Cris Cyborg clarifies stance on Holly Holm and USADA testing

UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg would like to clarify her stance on Holly Holm and performance-enhancing drugs.

Cyborg on Tuesday issued a string of tweets expressing concern over Holly Holm and PEDs, calling for more testing by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ahead of a potential title fight at UFC 219.

In response, Holm, who’s never failed a USADA test, posted a video on her social media accounts to point out Cyborg’s less-than-perfect drug-testing past and the fact that she’s been tested more times this year than Cyborg has.

That brings us to today, with Cyborg issuing her own video message, explaining that she isn’t worried about the past – just the future – when it comes to USADA testing both fighters.

“When they knock at my house at 5 a.m.,” Cyborg said, “I think it’s right to go to your house at 5 a.m., too.”

Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who recently won the belt with a TKO victory over Tonya Evinger in July, could next face former women’s bantamweight champion and longtime pro boxer Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) as part of the year-end UFC 219 pay-per-view on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.

Cyborg’s longtime manager, George Prajin, recently told MMAjunkie he’s in daily discussions with UFC officials while looking for the right deal to lock up the champ and the fight (Holm’s camp is also looking for the right deal).

In her video, Cyborg essentially is calling for an equal amount of testing between now and Dec. 30, should that be when she and Holm agree to fight. Cyborg’s reason?

“When I beat your ass in the cage, your team won’t have an excuse for anything,” Cyborg said.

If they finally meet, Cyborg would be looking for her first UFC title defense and 19th consecutive victory going back to 2005. Holm, meanwhile, recently halted a three-fight skid with a dazzling head-kick knockout of bantamweight Bethe Correia in June.

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

After UFC champ Cris Cyborg points to drug testing, Holly Holm points to scoreboard

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When it comes to UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg, potential next opponent Holly Holm just wants to get real for a moment.

Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who recently won the belt with a TKO victory over Tonya Evinger in July, could next face former women’s bantamweight champion and longtime pro boxer Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC). The bout could be part of the year-end UFC 219 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.

Cyborg’s longtime manager, George Prajin, recently told MMAjunkie he’s in daily discussions with UFC officials while looking for the right deal to lock up the champ and the fight (Holm’s camp is also looking for the right deal). Additionally, on the 32-year-old Brazilian slugger’s social media accounts, Cyborg seems to know Holm is likely next. But early this morning, she took aim at drug testing – and Holm’s longtime home at Jackson-Wink MMA – ahead of the likely title fight (via Twitter):

Holm responded via an Instagram video, mostly to address Cyborg’s suggestion the champ has been tested a disproportionate number of times.

“So apparently there was a little bit of drama today because USADA went to Cyborg’s house,” 35-year-old Holm says in the video. “And I know I’ve been a topic of interest a lot on her social media, and I don’t mind. Fighters (are) trying to promote and hype fights, and that’s fine.

“But let’s be real for a minute.”

Holm then pointed to the scoreboard – not to remind followers that Cyborg has a less-than-perfect drug-testing past, but simply to give the champion a reminder: Holm has actually been tested more than Cyborg (nine times to eight) this year.

You can see for yourself on USADA.org.

“She said she’s being tested by USADA and wants me to be tested just as much, and she probably should have looked at the public records on the USADA webpage and seen I’ve been tested nine times compared to her eight,” Holm says. “I’m in no race, and I really don’t care. I just know I can complete clean, and they can test me all the time. So, I just never needed an applause for passing my tests.

“In the mean time, I’ll just spend my time training, and she can spend her time complaining and making false accusations and false memes.”

Here’s the full video (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

If they finally meet, Cyborg would be looking for her first UFC title defense and 19th consecutive victory going back to 2005. Holm, meanwhile, recently halted a three-fight skid with a dazzling head-kick knockout of bantamweight Bethe Correia in June.

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Cris Cyborg waiting for right deal to fight Holly Holm at UFC 219

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Cris Cyborg’s longtime manager said he and his team are in “daily” communications with UFC officials as a fight offer looms for UFC 219.

“It’s been pretty aggressive on both sides,” George Prajin today told MMAjunkie. “Both sides want it to happen.”

Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) could look to defend her women’s featherweight title against ex-bantamweight champ Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at the Dec. 30 pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Holm already has said she’s open to the fight. But Prajin said a new deal needs to be struck before Justino can commit.

“The UFC wants to have a longterm future with her,” he said. “She does as well. She just wants to be paid her value.”

