A weekly have a look at MMA’s hottest subjects.
Greg Hardy satisfied he’ll show himself
It was inconceivable to know what to make of Greg Hardy when he made his UFC debut on Jan. 19, 2019, in Brooklyn towards Allen Crowder. The previous NFL All-Professional defensive lineman was the type of athlete that hardly ever ventures into combined martial arts.
However a very good time within the 40 or the flexibility to shed a blocker to make a sort out doesn’t imply a lot after they shut the Octagon door and the bell sounds.
The lure, although, of an NFL athlete within the Octagon was such that Hardy’s debut was among the many most anticipated in UFC historical past.
Sadly, we knew as little about Hardy popping out of the combat with Crowder as we knew entering into. Hardy was disqualified for touchdown an unlawful blow and was struggling along with his conditioning when the combat ended.
His final combat, a short-notice bout in Russia towards Alexander Volkov through which he dropped a unanimous resolution, not solely tied a UFC file for many fights (5) in a calendar yr, it was a sign of how the corporate brass seen Hardy.
Though it was quick discover, the UFC would by no means have put a newcomer who it had hopes for right into a place to combat an elite and skilled heavyweight like Volkov if it didn’t consider he was succesful.
And when Yahoo Sports activities requested UFC president Dana White if, as Hardy ready for his Saturday bout in the primary card opener of UFC 249 towards Yorgan De Castro, Hardy was forward, behind or proper the place he thought he’d be after a yr, White was upbeat.
“Greg Hardy has completely confirmed himself, no query,” White stated.
Hardy fought 5 instances in 2019, shedding to Crowder and Volkov, defeating Juan Adams and Dmitry Smolyakov and received a no-contest towards Ben Sosoli.
Hardy now shares the file for many UFC bouts in a calendar yr with Chris Leben (2006), Roger Huerta (2007), Donald Cerrone (2011), Daron Cruickshank (2014), Neil Magny (each 2014 and 2015), Uriah Corridor (2015), Ross Pearson (2016) and Thiago Santos (2018).
I requested Hardy the identical query I requested White, and requested him about his first yr. His reply was fascinating.
“That’s an advanced query for me,” he stated. “I had a plan. I’ve targets. I’ve all the time set marks for myself so I can be sure I’m on process and taking advantage of all of my time. However on the similar time, in my thoughts, I all the time assume that I’m behind. I all the time assume I might be doing extra using my time.
“So far as skill-wise, I’m positively forward of the place I believed I used to be going to be, however I feel I would like extra. Going to Russia to combat Volkov, Ben Sosoli earlier than that, are powerful, hard-head, expert individuals. I felt my ability degree ought to have been extra but it surely’s positively means farther than I believed it was going to be.”
Give Hardy credit score as a result of it’s not simple to alter careers midstream like he has carried out. Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders every performed within the NFL and in Main League Baseball, however they performed each sports activities all of their lives. Hardy was a soccer participant all of his life and hadn’t fought.
He debuted within the UFC at 30 years outdated with simply three newbie fights and three professional fights to his credit score. He’s camped out in a dorm room on the American High Workforce in Coconut Creek, Florida, in order that he may expedite his studying, and he’s keen to dwell on “Combat Island” if he can get loads of fights there.
It’s a dedication to being nearly as good as he will be that’s spectacular. His combat with De Castro has been delayed twice, so he’s making his 2020 debut in Might and it appears unlikely that he’ll be capable of get as many fights this yr as he did final yr.
However even when he fights 4 instances in 2020, we must always have a a lot clearer indication of the place Hardy sits within the pecking order of elite UFC heavyweights, if he even belongs in any respect. He’s satisfied, although, that he’ll show himself.
“To study on the go towards one of the crucial harmful males on the planet [Volkov] elevated my degree a lot,” Hardy stated. “It made me calm. It made me conscious and opened up the door lots for studying.”
Don’t anticipate Conor McGregor vs. Jorge Masvidal
White appeared on the “Menace and the Man” podcast co-hosted by ex-UFC fighter Dennis Bermudez and was requested if the plan for Jorge Masvidal was nonetheless to problem Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title.
White stated, “The Usman combat is the combat that is sensible. It’s the combat that should occur if Masvidal desires a title shot.”
When he was then requested if Masvidal may combat Conor McGregor on Combat Island, he stated, “Excellent level. That’s a chance, too.”
However when Yahoo Sports activities reached out to White to verify if he was attempting to make McGregor-Masvidal, he stated, “That’s a chance,” and, “Wow, that might be enjoyable [but] doesn’t imply I’m doing it.”
UFC 251 in Perth postponed
The UFC on Tuesday introduced that UFC 251 wouldn’t be held in Perth, Australia, on June 6, as scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a tweet, the UFC introduced:
“Because of present state and nationwide restrictions on public gatherings and journey, UFC 251 initially scheduled for Perth, Western Australia on Sunday, June 7 (Saturday, June 6 in North America) has been postponed. UFC seems to be ahead to returning to Perth within the close to future with a PPV occasion in partnership with tourism Western Australia.”
No announcement has been made on a brand new venue. Provided that Nevada will go into what Gov. Steve Sisolak calls “Section 1” of its reopening plan on or earlier than Might 15, there after all is a chance that the occasion might be held on the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas.
The state hasn’t OK’d fights at Apex at this level, however as soon as it does, anticipate UFC to placed on its exhibits there till there may be lastly an occasion through which followers are permitted or Combat Island is up and rolling.
Nunes-Spencer on June 6?
ESPN is reporting that the featherweight title combat between Amanda Nunes and high challenger Felicia Spencer will now be on June 6. There was no different affirmation, but it surely’s good that Nunes will lastly be defending that belt.
As soon as she defends the featherweight crown, she will be able to get again to enterprise at bantamweight the place the very best potential opponents exist.
Gaethje says: Tony, sure; Khabib, no
BT Sport landed an enchanting quote from Justin Gaethje, who fights Tony Ferguson on Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Enviornment in Jacksonville, Florida, for the interim light-weight title.
Gaethje accepted the UFC 249 bout on quick discover, initially when it was going to be on April 18, after champion Khabib Nurmagomedov had gone residence to Russia after which couldn’t journey due to the pandemic.
Had it been Ferguson who pulled out as a substitute, Gaethje informed BT Sport he wouldn’t have accepted.
“I don’t assume I’d have taken the combat towards Khabib on quick discover,” Gaethje stated. “Matchup-wise, I feel I’ve a a lot better probability of touching Tony’s chin than Khabib’s within the first two, three rounds. With a view to get taken down a few times by Khabib, and work up, and nonetheless be capable of combat, I actually do want at the least 10 weeks. You recognize I’ve been coaching my complete life however there’s sure lactic acid that builds up that you simply actually should account for.”
Extra UFC 249 protection from Yahoo Sports activities: