EXCLUSIVE | Stephen Thompson: Jon Jones Moving Up Isn’t Smart

Stephen ThompsonStephen Thompson isn’t a fan of Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight. The former light-heavyweight king has been targeting a fight with Francis Ngannou for some time now but has been unable to strike a financial deal with the UFC to compete for gold up in weight. In the last few days, Jones has been […]

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson isn’t a fan of Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight.

The former light-heavyweight king has been targeting a fight with Francis Ngannou for some time now but has been unable to strike a financial deal with the UFC to compete for gold up in weight.

In the last few days, Jones has been posting training footage that shows he’s packed on mass during his time away from the Octagon.

During a chat with LowKickMMA, ‘Wonderboy’ gave his thoughts on the ongoing situation with Jones and the UFC, as well as, explaining why he doubts Jones will be successful at heavyweight.

“The UFC isn’t wanting to pay what Jon Jones is wanting from the UFC,” Thompson said. “Yes, Jon Jones is considered the GOAT for most people and he wants to move up to fight the scariest guy in the division. I don’t think it’s an intelligent move, to be honest with you. One of the most explosive and strongest guys in that division (Francis Ngannou), and he’s been carrying that weight around his entire life.

“You’ve seen guys try to go up a weight class, put on muscle, just like Luke Rockhold did when he fought Blachowicz, he tired out. He wasn’t used to carrying that weight and it was different. I think it is going to go the same route with Jon Jones.

“So, sit him on the side. There’s a lot of guys more, more deserving of the fight with Ngannou. So, we’ll see. Can the UFC pay him that? Probably. Is he going to get it? Probably not”

It doesn’t seem like Jones will be getting the Ngannou fight anytime soon. Earlier this week, Dana White revealed he is pressing ahead with Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis II.

Do you agree with Stephen Thompson? Is Jon Jones making a mistake by moving up in weight?

Conor McGregor Celebrates Topping The Forbes Rich List

Conor McGregorConor McGregor has reacted for the first time to being named him the highest-paid athlete for 2021 by Forbes. “Baby we did it!! Uimhir a Haon,” McGregor wrote on social media. “Thank you Forbes for recognizing my role as an entrepreneur! It was a dream to lead this list with so many successful athletes! Onwards […]

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has reacted for the first time to being named him the highest-paid athlete for 2021 by Forbes.

“Baby we did it!! Uimhir a Haon,” McGregor wrote on social media. “Thank you Forbes for recognizing my role as an entrepreneur! It was a dream to lead this list with so many successful athletes! Onwards and upwards we go.”

McGregor takes top honors for the first time in his career in his second appearance on the list. Forbes reviews prize money, salaries, and bonuses earned between May 1, 2020, and May 1, 2021. They also include endorsement incomes that estimate sponsorship deals, appearance fees, and licensing revenues based on information from industry insiders.

‘Notorious’ has been tireless in his pursuit of wealth. This year he’s earned $180 million, with $158 million of that total made outside of the ring. The re-evaluation of Proper Twelve heavily contributed to McGregor’s financial success this year, with him remaining in an ownership role with the whiskey brand. The move made McGregor part of a prestigious group as only the third athlete in history to earn more than $70 million outside of athletic competition while still actively competing in a single year. He joins Roger Federer and Tiger Woods with the accomplishment.

McGregor dethrones the tennis legend, who earned top honours last year, with Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Dak Prescott, and LeBron James rounding out this year’s top five. It is also the first time that more than three athletes earned over $100 million in a single year.

The Irishman will continue adding to his vast wealth when he returns to the Octagon on July 10. McGregor is scheduled to face off against Dustin Poirier in an eagerly anticipated and highly lucrative trilogy fight.

Do you think Conor McGregor will top the rich list in 2022?

Tony Ferguson Roasts Michael Chandler for Having “Dana White Privilege”

Tony Ferguson Michael ChandlerUFC lightweight Tony Ferguson took a shot at title challenger Michael Chandler at the UFC 262 pre-fight press conference, saying that the former Bellator world champion dodged him and didn’t earn his shot at the UFC lightweight belt. It all started when Chandler was asked about his road to the belt and the UFC, and […]

Tony Ferguson Michael Chandler

UFC lightweight Tony Ferguson took a shot at title challenger Michael Chandler at the UFC 262 pre-fight press conference, saying that the former Bellator world champion dodged him and didn’t earn his shot at the UFC lightweight belt.

