According to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, and confirmed by the California State Athletic Commission, Conor McGregor has applied, and been issued a boxing license as of today.
Now, lets not jump to conclusions, because there are a few things we know for absolute certainty.
1. Conor is not fighting until after May, when his baby is due, so him being granted the boxing license today does not mean ANYTHING in terms of an upcoming fight.
2. Conor and the UFC have butted heads in recent weeks, and that is evident by him giving up the Featherweight belt, and with his request for a legimate stake in the company, this has to be viewed as a leverage move.
3. Conor has more on his plate with the UFC for 2017 than any fighter ever has. We know he will defend the Lightweight belt, assumedly against Khabib or Tony Ferguson, and we know he wants to complete his trilogy with Nate Diaz. Both those fights alone, with him already being sidelined until month 5, leaves him with only 7 months in 2017 to fight in two incredibly high-profile fights, leaving him no time to fight a loser like Floyd.
I have made my distain for this matchup known since day one, and have no respect for anyone who actaully wants to see this fight made. Floyd is not an entertaining fighter, no matter the stage or opponent. Love him or hate him, Conor BRINGS it, each and every single night. This fight cannot and should not happen. Floyd will never step into the octagon, because he knows Conor would make him look like a child, but Conor is crazy enough to actually get in the ring with Floyd, and while I think Conor's standup is a true work of art, he doesn't belong in the ring with one of the greatest boxers ever, and the greatest defensive boxer ever. Floyd out-points his opponents each and every time, and he would use his defense and speed to wear Conor out, land the counter strikes he relies so heavily on, and win in decision as always. Neither man belongs in the other's world. MMA and Boxing are not interchangeable. It doesn't work that way, and for good reason. There is a reason the greatest MMA fighters and greatest Boxers ever have never tried to cross-fight before now - it's STUPID. The only thing that makes the conversation around this fight keep going is the amount of money it would likely bring in, and unfortunately for us as fans, the two Combat-Sport athletes who care the most about money are involved in this. I will watch if it happens, but I will certainly not be happy about it.
So to reiterate, Conor IS NOT returning to ANYTHING, until May (or whenever his baby is born), and even then, this move to get his license is (in my [very educated] opinion) nothing more than a way to get Dana White and the rest of the UFC owners to pay attention, and pay up.
During last night's UFC Fight Night 101, Conor McGregor announced that he had vacated the Featherweight belt, and would remain the lightweight champion. We know Conor did not willingly vacate the title, and he was definitely stripped of the belt, which now moves Jose Aldo into the position of Undisputed Featherweight Champion, and NOW the matchup between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis at UFC 206 will be for the interim Featherweight title.
I didn't expect Conor to give up one of the belts without a public fight, as I am sure he made it known behind the scenes he wasn't thrilled, but I guess the time has come, because I do believe he should give up one of the belts to allow the other division to move on. The Featherweight division is potentially at its peak of talent, with the young talent combined with the veterans in Aldo, Edgar, and Pettis. This decision puts Conor in a place where he can eventually return to the 145 pound division and, once again, reign supreme. But the choice to stay at 155 pounds for the time being is a smarter one for himself physically, as the weight cutting and all that is much less of a big deal, but I don't see him being able to dominate and hold the title for all too long in the Lightweight division. We know Conor won't be back until May at least, once his baby is born, and then it will be a matter of who he fights, either Ferguson or Khabib, both who would prove to be tough matchups for Conor.
As far as the new UFC 206 Main Event of Pettis & Holloway, this fight is going to be incredible, two guys who love to throw strikes and love to look for big finishes, and now with the addition of an interim belt to the mix? Can't wait.
This weekend Gegard Mousasi was able to makeup for probably his worst loss of his career, after defeating Uriah Hall by first round TKO. Gegard has moved himself directly into the position for a potential title shot, and made a point to ask for either Anderson Silva or Luke Rockhold for his next fight. Mousasi is now the #5 ranked Middleweight, and as we know, Michael Bisping will make his next title defense against Yoel Romero sometime this spring, so that gives Gegard a few months to face off against either Anderson or Luke. Rockhold makes the most sense personally, because in my opinion, Luke is the best middleweight in the division, so a fight between him and Gegard will produce the truest next #1 contender. We know Luke is battling a knee injury, but hopefully that injury doesn't keep him sidelined for too long.