At the press conference for this past Saturday’s UFC 216 event, UFC President Dana White expressed confidence a deal would get done with the champ.

“It’s not done yet,” he told MMAjunkie. “I can never predict what’s going to happen, but I think we’ll get it done. Soon.”

The clock is ticking on Justino’s contract. Prajin said UFC 219 could potentially be her final obligation to the promotion. A report in April from MMAFighting.com states the deal will expire this month, regardless of how many fights are remaining.

Asked about a “champion’s clause” that typically extends a current titleholder’s contract with the promotion for three fights or one year, whichever comes first, Prajin said, “That’s an interpretation of a contract that I’d rather not discuss publicly, because that’s an argument that can be made both ways.”

Prajin declined to comment further on the details of Cyborg’s contract.

Justino signed a seven-fight deal in 2014 that saw her compete under the all-female Invicta FC banner before migrating to the UFC. The promotion eyed a showdown with now ex-bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, but the fight never materialized. Rousey suffered a brutal knockout to Holm – and then current bantam champ Amanda Nunes – and Cyborg swore off fighting lighter than 145 pounds after two trips to 140 pounds.

Cyborg returned to the octagon in July at UFC 214 and claimed the featherweight title – left vacant by injured Germaine de Randamie – with a brutal beatdown of former Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger. At the event, Cyborg spoke of turning over a new leaf with the industry-leader.

The 32-year-old Brazilian frequently has disagreed with the UFC’s promotional strategy and publicly bashed it. After several flareups, White admitted in June that the promotion had erred in its treatment. He resolved to give Cyborg a title shot at featherweight. On the eve of that fight, Cyborg was encouraged but said there were some actions that couldn’t be taken back.

It’s not hard to discern when something is wrong with the relationship. When Cyborg is unhappy or wants to make a point, her preferred method of communication is Twitter, where she never hesitates to fire back at a perceived slight. As recently as this past week, she touted the ratings generated by one of her UFC fights.

A face-to-face meeting between the champ’s team and White was scheduled for this past Thursday. It was canceled, but Prajin said the meeting could be rescheduled for this week. He said the fact that both sides are regularly communicating is a good sign.

“In negotiations, emotions run high,” he said. “There’s a lot of flexing on both sides. Everybody wants to get the best deal. We know her value, and the UFC obviously values her, as well. We’re just trying to make sure we come to an agreement on a mutual understanding of that.”

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Gokhan Saki quickly booked again, meets Khalil Rountree at UFC 219

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UFC matchmakers wasted no time booking Gokhan Saki for his second bout.

Saki (1-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is slated to fight fellow light heavyweight Khalil Rountree (6-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at UFC 219, officials today announced.

UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

Saki, a 33-year-old Dutch-Turkish kickboxer, returned to MMA for the first time in 13 years this past month at UFC Fight Night 117, where he scored a blistering first-round knockout of Henrique da Silva. The victory earned him a “Performance of the Night” bonus and resulted in a memorable post-fight interview.

He now meets Rountree, who was a runner-up on “The Ultimate Fighter 23” and started his UFC career with losses to Andrew Sanchez and Tyson Pedro. However, the 27-year-old has since rebounded with back-to-back first-round knockouts of Daniel Jolly and Paul Craig.

With the addition, the UFC 219 lineup now includes:

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka
  • Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Carlos Condit returns to face Neil Magny at UFC 219

Carlos Condit wanted a fight from the UFC, and now he’s got one.

Two weeks after lobbying UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby for a bout, the promotion today announced it has booked Condit (30-10 MMA, 7-6 UFC) to face Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) at UFC 219, the year’s final show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event, slated for Dec. 30, will air on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Condit, 33, last was seen in the octagon 13 months ago at UFC on FOX 21. He hoped to get back into title contention with a win over Demain Maia. Instead, he wound up tapping to the Brazilian submission ace.

The loss left Condit 2-5 in his past seven appearances, with two of his setbacks coming in title bouts. Condit had already pondered retirement after falling short against champ Robbie Lawler in a nail-biter at UFC 195.

After the Maia loss, Condit wondered if he had what it took to compete at the highest level. But he shied away from making any definitive statements about his future. Then Condit retreated from the spotlight and mostly kept quiet about his life. Speculation about a career as a personal trainer was stoked by a post on social media.

Three years ago, Condit took on current champion Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) in a bout with title implications. After getting rocked in the first round, Condit suffered a knee injury that prematurely ended the fight.

