Edson Barboza accepts UFC 219 fight vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: 'It's on him now'

As UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor continues to plot his next move – be it a return to MMA or a boxing match with Paulie Malignaggi – things at the top of the division continue to fall into place.

Tony Ferguson won the interim title earlier this month after submitting Kevin Lee at UFC 216. Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, ranked Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, in the official UFC rankings, are set to square off Dec. 2 at UFC 218.

And now it appears another booking of top contenders could be close.

On Tuesday, Edson Barboza said during an Instagram Live stream that he’s accepted an offer from the UFC to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov on Dec. 30 at UFC 219 in Las Vegas. The onus, Barboza says, is now on “The Eagle.”

“They offered me this fight, and I accepted it,” Barboza said, via MMAFighting.com. “I said I’ll be ready for December 30th, and it’s on him now. We’ll see what he does. I saw an interview with him yesterday, and he said he’ll fight me if Conor fights Ferguson, and (UFC President) Dana (White) already said that fight will happen, so I believe my next fight will be against Khabib.”

Barboza (19-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC), now recovered from shoulder surgery, told MMAjunkie earlier this month that a fight with Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) makes sense, all things considered. Barboza has won three straight, most recently scoring a flying-knee knockout of Beneil Dariush in March at UFC Fight Night 106. He’s been adamant in his belief that McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) isn’t a real champion. McGregor, who lost an August boxing match to Floyd Mayweather via TKO, hasn’t defended his title since winning it from Alvarez last November at UFC 205.

Nurmagomedov said in September he expected to fight the Ferguson-Lee winner. Ferguson, naturally, prefers a title-unification bout with McGregor.

While Barboza said he’d also be content with a shot at Ferguson’s interim title, it appears he’s got his sights set on the undefeated Nurmagomedov and will be satisfied if the fight is made official.

“He’s definitely one of the best in the division,” Barboza told MMAjunkie. “I think this fight really makes sense for me. I’m ready. If the UFC books this fight, I’m ready.”

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

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

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Oct. 17: Will UFC-Gdansk cause a welterweight shake-up?

The UFC heads to Poland this week, kicking off a run of nine straight weekends with fight cards, and much could change in divisional landscapes over that time.

It starts in the welterweight class this week, with an unexpected headliner between perennial contender Donald Cerrone (32-9 MMA, 19-6 UFC) and undefeated English upstart Darren Till (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC).

Cerrone has been a fixture for years in the rankings, first in the lightweight division and, more recently, at 170 pounds. Meanwhile, Till considers himself the future of the welterweight division but has yet to break into the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings.

The two meet on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 118, which takes place at Ergo Arena in Gdansk and streams on UFC Fight Pass.

Could the division have an entirely new look after this weekend? Check out that weight class and more in the latest update to our lists.

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Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

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

Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson official for UFC 218 in Detroit

Tecia Torres has wanted to fight Michelle Waterson for some time now, and that’s what she’s getting.

It was announced today that Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) and Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will meet in a strawweight bout at UFC 218, which takes place Dec. 2 from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with a pay-per-view main card that follows prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Torres, No. 7 in the current USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA strawweight rankings, made it known back in August she wanted Waterson for her next fight. The “Karate Hottie” is pleased to finally oblige that request.

“Tecia has been calling me out since her last fight,” Waterson told ESPN.com. “I’m just trying to give her what she wants. It’ll be a great fight.”

For Waterson, she will be looking to rebound from a second-round submission loss to Rose Namajunas at UFC on FOX 24 in April. As a result of that win, Namajunas is set to face champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at next month’s UFC 217.

Torres also has lost to Namajunas in April 2016 for her lone defeat in a rematch of an Invicta bout won by Torres. Since that loss, Torres has compiled back-to-back wins, including her first finish in July, when she beat Juliana Lima with a rear-naked choke.

