International fight week is well underway and with an eye on this weekend’s UFC 251, Fight Island, and more, here are some of the biggest MMA stories to emerge in the last week.
Usman Wants The BMF Belt, Dana White Says It’s Not On The Line
According to the UFC president, despite being pestered by the defending champion Kamaru Usman to make his UFC 251 headlining clash a BMF title bout, that belt and the status and title it brings will forever belong to Jorge, in Dana’s book. Speaking in a recent interview with TMZ, White had the following to say: “Usman wants it to be on the line so bad, he will not stop texting me. Believe me, Usman has not stopped terrorizing me about this. That was like a one-and-done, the ‘BMF’ title.” Either way, the undisputed welterweight crown will be the prize for the victor on Saturday night – even if Masvidal will be going home to that unique piece of silverware he won at UFC 244 no matter what happens.
Dana White Finally Unveils UFC Fight Island
After months of speculation and curiosity from the fans, the UFC have finally started to give us a glimpse into the purpose-built, state of the art, infrastructure that will be used to make international fights in the this uniquely difficult time a reality. UFC Fight Island will up the ante in every sense of the word in terms of ticking every necessary box in order to provide a safe and adaptable home for UFC events for the foreseeable future. With everything from a beachside octagon for training and media days, to facilities that allow each athlete to stay on top of their routine and training regime, it does seem as though the promotion have managed to live up to their word in creating this haven for fighters during this ongoing global pandemic.
MMA World Pays Tribute As Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov Passes Away At The Age Of 57
The MMA world joined together in paying tribute to the legendary Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov – who sadly passed away at the age of 57 following complications arising due to him contracting coronavirus. Nurmagomedov, who, of course, was the father of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, was an instrumental figure in the always-blossoming Dagestan MMA scene and a highly respected name within the sports of wrestling, judo, and sambo. In recent years, there has been a massive wave of Dagestan athletes making huge progress in both the UFC and the sport as a whole and once this unfortunate news had broken, everyone from teammates to rivals took a moment to pay tribute to this unmistakeably great coach and man.
Jon Jones Talks A Potential Fight With Francis Ngannou
I think it’s fair to say that there is no fight in Jon Jones’ future right now that would drum up more fan interest than him making his long-awaited move up to the heavyweight division for a clash with Francis Ngannou. Will it happen? Probably not, given how risk-averse the light-heavyweight champion is in general but in a recent interview with Jackass star Steve-O, Jon gave the following take on a matchup with The Predator. “Francis Ngannou is dangerous, yes, and I believe he has a chance to knock me the f**k out. Let’s say that out loud. But, if I don’t get knocked out, I believe I win that fight. I just have to get through round one and I win that fight”. I suppose time will tell if he’s willing to follow through with it, your move Jon.
Alexander Gustafsson Sports Bulkier Physique Ahead Of Heavyweight Move
Fans of the Swedish career light-heavyweight were delighted to hear that not only would Alexander Gustafsson be returning to the sport of mixed martial arts this summer after a short retirement, but also, that he would be testing the waters at heavyweight – taking on the former champion Fabricio Werdum on Fight Island on July 25. Gustafsson, who was last seen in action in a losing effort against Anthony Smith in June of last year, was shown sporting a noticeably bulkier physique ahead of his jump up in weight. As one of the finest European fighters of his generation and with him still now just 33-years-old, it will certainly be very interesting to see how The Mauler fits in amongst the heavyweights. Thankfully, a lot will become clearer once he steps in and takes on the former champ Werdum.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Heavyweight Gus is going to be a problem 💪💪 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFCFightIsland?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#UFCFightIsland</a> <a href=”https://t.co/1Uh3mcKQNy”>pic.twitter.com/1Uh3mcKQNy</a></p>— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) <a href=”https://twitter.com/btsportufc/status/1278976517549293568?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 3, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Dustin Poirier Says He Has Been Sparring With Jorge Masvidal For Last Five Weeks
Speaking to the legendary Teddy Atlas during a recent edition of his popular podcast, The Diamond explained how Masvidal had been a prominent figure and sparring partner in his own recent fight-camp – which concluded with his stunning five-round war against Dan Hooker. “You know, it’s short notice because he didn’t have the contract signed, but let me tell you what, this guy was there my whole training camp, was my main sparring partner – we probably put in five weeks of sparring together.” This will no doubt make for promising news for those wondering at exactly how Jorge would look in terms of his fight-sharpness ahead of his first crack at undisputed gold. Nevertheless, he still faces an incredibly tough challenge in the form of the reigning champion Kamaru Usman. Only time will tell if he can carve out a very special piece of history for himself in the UFC 251 main-event.
Thanks for reading!