It all started when Chandler was asked about his road to the belt and the UFC, and how he feels that everything worked out perfectly to this point in his career. Ferguson interrupted and accused Chandler of not wanting a fight with him.

“You fucking dodged me Chandler, you’re a bitch,” Ferguson said. “You said no and got this shit handed to you, you got Dana White privilege.”

Chandler won his UFC debut in spectacular fashion at UFC 257 with a first-round knockout over Dan Hooker. Ferguson has lost back-to-back fights including the interim lightweight title bout against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249.

Charles Oliveira earned a fight with Chandler for the UFC lightweight title after dominating Ferguson at UFC 256, showcasing his superior grappling skills and creativity on the feet.

Chandler signed with the UFC following a highly-decorated run in Bellator, including earning the lightweight belt in the promotion twice. This includes wins over former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, and top contenders Patricky Pitbull and Goiti Yamauchi.

Ferguson will battle Beneil Dariush at UFC 262 in the co-main event of the card. Dariush has been on a roll over the past year with six straight victories.

Depending on how both the co-main and main events go on Saturday at UFC 262, a potential matchup between Chandler and Ferguson could be extremely intriguing. Both fighters are known for their toughness in the octagon and could produce fireworks in a title fight.

What do you think about a potential figure battle between Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson? What are your fight predictions for UFC 262?

EXCLUSIVE | Stephen Thompson Thinks Michael Chiesa Should Get Title Shot Over Colby Covington

ThompsonTwo-time UFC welterweight title challenger, Stephen Thompson has claimed that the #6 ranked contender, Michael Chiesa is more deserving of a title siege against Kamaru Usman than former interim champion, Colby Covington — despite the promotion’s intentions to make a rematch between the two.  Thompson, who is currently ranked at #4 in the official welterweight […]

Thompson

Two-time UFC welterweight title challenger, Stephen Thompson has claimed that the #6 ranked contender, Michael Chiesa is more deserving of a title siege against Kamaru Usman than former interim champion, Colby Covington — despite the promotion’s intentions to make a rematch between the two. 

Thompson, who is currently ranked at #4 in the official welterweight pile, is booked to feature at UFC 264 on July 10. against recent title challenger, Gilbert Burns — in what could come as a potential title-eliminator at 170lbs. 

With champion, Usman continuing to steamroll contenders such as Burns and two-time foe, Jorge Masvidal this year already, there appears to be a log jam at welterweight to some degree, with many of the top five contenders in need of just one more eye-catching victory before earning their respective title shots.

Thompson is booked to tackle Sanford MMA staple, Burns this summer, while the #3 ranked, Leon Edwards takes on veteran fan favourite, Nate Diaz at UFC 263 on June 12. in Glendale, Arizona — after a minor injury forced Diaz out of a scheduled co-main event this weekend at UFC 262 in Houston, Texas.

Recently outlined as a possible next title challenger by his manager, Ali Abdelaziz — streaking contender, Chiesa has been identified by Usman as a next potential title chaser, with eyes initially fixed on a potential landing pad at UFC 263 which now appears unlikely given the fact that card already contains two-title fights.

UFC president, Dana White had made his intentions to book Usman vs. Covington II prior to the former’s successful title defence against Masvidal in April, claiming that the first pairing of the two at UFC 245 back in December of 2019 was one of the greatest fights he had ever witnessed. 

Usman, however, doesn’t appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet as White, questioning what Covington has done to earn a potential rematch with him, given the fact he’s only competed three times in the last three years. “I’m not going to say I don’t want the fight,” Usman said when speaking about a potential rematch with Covington. “I want all the smoke, It doesn’t matter who it is. I want all the smoke. At the end of the day, it’s what have you done to earn this?

Your claim to fame can’t be, ‘Oh, I went five rounds and then the guy broke my jaw and finished me,’” Usman explained. “That can’t be your claim to fame. (Jorge) Masvidal went five rounds with me too. Tyron Woodley went five rounds with me. You can’t sit around and fight three fights in three years and expect to get a title shot when I just fought three times in nine months. The champion can’t be the most active guy in the division.

