Gaethje Title Shot & Makhachev vs. Dariush Are Likely Next Per Manager

According to the manager of all three fighters, the UFC’s plans for Justin Gaethje, Islam Makhachev, and Beneil Dariush may now be revealed.

Following a pair of significant bouts in the lightweight title picture, Islam Makhachev defeating Dan Hooke…

Beneil Dariush, Islam Makhachev, Justin Gaethje

According to the manager of all three fighters, the UFC’s plans for Justin Gaethje, Islam Makhachev, and Beneil Dariush may now be revealed.

Following a pair of significant bouts in the lightweight title picture, Islam Makhachev defeating Dan Hooker at UFC 267 and Justin Gaethje defeating Michael Chandler at UFC 268, there has been much debate and speculation on who will receive the next title shot.

The loudest voice in the room has been Gaethje. The American has insisted that his bout against Chandler was a title eliminator. He also believes that since he is the highest-ranked person in the queue, he deserves the next shot.

Meanwhile, Islam Makhachev and his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov are among those who have countered Gaethje by reminding him that he has already had an opportunity just one fight ago when Nurmgomadov submitted him at UFC 254. Gaethje responded by ordering Makhachev to ‘do his job’ and fight Beneil Dariush.

Although Makhachev voiced his preference of going to war with Gaethje instead, their manager, Ali Abdelaziz, told TMZ that the current expectation is for Gaethje’s vision of what should happen to align with the UFC’s plans.

“Justin Gaethje is going to be next,” Abdelaziz said. “Probably, Beneil Dariush is going to fight Islam Makhachev. Probably, you are going to see Beneil Dariush fight Islam Makhachev and Justin Gaethje is going to fight for the title probably in May.”

Purely from a rankings perspective, this course of action makes sense. Gaethje is ranked #2, with current #1 contender Dustin Poirier set to challenge champion Charles Oliveira next month at UFC 269. Next, Dariush and Makhachev are ranked #3 and #4 respectively.

Dariush last defeated Tony Ferguson in May at UFC 262 to make for seven consecutive victories. That mark is two shy of Makhachev’s incredible nine-fight winning streak.

MMA News will keep you informed on if these fights become official or if there are any other updates regarding the lightweight title picture.

Continue Reading Gaethje Title Shot & Makhachev vs. Dariush Are Likely Next Per Manager at MMA News.

Colby Covington Laughs Off Talk Of Canelo vs. Usman Crossover Clash

In an exclusive interview with MMA News, Colby Covington laughed off 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman’s desire to meet pound-for-pound boxing king Canelo Alvarez inside the ring.

Covington has challenged Usman twice inside the Octagon. In their firs…

Colby Covington, Canelo Alvarez, Kamaru Usman

In an exclusive interview with MMA News, Colby Covington laughed off 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman’s desire to meet pound-for-pound boxing king Canelo Alvarez inside the ring.

Covington has challenged Usman twice inside the Octagon. In their first meeting at UFC 245 in 2019, “Chaos” gave the champ the toughest test to his reign. Heading into the fifth and final round, most had the fight scored at 2-2. With all to play for, it was Usman who edged ahead and secured a final-frame TKO victory.

After defending his belt once against Gilbert Burns and twice opposite Jorge Masvidal, “The Nigerian Nightmare” faced the threat of Covington again at UFC 268 earlier this month.

Despite dropping “Chaos” in the early rounds and looking like he was facing an easier ride than in the pair’s first clash, Usman lost his firm grip on the headlining bout and allowed his arch-rival back into the contest. But despite rocking the champ inside Madison Square Garden, Covington fell short on the judges’ scorecards.

Covington: Usman vs. Canelo Is The “Funniest Thing I Ever Heard”

Having cleared out many of the top contenders in the division and already lapped and beaten Covington and Masvidal for a second time, many are wondering what’s next for Usman. Ahead of his second victory over the #1-ranked contender, the champ had pitched the idea of a crossover showdown between the UFC’s pound-for-pound king, himself, and boxing’s P4P best, Canelo Alvarez.

Similar to Usman’s 170-pound dominance in the UFC, Canelo has been brushing past opponent after opponent inside the squared circle. The 57-1-2 professional has won multiple world championships across four weight classes from middleweight to light heavyweight. In his latest outing, a TKO win over Caleb Plant on the same night as Usman vs. Covington 2, the Mexican became the first undisputed champion at super middleweight in history.

