove on the champion. Khabib has been wrestling under the watchful eye of his father, Abdulmanap, since he was a boy and he is a two-time Sambo champion.

Quite simply, Poirier will never be better than him as a grappler, but that’s fine. Poirier has worked on his wrestling at ATT under coach Mike Brown, but will have worked extensively with former pro boxer Dyah Davis as well.

Psychologically, Poirier needs to be composed and accept he may find himself in trouble, but know he has the tools to hurt the champion when he has a chance.

“I’m the most well-rounded and focused fighter and athlete that I’ve ever been in my life,” Poirier said.

“I’m mentally ready for 25 minutes of bleeding and sweating and being uncomfortable. The fans can expect me to put Khabib in positions you haven’t see him in before, and to hurt him.”

2. Utilise BJJ when on the ground to scramble

Eddie Alvarez has a strong wrestling background, but could not stop Poirier
Getty Images - Getty

If and when Poirier gets taken down by Khabib, the former World Extreme Cagefighting contender has the ability to get back up – something which will be crucial.

Poirier spoke about risking putting himself in dangerous positions just to get back up, but the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has the necessary tools to avoid this against the champion.

Poirier can force Khabib to expend energy by switching his hips and baiting Nurmagomedov into submissions.

As a wrestler by trade, Khabib will try and use dynamism to blast the interim champion away. But it is this explosive style which can allow Poirier to exploit openings such as by spinning to the back when he escapes side mount.

3. Engage in dirty boxing

In his run to the lightweight title, Poirier beat Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje and Holloway, largely with his powerful striking. As we can see from coach Mike Brown’s Instagram post below, Poirier carries more power now than he ever did at featherweight.

If there is one key factor which suggests Poirier can do what has never been done before and set the blueprint to beat Khabib, it is the Al Iaquinta fight in Brooklyn back in 2018 when the Russian won the belt.

After three rounds of brutality on the ground, Khabib bizarrely decided to trade with ‘Raging’ Al when it seemed natural to go back to the mat. In fact, Iaquinta was able to stuff several take down attempts as the fight went on.

Unlike previous foe Conor McGregor, Khabib is now facing a gritty fighter who does not need to wait for counter opportunities to strike.

The ‘Eagle’ likes to suffocate opponents, so when Poirier has the chance to work, he must strike hard and fast to hurt his man.

4. Work the body

Iaquinta showed the world there are holes to Khabib’s striking

Open workouts during fight week are always an excellent opportunity to see what sort of physical condition fighters are in before the contest itself, although it is easy to look too much into what actually goes on.

However, the fact Khabib did not do a workout and instead chose to do a fan Q&A is telling. And Dustin’s workout was intriguing.

The ‘Diamond’ was throwing three-punch combinations before sprawling, landing vicious hooks to the body of his sparring partner and then stepping back and throwing uppercuts as the pad man advanced.

What can be taken from this is the acceptance the fight will go to the ground, the refusal to lie in a position and then the switch into an offensive mode.

When the fight is on the feet, Poirier must look to slow Khabib down by working his body, The Russian is a cardio machine and possess relentless pressure, but those hooks to the body can slow down anybody.

Take, for instance, Daniel Cormier’s defeat to Stipe Miocic. The former heavyweight champion was arguably three rounds down entering the fourth when he switched to the body and blew ‘DC’ away.

Poirier must look to implement a similar game plan he steps up on Saturday night.

5. Don’t not get overawed by the moment

Poirier has waited 22 fights for his opportunity to become a world champion
Getty Images - Getty

When Poirier was beaten by McGregor in their featherweight fight in , he admitted he was beaten by a look the ‘Notorious’ gave him before walking out to the main event.

The ‘Diamond’ has waited so long for his title shot and cannot let the occasion get the better of him. Although he is on foreign territory in a stadium built purposely for this event.

“Whoever bleeds can lose,” were the words uttered from Poirier’s lips before the Khabib fight was announced. The pressure this fight will create could cause the diamond to finally shine.

Khabib Nurmagomedov will earn three times more than Conor McGregor fight against Dustin Poirier, Dana White on BJ Penn’s UFC career

5 Sep

The UFC comes live from Abu Dhabi this Saturday night with a stacked fight card.

Defending lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov makes a lucrative return to the octagon after his nine-month suspension.

talkSPORT.com brings you a round up of all the biggest news and gossip from the world of UFC…


MONEY BALL

Khabib Nurmagomedov will make more than three times the amount of money from fighting Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 than he did against Conor McGregor at UFC 229.

