This Saturday a marquee welterweight match-up will take place as Kamaru Usman faces Sergio Moraes in Pittsburgh. Usman has looked nothing short of dominant in all five of his wins in the octagon as he looks to do more of the same when he takes on the Brazilian Moraes.
Now training at the Combat Club with Henri Hooft and former champions Robbie Lawler, Luke Rockhold and Rashad Evans, Usman feels he has all the tools to become champion.
“I have the gas tank, I have the wrestling, I have the jiu-jitsu, I have the striking, it doesn’t matter, I dominate each and every aspect of the game and each and every one of my fights I make them look easier and easier and that’s what I’m going to do on Saturday. I’m going to put on another flawless performance as I always do.”
He will take on Sergio Moraes who has very quietly racked up an impressive 6-1-1 record in the UFC with wins over Neil Magny and Omari Akhmedov. In fact, this match up as a whole has flown under the radar and Usman feels that’s due to a lack of promotion.
“When you don’t give a guy the chance to promote or put themselves out there, you can’t wonder why a lot of people don’t know about them,” Usman said. “He’s a guy that hasn’t really gotten much attention. One it’s his fighting style, he doesn’t really speak English, he doesn’t really talk to where it’s entertaining for fans but at the end of the day he’s still a tough guy.”
“With myself, if you’re not going to put me up in these marquee match ups or the marquee cards or give me those main event slots that I deserve then why would you be surprised if a ton of people don’t know about the fight? It goes hand in hand, the UFC has to work with us better but yeah this is a fight that I believe is under the radar.”
A win could very well push Usman to the upper echelon of the division and while he knows not to underestimate his opponent, he’s confident that he’ll be able to control the fight wherever it goes.
“I think he’s a tough guy,” Usman said. “He’s very skilled on the ground, he’s a 2 or 3 time world champion in jiu-jitsu but it doesn’t matter who they put in front of me really. I’m probably the only guy in the division that is as well rounded as I am. I’m going to do what I do best and that’s beat him up until he decides to quit or give up.”
Usman stormed into the UFC scene by winning the 21st installment of The Ultimate Fighter. He ran through all competition on the show and took out Hayder Hassan in the finale with ease. He then went on to dominate 4 other opponents, most recently Sean Strickland back in April. With already a 5-0 record in a stacked welterweight division, Usman feels he deserved a bigger name or a top ranked guy.
“I’ve been vocal about who I want and when I wanted them and where I wanted them but they seem to give me who they want to give me so at the end of the day, all I could do is sit back and do my job and that’s what I intend to do on Saturday.”
“I’ve beat up a guy in his backyard very bad and I called out Demian Maia and didn’t get the fight. I beat up another guy, called out Neil Magny and didn’t get the fight. The UFC is going to give me who they want to give me and so the best thing I can do is continue to go out there and win and win in impressive fashion.”
A guy who has managed to land the big fights and get a fight with Demian Maia is Colby Covington, who has let the whole welterweight division know how he feels towards them. The modern day trash talking approach seemed to work for Covington who has jumped to the 8th spot in the rankings and will take on former 2 time title challenger Maia in October.
Usman, who approaches things a little less bluntly acknowledges Covington’s ways but is more than happy to stick to his own.
“The one thing about me is I’m a very classy guy, I’m straight to the point but I’m not fake,” Usman said. He’s a guy that likes to be brash and just say outlandish stuff but at the end of the day fans and we all know this is an act.”
“This isn’t really him because I think he’s a super nice guy. I actually ran into him at the airport, I went up to him and he was just a super nice guy there, very nice. Now he’s just putting this front in front of everybody and that’s just the society that we live in. He’s not doing anything impressive, his fights are boring as hell but he’s being brash and saying outlandish crap that people want to hear. He’s getting a fight now against a guy that I called out over a year ago.”
Both guys share a common opponent, Warlley Alves who Usman dominated for 3 rounds. Covington however, suffered a first round submission loss to Alves but was able to bounce back with 4 straight wins over the likes of Bryan Barberena and Dong Hyun Kim. Currently, Covington sits at number 8 in the rankings while Usman is at number 13.
“Colby Covington comes into the rankings, he wins a fight then you put him above me? How is that possible when I beat a guy that finished Colby Covington in 2 minutes. Those rankings make absolutely no sense to me.”