In Magny, Condit faces a fighter who’s 4-3 in his past seven contests and was most recently submitted via arm-triangle choke by Rafael dos Anjos last month at UFC 215. Magny recently had been called out by Kamaru Usman, but that fight will have to wait.

With the addition, the UFC 216 lineup now includes:

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Kamaru Usman wants December bout with Neil Magny, who quickly responds

Dann StuppWhen you know the fight you want, why not just put it out there?

That seems to be Kamaru Usman’s plan, and for now, it seems like it might just work.

Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC), who’s No. 11 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, has won six straight UFC fights and 11 consecutive bouts overall. Now, he wants a matchup against a fellow contender: No. 14-ranked Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC).

Usman, who initially called for a fight with former lightweight champ and No. 12-ranked Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC), set his sights on Magny on Thursday. He took his plea public, tagging Magny, MMAjunkie and other journalists in his tweet:

A receptive Magny responded just hours later (via Twitter):

They’re shooting for a December pay-per-view date, namely UFC 218, which takes place Dec. 2 in Detroit, or UFC 219, which is slated for Dec. 30 in Las Vegas (via Twitter):

UFC matchmakers prefer to match up recent winners with recent winners (and losers with losers). Usman, 29, recently scored a first-round knockout victory over Sergio Moraes to extend his four-year winning streak, but Magny is coming off a September loss to dos Anjos. However, the 30-year-old was on a 4-1 run (and 10-2 following back-to-back losses in 2013) before the RDA setback, and from a rankings and timing perspective (not to mention early feedback from fans), the matchup seems to make sense.

Do you want to see it? Vote in the poll below.

For more on UFC 218 and UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Dominick Cruz-Jimmie Rivera, Cynthia Calvillo-Carla Esparza on tap for UFC 219 in Las Vegas

Two former champions are set to return to the octagon at UFC 219, which marks the organization’s final event of the year.

Former UFC bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will see action for the first time since losing the title to Cody Garbrandt, when he takes on the 20-fight winning streak of Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC). Also, former strawweight champ Carla Esparza (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is set to clash with rising star Cynthia Calvillo (6-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC).

The UFC made the fights official today.

UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Cruz, No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, dropped the 135-pound belt to Garbrandt at UFC 207 last December. Cruz opted to take time off since and was originally angling for a fight against the winner of November’s title fight between Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw.Cruz will have to get a win under his belt first, though.

Beating No. 5 Rivera has proven to be no easy task, however. After losing his second MMA fight in November 2008, Rivera has rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including five in the UFC. He’s coming off a unanimous decision over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July.

No. 5-ranked Esparza, meanwhile, has been up and down down since losing her title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185 in March 2015. She won her most recent bout, though, using a takedown-heavy game plan to top Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 112 in June.

Esparza will attempt to avoid becoming a signature win for No. 12-ranked Calvillo, who has been on a tear since making her UFC debut on short notice at UFC 209 in March. Calvillo has gone 3-0 inside the octagon in short order and will attempt to become the first and only UFC fighter with four victories in 2017.

Also set for UFC 219, per the Las Vegas Review Journal, is a flyweight contest between Louis Smolka (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Matheus Nicolau (12-1-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).

The UFC 219 currently includes:

  • Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka

For more on UFC 219, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3 at UFC 219 in Las Vegas? Dana White says nope

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Immediately after Conor McGregor’s 10th-round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather in “The Money Fight” in August, speculation began as to what would be next for the Irishman.

And most signs pointed to a rubber fight trilogy rematch between McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) – who hasn’t fought in more than a year, since his majority decision loss to McGregor in the UFC 202 main event. (Diaz tapped McGregor at UFC 196 in March 2016 in their first welterweight fight.)

Rumors recently started cropping up again that McGregor and Diaz had been scheduled for their third fight as the UFC 219 main event on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas. The Sunday World in Ireland recently reported the fight was all but a done deal.

But UFC President Dana White shut that down Sunday night – for now, at least. White replied to a tweet saying the fight was happening by saying it was “Not true AT ALL” (the caps are from White).

UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims expected for FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. No fights have been announced for the card yet, but as would be typical of a year-end UFC pay-per-view, the main event is likely to be a big one. Naturally, a McGregor-Diaz rubber match would fit that bill.

McGregor has just one fight in 2017 – and it was his boxing match against Mayweather. He won the UFC’s lightweight title in November 2016 in New York when he took out Eddie Alvarez with a second-round TKO to become the first concurrent two-division champ in UFC history. But two weeks later, the UFC stripped his featherweight belt, leaving him to focus his attention on 155 pounds.