Speaking with LowKick MMA reporter, James Lynch, the above-mentioned, Thompson gave his thoughts on what could be next for Usman — claiming that Chiesa would likely deserve a title shot over Covington, who dropped an eventual fifth round knockout loss to the champion at UFC 245. 

I don’t know, man — he’s (Kamaru Usman’s) already fought Colby Covington,” Thompson said when asked who would deserve a title challenge first between Covington and Chiesa. “He hasn’t fought, (Michael) Chiesa. You know, so we saw what happened the first time that they fought (at UFC 245). And I think Colby Covington has had one fight (since) and that was (against) Tyron Woodley.

I would like to see that fight with Chiesa,” Thompson explained. “I mean, I think both fights are very interesting as well and we can see what kind of improvements Colby’s made. I mean — he’s an intelligent guy too, I don’t think he’ll fight him (Usman) the same (way. He might end up using some of the wrestling this time, and not have to stand there and get his jaw broken like what happened last time. Either way, it really doesn’t matter. You know, we’ve already seen that happen. So why not give Chiesa a shot? Go for it, man.

In the midst of an impressive two-fight winning run himself, a victory over Burns would likely see Thompson earn his third title tilt under the UFC’s banner. Featuring at UFC 244 in November of 2019, Thompson handed the now-surging, Vicente Luque a one-sided unanimous decision defeat, before taking home another relatively comfortable unanimous judging win over Geoff Neal last December at UFC Vegas 16

EXCLUSIVE | Stephen Thompson Slams Joshua Fabia: ‘You Need To Get Slapped’

Stephen ThompsonStephen Thompson is highly-regarded as one of the most down-to-earth personalities in all of Mixed Martial Arts; but when it comes to Joshua Fabia’s treatment of Diego Sanchez, he’s like a lot of us in our dismay and confusion. In an exclusive interview with LowKickMMA’s James Lynch, Thompson went off on Fabia for sabotaging Sanchez’s […]

Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson is highly-regarded as one of the most down-to-earth personalities in all of Mixed Martial Arts; but when it comes to Joshua Fabia’s treatment of Diego Sanchez, he’s like a lot of us in our dismay and confusion.

In an exclusive interview with LowKickMMA’s James Lynch, Thompson went off on Fabia for sabotaging Sanchez’s career after he was let go from the UFC just weeks ago.

“I don’t know what’s going on in this guy’s head, I really don’t,” Thompson said. “As a coach, if he was my fighter, I would’ve told him to hang it up a long time ago. He’s taken a lot of damage. As a coach, if you’re out there trying to take over and doing that, you need to get slapped. This guy’s putting Diego through stuff I’ve never seen before. Somebody needs to go poke that guy in the eye.”

Fabia has been the target of many around the MMA community for seeming to manipulate and control Sanchez’s life and career. Sanchez was released by the UFC leading up to an originally scheduled fight with Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 26. UFC president Dana White harshly criticized Fabia following Sanchez’s release, and called the coach “nuts” and “creepy”.

Fabia has created a lot of drama between the UFC, Sanchez and himself over the past couple years. He was involved in a heated confrontation with the UFC broadcasting crew during one of Sanchez’s fighter meetings, has accused White of sleeping with UFC fighters, and is under fire after a training session with Sanchez suspended upside down with Fabia hitting him went viral.

Thompson is set to compete against former UFC welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns at UFC 264 in July. As for Sanchez, he remains a free agent and is currently unsigned by MMA promotions around the world. Bellator president Scott Coker went as far as iterating that his promotion has zero interest in bringing in the former The Ultimate Fighter winner to their roster.

Sanchez has always been one of the biggest fan favorites over his tenured career in combat sports. But the drama surrounding his coach doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, especially if Sanchez decides to continue as a fighter with another promotion.

What do you think about Stephen Thompson’s criticism of Diego Sanchez’s coach and manager, Joshua Fabia?

