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  • Floyd Mayweather hangs artwork of Conor McGregor in Beverly Hills home

    When someone helps you to make a few hundred million dollars, it’s only right that you pay homage to them in some way.

    That’s the attitude Floyd Mayweather has chosen to take in regards to his recent blockbuster boxing match with UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. Mayweather defeated “The Notorious” by 10th-round TKO in a heavily hyped pay-per-view bout this past August, a show that is expected to rank near the very top of the most lucrative sporting events of all time when all the beans are finally counted.

    On Tuesday, the legendary pugilist shared a picture to his social media accounts of artwork he had made for his Beverly Hills home depicting both himself and his MMA counterpart:

    Exclusive timeless artwork in my Beverly Hills home#BeverlyHills

    #90210#TBE#TMT pic.twitter.com/o4IVZZTmpu

    — Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) September 26, 2017

    Mayweather and McGregor slung plenty of dirt at each other in the buildup to their fight, but in what comes as little surprise, it’s been all love and respect between the two now that the dust has settled.



  • Aspen Ladd set for UFC debut in Gdansk against Lina Lansberg

    Unbeaten Aspen Ladd has been handed a UFC debut in Gdansk against Swedish Muay Thai standout Lina Lansberg.

    The UFC announced the fight through its social networks on Tuesday morning.

    @linalansberg welcomes Aspen Ladd to the Octagon at #UFCGdansk! Click link in bio for tickets

    A post shared by UFC Europe (@ufceurope) on

    Ladd was scheduled to make her UFC debut at TUF Finale in July against Jessica Eye but was forced to withdraw from the contest on the day of the fight after falling sick.

    The would-be debutant later told MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani that she suspected either “food poisoning or the flu” as the culprit behind her short-notice withdrawal.

    In her two-year stint with Invicta since turning pro in 2015, Ladd has beaten all five of her opponents, claiming stoppage victories on all but one occasion when she soundly beat Sijara Eubanks – who is currently competing in the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter – via unanimous decision.

    The 22-year-old Ladd will face her most experienced test to date against Lansberg, who is best known for stepping in short notice to take on Cris Cyborg in the Brazilian’s second UFC fight.

    Despite showing great grit to make it out of the first round against Cyborg, the fight was later stopped, as Lansberg was not deemed to be intelligently defending herself.

    Since then the two-time Muay Thai world champion has bounced back with a win over Lucie Pudilova at UFC London. She currently holds a professional record of 7-2 in MMA.



  • Luke Rockhold doesn’t think Georges St-Pierre or Michael Bisping will face Robert Whittaker after UFC 217

    Robert Whittaker is waiting in the wings of the UFC’s middleweight division as the interim champion. He should rightly face the winner of the title fight between champion Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre, which takes place in the main event of UFC 217 on Nov. 4.

    Luke Rockhold, though, will believe it when he sees it.

    Rockhold, the former middleweight champion, doesn’t think either Bisping or St-Pierre will unify the 185-pound title with Whittaker, he said Monday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. And that’s why he feels like the entire upper tier of the middleweight division is bankrupt from a merit point of view.

    St-Pierre said on The MMA Hour recently that it’s in his contract that he must defend the middleweight title if he beats Bisping. But Rockhold is not buying it.

    “I don’t believe Bisping will, either,” Rockhold said. “He’s ran this far. He’s finally gonna come up and get a payday. Either way, I don’t think either one fights any of us.”

    Bisping filled in on short notice and knocked out Rockhold to win the middleweight title at UFC 199 in June 2016. That’s when Rockhold believes the division took a downward turn. Bisping’s first (and only title defense until November) was against Dan Henderson, who was not near the top of the rankings and Henderson retired afterward.

    In Rockhold’s opinion, worthy fighters like himself, Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Ronaldo Souza have been left out in the cold. And now Bisping is fighting St-Pierre, the former welterweight champion who has never competed at 185 and has not fought in four years.

    After beating David Branch two weeks ago at UFC Pittsburgh, Rockhold addressed GSP in his post-fight interview and said he should step aside at UFC 217. Rockhold wouldn’t even mention Bisping by name.

    “He doesn’t deserve it,” Rockhold said of Bisping. “GSP, he’s overstepping his boundaries. He’s jumping into a world that he’s not ready for. I mean, even if he were to win this fight, he’s unprepared to fight any of us. That’s not gonna happen. It just doesn’t make any sense. And it’s annoying. It’s what we all worked for, is to get to that title. To have that thing held hostage is frustrating. The direction this company is going, just feeding the people this bullshit. I fight to get the title, I fight to be the best. There’s two of them out there and I’m trying to hunt one down. So, obviously Bisping is my first priority. If not, Whittaker is there.”