But he has yet to defend that lightweight title, and next month an interim belt will be up for grabs in the division when Tony Ferguson fights Kevin Lee at UFC 216. The winner is expected to stay in line to fight McGregor to unify the titles – but that’s a fight that would be on hold if McGregor fights Diaz at welterweight, instead.

McGregor has received much criticism for winning UFC titles, but never defending them. He knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December 2015 to win the featherweight belt. But rather than defending that title, he met Diaz at welterweight, instead, at UFC 196. Then he fought him in the UFC 202 rematch. Then he went to lightweight for the Alvarez fight. Then he took time off while his longtime girlfriend had their baby ahead of the Mayweather blockbuster.

A third fight with Diaz, unless it’s for his lightweight title and not at welterweight like the first two, again would mean another fight without him putting his belt on the line.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Featherweight champ 'Cyborg' Justino calls for UFC 219 fight with ex-135 champ Holly Holm

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Cristiane Justino never has been shy about using her social media to let people know what – or who – is on her mind. Fresh off her title-winning UFC 214 display, that is currently Holly Holm.

Justino (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who most recently capped off yet another demolition with a third-round TKO over former Invicta FC bantamweight titleholder Tonya Evinger to earn the UFC’s vacant 145-pound belt, has always been clear about her interest in meeting Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC). Tuesday, however, she took to Twitter and Instagram to add a time and place to her challenge.

Calling for an 145-pound title affair at UFC 219, which is expected to take place at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 30, the champ also cited a few failed attempts of negotiating a meeting with the UFC’s former 135-pound titleholder.

“I want my next fight to be the biggest fight I can make for the fans who have supported me my entire career,” Justino said in one of two Instagram posts featuring the former champion. “I want to face Holly Holm in Vegas. Let the UFC know this is a PPV you will buy.”

Instagram Photo

“Before Holly signed with the UFC her management teased of an independent PPV one day between #TeamCyborg and #TeamHolm. When we both signed to the @UFC I tried to negotiate a fight as the Co-Main against Holly Holm the night Ronda fought Cat Zingano in LA. Holly fought Raquel Pennington instead, while I fought for @invictafc the night before. At #ufc198 I requested Holly, and then again when I was the main event on @fs1 for #ufcfn95. Holly won easily in Singapore, and Megan Anderson was forced to withdrawal my team again requested Holm for #ufc214. #CyborgNation has been very loud online since #ufc214 and wants #CyborgVHolm I want my next fight to be the biggest fight I can make for the fans who have supported me my entire career. #ufc219 I want to face Holly Holm in Vegas. Let the @UFCknow this is a PPV you will buy!”

While Holm has yet to respond publicly, UFC President Dana White did say right after Justino’s dominant UFC 214 win that both he and, apparently, the ex-champ herself were interested in the matchup.

Justino is so determined to make the encounter happen that she has changed her Twitter user name, which now reads “#UFC219 CyborgVHolm.” This is not the first time the Brazilian featherweight has used her social media to leverage bouts – and if it comes to fruition, it wouldn’t be the first successful one either.

After a heavy push, Justino got an encounter with the successor to her Invicta FC featherweight throne: Megan Anderson. The Aussie, however, had to pull out of the bout – which Evinger ultimately took on. Justino and Evinger fought for the belt that the division’s inaugural champ, Germaine de Randamie, was stripped of after refusing to fight logical contender “Cyborg.”

Justino has now fought three times under the UFC banner, although only the most recent one took place in her original 145-pound division. For her first two outings, she made a catchweight limit of 140 pounds before easily beating Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg.

The fight would be Holm’s second stab at the 145-pound title, after dropping a controversial decision to De Randamie at UFC 208. Holm, who shocked the world by beating then-dominant champ Ronda Rousey to earn the UFC’s women’s bantamweight belt, is coming off a knockout over former title challenger Bethe Correia. The win snapped a three-fight skid.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC announces 4th quarter schedule with stops in Winnipeg, Detroit, Las Vegas

The UFC octagon will make its way to the Canadian city of Winnipeg – and some other recently announced stops this winter.

The promotion announced its fourth quarter schedule of 12 events during the UFC 214 pay-per-view broadcast, including its second trip to Winnipeg after an initial visit with UFC 161 in 2013.

In all one dozen events will take place during the fourth quarter. The promotion also announced the following fight cards:

As of yet, no bouts are official for the fight cards.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie