After the roaring success of the UFC’s first show in Abu Dhabi after a five-year hiatus, the attention of the MMA world turns to the weekend’s activities.
Khabib Nurmagomedov once again reinforced his reputation as the best lightweight in the world after choking out Dustin Poirier in the third round of their title fight.
Ryan Bader defended his Bellator world heavyweight title against Cheick Kongo, while Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal were confirmed as the main event for UFC 244 in New Yokr City.
Here’s what is making news in the world of MMA today.
Bellator ‘champ champ’ wants Khabib
Particio Freire believes he will KO Khabib Nurmagomedov if the two were to ever meet.
The Bellator featherweight and lightweight world champion is recognised by CombatPress as No.9 in their pound-for-pound list in the world.
And the 32-year-old believes he would be able to close the distance on the fearsome wrestler to knock him clean out.
“Khabib is very tough, has phenomenal wrestling and sambo, but he has a huge deficiency on the feet so I can catch him,” Freire told MMA Fighting. “Nothing is impossible. I think he’s very tough, 28-0, but another fighter from Rio Grande do Norte, (Gleison) Tibau, put on a very tough fight with him, and I think there’s a path to beat him.
“I believe we can do it. If my hand lands — and it would land — it’s over.”
Since that fight at UFC 148 seven years ago, the Dagestan native has improved to become one of the most fearsome fighters on the planet thanks to the rigorous training methods employed at the American Kickboxing Academy.
But Friere is not impressed with what he has seen.
“He has the same fight pattern since his first fight,” Freire said. “He backs his opponent against the fence, moves and shoots to the leg. No one has ever tried … maybe someone did try to land a knee, but I don’t remember anyone getting close to landing.
“Iaquinta was doing well against him, moving well on the feet, but he was closing the distance the wrong way. I think I can close the distance better.”
Cowboy welcomes grappling match with Khabib
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone has underlined his fan favourite credentials yet again by welcoming a GRAPPLING match with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The 28-0 Russian once wrestled bears as a child and has only ever lost one round in professional MMA career, largely thanks to his aggressive sambo style.
But Cowboy, who has a large variety of attacks in his arsenal with which to hurt opponents, believes taking the ‘Eagle’ to the ground may not be such a bad idea.
“I didn’t see the fight [with Poirier]. I don’t know, I was on the lake,” Cerrone said. “I figured [Khabib won], I heard the news. But I think people need to welcome Khabib to the ground. I’d let him. Come on in, let’s go.”
Cowboy has 17 wins via submission from his 36 since his debut in 2006 and is a black belt in both BJJ and Gaidojutsu. So the chance to take the best grappler in the world down to the mat does not worry the 36-year-old.
“How does Khabib do on his back?” Cerrone asked. “What if I take Khabib down? Who knows? S***.”
Covington explains beef with Masvidal
Colby Covington is beginning to make a career out of trash-talking his opponents and even his friends.
The American Top Team member has lashed out at former friend Jorge Masvidal as the duo battle to reach gold in the welterweight division.
With champion Kamaru Usman refusing to fight Covington at MSG, Masvidal and Nate Diaz will headline the card on November 2, leaving the ‘Chaos’ without an opponent.
And it seems as though the damage is irreparable as the former interim champion explained where the rivalry originated form.
“That tweet came from Jorge trying to get in the way of my money and I take that money very serious,” Covington told MMA Fighting. “That’s food on the table for my mom, my dad, the life they never had, my family. I come from a very broke background and now he’s trying to mess with my money and my business so now you’re a competitor.
“Now you’re in my sights. That’s been a long time coming. People think we’ve been friends recently but that friendship ended a long time ago.”
While the welterweight title contenders continued to root for each other publicly in interviews, Covington says he hasn’t been close with Masvidal for nearly two years.
The origins of their issues started after he fought Demian Maia in Brazil and the friendship effectively ended after he won the interim welterweight title with a victory over Rafael dos Anjos in 2018.
“When he got beat up by Demian Maia and then I had to come up and clean up the scraps and completely decimate Demian Maia in his hometown of Sao Paulo, that’s when the relationship ended,” Covington explained. “Jorge got jealous. He got bitter. He wanted something that he couldn’t have, which was beating Demian Maia and be in position to fight for the title.
“Then as soon as I won the belt, that’s when he completely turned on me and he started talking s—t to me at the gym, at fights he’s saying stuff to me. I’m like dude stop. You’re a light round. You want to see how me and Jorge goes? Go look on YouTube. I wasn’t even trying hard. I know the haters don’t know how to turn on a girl but they should learn to turn on YouTube.”
Gaethje explains injury scare ahead of UFC Fight Night
After providing fans with a match up made in heaven, it seemed as though the MMA Gods were set to intervene once more and put a halt to the Cerrone vs Gaethje fight scheduled fro Saturday in Canada.
But thankfully the 30-year-old will not back out of the fight, despite suffering from an eye infection.
“I’ll be honest to everyone, I’m wearing these sunglasses because I almost didn’t make it to this fight,” Gaethje said. “I had an eye infection and I’m through that now and I just got off the plane about an hour and a half ago and I came straight here because I was not gonna miss this opportunity to work out and get the blood flowing and get my mind into fight week.
“So these lights are super bright, but I’m 100 percent ready to go.
“I’ve fought blind my whole life, so unless my eyes are cut out I’m fighting.”