Welcome to the second edition of the This MMA Life Newsletter!
It has been an interesting few months in the world of MMA, so let's kick things off with some athlete and promotion news.
Well despite his recent viral success as a UFC fighter, Joaquin Buckley isn’t ready to quit his job at Walgreens.
“Besides the UFC, and they give me these big checks, I still don’t have a business of my own, so I need to just keep working and still having that working mentality and work ethic, so I’m just gonna keep holding down the job,” Buckley told TMZ. “Now if I’m able to make a business for myself and start up a business for myself, which I think is a perfect opportunity to try and start right now."
No doubt he'll be quitting that role in the future, nice to know the viral success isn't going to his head though.
ONE Championship has announced the launch of third-party martial arts content on the ONE Super App, which will also stream live events from top regional martial arts promotions around the world.
The first on board will be Russian martial arts promotion, Russian Cagefighting Championship (RCC), and Fair Fight Promotion (FFP a Road to ONE tournament, with athletes competing for a contract in ONE Championship. Fair Fight XIII, Featuring Road to ONE will be streamed live on the ONE Super App. So I bit like Dana White's Contender Series.
Nobuyuki Sakakibara (Rizin Fighting Federation boss) is interested in signing former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva to his promotion. Uriah Hall ended Silva's contract in the UFC with many hard core fans agreeing with the decision. Silva still had 1 fight left on his contract with the UFC but they ended it anyway, Dana White stating that he hopes other promotions don't sign him. Dana cares for Silva and wants the legendary UFC name to enjoy a health retirement.
Curtis Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19, Derrick Lewis fight was canceled.
We haven't really heard much from Curtis since he tested positive, let's hope he is recovering okay and that the UFC make good on rescheduling the fight with Derrick Lewis in 2021.
Did you watch UFC 255 and 256? Deiveson Figueiredo has been the spearhead athlete for the UFC in the final 2 headline events for the year, making history. UFC256 was a war, ending in a draw with Brandon Moreno. If you have UFC Fight Pass, it should be coming online within the next few weeks and it definitely worth watching again!
Francisco Figueiredo, the younger brother of UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo, will be joining him in the promotion. His manager, Wallid Ismail, announced the signing on social media.
Immediately, one fight that makes sense for Sanchez’s retirement fight is Demian Maia. Both men have called for the fight to happen, and it could serve as the retirement bout for both legends. It is also a scrap the fans have called for, for years.
Sanchez also called out several other legends like Donald Cerrone, Dan Hardy, and Conor McGregor in recent tweets. Yet, all three seem unlikely to happen for his next opponent.
Sanchez was chosen as a participant on the first season of the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. Presented as a young, focused middleweight who only had one goal, to become a UFC champion. He won a contract with the UFC after defeating fellow finalist Kenny Florian via TKO, becoming the middleweight winner for the first season of the show. On the show, Sanchez was known for being the "odd-ball" of the group, practicing yoga at odd moments and trying to extract "energy" from a lightning storm, and was also a self-proclaimed "Zen master".
Diego is full of colour and we will miss him when he has gone, a true pioneer of the sport.
Boxing champion Claressa Shields is making the jump to mixed martial arts. Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who has put together a 10-0 record in her professional boxing career after going 77-1 as an amateur, has signed a contract with the PFL that will see her transition sports.
Since the announcement we have already seen her training with UFC legend Jon Jones at the Jackson-Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Really looking forward to seeing Claressa compete, apparently she has a contract that allows her to fight in single events rather than as part of the PFL season.
Yup, the legend league continues. Apparently the number was so huge because it was a perfect storm. Massive nostalgia during the pandemic. The pandemic kept a lot of people at home over Thanksgiving weekend. The price was $50 not the absurd $80'ish for other boxing events. Curiosity factor about Tyson.
“When will Nick Diaz fight again?” - if Nick had a dollar for everytime that question was asked in MMA circles, he would be a billionaire.
One thing we love about Nick Diaz here is his honestly, his truth, his authenticity.
Diaz hasn’t fought in more than five years – but if his manager’s prediction is correct, that will change in 2021. In a recent interview with Fanatics View, Diaz’s manager Kevin Mubenga provided insight into Diaz’s return.
Diaz’s most recent fight occurred at UFC 183 in January 2015 when he lost to Anderson Silva – in a fight that was later overturned to a no contest when Silva tested positive for drostanolone and androsterone. Diaz, for his part positive test for marijuana after the bout.
Nobody knows when for sure, but fingers cross Nick Diaz fights again in 2021.
Apparently Brian totalled his dads pickup years ago and promised that one day, he'd buy him a new know - so he did! Check out the heart warming video below.
Brian Ortega is expected to challenge UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski next.
Khabib Nurmagomedov aims to make MMA an Olympic sport by 2028. Shortly after he purchased MMA promotion Gorilla Fighting Championship, which he renamed Eagle Fighting Championship, Nurmagomedov has set his sights on further legitimizing the sport.
“The inclusion of MMA in the Olympics is one of my main tasks for the next couple of years,” Nurmagomedov said in Russian, as translated by Essentially Sports. “We are already working in this direction. In the near future, I will have many meetings, including with the president of the Olympic committee. I think, if not in Paris, then in in Los Angeles we have a great chance of promoting MMA.”
“The Eagle” believes that once MMA is on such a massive platform like the Olympics, everybody will benefit. Can you imagine Khabib adding that achievement to his legacy??
He has been one busy eagle since beating Justin Gaethje and retiring from the UFC.
