Former UFC champion McGregor signs deal to fight Poirier

FILE PHOTO: MMA Mixed Martial Arts – UFC 246 – Welterweight – Conor McGregor v Donald Cerrone – T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, United States – January 18, 2020 Conor McGregor before his fight against Donald Cerrone REUTERS/Mike Blake

November 19, 2020

(Reuters) – Former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor has signed an agreement for a rematch against American Dustin Poirier in January, according to his website The Mac Life on Thursday. 

McGregor, who has not fought since knocking out American Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout in Las Vegas in January, previously held the featherweight and lightweight UFC titles.

The Irishman was stripped of the former and lost the latter to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who retired undefeated in October 2018. 

“I am very grateful to be about to return and get to do what I love again,” McGregor is quoted as saying.

“I look forward to the fresh test Dustin will bring since our first bout, while also showcasing my own incredibly deep cache of weaponry. Whatever tool is needed on the night will be pulled from the duffel.”

McGregor and Poirier clashed in December 2014, when the Irishman was beginning his meteoric rise, with McGregor winning by TKO after 1 minute 46 seconds of the first round.

UFC president Dana White recently dismissed speculation that the fight, the venue for which has yet to be decided, would be for the lightweight title left vacant by Nurmagomedov, saying he expects the Dagestani to return for one more fight in the UFC.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor in Stockholm; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Chelsea Hackett to fight for a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series in Las Vegas

Chelsea Hackett remembers winning her last fight, walking from the cage and then being told she would be challenge for a UFC contract.

That was in March.

“Or 10 days,” she recalls, “before the coronavirus hit”.

Which has made for some wait.

Yet eight months on from being given the biggest news of her promising fight career, 21-year-old Hackett is finally set to enter the Octagon in Las Vegas on Wednesday (Australian time) as part of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Despite her unforced hiatus between fights, the rising Gold Coaster insists she is simply now better prepared for her bout against American Victoria Leonardo.

As part of the White’s Contender Series process, the UFC president hands out contracts to a certain number of winning fighters on each card — with the paperwork largely decided by the appeal of individual wins.

“My plan was always been to have a UFC contract by the end of 2020,” said Hackett, whose Contender Series spot was initially confirmed following her win over Rhiannon Thompson at Eternal MMA 52.

“Going into that fight, only myself and my team knew that a win could get me the shot. Then afterwards, I was so excited.

“I couldn’t wait.”

Nor could COVID-19.

“Initially, everything got so hectic I thought the series would be off,” Hackett said.

“They were cancelling sporting events everywhere and, of course, I was super upset.

“But I knew this was a global thing and there were a lot of people worse off.

“So I just kept training, kept working … and crossed my fingers.”

Then in June, it was announced the Contender Series was definitely on.

“But we still didn’t know if I could even travel to America because of the restrictions,” she said. “Almost all the fighters on that show are from the United States.

“So it’s taken a big effort for me to get here.

“When I eventually found out it was still going ahead, I was jumping out and down I was so excited.”

Despite only boasting a 3-0-1 MMA career, Hackett’s relationship with combat sports goes all the way back to the age of eight, when she took up taekwondo.

She continued into the professional ranks, becoming a Muay Thai world champion, before switching to MMA and her current push for a UFC contract.


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Anderson Silva aiming for one last vintage performance in UFC swansong against Uriah Hall — RT Sport News

Anderson Silva will fight for the final time in the octagon on Saturday night on the backend of a glittering career, but can ‘The Spider’ leave the UFC’s cage in the same way in which he entered it – with a knockout win?

Silva, who turns 46 on his next birthday, enjoyed a record-breaking spell throughout his UFC tenure since his debut win against Chris Leben more than 14 years ago and while only most blinkered of Silva fans wouldn’t agree that some of his skills have depreciated over time, there’s little doubt that – whatever happens in the main event of the UFC’s event in Las Vegas – Silva’s status as an MMA pioneer is set in stone.

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‘I’ve prepared my mind for this’: UFC legend Anderson Silva admits to feeling ‘sad’ ahead of ‘last fight’ against Hall

One glance as his career ledger shows you why. That debut win against Leben was achieved in 49 seconds. He won the world title in his next fight against Rich Franklin. This took him just under three minutes. 

Less than a round of total time into his UFC career and Anderson Silva was the undisputed world champion. It is a title he would claim for seven years and 16 fights without defeat. 

Those defeats eventually came, as they would for any fighter, but not many of Silva’s peers were capable of the type of effortlessly flawless performances which came naturally to him. 