The pair meet in Abu Dhabi on Saturday in a bid to find out who is the true UFC lightweight champion.

It will be the Russian’s first time in the octagon since his comprehensive victory over Conor McGregor last November in Las Vegas.

Speaking to TASS, Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap, revealed his son will make more than three times the $2million he took home from UFC 229 where he forced McGregor to submit.

Khabib is set to earn over three times more fighting Dustin Poirier than Conor McGregor
getty images - getty

“We’ll make 3 to 3.5 [times] more [than the last time],” he explained.

“We aren’t fighting for a small change, we know what we’re worth.

“[$2m] is not enough for us, because we are the best now. We’ve beaten the best, and we are ready to fight the best.

“We are popular, we know that. When we’ll enter the arena, you’ll see the reaction to us, and reaction to Poirier.”


LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

UFC president Dana White believes Khabib now at least rivals Conor McGregor’s star power, but for totally different reasons.

Khabib goes head-to-head with Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on Saturday at UFC 242, in what is his first fight since his stunning win over McGregor last November.

“I mean, to compare to Conor… to come out and say anybody is a bigger star than Conor… I think the fight with [Khabib] and Conor, I think people have always been into Khabib,” he said.

UFC President Dana White is preparing for a dust up in desert in Abu Dhabi
Getty Images - Getty

“Undefeated – nobody is undefeated the way Khabib is undefeated in this sport.

“The win streak that he’s on, the people that he has beat and now you had that massive fight with Conor that put him over the top and made him a massive star.

NO COMING BACK

Dana White says BJ Penn’s UFC career is ‘done’ after his involvement in another street brawl in his native Hawaii.

The controversial former lightweight champion BJ Penn was adamant the latest footage of him scrapping outside a club did not paint the full picture, with a video showing the 40-year-old punching a man in the head.

As a result White has pulled the plug on Penn returning to the Octagon one final time, at least for the time being, insisting he needs to focus on his personal life and get himself together more than anything else.

BJ Penn’s UFC career is ‘done’ according to Dan White
Getty Images - Getty

“He won’t fight again, that’s it,” White told ESPN. “That’s a wrap. It’s not even that this was the last straw.

“I didn’t love him continuing to fight anyway, but with the relationship that he and I have – he gets me on the phone, begging me for another fight. It’s hard to turn him down.

“After what I saw in that video, BJ needs to, you know, he needs to focus on his personal life before he thinks about fighting.”

UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov having his dad in camp for Dustin Poirier fight makes a big difference, says lightweight champion’s coach

5 Sep

On Saturday in Abu Dhabi, Khabib Nurmagomedov will return to the octagon for the first time since defeating Conor McGregor last November.

The Eagle will do battle with Dustin Poirier in a bid to crown the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, but this fight will feature a first for the unbeaten Nurmagomedov.

Khabib and the other fighters listen intently to Abdulmanap’s instructions
YouTube | UFC

The Russian will have his dad in his corner for the first time in his UFC career and Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, an army veteran and former judo and sambo champion, has been putting his son through his paces.

“It’s super cool here,” head coach Javier Mendez started. “We got Zubaira [Tukhugov]. We got Islam [Makhachev] and we got Khabib training and I’ve always had that in the past with these guys altogether, what I didn’t have was [Khabib’s] father which is a huge motivator.

“You can see why they’re so great as a result of the hard training. He doesn’t let these guys miss a beat.”

Mendez also said it was a ‘great honour’ to watch him teach.

“He demands discipline, he demands loyalty and respect. I got in trouble too myself, so I know what it feels like. You don’t want to disappoint him!”

The sheer discipline Khabib’s father installed into his son from an early age and the tough training he put him through – lest we forget he allowed him to wrestle bears – has helped shape one of the most formidable MMA fighters in the world today.

“First, a father always wants to check on what his son his capable of,” he said of the unusual training method.

“It is a pity that there were no fights more interesting when he was younger. In the end, this was a test of character more than exercise.”

For Khabib to see his old man in his corner on Saturday is a big deal.

“He’s going to be my corner [for the] first time in UFC because he doesn’t have a visa and he can’t come to the U.S,” he said.