Speaking to MMA News’ James Lynch, Colby Covington discussed the idea of Canelo and Usman facing off inside the ring. With Canelo’s credentials in mind, and his own experience facing Usman, the former interim titleholder believes talk of “The Nigerian Nightmare” posing any threat to the 31-year-old is laughable. “Chaos” also suggested the welterweight champ’s pursuit of money fights shows he’s nearing retirement from MMA.

“It’s probably the funniest thing I ever heard in my life. I mean, man, that’s just sad, man. That’s not even believable. Like, come on, man. Let’s talk about things in the realm of possibility. You’re acting like a little kid. He’s just trying to get paid. I mean, the bottom line: He doesn’t want to fight tough fights anymore, man. He wants to get this big-money fight and just walk off in the sunset. He doesn’t want it anymore. He doesn’t want it like want it, and that why you’re probably gonna see that guy leave the sport within the next year, and I’m still gonna be here. I’m getting better. I haven’t even hit my prime, man. So when I hit my prime, 34, 35 years old, man, look out, James. These guys are all in trouble,” Covington told MMA News.

Catch our full interview with Colby “Chaos” Covington below:

With Dana White’s comments, in which he emphatically shut down the idea of Usman venturing over to boxing to challenge Canelo, it seems unlikely we’ll be seeing the Nigerian and the Mexican trading leather anytime soon. Nevertheless, the champ isn’t giving up hope, and recently reiterated his desire to make his boxing debut against Canelo.

Do you agree with Colby Covington’s take on a potential Usman vs. Canelo boxing matchup?

Continue Reading Colby Covington Laughs Off Talk Of Canelo vs. Usman Crossover Clash at MMA News.

Ngannou Explains Gane Snub, Thinks UFC Set The Whole Thing Up

Francis Ngannou has explained his viral backstage snub of former training partner Ciryl Gane, and he says there’s more than what meets the eye.

One of the stories that came out of UFC 268 had nothing to do with all the in-cage action. A backstage n…

Francis Ngannou, Ciryl Gane

Francis Ngannou has explained his viral backstage snub of former training partner Ciryl Gane, and he says there’s more than what meets the eye.

One of the stories that came out of UFC 268 had nothing to do with all the in-cage action. A backstage non-encounter between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane widely made the rounds over the internet, with Ngannou shown walking straight past Gane without even a trace of acknowledgment.

Gane himself was flabbergasted by the whole scene, summing his thoughts up in three short words: “Why? Just why?”

In an interview with Daniel Cormier that dropped Wednesday, Ngannou explained why. And as it happens, it wasn’t a snub of Ciryl Gane after all, but rather one of the other figures seen in the video, Ngannou’s ex-head coach and Gane’s current coach, Fernand Lopez.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to say hi. I feel like I didn’t want to say hi for my sake,” Ngannou said. “Well, it’s been a couple years now that [Lopez is] out there picking on me. I mean, like, yeah, I want to be nice, but when I saw him in that position, I [had] a few thoughts. I’m like, ‘OK, should I say hi? Then, I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I might go closer and say hi and somehow you will hear that I said [something I didn’t say].

Coach Fernand Lopez Says Dana White Was Telling The Truth About Francis  Ngannou Having An Ego Problem
Fernand Lopez (left) and Francis Ngannou (right)

“Getting close to him was giving an opportunity for him—not only the fact that I’m sure that he didn’t need me to say hi, but it was giving him an opportunity to again say something that I didn’t say. So I’d rather stay in the distance. So it was good that the camera was there. They couldn’t say, ‘Francis said this,’ right? That was for my sake. I needed that. No, not like Francis say this. Maybe you can stand there. If we have to talk, we talk here. But once again, I don’t have a need—it’s not like we’re friendly. He’s attacking me all the time. Like, I can’t do that.”

Ngannou’s concerns may be warranted here, as Lopez has certainly made many accusations against his former fighter as of late. Among them, he claimed that Ngannou nudged the UFC not to sign Ciryl Gane, that Ngannou still owes gym fees to him, and he also stated that he’d rather coach Gane for free than work with Ngannou again for $100,000.