And this is exactly how Silva wants things to progress in what he swears is his final UFC bout against Uriah Hall. The American, a full ten years his opponent’s junior, is also a striker of much repute (as Adam Cella found out on their season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’) and will wade into the exact type of fight which Silva desires. 

A wrestling-heavy, push ’em up against the fence type of fight was never particularly Silva’s forte even if he passed most of those tests with flying colors. Instead, Hall, who is as confident in his techniques as Silva, will be hoping to wring the last bit of competitive action from the ageing Brazilian destroyer. 

It would be a fine scalp, of that there is no doubt.

But whoever wins between, Silva’s legacy will endure far longer than the memories of Saturday’s fight. His 16-fight win streak will be very difficult to beat (Khabib managed 13 wins in eight years with the UFC). That front-kick KO against Vitor Belfort, or the come from behind submission win against Chael Sonnen. 

Even the title defeat to Chris Weidman, and the rematch after it in which Silva’s shin shattered after a checked leg-kick, these are forged deeply into anyone who follows the sport to any significant degree. 

These memories are the foundations for which much of today’s landscape of mixed martial arts is built upon. On Saturday, we get one last chance to witness it. 

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Khabib Nurmagomedov retires from MMA after defending his UFC lightweight title with a broken foot | World News

Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA) after successfully defending his UFC lightweight title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Nurmagomedov extended his unbeaten record to 29-0 – his third successful title defence, having previously beaten Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

His win was also achieved with a broken foot.

Khabib Nurmagomedov with his late father. Pic: Instagram/Khabib Nurmagomedov

It was the Russian’s first fight without his father and coach, Abdulmanap, who died from complications caused by coronavirus earlier this year.

After his win, Nurmagomedov said: “Today I want to say this is my last fight. No way am I coming here without my father.

“When UFC called me about Justin I spoke with my mother for three days.

“She didn’t want me to fight without father and I said this is my last fight – and I have given her my word.

“Thank you so much Justin. I know you are great, I know how you take care of your people. Be close with your parents, because you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.

“Thank you coach, thank you guys. Today is my last fight in the UFC.

“It was my father’s dream. Justin and Conor will fight in January, I have choked both out, I am not interested in this.”

Khabib's gloves from his fight (Pic: UFC Twitter)
Khabib’s gloves from his fight. Pic: Twitter/UFC

UFC president Dana White revealed after the fight that Nurmagomedov had competed with a broken foot and that by retiring with a 29-0 record he has to be considered as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.

White said: “What this guy’s been through, we’re all lucky that we got to see him fight tonight.

“I’m hearing rumours of other things that I didn’t know about that you guys will hear about when he comes out later, I’m sure.

“Apparently, he was in the hospital, he broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken or something like that. That’s what his corner was telling me.

“He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet. He is just the number one pound for pound fighter in the world. And seriously, I have to start putting him up there at G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) status with whoever else you think is the G.O.A.T.”

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Khabib Nurmagomedov retires from MMA after beating Justin Gaethje to retain his UFC lightweight title

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has called time on his mixed martial arts career following a second-round submission win over Justin Gaethje, leaving his gloves in the centre of the octagon to fulfil a promise to his mother.

He wore down his opponent on Saturday with his constant forward pressure before mounting Gaethje and locking him in a triangle choke that rendered the American unconscious to extend his record to 29 wins and no defeats.

Many questioned if he would have the heart for the fight against Gaethje following the July death of his 57-year-old father, Abdulmanap, due to complications caused by COVID-19.

His father had schooled him in combat sports from an early age and was in his corner in Abu Dhabi in September 2019 when Khabib choked out Dustin Poirier, on that occasion using a rear naked choke in another successful title defence.

Nurmagomedov broke down in tears after clinching the title bout, announcing the end of his career.

“I talked to my mother three days [ago]. She didn’t want me to go fight without my father, but I promised her it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this,” an emotional Khabib said in the octagon.

“It was my last fight.

After a stunning run of 13 wins in eight years and a professional record featuring eight knockouts and 11 submission wins in his 29 victories, few would argue with the 32-year-old.

UFC president Dana White revealed after the fight that Nurmagomedov had gone into his final fight with a broken foot and several broken toes.

There had been doubts Khabib Nurmagomedov would have the heart for his first fight since the death of his father and former coach Abdulmanap (left).(Instagram: Khabib Nurmagomedov)


Dynamic, controversial career for Nurmagomedov

Nurmagomedov, a Dagestan-born grappling specialist, was one of the most dynamic competitors in recent MMA history.