    Rockhold, 32, said during his training camp for Branch that his coach Henri Hooft noticed Bisping looking at his Instagram stories. Rockhold believes that’s an indication that Bisping is looking over his shoulder and is worried.

    “He’s nervous, he’s scared,” Rockhold said. “He knows his time is limited. He’s gonna have to run. I’m gonna be there. I’m gonna put myself on that stage, on that doorstep. He’s gonna have to make a choice.”

    Last week on The MMA Hour, Bisping critiqued Rockhold’s performance against Branch, which was a bit shaky early in the first round. Branch clipped him multiple times coming in. Bisping said Rockhold struggles against those who have good boxing skills.

    On Monday, Rockhold laughed that off.

    “If he wants to think that I’m vulnerable in that realm or any of those realms, please,” Rockhold said. “Sign the contract. I’ll be ready to go. As a matter of fact, if Bisping were to sign to fight with me, I would promise you and the world, I would bet on it. I would not shoot for one takedown. This would purely be a stand up fight. I’d give him every opportunity to implement his boxing, get on the inside. … I f*cking guarantee you, I will finish you on the feet. With all the holes in my game, I will pick you apart.”

    Rockhold said he might have broken his foot against Branch, so he might need some time off. But he’s still willing to jump in on short notice if a title opportunity opens up. That’s what Rockhold wants next — some kind of title shot. Whether it’s against Bisping or Whittaker. The belt, Rockhold said, is where the money is.

    “I want money fights,” Rockhold said. “And of course that’s what I’m here for. I’m 33 next month. I’m not getting any younger. i want to set myself up. I’m not fighting for little change, I want the money.”



  • Morning Report: Miesha Tate says she would favor Conor McGregor over Georges St-Pierre in hypothetical bout

    Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is set to make his return to the octagon after a four-year layoff when he challenges middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217 later this year. St-Pierre has made it clear that he is coming back to fighting to cement his legacy and is only interested in the biggest fights, so what happens if he beats Bisping? While St-Pierre would ostensibly be forced to defend his title against interim champion Robert Whittaker, that bout seems unlikely to have the kind of big fight appeal GSP is looking for. Instead, according to the current rumors, St-Pierre is looking for possibly the biggest fight against current lightweight champion Conor McGregor. That call out might not work out so well for the former welterweight champion though, at least not according to former women’s bantamweight title holder Miesha Tate.

    Speaking recently on MMA Tonight on SiriusXM Rush, Tate gave her opinion on the hypothetical matchup, saying that she would favor the former featherweight champion and current 155-pound kingpin over the all-time great.

    “Conor McGregor, I’ve underestimated the guy a number of times, thinking he wasn’t going to win some of the fights that he won and he did it,” said Tate. “The man is truly in a league of his own. When it comes to his game planning, when it comes to his trash talking, when it comes to getting inside people’s heads, nobody does it better than Conor McGregor. So I absolutely would not count him out in a fight like that.

    “I think the speed favors him. I think he has great striking and I think the fact that GSP’s been out for so long, I think Conor McGregor can put together a strategy to beat pretty much anybody and I think the matchup actually favors Conor.

    “I feel almost bad saying that because I’ve been a huge GSP fan for a really long time. He’s perfect when he fights. Maybe not the most exciting fighter you’ve ever watched but he’s almost perfect and that’s so hard to do. If you’ve been an athlete in any sport, to have a perfect game or a perfect match or a perfect bout, it almost never happens. You watch him go out there and he’s pretty much perfect in all of his fights. He never waivers from his strategy and he’s like a robot, like somebody’s controlling a controller somewhere and he’s just doing exactly what he needs to do to get through those fights. But I think with this one, Conor’s just so hard to beat and he’s so hard to get around mentally. I think the speed actually, being the smaller guy, does favor Conor.”

    St-Pierre made his mark on MMA in the welterweight division, holding the UFC title twice over the course of his career (alongside one interim title), with his final reign lasting 10 fights and five years, culminating in his retirement in 2013. St-Pierre was only defeated twice in his entire career, coming back to brutally avenge both losses. McGregor meanwhile, has made his hay competing at 145 and 155 pounds. He has twice made the foray into 170 pounds, splitting wins with career lightweight Nate Diaz in a pair of fights last year. A win over St-Pierre would be nothing short of incredible but Tate insists that McGregor could absolutely pull it off.

