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Conor McGregor wants back on UFC

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UFC star Conor McGregor is not retired. He just wants to focus on what he feels is his real job — fighting.

McGregor, 27, released a statement on social media Thursday stating he was not retired, despite a post earlier in the week that said he was stepping away from the sport. On Tuesday, UFC pulled McGregor from a scheduled rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 200 on July 9, saying McGregor had refused to fly to Las Vegas to participate in promotional obligations.

In a highly anticipated announcement, McGregor (19-3) explained that refusal.

“I am just trying to do my job and fight here,” McGregor wrote on Facebook. “I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting.

“There comes a time when you need to stop handing out flyers and get back to the damn shop.”
Coming off the first loss of his UFC career in March, McGregor asked for a reduction in promotional responsibilities, but that request was denied, he wrote.

UFC wanted McGregor to be in Las Vegas this week for a news conference at MGM Grand Casino. Sources told ESPN that promotional stops were also planned for Stockton, California, and New York. McGregor, who is from Dublin, is currently training in Iceland.

“I’m coming for my revenge here. I flew an entire team to Portugal and to Iceland to make my adjustments in preparation and fix my errors I made with the weight and the cardio prep,” McGregor wrote. “With the right adjustments and the right focus, I will finish what I started in that last fight. I will not do this if I am back on the road handing out flyers again.”

McGregor, who is the UFC featherweight champion, said he is “still ready to go for UFC 200.” Diaz (19-10) is in Las Vegas this week and has not been rescheduled to another fight.

McGregor wrote that he was willing to fly to New York for a news conference, but he then wanted to return to training “with no distractions.”

“If this is not enough or they feel I have not deserved to sit this promotion run out this one time, well then I don’t know what to say,” he wrote.

McGregor tweeted Thursday night to reiterate his stance.
ESPN reached out to UFC for comment on the situation and has not heard back.

McGregor suffered his first UFC defeat when he tapped to a rear-naked choke in the second round of a welterweight fight against Diaz at UFC 196 in Las Vegas.

Originally, McGregor was supposed to fight lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in an attempt to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in multiple weight classes simultaneously. That fight fell through when dos Anjos injured his foot, and Diaz stepped in on 11 days’ notice.

The bout was contested at welterweight due to the short notice, meaning McGregor technically moved up two weight classes.

Following McGregor’s initial retirement announcement this week, Diaz responded with a social media post saying, “I guess my work here is done, I’m retiring, too.” He has not publicly commented on McGregor’s latest statement.

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Glover Teixeira stops Rashad Evans in Round 1 at UFC Fight Night

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Glover Teixeira earned his third consecutive win Saturday night, knocking out former champion Rashad Evans with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the first round.

The light heavyweight fight headlined UFC Fight Night at Amalie Arena. Teixeira (25-4) accepted the bout on five weeks’ notice after Evans’ original opponent, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, was forced off the card because of injury.Evans openly admitted Teixeira was a tougher opponent than Rua would have been — and that proved to be the case in Saturday’s main event, as Teixeira walked Evans (19-5-1) into the fence and unloaded a left hook that dropped him to his knees. As the 36-year-old held himself up in a knelt position, Teixeira closed in with the finishing blow, a straight right hand to the jawline. Evans went out cold from the blow.

“This fight was five rounds, but I didn’t want to come here and do footwork,” Teixeira said. “My way to fight is finish. [I’m] like [former heavyweight boxer] Mike Tyson. I take care of business.”

Originally from Brazil and now fighting out of Connecticut, Teixeira entered the night as the No. 7-ranked light heavyweight in the world, according to ESPN.com. He is 8-2 in the UFC and has fought for the championship once. Two years ago, Teixeira fought Jon Jones at UFC 172 and lost via unanimous decision. He lost every round.
Teixeira has looked good in his recent three-fight streak, however, picking up wins against Ovince Saint Preux and Patrick Cummins. He never allowed Evans to pick up any momentum on Saturday, as he immediately took the center of the Octagon and kept Evans on his back foot. Evans fired back a few left hooks in defense, but Teixeira was relatively in control from start to finish.

After the fight, Teixeira called for a bout against Anthony Johnson, who is actually a teammate of Evans at Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Florida. Johnson was sitting cageside for the fight and smiled upon hearing the invitation.

“I feel right at the top,” Teixeira said. “‘Rumble’ Johnson is waiting around for Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. He doesn’t want to wait around. Let’s dance, baby. Let’s make some money.”

Johnson (21-5) is widely viewed as the next No. 1 contender at 205 pounds, but he would have to wait for the shot. Cormier, the defending champion, is currently recovering from a leg injury. Jones is scheduled to fight Saint Preux next week at UFC 197 for an interim title.