With the addition to the card, UFC 218 now includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Razak Al-Hassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Paulie Malignaggi says discussions underway for Conor McGregor fight and PLEASE GOD NO

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC

According to former boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi, discussions are underway for a potential fight with sparring partner-turned bitter rival Conor McGregor.

“I know Al Haymon’s talking with Dana White,” Malignaggi told Fight Hype. “I know they’re speaking, so if they want the fight they’ll make it.”

Dear god, let us hope they do not want the fight. Let us do more than hope. Let us offer up blood sacrifices to avoid this fate. Let us throw a virgin into a volcano and slaughter a goat on the first fine market day. Let us seize the property of those who would advocate for such a fight, then gather their belongings in the town square and set them ablaze. Let us never relent.

On some level, sure, I get it. Malignaggi sniffs a payday. He has an image to maintain. He has a very personal grudge against McGregor that has at times drifted into restraining order territory. He has a very distinct way of pronouncing the word “balls,” (boo-awls) and a corresponding love of saying it over and over again.

It’s not surprising that he wants this fight, but the powers that be must not let him have it. The reason is very simple: While a little bit of ridiculousness can be fun, too much is just plain stupid.

McGregor’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, for instance? Just absurd enough to be a good time, though even then we had to exercise extreme patience and suspend more than a little disbelief in order to enjoy it.

But another boxing match, especially against Malignaggi, all while his UFC lightweight title goes undefended? That’s the point where McGregor would drift hopelessly into self-parody.

And for what? I mean, money, sure. But there’s plenty of that to be found elsewhere. The UFC is desperate for McGregor’s return. MMA fans are, too. A better-than-expected performance against Mayweather likely only increased his star power, which means he could defend his UFC title against a coat rack right now and still break MMA pay-per-view records.

A boxing match with Malignaggi, on the other hand, would be a step backwards in every meaningful sense. It would be the lazy sequel to the breakout hit, the “Speed 2: Cruise Control” of combat sports matchups. And you know something? There’s a good reason Keanu Reeves turned that sequel down, and it’s because he has some sense.

Back in the UFC there are a plethora of options for McGregor’s next fight, ranging from the logical choices like Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov to the purely profit-driven possibilities like Nate Diaz or Georges St-Pierre.

All of them would be better ideas than another stupid boxing match against a lesser draw who’s been following McGregor around like a bad credit score ever since their fallout as sparring partners.

Fighters and promoters want to make money. Fans want to have some fun. But we can do all those things without being idiots about it.

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

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Corey Anderson wants Patrick Cummins to deal with staph infection, still fight at UFC 217

Corey Anderson would like Patrick Cummins to reconsider his decision.

Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) today announced on Instagram that he will no longer fight Anderson (9-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) at next month’s UFC 217 because of a “mutant staph infection.”

That decision, according to Anderson, is being made too soon and can be reversed if Cummins takes the proper measures.

Via Instagram:

Instagram Photo

How do YOU call it quits so far out from fight night? There’s still 3 weeks til fight night… And I’ve had staph before.. cut that shit open, drain it, take your meds, take a couple rest days to elevate the leg, and you’ll be good by Saturday. You called me out in 2014 and I’ve been waiting for our time to come every since… There’s still plenty of time til the dance. I got my best outfit, my familys tickets, and my friends are all looking forward to it. I hope to see you on the floor… #thisisbusiness #andpersonal #UFC217

UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. Cummins vs. Anderson was slated for the UFC Fight Pass prelims.

No official announcement regarding Cummins’ removal has been made by the UFC.

Anderson is looking to rebound from a first-round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa earlier this year at UFC Fight Night 107. Cummins, a 36-year-old who took up MMA in 2010 after he was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, is riding a two-fight winning streak.

