Here are the best stories from the world of MMA from Monday, December 2…
McGregor’s 2020 vision
Conor McGregor wants to fight twice more in 2020 after making his UFC comeback against Donald Cerrone.
News broke last week confirming the ‘Notorious’ will make his return to the octagon on January 18th at UFC 236 against ‘Cowboy’ at welterweight.
Having not fought since his loss to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018, McGregor is understandably keen to make up for lost time in the sport.
The former two-weight world champion is now 31 and still harbours ambitions of reclaiming championship gold and avenging his loss to the Russian.
Speaking on ESPN, Ariel Helwani confirmed the Irishman is planning on being as active as he once was when he first burst onto the scene in 2013.
”Okay, so he has laid out this plan that he wants to fight three times next year,” Helwani said. “He hasn’t done that in over three years as well, so it’s a pretty lofty goal but he believes that when he is active, then he’s not getting distracted, he’s not getting in trouble, he’s very focused.
“And people are telling me right now that they haven’t seen him this focused in a very long time. We hear this a lot in the fight game, but he’s going to sleep early, he’s waking up early.
“He wants to prove to everyone that thinks he’s shot that they are wrong.”
“He wants to fight January 18th – in fact, he wanted to fight in December but the UFC didn’t give him that opportunity,” Helwani added.
“So he wanted to fight at the beginning of the year, then he wants to return towards spring/summer, maybe fight Jorge Masvidal or Nathan Diaz – perhaps that’s why this fight is happening at 170, to prove that he can hang with the welterweights.
“Then he wants to fight at the end of the year against Khabib Nurmagomedov, if he is still the champion, in Moscow. He really wants to right that wrong… The last fight he got submitted, he wants to right that wrong so he’s hoping that he can win those two fights, get the title fight, and then shut everyone up.”
Magic Man slams MMA fans
Paulie Malignaggi believes Floyd Mayweather’s comeback is ‘genius’ and ‘brilliant’, but warned fight fans the 50-0 former world champion is only going to compete with UFC stars.
Last month, the 42-year-old revealed he would be making his second comeback from retirement in partnership with UFC president Dana White.
The duo established a working relationship in 2017, when ‘Money’ came out of retirement for the first time to face former two-weight world UFC champion Conor McGregor in one of the most lucrative fights in sports history.
However, it seems unlikely Mayweather will be returning to the squared circle in the quest for world championship gold, given his comments about the tragic events which have taken place in 2019.
Instead, Malignaggi believes the former five-weight world champion could enter into bouts with fighters from the UFC in a bid to ‘steal money from the bank’.
And the New Yorker expects the MMA community to lap it up, because they are ‘stupid’.
“Here’s my opinion; I think he is only going to fight UFC guys,” he told talkSPORT.com. “Especially because I heard the deal is with Dana White.
“I think boxers who think Floyd Mayweather is going to fight them are f***** morons, you got to be an idiot.
“Like Terence Crawford, he gave it his best shot, he’s a great fighter. He Instagrammed right away, ‘Oh me vs you’. Come on, this guy is 42 years old – he’s not going to come back to make life-or-death fights at 42 years old and I don’t blame him for not doing it!
“But it’s an easy way to steal money from the bank, so to speak, you fight MMA fighters with boxing rules. You create an interest with a whole new fan base because the entire MMA fanbase doesn’t really watch boxing.
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Coming out of retirement in 2020
“So now you consistently have that whole new fan base consistently watching you and then buying into the fact that you’re the best in the world when you haven’t been the best fighter in the world in probably six/seven years.
“But them, thinking the best boxer in the world is fighting one of our guys, they want to watch it. Doesn’t matter that they are so stupid to realise he is not the best boxer in the world. That doesn’t matter.
“They’re stupid enough to buy it, you’re smart enough to sell it to them and that’s all that counts.
They’re still going to buy it and so I think their guys against their impression of the best boxer in the world is going to be a super-intriguing thing for them because they are always going to support their on fighters.
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“But, at the same time, the boxing community is always going to be behind Floyd Mayweather because they are going to watch when Floyd Mayweather fights. I think it’s genius, it’s brilliant and I wouldn’t say it’s risk-free, but it’s a calculated risk.
“I think it’s calculated very well and he’s stealing the bank, you’re going to see more ski masks on the way to the ring!”
Covington reaches breaking point with White
Colby Covington has laid into UFC president Dana White in an extraordinary outburst.
The former interim welterweight champion is preparing for his title fight with Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 on December 14, a fight which few fans expected to see.
White and ‘Chaos’ have endured something of a tumultuous relationship over the years, with the 50-year-old even suggesting the grappler was ‘too chicken’ to compete at UFC 244 in New York last month.
And it seems as though Covington has reached breaking point with his boss.
“It’s sad the narrative he tries to run and what’s even sadder are the fans and the people who actually believe anything that comes out of his mouth,” Covington told MMA Fighting.
“He’s always making up lies about me in the media, making these false and fake narratives. I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade.
“Whether I’m brutally honest or not, people should recognise how real I am and people should now I always speak the truth when I talk in interviews.”