Ngannou also clarified that he has no issues at all with Gane. And as for Gane’s confusion on the whole matter goes, Ngannou says he would have had the same reaction if he were in Gane’s shoes. That said, had it only been Gane standing there, Ngannou assures that we would have seen a much less frigid video.

“I would have been confused to,” Ngannou said. “Because if I walk by Gane, I would say hi. If it’s just him, I would say ‘Hi, what’s up…’

“And if I say hi to them without saying hi to Fernand and then they respond, I think that might cause them a problem as well. So it just was a very confusing situation.”

Francis Ngannou Believes The Backstage Run-In Was Set Up By UFC Officials

After explaining #Snubgate, Ngannou wold then make a bombshell accusation. The UFC heavyweight champion says he is convinced the UFC set it up so that he would cross paths with Gane and Lopez. When an incredulous Daniel Cormier nearly refused to hear Ngannou’s reasoning out of sheer disbelief, Ngannou insisted that he present his evidence.

“There was this lady taking us to our seat. And she was bringing us to this section, and then they talked to her over the radio. And then [she said], ‘Oh, sorry, I’m wrong.’ So she turned around and we get back [and Gane and Lopez are standing right there]. I mean, tell me how this can be a coincidence…

“And when you look, by the time I come from the corner, the guy was ready with his camera. Like, if you watch that video, he was on me by the time I turned around the corner and just zooming on me like, ‘Oh, he’s there! He’s coming!’ [makes music sound] Like this movie scene! He was there waiting for [me]! It’s not like you see somebody and you’re like, ‘Oh, [it’s] them, let me film.’ Like, come on. His camera wasn’t just there ready to film something if ever something happened. No, he’s waiting.”

Backstage drama and conspiracy theories aside, arguably the two very best heavyweights in the world will compete at UFC 270 on January 22. This heavyweight blockbuster will be a title unification bout between Ngannou and Gane.

Yesterday, the UFC dropped the official poster for the event, which you can peep below.

May be an image of 2 people, indoor and text that says 'CHA UFC HAMP 270 AMP FOR THE HEAVYWEIGHT THRONE NGANNOU VS GANE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP JAN 22 SATURDAY ON PPV HONDA Center.'

Do you believe the UFC set up the backstage encounter between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane?

Continue Reading Ngannou Explains Gane Snub, Thinks UFC Set The Whole Thing Up at MMA News.

Colby Covington: Conor McGregor’s Downfall Is “Sad To See”

UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington has described “filthy rich” Conor McGregor’s downfall as “sad to see.”

McGregor’s fall from grace has certainly coincided with a declining level of performance inside the Octagon. Since beating Eddie Alvar…

Conor McGregor, Colby Covington

UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington has described “filthy rich” Conor McGregor’s downfall as “sad to see.”

McGregor’s fall from grace has certainly coincided with a declining level of performance inside the Octagon. Since beating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in 2016 to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-division champion, McGregor has gone 1-3 in the cage.

The poor run began with a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Prior to his title shot, the Irishman had been charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after he attacked a bus that Khabib and a number of fighters set to compete at UFC 223 were on.

In-between his defeat to “The Eagle” and his return victory over Donald Cerrone last January, McGregor was accused of sexual assault, arrested for taking and smashing a man’s phone, and assaulted an elderly man in a Dublin bar.

Having beaten “Cowboy” at welterweight, McGregor looked to put his controversy behind him and mount a title charge at lightweight. In two contests against Dustin Poirier in 2021, the 33-year-old was knocked out for the first time, before being sent to the sidelines with a gruesome broken leg six months later.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRO2YpNLBQN/

Covington Predicts More Trouble For “The Notorious” Irishman

Since his second defeat at the hands of “The Diamond,” McGregor has constantly been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. As well as social media attacks on Tony Ferguson, Anthony Smith, Khabib, Poirier, and more, the Irishman has been involved in a number of public altercations.

At the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, McGregor appeared to throw a punch at multi-platinum recording artist Machine Gun Kelly. The incident apparently began after McGregor’s request for a picture with the rapper was denied. MMA’s biggest star went even further a month later. He allegedly assaulted DJ Francesco Facchinetti in a Rome nightclub. The Italian was left with a broken nose from the clash.

