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Coach Kavanagh: McGregor’s hands are better than ever following Mayweather fight

We’re going to see an even deadlier Conor McGregor when he returns to the cage, his coach John Kavanagh promises.

There’s still no date set for when Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon, but his opponents better watch out when he does. According to his head coach John Kavanagh, McGregor is going to be deadlier than ever thanks to the time he spent training for the Floyd Mayweather boxing bout.

“When would an MMA guy have a chance to take six months just to focus on one aspect of MMA?” Kavanagh said during an interview with The Daily Star. “Never is the answer, they’re always trying to work on everything. But when he does return to the Octagon, his hands are going to be a lot better than what they were. And I’m excited to see that.”

Of course, the criticisms with McGregor have never been towards his striking abilities. McGregor’s ground game, on the other hand, has been questioned by a number of people, especially after his rear naked choke loss to Nate Diaz in their first fight. But according to Kavanagh, the striking focus hasn’t hurt Conor’s rolling ability.

“You know, I was rolling with him two weeks ago and I was wondering how his jiu-jitsu would be,” Kavanagh said. “And I was very annoyed that he took my back and choked me. So he hasn’t lost too much there. Of course, he has to tighten up there before he goes to fight in the Octagon again. But he really does love grappling.

“Even in the lead up to the Mayweather fight, he would still kind of ask you about wrestling or jiu-jitsu, and he’d say, ‘hey, look at this’. I know it’s in his head all the time although he wasn’t physically training it. I know mentally he’s still thinking about it.”

Let’s hope he’s also not backsliding in that other area of weakness: cardio, which you could attribute to the majority of troubles he’s had in his combat sports career.

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Stipe Miocic aiming for early 2018 return following positive UFC contract talks

The return of UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is currently in the works, as Miocic and his team are working towards a new contract with the promotion.

According to a recent report by MMA Fighting, those contract negotiations have begun and are already trending in a positive direction. While nothing is set in stone, a successful agreement between both parties could land Miocic back inside of the Octagon early next year.

Miocic, 35, tied the UFC heavyweight record for consecutive title defenses (2) when he knocked out Junior dos Santos at UFC 211 this past May. More impressively, Miocic has finished all five of his recent victories by way of knockout, including wins over top-flight competition like Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem and the aforementioned JDS.

Despite his recent success, Miocic was not going to return to the cage without a new UFC contract. After all, both of Miocic’s previous two opponents (dos Santos and Overeem) made more than the champion on fight night. That’s a financial discrepancy Miocic is unwilling to entertain at this time and the reason why he’s requested a new agreement with the promotion heading into 2018.

Upon his return, regardless of who the next No. 1 contender is in the heavyweight division, Miocic will be aiming to break UFC history with his third-straight title defense. That has to be a big enough reason to give the Ohio native what he needs in order to step back inside of the Octagon and continue his knockout surge.

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Anderson Silva Vows ‘I Will Not Give Up’ Following Failed USADA Drug Test

In his first statement since being removed from the UFC Fight Night 122 headliner, Anderson Silva did not deny taking a banned substance.
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Anderson Silva Vows ‘I Will Not Give Up’ Following Failed USADA Drug Test

In his first statement since being removed from the UFC Fight Night 122 headliner, Anderson Silva did not deny taking a banned substance.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Anderson Silva Vows ‘I Will Not Give Up’ Following Failed USADA Drug Test

In his first statement since being removed from the UFC Fight Night 122 headliner, Anderson Silva did not deny taking a banned substance.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Following upset win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Rose Namajunas now in danger of getting KTFO by Jessica Andrade

Newly-crowned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas, opened the door for a slew of 115-pound contenders by stopping Joanna Jedrzejczyk at last weekend’s UFC 217 pay-per-view (PPV) event in New York City.

Watch the replay here.

Chief among them is Jessica Andrade (17-6), who retained her spot atop the strawweight rankings by thrashing Claudia Gadelha back in September. That leaves “Bate Estaca” as the likely opponent for “Thug Rose” in first-quarter 2018.

“I don’t believe the UFC will give Joanna a rematch because it makes no sense,” Andrade told MMA Fighting. “She lost by knockout in the first round. (Jose) Aldo and Ronda (Rousey) lost like that and there was no rematch. (Namajunas) is a tough opponent, that’s why she beat the champion, but I think that finding the timing and distance, I can get in and knock her out.”

Jedrzejczyk defeated Andrade by decision at UFC 211 last May.

Nothing is official at this time, as the promotion may consider giving Jedrzejczyk a chance to reclaim her crown (no bullshit), based on the ex-champ’s dominance over the division dating back to March 2015.

Time will tell.