“But in Abu Dhabi, a lot of friends can come. For Russian people, you don’t need a visa to come to Abu Dhabi. They already sold all tickets. It’s going to be a good show for me, my family, my team. [My] father is going to come, and I’m very excited about this. I can’t wait.”

Khabib tried everything in order to get his father in his corner for his previous fight, against McGregor at UFC 229, even going as far as to asking UFC boss Dana White to have a word in President Trump’s ear during a trip to the White House.

Khabib’s dad has been previously unable to gain entry to the US to watch his son fight live
YouTube | UFC

But, it wasn’t to be and his father has never been able to get a VISA to America. Abdulmanap was forced to watch Khabib’s impressive victory at home, but he did not appreciate what he saw after the bout.

Khabib scaled the fence to attack some of McGregor’s team as soon as he tapped the Irishman out. Furthermore, some of Khabib’s team took that as an opportunity to enter the cage and attack McGregor.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor absolutely despise one another
Getty Images - Getty

Khabib’s father was not happy at all and his response spoke volumes.

“I will impose a punishment tougher than the UFC’s. I warned him. For me, discipline comes first. You do whatever you want in the Octagon, [but] outside — this is the border of civilians, where there are children, women, strangers.”

He also later said he forgave McGregor for all the trash talk prior to his fight with Khabib and invited him to come train with them in Dagestan.

When asked on Russian TV if he really forgave Notorious, he said: “Absolutely. It’s in the past. We can’t stop, life goes on. Our religion says to show mercy in actions, not in words. If he comes, you’ll see the same thing. A welcome of a dear guest.”

 

That’s an insight into the man. He’s devoted to Islam, strong in his convictions and demanding beyond belief. Khabib will be the first to say those qualities have helped mould him into the champion he is today.

Speaking during fight week about life as a trainer – he is an ‘Honoured Coach of Russia – due to his international success, he said: “It starts from the ground up.

“The discipline that’s required, the programming that’s required. I keep studying,” adding that consistency is a big part.

“To tell you the truth I take the word ‘pride’ out of my work and practice.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was himself a champion in judo and sambo and now trains fighters in Russia
YouTube | UFC

“This is my profession and I should have pride, but my religion doesn’t allow this. I need to show myself as a professional.”

According Nurmagomedov Sr, Khabib will earn three times the amount of money he did for beating McGregor.

“We’re going to show [the world] who we are,” the 30-year-old said.

Khabib Nurmagomedov set to make more money from Dustin Poirier UFC 242 fight than he did vs Conor McGregor

5 Sep

Khabib Nurmagomedov will make much more money from fighting Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 than he did against Conor McGregor.

The two meet in Abu Dhabi on Saturday in a bid to find out who is the true UFC lightweight champion.

It will be the Russian’s first time in the octagon since his comprehensive victory over Conor McGregor last November in Las Vegas.

Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Dustin Poirier at UFC 242
Getty Images - Getty

That bout is the highest bought UFC PPV in history with 2.4 million buys. Of course, McGregor has headlined all five of the highest-grossing UFC pay-per-views in history.

He’s an indisputable draw and therefore took the bulk of the revenue from that event, but Khabib has become a superstar in his own right since.

Speaking to TASS, Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap, revealed his son will make more than three times the $2million he took home from UFC 229 where he forced McGregor to submit.

“We’ll make 3 to 3.5 [times] more [than the last time],” he explained.

“We aren’t fighting for a small change, we know what we’re worth.

“[$2m] is not enough for us, because we are the best now. We’ve beaten the best, and we are ready to fight the best.

“We are popular, we know that. When we’ll enter the arena, you’ll see the reaction to us, and reaction to Poirier.”

Things have been totally different between Nurmagomedov and Poirier compared to the former’s relationship with McGregor.

The two men main eventing on Saturday have shown nothing but respect for each other and this was showcased with a hug and handshake at the final staredown.

Conor McGregor told to ‘get the f*** out’, Khabib Nurmagomedov tipped to lose Dustin Poirier fight, BJ Penn latest

4 Sep

The UFC returns this weekend with a stacked fight card, full of intriguing match ups.

The main event in Abu Dhabi promises to be explosive as Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to the octagon after his nine-month suspension to face interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier.

The ‘Diamond’ is well aware he is up against it in Abu Dhabi against the undefeated grappling specialist, but is hoping to pull off a huge shock.

As ever, there are always stories happening in the world of mixed martial arts.

