TFerg: No interest Conor McGregor fight, want winner of Nurmagomedov-Poirier
And Tony Ferguson will not serve as a back up for Saturday's Khabib vs. Poirier title unification main event: “I’m not backup for anybody. I’ve got 12 fights in a row. F@$% that. It was talked about it, I was kind of interested but at the end of the day I’m not here to be back up. I have a belt. I’ve won 12 in a row. The next fight that I have is for the belt. It’s gonna have to have a lot of build up, especially for the fans. It has to have the hype. It deserves a full camp and lead-up time. ... [McGregor] is not my concern. He’s like a female, like one of those ex-girlfriends. I stopped worrying about that. At first he was in line, trying to go for the title, then once he became irrelevant, I stopped caring about the dude. Now he’s mentioning my name? Get the f@$% out of here.” h/t MMA Fighting • Watch The Ariel Helwani MMA Show
Kevin Iole: Early numbers for UFC 242 suggest monster PPV buys
If the current trends hold, Khabib Nurmagomedov will be part of the two biggest PPV shows in UFC history. McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov was the biggest PPV in MMA history, with 2 million buys; Early traffic numbers for UFC.com and its social media accounts prior to Saturday's UFC 242 are similar. The UFC released 2 Nurmagomedov fights and 2 Poirier fights which did 35 million views on youtube as of Tuesday evening PT, 49 million on Facebook, and 13.8 million on Instagram. It's the most the Free Fight views the UFC ever did, and there are 3 days to go. The biggest detriment to approaching 2 million sales is the change in start times - the UFC 242 main card will start at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, so don't forget. h/t Yahoo Sports
Khabib Nurmagomedov: Dustin Poirier is my toughest challenge
“Right now, after watching Dustin Poirier, I think he’ll be my toughest challenge. I always think like this. He’s a very good fighter. I think it’s going to be a very tough fight for me. I’m ready for this – the last 100 days I’ve trained so hard for this fight. It’s only one week before the fight and I’m still focused. The fight is just around the corner and I’m very focused on Dustin Poirier – I will not underestimate this guy. All fights begin on [the feet], but then you’re going to watch what I’m gonna do. Of course, I want to feel his speed [and] I want to feel his power. Nobody knows [what’s going to happen] – a fight is a fight. My plan is to finish this guy, that is what I want." h/t Body Lock MMA
The Prelim Primer: UFC 242
John Kavanagh joins forces with Everlast
Everlast has announced an exclusive, multi-year agreement with John Kavanagh. Kavanagh, the 2017 World MMA Coach of the Year, will train exclusively with Everlast equipment at his world renowned Straight Blast Gym Ireland gym and wear the iconic brand’s apparel at Bellator events when permitted, as well as play a feature role in forthcoming marketing initiatives. Kavanagh is considered a pioneer for introducing BJJ into Ireland and has written his name into the Irish history books as the first ever Black Belt in BJJ, the country’s first ever sportsman to compete in MMA, and as coach to Conor McGegor, Gunnar Nelson, Artem Lobov, and countless other top fighters. In August Kavanagh will open a new world-class, flagship gym in Dublin. The agreement is an important strategic move for Everlast as it enters the fast-growing UK & Ireland MMA sector.
Cheick Kongo: Win vs. Ryan Bader makes me ‘the best heavyweight in the world’
Kongo, on an 8-fight win streak at age 44, challenges Bader for the Bellator heavyweight belt on Saturday: “We brought in a lot of wrestlers for this camp, world-class wrestlers. They have been giving me a hard time, but it made me better - I’m stuffing takedowns, I’m ready to go, I’m confident in my skills. I expect this fight to end by knockout. Hopefully, it is me knocking out Ryan Bader. ... I can do it. Age means nothing. It will show them that I am the best heavyweight in the world. People have doubted me, gave up on me, I wasn’t in the grand prix, this will show and prove them all wrong. The thing is, I stayed away from drugs, steroids. All that gives you the ability to perform better at the time. But, it hurts your body in the long run so they aren’t being able to fight this long. My lifestyle has made me be able to fight and stay at the top for this long. ... At my age, you have to think about retirement. I wish I wasn’t worried about it, but I have to at 44-years-old. This fight could very well be the last one." h/t BJPENN.com
Cris Cyborg signs with Bellator: Largest contract in WMMA history
Bellator is proud to announce the signing of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. The deal – the largest of its kind in women’s MMA history – exclusively secures Cyborg’s talents with a multi-year, multi-fight contract. Cyborg joins current champ Julia Budd, Olga Rubin, Arlene Blencowe, Janay Harding, and Leslie Smith among others, cementing Bellator’s 145-pound weight class as the strongest women’s featherweight division in MMA. Bellator President Scott Coker: “I have worked with countless athletes over my thirty-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like ‘Cyborg’. Her ability to excite the crowd from the moment she makes her walk to the cage is special, and having had the pleasure of promoting several of her fights in the past, I am looking forward to the opportunity of promoting her once again."
Coach: Andrade, in euphoria, didn't follow game plan
PRVT head coach Gilliard Parana said the plan vs. Weili Zhang was to initially strike from the outside, but 'Bate Estaca' decided to try pile driving instead: “She was in this euphoria of trying to knock that girl out. A lot of people saying she got lucky against Rose and blah blah blah, and I think that messed with her head a little bit and she didn’t follow the gameplan. That has worked many times before and could work against Weili Zhang as well, but standing and trading is like a lottery, one hand can land and you go down. It happens. We believe a lot in Jessica’s chin and thought that wouldn’t happen, but we saw that even she can go down with a good hand that lands. ... Nina [Ansaroff] would be a good option if she wants to fight in December. I don’t know if Nina Ansaroff will continue fighting, but I think she’s the only one in the top 10 that doesn’t have a fight booked, so that’s an idea. ... Jessica is still one of the best in the division, if not the best, when she’s focused. Having the title if tough, you lose focus, you have that pressure and have to prove yourself all the time.” h/t MMA Fighting
CA returns to Guadalajara with USA vs. Mexico headliner on 9/27
Combate Americas announced its return to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico with a star-studded card on Friday, 9/27, broadcast live on television in the U.S. on both Univision (12 a.m. ET/PT) and TUDN (12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT), and streaming on DAZN. The featherweight main event is a classic Mexico-USA showdown, with Guadalajara hero Horacio “The Punisher” Gutierrez making his long-awaited return to La Jaula, vs. fellow rising star Chase “El Guero” Gibson. Additional bouts for the event will be announced soon. CEO Campbell McLaren: “We have a lineup filled with some of the most exciting new stars in our sport and a classic Mexico vs. USA showdown in the main event that will highlight our return to Guadalajara, one of Combate Americas’ favorite cities in Mexico."
Gustafsson heading to return, he hopes vs. Luke Rockhold
Alexander Gustafsson is only MMA "retired" and appears to be headed back to the Octagon: “I’m talking with the UFC, we are going back and forth. I’m about 240-245 lbs. I’m a heavyweight right now” joked Gustafsson. “I’ve had a good time with family and friends. It has been a good two and half months. I am in no man’s land” says the light heavyweight title challenger about his status as he begins to start training again without any official fight. I just want to train and get into shape. Let’s see how it goes. Luke Rockhold would be a good payday. Would love a fight. A fight against Luke would be a great way to comeback. He is a tough guy, a legend. We are trying to figure out what I do wrong in competitions. I felt so good before the last fight. Something is not right, and I need to fix it.” h/t MMA Viking