Gegard has made his mark on the division in recent weeks, and has said he will try and take a page out of McGregor's book and get himself pushed into the title contention by talking for it, and then doing it. He has finished both Vitor and Uriah with ease, and in a division that has only a few top contenders, it should soon be Gegard's time.
November 14th, 2015 will go down as one of the biggest night's in both UFC and MMA history, as we saw David beat Goliath, when Holly Holm shocked the entire sports world with her second round finish of Ronda Rousey.
Going into UFC 193 Ronda Rousey had the aura of an immortal; someone who seemed truly too big to fall. Holly Holm entered that fight an underdog of epic proportions, finding herself with nothing to lose, and absolutely everything to gain. Fights like those often bring out the best in a fighter. When they don't feel that pressure or expectation of winning, they will find themselves in a more relaxed and confident position, because they know they have the capability of pulling off that win that everyone else thinks is such a distant hope, and all it takes is the slightest underestimation from their opponent, and the fight can change in an instant.
What we saw from Ronda heading into UFC 193 was disheartening. We experienced drama from the Rousey camp that we had never experienced before. She was hot-headed, vocal over her distaste for Holly, and dealing with the growing rift between her mother and her coach. On fight night, it was clear that Ronda was not herself, and it was even more clear that she never once gave Holly the slightest chance of winning.
Just moments into round 1 it became clear to the world that Ronda Rousey was not going to steam roll Holly Holm like she had so many other opponents. What made Ronda's dominance so noteworthy was the ease and quickness that she was able to finish her opponents with. Her brute force, bull-rush style of fighting had allowed her to dominate women for years - until now. Holly Holm, being a former World Boxing Champion, used every bit of her kickboxing to counter Ronda's bullish style. Every time Ronda rushed in, Holly was firing back with a clean counter, and as Ronda was lucky to escape the first round, fans across the world couldn't fathom what they were seeing.
Just 1 minute into the second round, the MMA world stood still for a moment in time, as Holly Holm threw a beautiful left headkick, and sent Ronda Rousey to the canvas for the first time in her UFC career. The rest, as we know, is history.
So what has changed in the year since this fight? Well we learned that the Women's Bantamweight Championship belt can't seem to find a permanent home in the wake of Ronda's epic title reign. We've also seen Holly Holm fall from the top of the fight world, losing to Miesha Tate and Valentina Shevchenko in her last two bouts, and at 35 years old, her future is very uncertain. Finally, the biggest thing we learned, and that has changed over these past 12 months was that we got to see who Ronda Rousey truly was. She was exposed in the fight game, and let that trickle down and effect every single aspect of her life. She ran. She hid. But now - she is back, and she has a chance to re-write the history books, and once again establish herself as the greatest female MMA fighter ever.
Holly Holm shocked the fight world in 2015 in a way only Buster Douglas had done before, by dethroning The Goliath that ruled their ring.
Last night's UFC 205 card at MSG was every bit as exciting as the hype, as we saw some great fights start to finish, as the UFC really made a splash in its first trip to New York.
The card started out with some solid prelims, with our first two FS1 prelim fights ending in knockout.
Then the fun started, with Khabib Nurmagomedov taking on Michael Johnson, and executed his game plan exactly how most expected, taking Johnson down repeatedly and imposing his will on him, dominating the ground with relentless elbows and strikes. Khabib has undoubtedly earned the next title shot at lightweight, and will be far and away Conor McGregor's hardest opponent. His wrestling is so far beyond anyone in the division that it makes it virtually impossible to force Khabib to fight your fight. He is also not the type of fighter to allow Conor's verbal warfare to force him to fight out of his element, like we saw with Eddie, who strayed away from his wrestling game plan.
Then, in a great featherweight matchup, we had Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens go at it, and these two came out swinging, and Stephens caught Edgar a few times, even dropping him once, but Frankie rallied and pushed forward, and was able to hold on for the decision win.