    “Yes. I know that sounds crazy but dude, crazier things have been said about Conor and he’s done it. He literally predicts his exact what he’s gonna do in every fight. When he lost to Nate Diaz, I thought he was gonna lose again and he came out and he had the right game plan. He’s just brilliant. He knows how to figure out people. Not to mention, GSP has never had to deal with someone’s berating, that constant mental barrage that Conor McGregor does. Something is there. People haven’t quite figured it out but there’s something, an element that Conor McGregor adds that’s not just his skillset. He gets inside people’s heads and he ruins them before they even step inside the octagon. To say that he couldn’t do to GSP when he’s done it to everyone else, it’s insane to think that he couldn’t do that.

    “So I just think he would probably do well. He’s evolving, he’s very athletic, he’s heavy handed. I think he could knock out a lot of guys bigger than him. Look how well he did against Mayweather. I was so impressed with how he did there. I thought he was gonna lose that fight handily and he hung in there tough.”

    If St-Pierre manages to beat Bisping in November, perhaps McGregor will get his chance. He might even be able to capitalize on that chance. After all, the last man to beat St-Pierre was also a lightweight at one point in time.


    MUST-READ STORIES

    Retire. Matt Brown discusses his retirement, leaves door open for possible return.

    Gas. Gokhan Saki says transitioning to MMA caused his cardio issues in UFC debut.

    Out. Paige VanZant vs. Jessica Eye has been pulled from UFC 216.

    USADA. UFC newcomer Azamat Murzakanov flagged by USADA for potential violation.


    VIDEO STEW

    Freddie Roach says GSP’s athleticism is the difference maker in the Bisping fight.

    Max getting the Maurice Spears remix.

    Free fights.


    LISTEN UP

    The Co-Main Event. Breaking down the most recent weekend of fights.

    Anik and Florian. Kenny’s brother Keith joins and calls Conor the GOAT.


    SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

    Good guy Overeem.

    Pickin’ a fight.

    @PatrickyPitbull congrats on the fight tonight man! You say I ran from you twice? I've signed the only contact I got to fight you #ready

    — Brent Primus (@brentprimus155) September 24, 2017

    Thanks! I have to promote the fight. Let's do this! Good luck with your baby

    — Patricky Freire (@PatrickyPitbull) September 24, 2017

    thanks man being a dad is the best thing on earth But I'm down to throw down #fireworks #nojudges #ready @BellatorMMA

    — Brent Primus (@brentprimus155) September 24, 2017

    And ensuing beef.

    you two can fight it out for title of "never heard of that guy" and "chokes under pressure"

    — Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) September 24, 2017

    "Congrats man" - "I respect you" - "I'm a dad"- "gee golly" - "the earth is flat & puppies are the cutest" @brentprimus155 @patrickypitbull pic.twitter.com/kh97WrldNl

    — Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) September 24, 2017

    The attention whore strikes again. You can’t keep my name out of your mouth and stalks my social media 24/7. You’re pathetic. https://t.co/DODni2WxXP

    — Patricky Freire (@PatrickyPitbull) September 25, 2017

    You were lucky last time. I can’t wait to shut your big mouth. I’ll deliver the beating of a lifetime before knocking you out. https://t.co/DODni2WxXP

    — Patricky Freire (@PatrickyPitbull) September 25, 2017

    You think you’re so tough, so put your money where your mouth is. Let's go! Me and you on #Bellator184 https://t.co/DODni2WxXP

    — Patricky Freire (@PatrickyPitbull) September 25, 2017

    Upset.

    Damn it pic.twitter.com/SzKnasBOg8

    — Jessica Eye (@jessicaevileye) September 25, 2017

    Stepping up.

    @PaigeVanzantUFC hope u heal up fast! @jessicaevileye I'll fill in no problem! No reason to waste a camp! Let's go get FON!@ufc @danawhite https://t.co/0bePNLyzVo

    — heatherjoclark (@heatherjoclark) September 26, 2017

    Already back in the gym. If they match him up right, Saki could be an incredible action fighter.

    Started my training for the second fight. I'm coming. @ufc @UFCEurope #ufc pic.twitter.com/YDmif1hPwG

    — Gokhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) September 25, 2017

    Karolina denying she was ever offered a fight with Andrade.

    Such violence, would watch.

    The latest Covington trash talk.