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Randy Couture bobblehead giveaway set for Bellator 186, following ‘The Natural’ meet and greet before fights

Bellator 186: “Bader vs. Vassell” takes place at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa., on Nov. 3, 2017, featuring a Spike TV-televised main event — and the first Light Heavyweight title defense for Ryan “Darth” Bader — as he puts the 205-pound gold up against “The Swarm” Linton Vassell and his three-fight win streak.

Now stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Bellator is giving away a free limited-edition bobblehead to the first 5,000 paid ticket holders through the door that Friday night. This time the mixed martial arts (MMA) legend being profiled in tiny bobbling form is none other than Randy “The Natural” Couture. The multiple-time, two-weight class champion had his last Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fight in 2011, but even his Hollywood success hasn’t stopped him from occasionally pondering a fighting return.

In the meantime, Couture has plenty of other irons in the fire including Xtreme Couture and his son Ryan’s MMA career in Bellator. That won’t stop him from taking the time to meet and greet fans in the concourse of Bryce Jordan Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday, but space is limited so you’re advised to arrive early.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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Latest UFC rankings update: Tony Ferguson cracks pound-for-pound list following UFC 216

It was another wild and wacky weekend for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), thanks to the UFC 216: “Ferguson vs. Lee” pay-per-view (PPV) bonanza on Sat., Oct. 7, 2017 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, which means a new set of official rankings.

Tony Ferguson crowned himself interim lightweight champion by submitting Kevin Lee in the main event (replay), cracking the promotion’s pound-for-pound list in the process. That’s the same list where Demetrious Johnson holds the top spot, to complement his reign atop the flyweight division, due in part to this dominant performance.

Here’s how the rankings work, courtesy of UFC.com:

Rankings were generated by a voting panel made up of media members. The media members were asked to vote for who they feel are the top fighters in the UFC by weight-class and pound-for-pound. A fighter is only eligible to be voted on if they are in active status in the UFC. A fighter can appear in more than one weight division at a time. The champion and interim champion are considered to be in the top positions of their respective divisions and therefore are not eligible for voting by weight-class. However, the champions can be voted on for the pound-for-pound rankings.

Take a look at what the latest rankings field looks like courtesy of UFC.com. Note: (+/- = movement in rankings, *NR = Not previously ranked).

POUND-FOR-POUND
1 Demetrious Johnson
2 Conor McGregor
3 Max Holloway +1
3 Stipe Miocic
5 Daniel Cormier
6 Cody Garbrandt
7 Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8 Tyron Woodley
9 Dominick Cruz
10 Jose Aldo -1
11 Cris Cyborg
12 Michael Bisping
13 Tony Ferguson *NR
14 Amanda Nunes -1
15 Robert Whittaker -1

FLYWEIGHT
Champion: Demetrious Johnson
1 Joseph Benavidez
2 Henry Cejudo
3 Ray Borg
4 Sergio Pettis
5 Jussier Formiga
6 Wilson Reis
7 Brandon Moreno
8 Ben Nguyen
9 Dustin Ortiz
10 John Moraga +1
11 Tim Elliott -1
12 Alexandre Pantoja +1
13 Louis Smolka +1
14 Magomed Bibulatov +1
15 Ulka Sasaki *NR

BANTAMWEIGHT
Champion: Cody Garbrandt
1 Dominick Cruz
2 TJ Dillashaw
3 Jimmie Rivera
4 Raphael Assuncao
5 John Lineker
6 Bryan Caraway
7 Aljamain Sterling
8 John Dodson
9 Thomas Almeida
10 Marlon Moraes
11 Eddie Wineland
12 Pedro Munhoz
13 Rob Font
14 Matthew Lopez
15 Johnny Eduardo

FEATHERWEIGHT
Champion: Max Holloway
1 Jose Aldo
2 Frankie Edgar
3 Ricardo Lamas
4 Cub Swanson
5 Chan Sung Jung
6 Brian Ortega
7 Yair Rodriguez
8 Jeremy Stephens
9 Darren Elkins
10 Renato Moicano
11 Dennis Bermudez
12 Dooho Choi
13 Mirsad Bektic
14 Myles Jury
15 Jason Knight

LIGHTWEIGHT
Champion: Conor McGregor
1 Tony Ferguson (Interim Champion) +1
2 Khabib Nurmagomedov -1
3 Edson Barboza +1
4 Eddie Alvarez -1
5 Justin Gaethje
6 Nate Diaz
7 Kevin Lee
8 Dustin Poirier
9 Michael Johnson
10 Michael Chiesa
11 Al Iaquinta
12 Beneil Dariush
13 Anthony Pettis
14 Evan Dunham
15 Mairbek Taisumov