He developed a well-rounded game under the tutelage of his father and an MMA gym, culminating in his ascent to the UFC title in 2018.

Khabib Nurmagomedov punches Conor McGregor at UFC 229
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s (left) UFC lightweight title win over Conor McGregor (right) made him one of the world’s most famous combat sport athletes.(AP: John Locher)

Nurmagomedov stopped Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in his next two bouts before his year-long absence from competition.


His victory over McGregor made him one of the world’s most famous combat sports athletes. He also became one of the most controversial due to a wild brawl that erupted inside and outside the cage at UFC 229.

Nurmagomedov scaled the perimeter fencing of the octagon and started brawling with a member of McGregor’s team. Both fighters were escorted from the arena by police and security and were later suspended.

The UFC scheduled this pay-per-view show at an earlier-than-normal time to cater to his vast fan base in Russia and Europe.

Nurmagomedov had spoken of retirement before and his announcement confirmed he was finished with the sport after running through most of the UFC lightweight division.

“Dustin and Conor are going to fight in January,” Nurmagomedov said, referring to the probable meeting between the former contenders at UFC 257.

“I choked them both out. I’m not interested in this.”

Also on the card at UFC 254, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker made his case for another title shot with a solid unanimous decision over fellow contender Jared Cannonier in the penultimate bout on Fight Island.


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Khabib Nurmagomedov retires from UFC after beating Justin Gaethje

Some believe Khabib Nurmagomedov is the greatest UFC fighter of all time

Khabib Nurmagomedov extended his perfect professional record as he retained his lightweight title at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi – then announced his retirement.

Russian Nurmagomedov, 32, defeated interim champion Justin Gaethje with a second-round triangle choke submission to claim a 29th victory and unify the 155lb title.

Nurmagomedov said he had honoured the memory of his father, coach and mentor Abdulmanap, who died in July following complications arising from Covid-19.

Despite many believing Nurmagomedov would chase his 30th professional win before contemplating retirement, the emotional champion asked his team-mates to cut his gloves off before quitting.

“It was my last fight. There’s no way I’m going to come here without my father,” he said. “It was the first time after what happened with my father, when the UFC called me about (fighting) Justin, I talked with my mother for three days.

“She didn’t want me to fight without father, but I promised her it was going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.

“I know only one thing I want from the UFC: Tuesday, you guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve this.

“Undisputed UFC lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in the UFC, 29 in my pro MMA career. I think I deserve this.”

Nurmagomedov ‘broke his foot three weeks ago’

“What this guy’s been through, we’re all lucky we got to see him fight tonight,” said UFC president Dana White. “I’m hearing rumours of other things that I didn’t know about. Apparently he was in the hospital. He broke his foot three weeks ago. So he has two broken toes and a bone in his foot that’s broken – that’s what his corner was telling me. Never told anybody.

“He is one of the toughest human beings on the planet and he’s the number-one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and, seriously, you have to start putting him up there with GOAT status with whoever else you think is the GOAT.”

UFC 254, which marked the final event of the sport’s second stint on Yas Island, saw the return of Nurmagomedov, who was unable to defend his title earlier this year because of Covid-19 travel restrictions in Russia.

At the time, Nurmagomedov was due to face rival Tony Ferguson at UFC 249, but Ferguson instead faced Gaethje, and was stopped in the fifth round as ‘The Highlight’ claimed the interim title and stepped into the number-one contender spot.

Gaethje was expected to pose problems for Nurmagomedov, with his collegiate wrestling experience considered a possible antidote to the champion’s smothering grappling style.

But Nurmagomedov dominated the first round with his high-pressure approach, then submitted Gaethje in the second.

Nurmagomedov added Gaethje’s name to a list of beaten opponents that also includes Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta and Edson Barboza.

Khabib Nurmagomedov (second right) with his team
Khabib Nurmagomedov (second right) with his team after announcing his retirement

Nurmagomedov thanked Gaethje, who had arranged for his parents to fly internationally for the first time in their lives to watch him fight for the title, and paid tribute to a man who four years ago helped him make weight when he was struggling to lose the final few pounds for his short-notice fight with Darrell Horcher.

“Thank you so much, Justin. 2016 I remember when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you, brother,” Nurmagomedov said.

“I know how you are a great man. I know how you take care of your close people. I know a lot of things about you.

“Be close with your people, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. You never know.”

