Morning Report: Alexander Volkanovski interested in fight against ‘one of the GOATs’, Khabib Nurmagomedov

Morning Report: Alexander Volkanovski interested in fight against ‘one of the GOATs’, Khabib Nurmagomedov

Alexander Volkanovski won the UFC featherweight championship with an immaculate performance against Max Holloway at UFC 245. “The Great” will have to do it again on July 11 when he defends his belt for the first time at UFC 251, in a rematch with Holloway. Should Volkanovski retain his title though, the world is his oyster, and he’s already setting his sights high.

The featherweight division currently lacks a clear-cut No. 1 contender for Volkanovski after the Holloway rematch, and though someone might make a case later in the year, the featherweight champion has another option he’d like to pursue: chasing down lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“I don’t like people chasing other divisions, but (fighting Nurmagomedov) is definitely an option,” Volkanovski told theScore recently. “Right now, I’ve got a belt to defend and then there’s probably going be number one contender (after that). But I mean early next year, if something comes to me, like that fight, I’ll have to take it.”

Nurmagomedov is currently the second-ranked pound-for-pound fighter according to the UFC rankings. At 12-0 in the UFC, with wins over the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Conor McGregor, and Dustin Poirier, Khabib has already put himself in the “greatest lightweight of all time” conversation and his MMA grappling become something of a legend already. But despite the near-mythical status of Khabib’s game, and the fact that he’d carry a substantial size advantage into a fight, Volkanovski is confident in his chances to be the guy to hand Khabib his first loss.

“Khabib is one of the GOATs as well. Nothing but respect for the dude,” Volkanovski said. “But I’m very, very hard to hold down. I’ve obviously got the brains. I’ve got the cardio. I’m a freak when it comes to holding on the ground; it’s just almost impossible holding me on the ground. Nothing but respect to all the fighters that are in the UFC, but every single one of us wants to prove something. And you know, eventually, I want to prove myself in that lightweight division too.”

Nurmagomedov is currently rumored to be facing Justin Gaethje in September as his next title defense. Should Nurmagomedov retain his belt, UFC President Dana White has made no secret that he’d like to see a Khabib-Conor McGregor rematch. Khabib has been less excited by that fight, but there are other options for him at lightweight, including a bout with Volkanovski’s City Kickboxing partner Dan Hooker, should Hooker defeat Dustin Poirier next weekend. And if Hooker doesn’t win, well that might just open the door for a Volkanovski title shot.

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VIDEO STEW

What the Heck, with Petr Yan, Cynthia Calvillo, Frankie Edgar, Calvin Kattar, Mickey Gall, Luis Pena, and Khama Worthy.

Curtis Blaydes’ top finishes in the UFC.

Free fight.

How good was Tito Ortiz actually?

SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Statement.

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The UFC has pulled me from my fight due to one of my cornerman testing positive for COVID-19. We did everything possible to make this fight happen. They tested me twice and both results came back negative. I also provided proof of my positive antibodies test from April 30th but the UFC did not want any liability or to risk it. Being that there is a lack of knowledge on the incubation period and still so many unknowns regarding covid 19, they decided to pull me bc of the 2 positive test result from my teammate and brother, Billy Q. He’s been a huge help and source of support throughout camp and I have no hard feelings. He is 100% healthy at the moment and feels fine, so he must be asymptomatic. This is a Crazy situation and everything happens for a reason. I am on weight and prepared to the fullest. I was really excited for this fight with Frank and told him if they find him a new opponent for Saturday I will be rooting for him. If not, I’m willing to rebook this fight ASAP or when ever he wants. I’m sorry to everyone who was excited to watch me fight and supports me along this journey, I really felt the love ❤️ ✊ . Can’t believe I’m the first fighter to get 2 fights canceled due to this virus (without even having it) but I know it has effected a lot more lives in worse ways . Figuring out the next move from here and will keep moving forward, that’s what we do! Should be booked to fight again ASAP and hope the UFC continues to take care of me.

A post shared by Matt Frevola (@steamrollafrevola_mma) on Jun 18, 2020 at 7:03am PDT

An honest man.

FYI if y’all were hoping to see a 25 minute stand up war you probably shouldn’t tune in to the main event cause I fully intend on ragdolling my opponent just figured I’d let y’all know ahead of time ‍♂️

— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) June 19, 2020

Eddie on the fighter pay situation.

No1 listened to me when I left and explain that fighters need Better pay. Now the largest names in the sport are speaking out , I love this sport and the promotions that provides our stages . But understand that it is Just a Stage! without the men n women willing to fight on it

— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) June 18, 2020

The man has a point.

Moraes, Me, Yan, Sandhagen, Munhoz, Aldo, Rivera, Garbrandt, Dillashaw, Stamann, Font, Dong, Merab, O’Malley, Vera, Cruz, Assuncao, Raoni, Dodson, Wood, shall I continue?
Bantamweight is STACKED!

— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) June 18, 2020

Costa should not want this.

BN : The ultimate fighter Adelasanha x Costa

— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) June 18, 2020

A rare positive Joe Silva perspective.

My Joe Silva story. After I was cut by the UFC Joe called me and we talked for a good hour and a half about my career, getting hit in the head a bunch and had a good conversation. Him and Sean have a fucking tough job that I would not want ‍♂️

— ike vallie-flagg (@IKEVF) June 18, 2020

Thank god we are preventing professional athletes from . . . recovering from injury and training.

Exact same way a steroid would. Builds muscle mass, helps muscles heal and recover FAST from hard work. In the medical world, it’s used to treat muscle wasting diseases, but for an elite athlete, would make them stronger, combat fatigue and soreness.

— Jeff Novitzky (@JeffNovitzkyUFC) June 19, 2020

Now we know why Jones-Ngannou didn’t get made. The contracts got lost at sea.

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Получил новый контракт на бой. 8 августа, главный бой вечера, Деррик Льюис. С Богом @ufc @ufcrussia @danawhite @mickmaynard2 @seanshelby @arielhelwani @americantopteam @danlambertatt @zitopartners @freedom__roads @bokamotoespn @mmajunkiedotcom #mma #ufc #oleynik #warrior

A post shared by Alexey Oleynik (@alexeyoleynik1) on Jun 16, 2020 at 12:27pm PDT

Warning: this video is graphic.

pic.twitter.com/OuYf1hP3FU

— BONY (@JonnyBones) June 19, 2020

It appears EA UFC 4 will be revealed in July.

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Муслим Салихов идёт за 4 победой подряд. На #UFC251 его оппонентом станет Элизией Залески Дос Сантос! @VisitAbuDhabi #UFCFightIsland #InAbuDhabi

A post shared by UFC Russia (@ufcrussia) on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:33am PDT

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Frank Camacho (22-8) vs. Justin Jaynes (15-4); UFC on ESPN 11, June 20.

Mara Romero Borella (12-8) vs. Miranda Maverick (7-2); UFC Fight Night, June 27.

Andrew Sanchez (11-5) vs. Wellington Turman (16-3); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 8.

Sean Brady (12-0) vs. Christian Aguilera (14-6); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 29.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.

EXIT POLL

Poll
Who wins this weekend?

  • Blaydes

  • Volkov

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  • 78%
    Blaydes
    (276 votes)

  • 21%
    Volkov
    (75 votes)

351 votes total

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