Dana White Responds to Reports of Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3 at UFC 219

Conor McGregor may very well be plotting his return to the Octagon but reports that he’s agreed to meet Nate Diaz at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 are premature.

Several outlets began reporting over the weekend that McGregor and Diaz had reached an early agreement to meet later this year in a trilogy fight with the lightweight title on the line.

Now UFC president Dana White has responded when asked that very question on Twitter.

“Not true at all,” White wrote.

Now White’s response isn’t all that surprising given the fact that the fight is far from a done deal at this stage but it’s also the matchup that is most likely to happen next.

Sources have indicated that McGregor vs. Diaz 3 is very likely but there are still several details that have to be sorted out before any kind of official announcement could be made.

At the top of the list is McGregor’s timeline to return to the Octagon following his 10th round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather in August. Immediately afterwards, McGregor seemed to shy away from committing to a return to the UFC before the end of the year as he had originally planned.

Since the fight with Mayweather, McGregor has gone on vacation to celebrate a friend’s wedding but there are no clear indications that he’s gotten back into training just yet. With Dec. 30 fast approaching, McGregor would likely need to get into a training camp within the next few weeks to fight by the end of the year.

Diaz also has to agree to the date and he’s remained largely at odds with the UFC ever since his second fight with McGregor last year.

Assuming all sides can come to an agreement on the fight, there’s still no clear indication that McGregor and Diaz would meet on Dec. 30. While the UFC will definitely need a headliner for the year-end card, McGregor and Diaz may prefer to meet at a later date such as the event that typically takes place during Super Bowl weekend or even postponing until as late as March 2018, which would mark the two year anniversary from their first fight at UFC 196.

So while it seems more than likely McGregor’s return fight to the UFC will take place against Diaz, the matchup is far from a done deal right now.

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Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/dana-white-responds-to-reports-of-conor-mcgregor-vs-nate-diaz-3-at-ufc-219


UFC Newcomer Flagged by USADA Before First Fight

Little more than two years after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency began administering the UFC’s anti-doping program, it’s still not uncommon for a fighter to be flagged for a potential violation. The most recent example is a fighter that has yet to set foot in the Octagon.

Still awaiting his debut bout, undefeated Russian fighter Azamat Murzakanov (7-0) has been notified of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on Sept. 2, 2017, according to UFC officials. No further details of the nature of the potential violation were revealed.

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Murzakanov had initially planned to make his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 112 in June opposite Joachim Christensen, but had to withdraw from the fight because of an injury.

According to a UFC statement, Murzakanov will be afforded due process before any sanctions are imposed.

“USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Murzakanov,” read the statement. “Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”

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Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/ufc-newcomer-flagged-by-usada-before-first-fight


Watch Kevin Lee’s Brutal Assault That Helped Earn a Title Shot (UFC 216 Free Fight)

Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/watch-kevin-lees-brutal-assault-that-helped-earn-a-title-shot-ufc-216-free-fight


Michael Bisping Declares He Didn’t Dodge Anyone to Get Georges St-Pierre Fight

Fighters, fans, and pundits alike have criticized Michael Bisping for putting his UFC middleweight title on the line against Georges St-Pierre, claiming he is ducking the true challengers to his belt. He, however, says that he was more than willing to fight the top contender, but he didn’t have that option.

The criticism leveled at Bisping centers primarily on the fact that he has yet to defend the middleweight strap against a top ranked contender, and that’s fair, although it’s hard to argue that the fight with St-Pierre will lead to a bigger payday than any other as Bisping nears the end of his career.

While Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold to capture the title in June of 2016, he has defended it only once. He got the better of former Pride champion Dan Henderson with a five-round unanimous decision in October, but has since been on the sidelines.

A few months later, Bisping had agreed to put his belt on the line against a returning St-Pierre, the UFC’s former welterweight kingpin. After several false starts, UFC president Dana White pulled that fight off the table. While Bisping was then treating an aggravating injury, the UFC put together an interim middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. 

Bisping claims that, with the St-Pierre fight off the table at that point, he had agreed to fight the winner of Romero vs. Whittaker, contradicting his critics that he lacked the will to face a top contender.

“There’s a lot of people out there that like to talk (expletive) and say that, ‘He’s dodging the No. 1 contender,’ and all of this,” Bisping said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. “(But) prior to Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero fighting, I had a quick meeting with Dana White in the backroom of the MGM, or wherever the (expletive), the T-Mobile Arena, and I agreed to coach The Ultimate Fighter against whoever won that fight. So in essence, I accepted a fight with Yoel and I accepted a fight with Robert Whittaker.”