Dan Hardy Confirms He’s Been Officially Granted His Release From The UFC

HardyAfter detailing recently that he was hoping to cut ties with the UFC in regards to his fighter contract, one-time welterweight title challenger, Dan Hardy has officially been granted his release from the promotion following a thirteen-year stint.  The Nottingham native had planned a return to active competition for the first time since September 2012 […]

Hardy

After detailing recently that he was hoping to cut ties with the UFC in regards to his fighter contract, one-time welterweight title challenger, Dan Hardy has officially been granted his release from the promotion following a thirteen-year stint. 

The Nottingham native had planned a return to active competition for the first time since September 2012 — after he was cleared to compete back in 2018 after his career was initially put on hold when he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Announcing officially that he had been cleared to compete professionally again, Hardy had noted plans to enter the USADA testing pool in a bid to kick start his professional mixed martial arts career again.

Hardy, who featured prominently as a colour commentator and analyst particularly during the promotion’s international events, saw his broadcasting contract with the UFC terminated due to a reported “disagreement” with an employee from the organization earlier this year. 

Appearing on the Submission Radio podcast recently, Hardy explained that he was hoping to secure his release from the UFC, claiming that he was finding it difficult to put together a comeback fight, and even if he managed to score a hiatus snapping return, he doubts it would come against a fellow veteran, which would be his preference.

I’ve asked two different people for my release from the UFC because obviously with one contract coming to an end (broadcaster) it makes sense for me to leave with my fight contract as well,” Hardy said. “I’m currently trying to get my release from the UFC so then I can start looking at other places. I’ve got a few ideas, a few options that I’d like to consider. It’s just getting hold of someone. I might have to recruit Joshua Fabia to get someone’s attention at some point.

I think if it even got to the stage where I could get (the) UFC to give me an opponent, it’s not going to be one of the ones that I want,” Hardy explained. “They’re not matching veterans with veterans anymore. They’re matching veterans with the new guys coming up so they can build the next name. I’m not interested in fighting someone nobody knows. You want ‘Cowboy’ (Cerrone), Matt Brown. They would never in a million years give me the Nick Diaz fight. They’ll use Nick Diaz to build someone else up. I just don’t want to be in that situation. Plus, my fight contract is eight years old so you can imagine the numbers on it.

Confirming his official release to MMA Fighting today, Hardy detailed how he had been informed by the UFC that he was officially a free agent in a letter that he received on Tuesday night, and thus, is now eligible to field offers from other interested organizations. 

Prior to his release, Hardy had made it known that he was hopeful of securing a comeback in the not-too-distant future, earmarking potential showdowns against the likes of past foe, Carlos Condit, Donald Cerrone, Matt Brown, or even fellow former title challenger, Nick Diaz — who is long-speculated to make his return to the Octagon this year for the first time since January of 2015.

Attending UFC 261 in April, Diaz was, according to promotional president, Dana White set to meet with him backstage after the event to discuss a potential comeback. And while White claimed that the meeting was promising, he has since subsequently questioned Diaz’s desire to return to the sport

Just the amount of time that he’s taken off already,” White explained. “When you hear him talk about fighting, you hear him talk about the sport, and I sit down daily or talk to daily (with) hungry, young savages, they want to break into the top-ten, become world champions, all that stuff.Nick Diaz has done it all, seen it all, he’s been in big fights, I just don’t see that in him when I talk to him.

Echoing calls for a showdown against the elder Diaz brother, Hardy has called for White to release the Stockton veteran from his UFC deal if he is questioning his desire to fight again — suggesting a clash between the two under the Nobuyuki Sakakibara-led Rizin FF banner in Japan. 

If Uncle Dana (White) doesn’t think @nickdiaz209 (Nick Diaz) actually wants to fight, they should release him so we can fight on #Rizin in Japan,” Hardy tweeted. “Oldschool #PrideFC style. The #GoldenAge of #MMA.

Calling time on his career back in September of 2012, Hardy featured in a UFC Fight Night Nottingham homecoming opposite Amir Sadollah, taking home a unanimous decision victory.

The former two-weight Cage Warriors champion challenged Georges St-Pierre for the undisputed UFC welterweight championship back in March of 2010 at UFC 111 — suffering a unanimous decision loss. 

With a professional record of 25-10 — Hardy has scored notable career triumphs over the likes of Daniel Weichel, Akihiro Gono, Rory Markham, Marcus Davis, Mike Swick, and Duane Ludwig.