Along with a host of fans, pundits, and fighters in the past few weeks, two-time welterweight title challenger Colby Covington has given his take on McGregor’s antics. Speaking to MMA News, “Chaos” put the Dubliner’s actions down to his need to be noticed and talked about in the headlines.

According to Covington, McGregor has earned so much money that he simply believes he’s above the law and can get away with anything. After adding that the downfall is sad to see, the former interim champion suggested he can see McGregor being incarcerated in the near future.

“He just looks to get headlines. He’s just looking to stay in the spotlight, you know, get some attention around him because he’s coming off some losses. People are questioning if he still has it, what he’s still capable of doing. He’s made a lot of money, man. He had a great career and he’s had some special moments in the UFC and in his career where he’s made so much money that he’s so filthy rich that he thinks he’s above the law now.

“He thinks that money can buy you whatever you want, but money cannot buy you out of punching an old dude off a stool, or hitting someone’s phone, or throwing a trolley through a bus, or his latest at the music awards, trying (to attack) Machine Gun Kelly. It’s sad to see, man. It’s a big downfall. I don’t think things are gonna turn out good for him in the long run. I think he’s the type of guy that we will see this come back to haunt him and he could be behind bars someday.”

Catch our full interview with Colby “Chaos” Covington below:

Do you agree with Colby Covington’s take on Conor McGregor?

Continue Reading Colby Covington: Conor McGregor’s Downfall Is “Sad To See” at MMA News.

Colby Covington: “Dirtbag” Jones Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Fight Again

UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington has slammed Jon Jones for his recent arrest, suggesting the former light heavyweight champion should never fight in the UFC again.

Jones, who vacated the 205-pound gold last February in order to pursue a m…

Colby Covington, Jon Jones

UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington has slammed Jon Jones for his recent arrest, suggesting the former light heavyweight champion should never fight in the UFC again.

Jones, who vacated the 205-pound gold last February in order to pursue a move up to heavyweight, found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again in September. Just hours after his 2013 fight with Alexander Gustafsson was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame’s Fight Wing, “Bones” was arrested in Las Vegas.

Jones was charged with battery domestic violence and injuring and tampering with a vehicle. The incident was made even more troubling when the initial call to the police was released and details of Jones’ altercation with his fiancé came out.

Covington Comments On “Despicable” Jones

Jones’ arrest was the latest of a string of run-ins with the law in recent years. He was involved in a hit-and-run accident involving a pregnant woman in 2015, which led to Jones vacating the light heavyweight championship. He was also involved in a DWI case last year in which he reached a plea deal. He also took a plea deal in a 2016 drag racing case.

While Jones has vowed to fix his ways and recently provided an update on his ongoing journey to sobriety, many of his UFC peers are doubtful of his ability to change, including former interim welterweight champ Colby Covington. During an interview with MMA News’ James Lynch, “Chaos” suggested Jones will continue to partake in criminal activities.

“Oh, my gosh, man. I’m not surprised. I mean, definitely not surprised. That guy’s gonna continue to do felon-type stuff, criminal-type activities. That guy’s a piece of shit, man. He’s a dirtbag. I mean, beating your wife? And she’s so manipulated and so messed up emotionally in the head from what he’s done to her over the years, you can tell she just has trauma so she doesn’t want to rat him out. He used to bring home big money for her. So of course, she wants to keep the gravy train going. She doesn’t want anything to ruin their relationship. So I get where she’s coming from and why it’s happening, but man, that’s sad, James.”

Discussing the latest incident, which he described as “despicable,” Covington told MMA News that Jones should never be allowed to professionally fight again.

“I mean, that’s bad. That’s real bad. You put your hands on a woman, you left her with marks and blood, and ugh, man. It’s despicable. And it’s sad that he even has a job, but I think the UFC should just milk out his career and not ever let him fight again. Because that guy shouldn’t be fighting. He doesn’t deserve to be in a cage. And we don’t want to see him lose any more brain cells, because he’s already lost it. He’s completely lost it in his head, and fighting again is just gonna make him get worse.”

Catch our full interview with Colby Covington below:

Do you agree with Colby Covington? Should the UFC prevent Jon Jones from fighting again?

Continue Reading Colby Covington: “Dirtbag” Jones Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Fight Again at MMA News.