UFC President Dana White is preparing for a dust up in desert in Abu Dhabi
Getty Images - Getty

Tony Ferguson slams Conor McGregor

Tony Ferguson has told Conor McGregor to focus on fighting Mark Wahlberg and ruled out a clash with the ‘Notorious’.

Instead, ‘El Cucuy’ is planning to take on the winner of the UFC 242 main event at some point in the near future, whoever it may be.

Conor McGregor was allegedly videoed punching a man in a Dublin pub
Getty Images - Getty

The former interim lightweight champion was desperate to fight McGregor during the Irishman’s reign at the top of the 155lbs division, calling him out on several occasions.

But given how long the former ‘champ champ’ has been inactive, Ferguson has set his sights on more dangerous, active opponents.

“No way man, the fans wouldn’t have it, they’d put up too much of a fight,” explained Tony during a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.

“He’s been fighting old men lately; he’s trying to fight Mark Wahlberg. Maybe that’s the fight for him. The dude’s got a couple of things, making his money, doing his thing. I don’t know if he wants to fight anymore, but he is not my concern.”

“He is like one of those ex-girlfriends,” Ferguson added. “I stopped worrying about that dude. At first he was in line trying to go for the title, and once he became irrelevant I stopped caring about him.

“Now he’s mentioning my name? Get the f*** out of here dude, come on.”

Chael Sonnen backs Poirier over Khabib

Khabib Nurmagomedov may well be the most dominant champion in UFC history, but former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has raised doubts over the Dagestani destroyer.

The ‘Eagle’ returns to the octagon this Saturday at UFC 242 to face Dustin Poirier for the undisputed lightweight world championship, almost an entire year after he dismantled Conor McGregor.

Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Dustin Poirier at UFC 242
Getty Images - Getty

After the ensuing melee at the T-Mobile Arena, the 30-year-old was banned and has not fought since, while Poirier has been extremely active.

Since Khabib beat Al Iaquinta to win the belt in Brooklyn, the ‘Diamond’ has beaten Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Max Holloway to earn his shot at glory.

And Sonnen feels this momentum could prove pivotal under the lights in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.

“He’s been out for a while,” Sonnen said of Nurmagomedov. “For Khabib, it was because of a suspension. For other guys, it was because of an injury or a contract dispute.

“But that always becomes a talking point; ‘well how’s he gonna look, he’s been out, the other guy’s been busy, ring rust is a real thing’. For some reason, Khabib has penetrated the hearts and minds of the fans to the point that that dialogue is not even coming up.

“It’s as if this guy is bulletproof and we have fallen for that before. I could give you the Mike Tysons of the world, the night George St-Pierre fell down, Anderson Silva comes to mind. Nobody is bulletproof.”

“I don’t know why Khabib is bulletproof to that because a lot of those similarities are there,” Sonnen continued. “He’s all of a sudden ‘Mr. Famous’. He’s so famous that he’s got political pole in that region (Dagestan.) He’s training at the AKA with Javier Mendez but he lives in Dagestan, 21 hours away.

“I do think it’s a fair question, how much consistent training is he getting in conjunction with the push and pull of travel schedules, with the media, with all the new ‘friends’ he’s got, all the way up to politicians? I am surprised no one’s talking about it!”

Cris Cyborg joins Bellator

Cris Cyborg has signed for Bellator, in a deal said to be ‘the largest in women’s MMA history’.

The former UFC featherweight champion was released by the organisation after suffering a defeat to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in 2018, which brought an end to her 20-fight winning streak.

Cris Cyborg is aiming to become a four-promotion world champion
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The 34-year-old perhaps was not the success story for the UFC as President Dana White will have hoped, even though the Brazilian American did win seven of her eight bouts with the company.

“I have worked with countless athletes over my 30-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no-one quite like Cyborg,” said Bellator president Scott Coker, who had previously worked with Cyborg at the Strikeforce promotion.

“Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator.”

Cyborg will now have the opportunity to win a title at a fourth MMA promotion, having held belts at Strikeforce, Invicta and UFC.

“You guys know I have a lot of girls I want to fight at 145lbs and this means you’re going to have a lot of fights per year and I’m very happy about that,” she said.

“My goal is to be the only female fighter to hold four different major titles in the same division”

Her last fight in the division was a unanimous decision victory over Felicia Spencer.

BJ Penn addresses latest bar brawl incident

Former UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn is adamant the latest footage of him scrapping outside a club does not paint the full picture.