Then, in the first fight of our main card, we saw Miesha Tate lose to Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision, and subsequently announce her retirement. Miesha, the former UFC Bantamweight champ, who made her debut in MMA nearly 10 years ago, has decided to finally step away from the sport she has devoted everything too. In a rollercoaster 2016, we saw Miesha claim the title she had long strived for, and then lose it, now dropping another fight, she just decided her time was up. All the respect in the world for Miesha and I wish her success in her next life venture.
Next we had Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero fighting for a potential shot at Michael Bisping's Middleweight belt. The fight was slow, and back and forth for the first 2 rounds, until in round 3 when Romero caught Weidman with a flying knee and that was all she wrote. He finished him off with a few huge strikes, and just like that Chris Weidman sank to the lowest point of his career. Bisping has been very vocal about not wanting to fight the "juicer" Romero, but we will see if it is really up to him or not.
In the first of 3 straight title fights, we saw Joanna Jedrzejczyk prove just why she is an undefeated champion, as she was able to control the entire fight against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, surviving the one scare when Karolina rocked her, but quickly regaining her composure and control. Joanna is just too polished, all-around she is so crisp and clean. Her stand-up is relentless, she thrives in the championship 4th & 5th rounds, and her takedown defense is nearly perfect. I truly can't see anyone of the roster who is going to dethrone Joanna.
Next, in a bizarre series of events, Tyron Woodley and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, went the distance and the fight resulted in a Majority Draw, which means two judges scored the fight as a draw, but the third judge gave Woodley the 48-47 victory, allowing him to retain and defend his welterweight title. This fight was a good one, as Wonderboy showed his toughness and heart, battling back and being able to rally from a few knockdowns halfway through the fight. Dana White said we will get a rematch of this fight, and I hope its immediate, because that was a fun one and I really want to see Wonderboy get that belt.
We all know how the main event went, as I mentioned in my previous blog as well. Conor McGregor did what he does best, took Eddie Alvarez out of his gameplan and element, and finished him with the left hand like he does so often.
In 2013 Conor McGregor was collecting Welfare. In 2016, he made roughly $40 million and is one of the most successful athletes on the planet. The UFC's first ever Two Belt Champion. A baby on the way. What more can Conor McGregor do?
Last night at MSG we saw Conor McGregor make history, as he put Eddie Alvarez away with a second round knockout, escaping the fight virtually untouched, and showing the world just how dominant his stand-up game is. His left hand, blessed with the kiss of death, can put anyone away. They know its coming, and they know its power, but they cannot stop it.
2016 was quite a year for Conor, as he rolled into the year with a newly won 145-pound belt, and the entire fight world at his fingertips. He would go on to take his detour through the Diaz fights, learning and growing more from those two fights than any fight before, and finally coming full circle to achieve his dream and promise of being a two weightclass champion. What McGregor was able to do for MMA in 2016 surpassed anything in the sports history, growing the popularity and obsession for the sport 10-fold. Hate him. Love him. Loathe him. There is no denying his impact and what he brings to each card. He sets PPV purchase records every fight, with more and more people tuning in to see him, whether they watch with the hopes of seeing his patented left hand finish, or hoping to get a glimpse of his mortality, the need for him to lose.
The question for Conor now is - what's next?
Does he release one of the belts like Dana White has vowed he will? Will he fight for his chance to defend both belts? Will he go for a third belt? I truly cannot answer any of these questions because if there is one thing Conor McGregor has proven its that he does not follow any mold, he does not follow any rules, he is writing his own story, and at his own pace. With a kid on the way, Conor says he wants to see how things shape out for his family and himself. He wants a bigger piece of the UFC pie, and I think the UFC is running out of ways to deny him it.
He is like nothing we have seen before, and while his future is still uncertain, especially in the fight game, but if there's one thing we know about Mystic Mac, it is always worth watching.
The UFC will finally make its long anticipated debut in New York, as tonight, November 12th, UFC 205 will rule MSG. This card is hands down the greatest card in combat sports history, and its only fitting that the night will make history. Between the New York debut, the anticipated record-breaking PPV buys, and Conor McGregor's chance to be the UFC's first ever two-weight-class champion.