Had things went as planned in that backstage meeting with White, Bisping would have been coaching opposite Whittaker on The Ultimate Fighter right now instead of training for St-Pierre. Bisping is currently slated to fight St-Pierre in the UFC 217 headliner on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden.

“I just want to throw that out there for all those people out there who like to talk smack. And it was Robert Whittaker that said he needed some time, he didn’t want to fight. Obviously a fight with Yoel doesn’t make sense because Yoel just lost,” Bisping recounted.

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“But it’s funny how things happen, because that actually gave the GSP thing an ability to happen. Because (Romero vs. Whittaker) happened on a Saturday, we were supposed to start coaching The Ultimate Fighter on the Tuesday. So, if Whittaker hadn’t turned it down, the fight (with St-Pierre) never would’ve happened.”

And with that, St-Pierre will return from a four-year sabbatical to challenge for the UFC middleweight championship.

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Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/michael-bisping-declares-he-didnt-dodge-anyone-to-get-georges-st-pierre-fight


Dominick Cruz: Alpha Male Occupies TJ Dillashaw’s Head Space

The continuing devolution of TJ Dillashaw‘s relationship with his former teammates at Team Alpha Male is likely to cause problems when he challenges Cody Garbrandt for the bantamweight championship at UFC 217 in November.

The long history between Dillashaw and his current coach, Duane Ludwig, and Team Alpha Male’s Garbrandt, Urijah Faber, Justin Buccholz, and others, is jaded at best.

Dillashaw cut his MMA teeth with the Alpha Male crew. When Ludwig came on board as the team’s coach, Dillashaw made an instant connection. Under the combined guidance of Ludwig and Alpha Male, Dillashaw captured the UFC bantamweight championship from Renan Barao and defended it twice.

There was a very public falling out when Ludwig left Alpha Male to start his own martial arts training center in his home base of Colorado and Dillashaw soon followed. Things have never been the same. Alpha Male labeled Dillashaw a traitor and only harsh words have been said since.

Although it’s been a couple of years since the scenario played out, the harsh feelings have not subsided. After Dillashaw lost the belt to Dominick Cruz, and then Garbrandt took it from him, the flames have only grown hotter. 

Dillashaw was slated to challenge Garbrandt over the summer after the two coached opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter, but that fell apart when Garbrandt’s back wouldn’t conform with the plan and the champ had to withdraw.

Now, they are rescheduled to meet as part of the blockbuster UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre fight card on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Cruz, however, feels that the sordid history between the parties involved will play negatively for Dillashaw as the fight rolls around.

“(Dillashaw) has some fights since I fought him, so you can tell he’s made some changes. He wasn’t looking as aggressive. He’s taking his time more and doing what he needed to. I think that type of mindset is going to be real important for him to get to Cody. He has all the tools,” Cruz said on a recent edition of UFC Unfiltered.

“It’s just the question of how is he going to deal with that whole team, in my opinion, because that whole team plays a very interesting game.”

That is where the crux of the problem lies, as Cruz sees it. Dillashaw has angst with the Alpha Male team, not just one or two fighters. It’s not simply Dillashaw and Faber or Dillashaw and Garbrandt hurling insults at each other. It’s the majority of Team Alpha Male that is constantly taking shots at Dillashaw, criticizing not only his decision to leave the team, but also his behavior while he was part of the team. 

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“Justin Buchholz likes to get in guys’ heads because he’s an ex-fighter that wanted to fight, but didn’t quite get to do what he wanted to, so he stepped up and is somewhat living vicariously thought the Alpha Male team,” Cruz continued.

“That being said, he still runs his mouth. He’s still trying to chat at you, still trying to jaw. He plays a lot of weird games and I know he’s going to be playing with TJ Dillashaw. They all work together, that team. They are all a bunch of fighters that work together to try to manipulate, especially when it comes down to TJ.

“They all know everything about him. They know that he was a hot head. They knew that he had went through and hurt some of their teammates while they were training because he gets upset.”

That factor could keep Dillashaw from being at his best, despite an improving skillset, when he steps in the cage opposite Garbrandt.

“They just know so much about him that I feel like that’s going to play a little part in the build-up to this fight. That it’s going to mess with TJ a little bit, personally, where he’s not quite 100-percent mentally there just because those were his old friends,” Cruz posited.

“I know that it hurts him that he’s not part of that squad, or it did for a while. Anymore, I’m not sure. I think that head space thing is a real thing for those guys.”

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Article source: http://www.mmaweekly.com/dominick-cruz-alpha-male-occupies-tj-dillashaws-head-space





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