Covington Reveals Source of Masvidal Injury, How Their Beef Began

Colby Covington has revealed the source behind his “insider scoop” on Jorge Masvidal’s injury. He’s also opened up on the ex-teammates’ fractured friendship.

Yesterday, we ran a story about Covington claiming to have direct knowledge of the injury …

Covington Masvidal

Colby Covington has revealed the source behind his “insider scoop” on Jorge Masvidal’s injury. He’s also opened up on the ex-teammates’ fractured friendship.

Yesterday, we ran a story about Covington claiming to have direct knowledge of the injury that forced Masvidal to withdraw from his UFC 269 bout against Leon Edwards. According to Covington, his source confirmed that Masvidal suffered fractured ribs during training, leaving the Gamebred fighter no choice but to pull out of the fight.

MMA News caught up with Covington shortly after he divulged this information, and he was very forthcoming about where he got his intel. As it happens, he says that it actually came straight from the top: American Top Team owner Dan Lambert.

“Yeah, Dan [Lambert] told me about Jorge’s [fractured] rib,” Covington confirmed.

A Fractured Friendship

Video emerges of Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington advertising men's cups  when they were friends, now they are set to fight next and settle grudge
Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal

So how did it come to this? How did two best friends become bitter enemies to the point where no boundary is respected? Covington says the feud originated in Brazil and is rooted in envy.

Everything changed for Colby Covington when he defeated Demian Maia in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2017. Not only was this the night he turned heel with his infamous “filthy animals” line, but it was also the beginning of the end of a close friendship, he says.

“I remember coming back from that trip from Brazil and he was just so salty, just like a diva—acting like he’s famous, having a big ego,” Covington told MMA News’s James Lynch. “I’ve never had an ego, man. I came from blue-collar Oregon from a blue-collar family, and I’m thankful for every little thing. I was thankful when I was riding the bike to the gym every day because I was broke and had no money to go train. But I was still thankful. And [I was never jealous] about anybody. I didn’t care.

“But as soon as I passed him up, started getting more success than him, he got jealous. He started saying comments in the media for no reason, like, ‘Oh, that crotch sniffer.’ Like, bro, what are you talking about? He’s like, ‘Oh, [I would] fight my mother.’ It’s not about that. Like, dude, we could go about this so much better than this, man. He could’ve been a better person. But it just showed his true colors, James. It showed the little thug that he is, the little criminal.

He’s broken the law. He’s a felon, James. And you know, I want to do something for law enforcement and all the first responders around the world. I wanna crush this dude.I want to beat this dude so bad he’s not recognizable the next day.”

Covington vs. Masvidal: As Real As It Gets

Covington has been lobbying for a grudge match against Masvidal for well over a year now. Recently, Masvidal let it be known that he, too, would love to meet “Chaos” head-on inside the Octagon as soon as early 2022 if Leon Edwards remains uninterested in rescheduling their bout.

Both Covington and Masvidal have also expressed an interest in coaching a season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite one another. Covington told MMA News that the story of best friends turned enemies would make for some compelling television and for an even better conclusion in a waged war in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Some have doubted whether such television between these two ex-teammates would be “reality” or pure fiction. That is because some fans have speculated that the entire rivalry between Covington and Masvidal has been fabricated to generate business.

After Covington scoffed at this conspiracy theory, he then let it be known that the bad blood between him and Masvidal is so real that it would spill onto the streets if the two should ever cross paths unexpectedly.

“Man, you must not be paying attention between the lines,” Covington said of skeptics of his feud with Masvidal. “We were best friends, inseparable, lived together for a couple years, just friends for almost a decade.

Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington were once 'best friends' but are now  sworn enemies | Daily Mail Online

“You think we would really be saying these things about each other in the media? Like, if I see him in the streets, he’s for sure getting dropped on his head and he’s going to the hospital. He’s not going to be able to afford his hospital bills. I want the UFC to pay for them when I beat him in the Octagon.

“So I don’t want to have to do it in the streets, but this is a personal fight, James. This is as real as it gets, like the UFC’s saying goes. And anybody that thinks we’re still friends, man, I don’t know what they’re thinking, man. They must be smoking some good weed or something.”

You can view our full exclusive interview with Colby Covington below.

Continue Reading Covington Reveals Source of Masvidal Injury, How Their Beef Began at MMA News.