Penn has been involved in several altercations outside establishments in his native Hawaii, with the video from last month showing the 40-year-old punching a man in the head from back mount.

BJ Penn was involved in a street fight in Hawaii
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However, the former two-division champion insisted there is more to the story and that he is doing everything he can to avoid trouble given his long-standing custody battle.

“Just to begin with, there was another video posted on TMZ of me holding somebody on the ground,” Penn told TSN. “From that—because I’m in the middle of a custody case right now—I got a lot of slack already from the custody evaluator, from their lawyer, of course, from my lawyer.

“So the last thing that I’m looking to do—yeah, because everybody was saying that I held down a bouncer, but it wasn’t a bouncer or anything like that.

“It’s just something happened and I had to protect myself and hold a guy on the ground. So the last thing I want to do is get into any type of trouble.

“My custody case, me seeing my kids depends on all this stuff. It’s just really strange how things just happen and you never see this kind of stuff. But here I am in a custody case and this happened twice.”

UFC release unseen footage from Khabib vs McGregor, Dustin Poirier arrives in Abu Dhabi, Scott Coker names Ryan Bader as world’s best heavyweight

3 Sep

The world of mixed martial arts is waited with bated breath for the return of one of the sport’s most dominant champions in history.

Khabib Nurmagomedov makes his long-awaited return from suspension to put his UFC lightweight title on the line against interim champion Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi.

The main fight card for the Emirates is stacked, but there are a host of other top stories from outside the octagon as well.

Here are the top stories from the world of MMA.

Dustin Poirier has the unenviable task of trying to stop Khabib Nurmagomedov from making it 28-0
Getty Images - Getty

UFC release unseen footage from UFC 229

Ahead of Khabib’s highly-anticipated return to the octagon, the UFC have released the full fight highlights from the Dagestani-native’s last fight against Conor McGregor.

The Lightweight champion defended his belt in emphatic style against the Notorious, forcing him to tap out in the fourth round via neck crank after 20 minutes of mauling.

However, what followed next was unsavoury – to say the least.

Nurmagomedov vaulted the cage and attacked McGregor’s Jiu-Jitsu coach Dillon Danis.

And the previously unseen footage shows Khabib land a flying hammerfist as well as trying to kick out at

Danis. The ‘Eagle’ was hit with a $500,000 fine and suspended for nine months.

(Scroll to 19:30 to see the newly released angles from the UFC)

Dustin Poirier arrives to celebrity welcome in Abu Dhabi

Although a heavy betting underdog heading into UFC 242, Duston Poirier is being made to feel like a king in Abu Dhabi.

The ‘Diamond’ was filmed arriving by the UFC as part of the Embedded series to a hero’s welcome.

Born into modest surroundings in Lafayette, Louisiana, Poirier can be seen being presented with a Rolls Royce and then shown around his luxury villa.

The former featherweight contender has enjoyed a scintillating run since moving up to the 155lbs division, stopping Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alavrez and then beating Max Holloway on points to claim the interim belt.

Ryan Bader agrees with Scott Coker he is the best heavyweight on the planet

Two-weight Bellator champion Ryan Bader concurs with Scott Coker’s assessment that he is the best heavyweight on the planet.

After Daniel Cormier was dethroned by Stipe Miocic at UFC 241, Coker declared Bader the best in the world.

The former UFC light-heavyweight contender has been unstoppable since moving up in weight at his new promotion and picked up victories against King Mo Lawal, Matt Mitrione and even Fedor Emelianenko.

And Bader agrees with the Bellator President.

“For me, I believe that [I am the best]. If you don’t believe that, then you shouldn’t be in this sport. I do believe I’m the best in the world,” Bader said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I believe coming up to heavyweight, I can shine.

“That’s where I feel the best in terms of being agile, speed, cardio, all that kind of stuff plus I have the power. It was nice to get that recognition, too, so now I just have to go out there and continue to prove it.”

Although a cross-promotion fight with former rival Cormier was touted, the move never happened.

But Bader has no doubts as to how a fight against current heavyweight champ Miocic would end.

“I know Stipe, I trained with him a little bit. He’s a good guy but I feel I match up with him well. I feel I match up with all of those guys well,” Bader said.

“It’s not like these guys who just fought for the UFC heavyweight championship were huge guys cutting down from 290 [pounds] to 265 and they’re cardio machines or what not.

“They’re my weight. I feel great about any of those matchups.”