Whittaker wins again while Wood nets $50,000 bonus

In the night’s co-main event, Australian former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker continued his return to form since losing his title to Israel Adesanya last October by outpointing American Jared Cannonier to move back into title contention at 185 pounds.

British bantamweight Nathaniel Wood was also in action, but was edged out on the scorecards after a back-and-forth battle with American Casey Kenney on the preliminary card. However, their 140-pound catchweight match-up was awarded “Fight of the Night” honours, with both men receiving $50,000 bonuses for their respective performances.

More tributes to Nurmagomedov

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UFC legend Anderson Silva admits to feeling ‘sad’ ahead of ‘last fight’ against Hall — RT Sport News

Anderson Silva, the UFC’s record longest title-holder, has admitted that his fight against Uriah Hall in Las Vegas on October 31 will “probably” be his farewell contest as he eyes retirement more than 23 years after his MMA debut.

Former middleweight champion Silva, 45, appeared to all-but confirm his retirement after he faces Hall at the UFC Apex in his final UFC outing.

The legendary Brazilian had two fights left on his UFC contract before he appeared to be encouraged to make only one further appearance following more than a year out of the sport.

Pinpointing training as the element he would most miss, Silva explained to MMA Junkie: “Preparing my mind, preparing my body…is most important and I feel sad because I don’t have this anymore.

“This is the last one. This is the last fight. For sure, this is the last fight. Probably.

“I love the sport. I’ve prepared my mind for this. I’ve prepared for fights my entire life but yes, this is my last fight in UFC.”

Silva has won just one of his eight fights in more than eight years since two knockout defeats to Chris Weidman, ending his record middleweight title reign of almost 2,500 days.

He defended his crown ten times but has not fought since a first-round defeat to Jared Cannonier in Rio de Janeiro in May 2019.

Fans were split on the prospect of one of the greatest fighters of all time finally bowing out, with some arguing that the faded veteran should have retired closer to his peak.

“Last fight in UFC or in MMA all together?” asked one. “Not the same thing.”

Another pointed out: “Dana [White, UFC president] kept saying it was his last fight while Silva did not.

“Now Silva is saying, ‘what Dana says’. Sounds to me like this is not really his decision, especially when he throws in ‘last fight in UFC’.”

‘The Spider’ said he was looking forward to a match-up with former Ultimate Fighter runner-up Hall.

“I can’t say, ‘oh, this fight goes to the ground, this fight is done in the standup,’” he observed.

“It’s two good strikers. Uriah’s a very, very athletic guy and has a good technique in the striking. I try to do my best. I try to do the best show for my fans.”

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‘I’m ready, Conor’s ready’: UFC legend Silva says he’s ALREADY cutting weight for McGregor superfight

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McGregor accepts UFC offer to face Poirier on January 23

FILE PHOTO: MMA Mixed Martial Arts – UFC 246 – Welterweight – Conor McGregor v Donald Cerrone – T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, United States – January 18, 2020 Conor McGregor before his fight against Donald Cerrone REUTERS/Mike Blake

October 15, 2020

Faced with a take-it-or-leave-it offer, Conor McGregor has apparently decided it was too good to pass up.

McGregor, via a social media post Wednesday, confirmed he has accepted the UFC’s offer for a bout against Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23, 2021.

“I accept, Jan 23rd is on! My goal is to see this fight take place in Cowboy stadium. Proper Style! Jerry Jones is a friend and the stadium can hold our crowd. I will be ready for Texas and Texas will be ready for my fans! Then Manny,” McGregor posted on Twitter.

Earlier on Wednesday, UFC president Dana White told ESPN he wouldn’t give McGregor a date in 2020 for his proposed rematch with Poirier. On Oct. 7, Poirier accepted the UFC’s offer, and Jan. 23 date, with his own social media post — “I accept.”

McGregor had been hoping to get the fight on the calendar for 2020, but White held firm on Wednesday.

“We didn’t have a date this year. We have everything laid out for this year, with world champions fighting for titles,” White told ESPN. “He’s been offered Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23. It’s a yes or no answer.”

ESPN previously reported that McGregor’s team rebuffed the initial UFC offer regarding Poirier as it instead attempted to square away a match against the 41-year-old Manny Pacquiao, a Philippine boxing legend.

McGregor, 32, has held UFC titles in the featherweight and lightweight divisions, but he has been at odds with the promotion since a TKO win over Donald Cerrone in UFC 246 on Jan. 18. He owns a 22-4 record in mixed martial arts.