“I had this offer to Dana White. I wanted to make a contract with UC Fight Pass to broadcast EFC fights there,” he told reporters. “Kind of like their contract with M-1, but a bit different.”
“I wanted to discuss the number of title defenses an EFC fighter needs to get into the UFC,” Nurmagomedov continued. “When we sign fighters, we would like the organization to follow them into the UFC. For example, a guy signs for six fights. If he wins and defends his title a few times we’ll get him a UFC contract. Then, after he signs, we’ll handle his affairs.”
Khabib wants to establish a talent pipeline to the UFC that will make EFC a launchpad for young, up-and-coming talent from Russia to fight their way to the sport’s biggest stage.
Khabib has big plans for his promotion, and wants to grow the organization’s profile and reputation to the point that it’s considered one of the premier regional promotions in the sport.
‘Yoel Romero’s UFC run has come to an unexpected end. Romero and the promotion have parted ways, multiple sources told ESPN. Romero’s manager Malki Kawa also confirmed he is no longer under contract with the UFC. According to sources, Romero had three fights left on his deal,” Helwani reported.
Dana White explained it like this "Yoel has lost four of his last five (fights), he’s 44 years old. Our roster is very inflated right now."
Yoel Romero has not fought since he suffered a decision loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 248 for the middleweight title. However, both men rarely engaged and left the crowd booing. Before the loss to Adesanya, Romero suffered back-to-back controversial decision losses to Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker.
This is no doubt a very surprising move by the UFC. Yoel Romero, despite being 43 is still among the top middleweights in the world and is a big name in the sport.
Dominick Cruz is back and meets Casey Kenney at UFC 259 in March.
Cruz, 35, most recently competed at UC 249 in May, where he suffered a loss to then-champ Henry Cejudo. The fight marked his return to the octagon more than three years after losing UFC gold to Cody Garbrandt in December 2016 at UFC 207.
Can't wait to see him back in there!
Figueiredo has confessed that his preference is to take on Henry Cejudo in his next fight after 2021. Henry Cejudo, who previously held the UFC flyweight and bantamweight titles, has been quite critical of Figueiredo and it seems the reigning champion is hungry for vengeance.
Cejudo retired earlier this year, after defending the UFC bantamweight title with a win over Dominick Cruz. Despite his retirement, he’s frequently trashed talked Figueiredo on social media and in interviews, laying the groundwork for a high-profile grudge match if he chooses to return to competition.
“The only reason why Deiveson Figueiredo’s there is because of me,” Cejudo told The Schmo recently. “To me, he’s the lord of nothing. I’m the one that gave him that position. I’m allowing him to babysit my belt and he’s being a pretty good babysitter in my eyes.
Did you know that Israel Adesanya, who is undefeated in his pro MMA career, has never won a fight by submission, all 15 of his finishes have come via knockout.
“I smoked with Snoop Dogg, I surfed worth Kelly Slater, I rolled with Andre Galvao,” Adesanya wrote on Instagram. “This has been the highlight of my trip so far, being surprised with a purple belt. Although initially I didn’t feel like I deserve this, I trust his judgement and feel I have earned this. In my short time here I’ve felt my jiu jitsu level up. I love knocking people out, but it’s time to start tapping them out!”
Hurray! Everyone was gutted that this got canned in December, Leon Edwards contracted COVID-19 ESPN's Brett Okamoto reported that Edwards had a serious case of the disease. According to Okamoto, the British-Jamaican MMA fighter could not practice during this period. Edward's inactivity, plus the severity of his case, threatened his 170lb standing and his place in the UFC welterweight division since Edwards lost 12 pounds in only four days.
Really cool to see some mutual respect here from Khamzat Chimaev
Khamzat Chimaev@kchimaev00:37 AM - 02 Dec 2020ESPN MMA @espnmmaLeon Edwards recently tested positive for COVID-19 and will not fight Khamzat Chimaev on Dec. 19, sources tell @arielhelwani. https://t.co/VdDb01r3Xm
Leon Edwards has not tasted defeat since 2016. He has won eight fights in a row and is en route to have a title shot against UFC welterweight champion Kumaru Usman.
During White’s time on “Fight Island” in October, the UFC president hinted at a boxing match being in the works, claiming that COVID-19 has actually been a blessing for Zuffa Boxing.
White's latest statement on Zuffa Boxing is “Never did I say that I was doing anything, but I’ve been looking and kicking the tires of boxing for the last couple of years,” White said. “The reason you’ve never seen me do anything is because that’s how screwed up and broken it is. That’s what a mess it is. Yeah, I’m not doing anything anytime soon.”
That's a shame, we were hoping Dana had a magic formula, or at least he was going to have a stab at doing a boxing promotion.
We have combined UFC, Bellator, Cagewarriors, PFL and One Championship FC events into one place, so you'll always know what the next MMA fight is, the next one will show up at the top.
I nice overview of the difference between the UFC and Bellator.
How to smash those Taekwondo Tornado Kicks
Nice article on Bellator v Cage Warriors.
We kicked off a thread covering all MMA documentaries which will be constantly updated over the next few months.
A quick article on why you should start your MMA blog on This MMA Life!
We updated the best Octagon walk out threads, have a watch and suggest one that is missing.
We updated our collection of recommended MMA books, have a browse and suggest anything that is missing
That's it from us! We hope that you have an amazing few weeks enjoying all the up and coming MMA events that are still going ahead, it's tough times but I am sure in 2021 we will all be rolling on the mats again.
Here are the best podcasts episodes that have been recently release, well worth a listen.
The This MMA Life team.