WELTERWEIGHT
Champion: Tyron Woodley
1 Robbie Lawler
2 Stephen Thompson
3 Demian Maia
4 Jorge Masvidal
5 Rafael Dos Anjos
6 Donald Cerrone
7 Carlos Condit
8 Colby Covington
9 Santiago Ponzinibbio
10 Neil Magny
11 Kamaru Usman
12 Gunnar Nelson
13 Dong Hyun Kim
14 Alex Oliveira
15 Mike Perry

MIDDLEWEIGHT
Champion: Michael Bisping
1 Robert Whittaker (Interim Champion)
2 Luke Rockhold
3 Yoel Romero
4 Jacare Souza
5 Chris Weidman
6 Anderson Silva
7 Derek Brunson
8 Kelvin Gastelum
9 David Branch
10 Uriah Hall
11 Vitor Belfort
12 Krzysztof Jotko
13 Brad Tavares *NR
14 Tim Boetsch
15 Thiago Santos

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Champion: Daniel Cormier
1 Alexander Gustafsson
2 Volkan Oezdemir
3 Glover Teixeira
4 Jimi Manuwa
5 Mauricio Rua
6 Ovince Saint Preux
7 Corey Anderson
8 Misha Cirkunov
9 Ilir Latifi
10 Patrick Cummins
11 Rogerio Nogueira
12 Gadzhimurad Antigulov
13 Tyson Pedro
14 Gian Villante
15 Jared Cannonier

HEAVYWEIGHT
Champion: Stipe Miocic
1 Alistair Overeem
2 Fabricio Werdum
3 Cain Velasquez
4 Francis Ngannou
5 Mark Hunt
6 Derrick Lewis
7 Alexander Volkov
8 Marcin Tybura
9 Aleksei Oleinik
10 Stefan Struve
11 Junior Albini
12 Andrei Arlovski
12 Curtis Blaydes +1
14 Travis Browne
15 Tim Johnson

WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT
Champion: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
1 Jessica Andrade
2 Claudia Gadelha
3 Karolina Kowalkiewicz
4 Rose Namajunas
5 Tecia Torres
6 Michelle Waterson
7 Cynthia Calvillo
8 Carla Esparza
9 Felice Herrig
10 Paige VanZant
11 Alexa Grasso
12 Cortney Casey
13 Joanne Calderwood
14 Randa Markos
15 Maryna Moroz

WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT
Champion: Amanda Nunes
1 Valentina Shevchenko
2 Holly Holm
3 Julianna Pena
4 Raquel Pennington
5 Ronda Rousey
6 Cat Zingano
7 Sara McMann
8 Germaine de Randamie
9 Ketlen Vieira
10 Alexis Davis
11 Liz Carmouche
12 Marion Reneau
13 Katlyn Chookagian
14 Bethe Correia
15 Leslie Smith

There you have it.

You can expect these standings to change in roughly one week — especially in the welterweight division — when the UFC Fight Night 121 event on Fight Pass, headlined by the 170-pound showdown between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, takes place inside Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland (more on that fight card here).

Until then, let us know what you think of the latest rankings movement in the comments section below.

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Matt Hughes Returns to Hospital to Honor Nurses Who Treated Him Following Serious Accident

There were times this summer when the outlook appeared grim for Matt Hughes.
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Following UFC ‘Contender Series’ win, John Castaneda returns to Combate Americas for ‘Copa Combate’ on Nov. 11

When John Castaneda captured a dominant, unanimous decision win over Cheyden Leialoha as part of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, the general consensus was that “Sexi Mexi” was going to ride the pine until Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made him an offer.

Sorry, he’s got bigger fish to fry.

Castaneda will instead return to Combate Americas to enter “Copa Combate,” the historic one-night, eight-man bantamweight mixed martial arts (MMA) tournament taking place on Sat., Nov. 11, 2017 in Cancun, Mexico, with a grand prize of $ 100,000 awaiting the winner.

“We are excited to welcome John Castaneda back to Combate Americas, where he has amassed the most wins of any fighter in our young, but fast-growing organization, and delivered some of the most memorable moments ever in La Jaula with his explosive style of fighting and vicious knockout power,” said Combate Americas CEO and UFC co-founder Campbell McLaren.

Castaneda (14-2) is no stranger to the Combate brand, having racked up six straight wins with four violent finishes inside La Jaula. That includes last May’s devastating technical knockout win over five-time UFC veteran Chris Beal.

The “Copa Combate” tournament will be separated into four brackets with the top four combatants earning seeds based on their respective world rankings, while quarterfinal opponents will be determined via lottery ball drawing.

The remaining fighters for this November’s tournament extravaganza, featuring athletes from various parts of Latin America, as well as Spain and the U.S., will be announced in the coming days, along with ticket on-sale dates and information.

For much more on Combate Americas click here.

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