The card did take two unfortunate losses this week, with Cowboy & Kelvin Gastelum fight being canceled, because Kelvin is a bum, missing weight yet again, so bad to the point that he didn't even ATTEMPT to weigh-in; and Tim Kennedy and Rashad Evans being moved to UFC 206, because Rashad had an issue passing his medical physical. While these two fights didn't even slightly take away from the card's greatness, it was a tough loss for fans as both fights feature fan favorite fighters.
But this card is top to bottom stacked, with the UFC Fight Pass prelims being fights that could land on a main card on most over UFC cards. Jim Miller and Thiago Alves square off in a lightweight battle; a battle that is lucky to even be still going, after Alves missed weight badly, but Miller was able to pack on a few pounds in a few hours so he could make the 5-pound opponent difference that New York requires.
The FS1 prelims are even more mind blowing, as we see potentially the greatest lightweight in the world, Khabib Nurmagomedov, takes on Michael Johnson, in what should be a breeze of a fight for Khabib. On top of that, two of the top featherweights in the world, Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens face off, both with the hopes of being next in line for a shot at Conor's belt.
Now this main event, is something like I have never seen before. Three title fights. A potential #1 contender fight for the 185 pound belt. Two former champions. This main event is going to be something like we MMA fans have never seen before. Starting with Miesha and Raquel, who both look to establish themselves as a top contender in the Female Bantamweight division, with a potential huge knockout as both these girls will bring it and throw bombs.
Next, former Middleweight Champ, Chris Weidman, looks to take the next step in reclaiming his belt, as he takes on Yoel Romero, who looks to make his return from his PED scandal. Now this fight has the potential to be very boring, with both of these fighters being highly skilled wrestlers, but this fight has big-time-finish written all over it.
Then we have the first of three consecutive title fights, as Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Karolina Kowalkiewicz, for the 115-pound Strawweight Belt. This "Polish Civil War", which features Poland's two biggest MMA stars, as they look to fully establish MMA in Poland as a force to be reckoned with. This fight will either go all 5 rounds in a war, that Joanna will win, or one of these girls is gonna get knocked out. I truly think Joanna will retain her title, as I just think her game is too good all-around.
In the Co-Main Event, Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson finally gets his shot at the welterweight championship, as he takes on Tyron Woodley, who looks to make his first defense of his belt. This fight is gonna be tough to call because it can really go two ways; Wonderboy is certainly a better striker than Woodley, but Tyron's power is absolutely nothing to be trifled with. Secondly, if Woodley looks to use his superior wrestling, it could be a tough go for Wonderboy, but I do believe Wonderboy's ground game is much better than Woodley would like to admit.
Finally, our Main Event. Conor McGregor, the featherweight champion, will take on Eddie Alvarez, who will look to begin his reign as lightweight champ with a win over McGregor. This fight will be everything it has been advertised as. These men have talked the talk, they have wasted no time in these past few weeks with verbal warfare, and a growing distain for one another. This fight really can go any way. If Eddie wanted to come out and win the fight flat out, he would impose his dominant wrestling on Conor and dominate the ground, leading to a potential TKO or submission. But my heart tells me Eddie wants to so badly make a point to the world, that Conor is not immortal, and that Conor is just a man, and a man who he will stop. Eddie's standup is no joke, and he put RDA away with such ease that it caught the attention of the entire fight world. The main key to Conor's victory, will be finishing the fight within the first round & a half, because regardless of the weight or fight, Conor's biggest adversary in 5-round fights is himself. His fighting style is too electric and too powerful for him to be able to carry out all 5-rounds with that pace. A lefthand counter is all I can see replaying in my mind, with Conor using Eddie's emotions against him. If Conor can put Eddie away within those first 2 rounds, the fight favors him, but a 5 round fight with the potential of draining takedowns, puts Eddie right where he wants. Either way, this fight is going to be incredible, and I expect nothing but fireworks.
This card can not, and will not disappoint, and I hope it will set the precedent for MMA in New York forever.