The latest UFC 217 lineup now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – for middleweight title
  • Champ Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
  • Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas – for women’s strawweight title
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson
  • Paulo Borrachinha vs. Johny Hendricks

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Joseph Duffy vs. James Vick
  • Mark Godbeer vs. Walt Harris
  • Ion Cutelaba vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
  • Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik
  • Corey Anderson vs. TBA
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Will Michelle Waterson be UFC's next reality star on 'The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars'?

UFC fighters are no strangers to reality competitions, and Michelle Waterson will be the latest to step a little out of her fighting comfort zone.

Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will be part of the cast of MTV’s show “The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars,” which is set to have its season debut on Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. ET. The news first was reported by People magazine.

The show will feature 10 alums of “The Challenge” show, all of whom were past cast members on different seasons of “The Real World.” Those reality stars will go up against 10 celebrities, including Waterson, Ariane Andrew (WWE), Kim Glass (Olympic volleyball), Shawn Johnson (Olympic gymnast), Romeo Miller (rapper), Josh Murray (“The Bachelorette”), Terrell Owens (NFL), Riff Raff (rapper), Matt Rife (comedian) and Justina Valentine (rapper).

Waterson will be playing for the MVP Vets and Players charity.

She’s not the first UFC fighter to appear on “The Challenge.” Earlier this year, Phil “CM Punk” Brooks appeared on the “Champs vs. Pros” version of the show. He was eliminated on the season’s fourth episode and won $1,000 for his charity, PAWS Chicago.

A year and a half ago, Paige VanZant set the bar for current UFC fighters appearing on reality competition shows when she was runner-up on Season 22 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture also appeared on past seasons of that show. VanZant in 2016 also was on a celebrity edition of “Chopped” on The Food Network.

Waterson in April suffered her first loss in the UFC. The former Invicta FC atomweight champ started her UFC run 2-0 with rear-naked choke wins over Angela Magana and VanZant, the latter of which came as the headliner for UFC on FOX 22. But in the UFC on FOX 25 co-main event, she was submitted by Rose Namajunas, who earned an upcoming title shot with the win.

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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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor's next move will determine if his return lasts

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Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Retired MMA fighter and Sirius XM host R.J. Clifford is looking at Conor McGregor’s next move to judge whether his MMA return is short-lived, or a new lease.

“If he chooses to face Nate Diaz next, that signals to me that he’s just about done,” Clifford told MMAjunkie Radio. “Maybe a Nate Diaz trilogy and maybe a Georges St-Pierre fight, and then he’s walking away a bajillionaire and doing whatever he’s going to do.

“If he does take a Tony Ferguson fight next, that’s signaling to me he has a couple more years in him and wants to keep fighting.”

If recent events are any indication, McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is thinking long term. UFC President Dana White said McGregor will next defend his belt against newly minted interim champ Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), who got a special tweet-out from the undisputed lightweight champ. There’s even been speculation as to a meeting at UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Then again, McGregor has said he’d open to a lot of different options, including a trilogy with Diaz. The good news, according to Clifford, is that he can still make that fight happen even if he faces Ferguson next.

“(McGregor) can afford to lose and not take any shine off the Nate Diaz trilogy,” Clifford said. “They could both lose three fights in a row, and that trilogy of theirs still sells two million PPVs.”

Whatever happens next, the sure bet is that it will be entertaining.

Check out the video above for more from Clifford.

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

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Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Rob Font, Ana Julaton, Damian Norris, Mohammed Usman

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Rob Font, Ana Julaton, Damian Norris and Mohammed Usman.

Font fights Pedro Munhoz on Oct. 28 at UFC Fight Night 119, Julaton meets Lisa Blaine on Friday at Bellator 185, Norris takes on Alonzo Martinez on Friday at LFA 25, and Mohammed Usman – younger brother of UFC fighter Kamaru Usman – returns Nov. 2 at Tachi Palace Fights 33.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Bellator, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2544 with UFC's Colby Covington

Stream or download Monday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guest Colby Covington.

Covington joined the program to talk about his upcoming bout against Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 119 on Oct. 28 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

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