Usman would rather show than tell as he will look to put on another dominant performance and stake his claim in the division. While rankings don’t always make sense, it would be hard to deny him a fight against the top 10 should he beat Moraes this Saturday.
“I don’t care about these rankings because the rankings are trash. Those guys in the top 5, you put me up against any of them and I’ll make it look easy. That’s what I’ve done in my career and unfortunately they just don’t want to take the fight or I guess the UFC don’t want to give me the fight.”
“I believe I should be in the top 5 right now, I’ve called out those guys in the top 5 but they don’t seem to want to take the fight because I believe I’m the hardest guy in the division to deal with.”
Conor McGregor Charged with Assault for Dublin Incident
Former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor has been charged with assault for punching a man in a bar in Dublin, Ireland back in April, that carries a maximum prison term of six months if convicted, a fine of $1,646, or both, according to the Independent.
McGregor’s spokesperson Karen Kessler confirmed that McGregor was formally served with a summons and is due in a Dublin court on October 11th, in a conversation with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
McGregor expressed remorse for the incident back in August, during an interview with ESPN.
“I was in the wrong,” McGregor said, at the time. “That man deserved to enjoy his time in the pub without having it end the way it did. … I tried to make amends, and I made amends back then. But it doesn’t matter. I was in the wrong. I must come here before you and take accountability and take responsibility. I owe it to the people that have been supporting me. I owe it to my mother, my father, my family. I owe it to the people who trained me in martial arts. That’s not who I am. That’s not the reason why I got into martial arts or studying combat sports. The reason I got into it was to defend against that type of scenario.”
“I must get my head screwed on and just get back in the game and fight for redemption, retribution, respect — the things that made me the man I am,” McGregor continued. “And that’s what I will do.”
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UFC’s Stipe Miocic Likely Out for Year
UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic is considered to be “highly unlikely” to compete again for the remainder of 2019 after the fighter suffered an eye injury during his fight with Daniel Cormier back in August, Miocic’s agent said, according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
Miocic (19-3) knocked out Cormier to reclaim the heavyweight title during the fourth round of their rematch at UFC 241, and there had been interest in a 3rd fight between Cormier and Miocic, potentially taking place at UFC 245 on December 14th in Las Vegas, however Miocic says that he is still recovering from a procedure that was done on his retina.
“I’ll be ready to fight when I can see out of both eyes again,” Miocic said in a statement to ESPN. “I can’t wait to defend my belt.”
According to Miocic’s agent, Jim Walter, the eye injury occurred when Cormier accidentally poked Miocic in the eye during the fight at UFC 241.
Miocic had complained of eye pokes during both of his fights against Cormier.
“Mr. Miocic sustained a major retina injury from multiple eye pokes during his bout at UFC 241,” said Walter, of Kaulig Sports and Entertainment. “Our client’s health and safety is our top priority. We are excited for him to return to action when he is healthy to compete in his seventh consecutive world title fight.”
Cormier, 40, recently stated his desire to put off retirement to fight Miocic a third time.
“I’m gonna fight this guy again,” Cormier said during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show earlier this week. “My intention is to fight him in the right way. … It has to be against Stipe, no one else matters.”
Dana White: BJ Penn Won’t Fight in UFC Again
UFC president Dana White says that BJ Penn won’t be fighting in the UFC again after a pair of videos surfaced online showing Penn fighting in the streets while in Hawaii.
Penn (16-14-2), 40, was expected to fight Nik Lentz before the end of the year, but White says that plans to make that fight happen are now off following the videos going viral.
“He won’t fight again, that’s it,” White said, according to Brett Okamoto. “That’s a wrap. It’s not even that this was the last straw. I didn’t love him continuing to fight anyway, but with the relationship that he and I have — he gets me on the phone, begging me for another fight. It’s hard to turn him down.
“After what I saw in that video, BJ needs to, you know, he needs to focus on his personal life before he thinks about fighting.”
Penn, who will not face any charges for the incidents, and his representatives have since said he was trying to diffuse the situation and ultimately acted in self-defense.
“I don’t want to sit here and pick BJ Penn apart,” White said. “I think we all know what BJ Penn needs to do and hopefully BJ Penn knows what BJ Penn needs to do. What I saw in that video was sad and I love the kid. I hope he gets his life together. If BJ Penn needs me, all he has to do is pick up the phone and ask.”
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