UFC

McGregor explains WrestleMania absence: 'They all fear me'

By Sports Desk April 04, 2022

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  • Dana White hopeful Conor McGregor’s UFC return will happen this year Dana White hopeful Conor McGregor’s UFC return will happen this year

    Conor McGregor’s UFC return is still yet to be finalised as Dana White poured cold water on the Irishman’s suggestions he would fight this summer.

    The former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion has been out of the octagon since losing a rubber match to Dustin Poirier in July 2021 after sustaining a horrific leg break.

    A bout against Michael Chandler has been mooted for the last 12 months and McGregor revealed on New Year’s Eve he would make his comeback against the American on June 29 at the middleweight limit.

     

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    But when asked about when McGregor would be fighting next, White told the Pat McAfee Show: “Eventually – hopefully this year. There is no date. I’m hoping we get it done in the fall (autumn).”

    McGregor and Chandler were rival coaches on the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter television series, screened in the United States from May to August last year, after which it was thought the pair would face-off.

    McGregor only returned to the US Anti-Doping Agency testing pool in October although the UFC has since set up its own anti-doping programme.

  • Leon Edwards plans to defend welterweight title at UFC 300; also targeting fight in Birmingham Leon Edwards plans to defend welterweight title at UFC 300; also targeting fight in Birmingham

    Jamaican-born UFC Welterweight Champion says plans are in motion for his to defend his belt at the UFC’s biggest event of 2024, UFC 300, in Las Vegas in April.

    The reigning welterweight champion was in attendance for a match in Birmingham, England, between his club Aston Villa and Burnley on December 30 and he was brought on the field to address the fans at halftime.

    During his brief interview, Edwards announced that he plans to fight at UFC 300 and then also defend his title again sometime this summer in Birmingham.

    “I will defend my belt in April at UFC 300 in Vegas again, then hopefully in the summertime get a show back in Birmingham at Villa Park,” Edwards said.

    “I’m in talks with the UFC, so hopefully we can get it done,” he added.

    The UFC has announced several high-profile bouts for its milestone event on April 13, including Jiri Prochazka vs. Aleksandar Rakic and Aljamain Sterling vs. Calvin Kattar, but the lineup is still without a title fight.

    It appears that an Edwards title defense could be in the works or, at the very least, that the champion is volunteering his services.

    Edwards closed out 2023 with a unanimous decision win over Colby Covington at UFC 296 in December. It was Edwards’ second consecutive successful defense of the welterweight title and his 12th straight win (excluding one no-contest).

    That one no-contest came against current #2 ranked welterweight, Belal Muhammad, who could very well be Edwards’ next opponent.

    Since that fight three years ago, Muhammad has won five fights in a row. Overall, Muhammad’s record stands at 23-3 and he hasn’t lost a fight since 2019.

     

  • Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling moves up to featherweight to take on Calvin Kattar at UFC 300 in April Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling moves up to featherweight to take on Calvin Kattar at UFC 300 in April

    Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Champion Aljamain Sterling will try his luck in a new division when he takes on Calvin Kattar in a featherweight (145 lbs.) contest at UFC 300 in Las Vegas on April 13.

    The 34-year-old Sterling, born in New York to Jamaican parents, will be looking to rebound from losing his bantamweight title via second round TKO to Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 in Boston on August 19.

    Before that fight, Sterling was unbeaten in nine fights since a 2017 loss to former title challenger, Brazilian Marlon Moraes.

    In 2021, Sterling won the title in controversial fashion after UFC 259 opponent Petr Yan was disqualified after throwing an illegal knee.

    A year later at UFC 273, Sterling successfully beat Yan in a rematch before producing two more successful title defenses over former champions TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo at UFC 280 and 288, respectively.

    His three successful title defenses are the most in the history of the UFC Bantamweight division.

    UFC 300 marks the start of a new chapter of Sterling’s career with the move up to featherweight.

    His opponent for the showpiece event, Calvin Kattar, is currently seventh on the UFC Featherweight rankings and is coming off a pair of losses to Josh Emmett (currently ranked #6) and Arnold Allen (currently ranked #4).

    “I think this is going to be a banger fight,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel.

    “I feel good about how everything’s been going. I’m loving the training right now. We’ve been able to add some new stuff to the game working on some technical things,” he added.

    Sterling was usually able to use a wrestling-heavy style at bantamweight because of a size advantage over most of his opponents.

    Most people would think that with a move up in weight, his style would change as well. Sterling says this will not be the case.

    “My game is not going to change. I’m not going to change what got me to the show but it’s always good to evolve in case Calvin puts me in these situations where I’m forced to fight a certain way, we’ll be ready and that’s the most important thing,” he said.

    As for the move up to featherweight, Sterling says he’s excited for the new chapter.

    “I can’t wait. There are so many good fights, so many good guys. It’s going to be a dog pack to get through and, if I can get through this the same way I did at 35, that’s going to be a huge feather in my cap and something that I’m going to appreciate for the rest of my career and the rest of my life,” he said.

    “It’s not easy changing weight classes. There’s a couple of things you have to get used to mentally. Coming from guys who are lighter where I kind of had my way in terms of grappling, it’s going to be interesting to see how this transition is going to pay off for me in the future,” Sterling added.

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