Poirier, 31, owns a 26-6 record with one no-contest. In his lone fight of 2020, he beat Dan Hooker by unanimous decision on June 27. His previous bout was a loss by submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight championship fight at UFC 242 last September.

–Field Level Media

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UFC news, Paige VanZant Instagram, bikini, photo, MMA, boxing

Paige VanZant’s latest post has her 2.7 million Instagram fans divided.

On Friday, the 26-year-old fighter — who endured a COVID-19 scare with husband Austin Vanderford last month — shared a pair of bikini photos with her followers, prompting them to weigh in on her handstand skills.

“1 or 2???? Comment below,” VanZant captioned the post.

While the first shot appeared to be the favourite among fans, some followers got cheeky in the comments, dropping the peach emoji.

VanZant has kept fans entertained on social media throughout the coronavirus pandemic and, most recently, during her transition to the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. In August, she agreed to a four-fight deal with the organisation, worth more than $1 million.

“This has been in talks ever since I was a free agent. This is kind of where I felt the most passionate about, and it completely lined up with what I wanted and what they wanted and we were really able to create a happy partnership,” VanZant said during her introductory press conference over the summer. “It’s a win-win for both of us.”

As for her critics, VanZant recently offered a bold statement to accompany another poolside snap.

– New York Post

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UFC news 2020, Joaquin Buckley KO, best in history, stunned reaction, results

Fights fans reckon Joaquin Buckley may have pulled off the greatest knockout in UFC history.

The 26-year-old delivered a spectacular spinning back kick to the head to floor Impa Kasanganay in Round 2 of their bout on UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

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Kasanganay blocked an attempted kick and grabbed Buckley’s left ankle, but the American worked his way out of the jam with a move that stunned the world.

A common theme emerged in the frenzied reaction that followed.

ESPN commentator Dan Hardy called it “the most spectacular knockout we have ever seen” while renowned MMA reporter Ariel Helwani was spruiking the KO as the best of the century.

Combat sports analyst and podcaster Luke Thomas tweeted: “That’s one of the best KOs in UFC history.”

Sports writer Sam Vecenie said: “That Joaquin Buckley knockout is one of the best I’ve ever seen in the UFC. Oh my god.

“I honestly didn’t know people could do this outside of movie fight choreography. What in the world.”

MMA writer Jose Youngs added: “OH. MY. GOD. Joaquin Buckley just scored one of the most spectacular headkick knockouts I have ever seen.”

ESPN’s Marc Raimondi wrote: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in MMA. Take a bow, Joaquin Buckley. KO of the Year candidate.”

The UFC’s official Twitter account called it “the most unbelievable KO in UFC history” while president Dana White asked his 5.4 million followers: “Is this the greatest KO in UFC history?”

Heavyweight Daniel Cormier also chimed in. “I mean I’ve seen some s**t in MMA, but that may be the craziest knockout ever!!!! Dude got some bonus money coming his way!!!!” he wrote.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, White said the UFC’s tweet of Buckley’s KO is the most retweeted clip in the promotion’s history. It surged past Conor McGregor’s finish of Donald Cerrone in January, which was retweeted 27,000 times.

The violence kept coming on the preliminary card as Chris Daukaus nailed Rodrigo Nascimento with a left hook then followed up with a flurry of punches and elbows to the head that forced the referee to call their fight off after just 45 seconds.

Next up was Tom Breese, who knocked KB Bhullar down early in Round 1 with a jab, then finished the fight off on the ground.


Main Card

Cory Sandhagen defeated Marlon Moraes via TKO (R2, 1:03)

Edson Barboza defeated Makwan Amirkhani via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)

Marcin Tybura defeated Ben Rothwell via unanimous decision (29-27 x 3)

Dricus Du Plessis defeated Markus Perez via KO (R1, 3:22)

Tom Aspinall defeated Alan Baudot via TKO (R1, 1:35)

Ilia Topuria defeated Youssef Zalal via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)

Preliminary Card

Tom Breese defeated KB Bhullar via TKO (R1, 1:42)

Chris Daukaus defeated Rodrigo Nascimento via KO (R1, 0:45)

Joaquin Buckley defeated Impa Kasanganay via KO (R2, 2:03)

Tony Kelley defeated Ali Alqaisi via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)

Giga Chikadze defeated Omar Morales via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)

Tracy Cortez defeated Stephanie Egger via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)

Tagir Ulanbekov defeated Bruno Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)

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