This past Saturday Manny Pacquiao stepped into the ring against Jesse Vargas aka a nobody, turns out he was WBO Welterweight champion, just goes to show how dead boxing is. Anyways, Pacquiao defeated Vargas by unanimous decision, no surprise there, although I'm sure most fans were hoping for a classic Pac-Man punch out. The fight itself sucked, no one would care about this story if it were for the fight itself, it was who was sitting front row at the fight that makes this an interesting story. That man was none other than Floyd "Money" Mayweather. As soon as people saw Floyd in attendance at the fight, the rumors began to circulate. Oh the rematch is inevitable now because Floyd decided to show up to the Pacquiao fight, no, this could be multitude of things. Ever think Floyd just wanted to see a good ole fashion boxing match, me neither, he's got way better things to do with his time and money, and that's exactly why I think there will definitley be a rematch very soon. The only other thing I could think of is maybe Floyd was bored wanted to get his name circulating in the media again since the Floyd-McGregor super fight rumors are now dead, and he just wanted to steal the spotlight from Pacquiao's night. I mean Floyd is a narcissistic piece of shit so that would make a lot of sense, but I'm going to stick with my optimistic approach of there will definitley be a rematch. If there was to be a rematch it definitley wouldn't get the same viewership since the anticipation is gone and the last fight was an atrocity, but it'd still be the biggest boxing fight other than the first one in the last 10-15 years. I'd love to see Pacquiao with both arms this time get another chance at taking down the undefeated Floyd Mayweather. Both of these men are not men of very high morale standards to say the least, but you gotta root for one of them, and Floyd is always talking shit, so I'd love to see Pacquiao end his undefeated run one win shy of 50. If Pacquiao knocks Floyd out, I might cry tears of joy because that'd easily be the greatest moment in boxing history that I've ever witnessed. Here I am getting myself overly excited for fight that might not even happen and if it is to happen will most certainly disappoint in the expectations department. I don't care how bad the first one was, I'm going to be watching Pacquiao-Mayweather 2, and so are you.
When it comes to Conor McGregor fights, everything about the fight is worth watching, from the press conferences to the commercials, Conor brings something extra. We have seen his opponents take different routes when it comes to handling the trash-talking Irishman, but to a certain, extent, Conor is untouchable when it comes to the verbal-sparring match he creates. Everyone seems to fold into Conor's jawing, throwing petty insults his way and vowing to "be the one to shut him up", yet here he is, still talking, perhaps louder than ever, as we prepare for the biggest and greatest card in the history of combat sports, UFC 205 at MSG. MSG would sell-out in seconds and sell millions of PPV's without Conor, but with him, it becomes a different animal. People from all over the world tune in; some hoping to see The Notorious eat his words, others following his every move religiously, like a god.
Eddie Alvarez to the outside eye, is a nobody. If you don't truly follow MMA, you wouldn't know who "The Underground King" was, or how he became the first fighter to be both a Bellator & UFC champ, and doing so by finishing RDA, a man who some considered one of the greatest lightweights in UFC history. Eddie has done is part in selling the fight from the start, calling Conor out and looking to put an end to the McGregor Show, promising to "Make the UFC Great Again", and putting the focus back on Number 1 contenders, not fighters who can just sell fights.
The conference call between Conor and Eddie yesterday was incredible, with the insults flying, both fighters made their predictions, Conor saying that Eddie would never be the same after this fight, that his wife and children won't even recognize him, while Eddie continued to make it clear that he believes Conor is a charade, and that he will be exposed.
One thing I can say for sure is this fight will be electrifying, whether it last 1 minute, 1 round, or goes all 5, these two fighters are going to bring it.
Feel free to watch some of the conference call, the quality is pathetic I don't know why the UFC can't handle a simple conference call, but there is some real good stuff in there.
UFC 207 is getting a huge 135 pound match-up added to it, a card that is already featuring the 135-pound champ Dominick Cruz defending his belt against Cody Garbrandt, and is being headlined by the return of Ronda Rousey.
TJ pushed harrrrddddd for a rematch with Cruz, even offering bets and wagers to the Bantamweight Champ, but it clearly didn't amount to much. Lineker is coming off a strong win over John Dodson, and with a victory over TJ he could thrust himself into title contention.
Both of these fighters love to come out and bring it, and Lineker's hands are no joke, as we saw Dodson do all he could to avoid that power.
This night will be huge for the 135-pound division, both math and female, with both the divisions belts on the line, and a #1 contender fight to go with it. TJ is still a huge threat to this division, and if he puts Lineker away, Cruz/Cody should be a little worried.