MMA News: Conor McGregor’s coach reveals major changes from Khabib fight, Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson is ‘the most important fight in UFC history’, Usman slams Covington’s EPO accusations

Here are the latest stories from the world of MMA…

Conor McGregor’s coach reveals major changes from Khabib fight

Conor McGregor’s striking coach is confident the ‘Notorious’ will return to the UFC and show the world ‘the Conor we fell in love with’.

McGregor will return to the octagon on January 18 against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, a welterweight clash which president Dana White confirmed was taking place on Tuesday morning.

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McGregor is set to make a comeback in 2020
Getty Images – Getty

The former two-weight world champion has not been seen inside the cage since his crushing defeat to bitter rival Khabib Nurmagomedov back in October 2018.

However, Owen Roddy believes his fellow countryman is hungrier than ever and has made the correct changes ahead of his return at UFC 246 in Las Vegas.

“The training camp is structured way better,” Roddy told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“The last camp was just a bit sporadic. We didn’t know what time we were training at.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov comprehensively defeated McGregor
Getty Images – Getty

“Sometimes it was very late at night, sometimes it was early in the morning and nobody really knew. Even though we were making all of these sessions, I don’t think that’s good for you when he doesn’t even know what time he’s going to train at, just doing it off feel.

“For the past couple of months it’s been very regimented.”

He added: “I think it’s great seeing Conor back enjoying what he’s doing, that’s the more important thing for me, for everybody and for Conor.

“You can see it in him – he’s enjoying it. I don’t know, he’s had a crazy couple of years man…I don’t know how he copes…nobody knows how he deals with what he deals with because there is so much…I can only imagine. He has so many businesses; I’m running my own business here and it’s 24/7.

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Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will face McGregor at UFC 246
Getty – Contributor

“He’s got businesses that are worth millions and he’s got so much going, it’s chaotic I’d say. Now he’s after sorting everything out and he’s back doing what he loves to do. I think when you start to see some footage of him training, he starts to do his interviews and he starts building the fight, you’re going to see the old Conor back…I can see that already.

“When people see that, they’re going to say, ‘That’s the Conor we fell in love with.’ He has that hunger again. A hungry, dedicated and motivated Conor McGregor is a scary dude.”

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov calls Khabib vs. Ferguson ‘the most important fight in UFC history’

Khabib Numrgaomedov’s father believes his son will compete in ‘the most important fight in UFC history’ when he takes on Tony Ferguson next year.

After four failed fights, the ‘Eagle’ and ‘El Cucuy’ are set to be locked in a cage to determine who the best lightweight on the planet is.

Freak injuries and issues with weight cuts have only increased the desire of fans to see if Ferguson really is the man capable of ending Khabib’s unbeaten streak in MMA.

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Reigning lightweight champion Khabib will get his hands on Tony Ferguson (hopefully)
Dave Thompson | Matchroom Boxing

And the ‘Eagle’s’ father and coach Abdulmanap believes the contest will finally take place at UFC 249 in Brooklyn next April.

“Because this isn’t the first attempt, I think it is one of the most important events in this sport,” Abdulmanap told RT Sport. “It was planned four times and called off twice because of Khabib and twice because of Tony.

“Millions of fans are waiting for it. There’s never been anything like this in UFC history.

“It’s the most important fight in UFC history. It is important not only for me but for my republic, my country, and all our supporters.”

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Khabib’s dad has been previously unable to gain entry to the US to watch his son fight live
YouTube | UFC

“Throughout all this time we were able to improve our skills in different aspects, especially striking technique,” Abdulmanap added.

“We surprise [opponents] more and more each time. [Coach] Javier [Mendez] promises to surprise this time but Khabib won’t stray from his father’s plan.”

Usman slams Covington’s EPO accusations

Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will finally get his hands on bitter rival and No.1 contender Colby Covington on Saturday night at UFC 245.

The main event in Las Vegas will be a five-round affair which will grant the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ with ample opportunity to get his revenge.

The duo have traded several verbal barbs, with ‘Chaos’ accusing the champion of using Erythropoietin (EPO) last month.

Covington said the banned substance, which has been used by the likes of TJ Dillashaw, stopped Usman from taking this fight last month at Madison Square Garden.

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Usman defeated Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 back in March
Getty Images – Getty

Naturally, the 32-year-old has taken the opportunity to address those rumours.

“He kept saying that, and I’m like what is that?” Usman told MMA Fighting. “I didn’t know what that was, and then somebody explained to me what it was.

“I haven’t changed from my first professional fight to my last fight. I look the exact same because I put in the exact same amount of work each and every time. The only thing that changes are my skills, and that comes with the time spent honing my craft.”

“I understand why he’s doing it because he wants something to talk about to try and ruin someone’s name or identity or what not,” Usman added. “None of that is going to matter.

“At the end of the day, god willing, he steps into that cage, and when we hit each other for the first time, he’s going to understand that it’s different.”

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