    @twooodley too busy masquerading as social justice warrior to stay champ. As the end of '17 comes into view so does his reign #ufcsaopaulo

    — Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) September 25, 2017

    Sad that this is probably true for many.

    #MMA pic.twitter.com/fXJRt2fajg

    — Jordan Johnson (@doublejmma) September 25, 2017

    FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

    James Vick (11-1) vs. Joe Duffy (17-2); UFC 217, Nov. 4.


    TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

    2003: UFC interim light heavyweight champion Randy Couture won a unanimous decision over actual light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz to unify the disputing belts at UFC 44. In the co-main event, Tim Sylvia knocked out Gan McGee to retain his UFC heavyweight title but he was later stripped of the title for failing a post-fight drug test. This event also saw the UFC debut of Nick Diaz who submitted Jeremy Jackson with an armbar.

    2014: At Bellator 126, Brandon Halsey submitted Alexander Shlemenko to win the Bellator middleweight title.


    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Sorry for missing yesterday y’all, but I was feeling a bit under the weather. Now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming and this week is a down week with nothing major happening until UFC 216 next Saturday. So take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.


    EXIT POLL


    If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.



  • Gabriel Gonzaga to box for the challenge, not for money

    Gabriel Gonzaga will make his boxing debut in October, but he’s not in it for money or anything like that.

    The one-time UFC heavyweight title contender will take on Alando Pugh in a four-round boxing match at New England’s Future 4 event in Worcester, Mass., on Oct. 28, and he explained to MMA Fighting why he decided to step into the squared circle a year after announcing his retirement from mixed martial arts in September 2016.

    When “Napao” competed in MMA for the last time, he said he would only return to a cage if paid at least $100,000. Yet, he’s not making anywhere near that number in this boxing match.

    “My boxing coach always wanted me to fight something, and I’m doing it for the challenge,” Gonzaga said. “Financially, it’s pretty much zero. It doesn’t even pay the medical costs, but I’m doing it because I want to. Unlike (Conor) McGregor, who said it was for the challenge, but lost and made 100 million dollars, I wanted to fight something, just like I do when I compete in jiu-jitsu and fought MMA.”

    Gonzaga has yet to be granted a boxing license to compete next month, but doesn’t expect it to be an issue. With a 0-0 record in boxing and a 17-11 professional record in mixed martial arts (he was 5-5 in his second run in the UFC), Napao says he has “no plans to start a career in boxing.”

    “Boxing is a high-level sport, and I’m fighting someone at my level,” he said. "I’ve never boxed in my life. I’ve trained with coach ‘Cebola’ when I lived in Sao Paulo, and now I’m training for a new challenge. I’m training with the same team, but with some boxing sparring. It’s complete different from MMA, and I wanted to do something different.”

    “My obligation to win is the same that McGregor had: none,” he continued, mentioning McGregor’s recent bout with Floyd Mayweather. “It’s my first time in the sport, but the difference is that I’m going against someone at my level instead of fighting the best in the world — or I wouldn’t last one round because it’s at heavyweight. I have a good level of boxing, but not to challenge a boxing champion.”

    McGregor stepped into the boxing ring for the first time against one of the best ever in August, a 49-0 veteran of the sport in Mayweather, but Gonzaga’s opponent’s record is far from “Money’s" achievements in the sport.

    Pugh, who turns 35 years old in November, has a 1-10-1 professional boxing record with nine losses by KO. His only victory came in Feb. 2014, when he knocked out Nick Cyr.

    “Boxing records are complicated,” Gonzaga said. “It’s completely different than the UFC. You can have 12 fights and no wins, but who did he fight, how tough were those fights? It’s different. Some people fight to build records and make money so they only fight bad fighters, but others fight because they want to, so they fight better opponents.”

    In fact, eight of the 10 boxers that defeated Pugh are still undefeated in the sport.

    “Numbers can’t be taken 100 percent into consideration,” the Brazilian said.

    The news of Gonzaga’s boxing debut caught the MMA world by surprise, and many people criticized the heavyweight’s decision to make a transition to the squared circle.

    A jiu-jitsu specialist, Napao has proved throughout his mixed martial arts career that he has finishing power, but has suffered four knockouts defeats over the past eight bouts.

    “Many people say things even though they don’t know what they are talking about,” Gonzaga said of the criticism, “Like when many people said McGregor had a chance to win — and still say that he was winning the fight, that he would win. Fans are emotive and have never experienced this, so I can’t judge and say they are wrong or not.

    “I don’t pay attention to what people say, especially those who don’t know what they are talking about.”







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