Evans suffered his second loss in a row. He sat out all of 2014 and most of 2015 with knee injuries. His last win was on Nov. 16, 2013, against Chael Sonnen.

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Miesha Tate stuns Holly Holm, to defend title vs. Ronda Rousey

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LAS VEGAS — Less than four months after her stunning win over Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm’s time as a UFC champion is over.

Miesha Tate (18-5), who late last year admitted she was considering retirement, submitted Holm with a rear-naked choke at 3:30 of the final round of their 135-pound title fight Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 196 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena.Presumably down on the scorecards entering the fifth round, Tate latched herself onto Holm’s back during a scramble in the center of the cage. Holm stood, wearing Tate as a backpack. Tate sneaked her right arm under Holm’s chin, and in a final desperate attempt to break free, Holm front flipped to the ground.

Holm (10-1) refused to tap. She went unconscious, still throwing punches into the air in front of her.

“I let my guard down, and it cost me the fight,” Holm said in her postmatch news conference.

UFC president Dana White joined SportsCenter on Saturday night to declare that Tate’s first bantamweight defense will come against Rousey, who has not set a return date.

“I think that Ronda now will fight Miesha Tate for the title. That’s what’s going to happen,” White said. “That’s what I said before this fight even happened. Whoever wins tonight will fight Ronda for the title.”

White said he contacted Rousey, who was not watching Saturday’s fight.

“I text Ronda, and she said, ‘What happened?'” White said. “I said, ‘Miesha just choked her unconscious.’ She said, ‘Looks like I gotta get back to work.'”

Rousey’s two previous wins against Tate each came via armbar. Holm said she wanted a rematch against Tate but would take any opportunity UFC provided.

White said Rousey doesn’t plan to fight until the fall, but he will inquire of her interest to fight Tate earlier than that.

“I feel we had a great game plan,” said Tate, a former Strikeforce titleholder. “She’s very dangerous. She’s capable of catching anyone at any moment. She’s a calculated fighter. I thought I had to be like a pit bull with a bone [with the choke]. I knew she wasn’t getting out of that one.”

Until that final sequence, it looked as if it would be a what-if kind of night for Tate. She took Holm down in the second round and eventually took her back with 90 seconds to work. Twice she threatened to finish with a rear-naked choke only to have Holm barely fight her off.Things largely went according to plan for Holm, who fights out of Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She maintained distance against Tate well and stuffed the majority of her takedowns. Holm caught her with a couple left hooks and racked up points on the scorecards with jabs and side kicks. She reddened Tate’s face with punches in the first round.

Holm was motivated to train and reinsert herself into the title mix as soon as possible, even declaring her desire to fight Tate again as soon as she can.

“I want to fight Miesha tomorrow,” Holm said. “… I’m more anxious to get in and train right now than I have been in a long time.”

She rebuffed criticism of her decision to defend her title before she had the chance to face Rousey in a rematch.

“I’m in it to fight. That’s what I’m in it for,” Holm said. “And tonight, I made some mistakes. … I need to fix those mistakes. I’m going to come back stronger.”

According to immediate stats by Fightmetric, Holm outstruck Tate 68 to 65, although that was mostly due to a 29-1 Tate advantage in the second round.

Tate, 29, has now won five fights in a row. She said late last year she wasn’t sure if she would continue her career, after UFC skipped over a promised title shot to book a fight between Holm and Rousey.

At the MGM sportsbook, Holm closed as a 3.5-1 betting favorite.

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Conor McGregor’s record-breaking KO

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Jose Aldo ruled the featherweight division for seven years. His fall to Conor McGregor took 13 seconds.

McGregor (19-2), the brash, outspoken, Irish phenom who has taken the sport by storm since he signed with the UFC in 2013, claimed the UFC featherweight title Saturday night, knocking out Aldo (25-2) with a clean counter left hand just 13 seconds into the fight. It marked Aldo’s first loss in 10 years and extended McGregor’s win streak to 15 fights.

It is also the fastest finish in UFC title-fight history, beating former female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey‘s previous mark of 14 seconds set at UFC 184 in February.

After the bout — which headlined UFC 194 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, drew an attendance of 16,516 and took in a U.S.-record gate revenue of $10.1 million — McGregor expressed sympathy for Aldo regarding the brevity of the fight, but insisted his victory was all but inevitable.

“I feel for Jose,” McGregor said. “He’s a phenomenal champion. He deserved to go a little bit longer. I still feel, at the end of the day, precision beats power, timing beats speed. All day, it would have happened.”

As he nursed a cut on the bridge of his nose, Aldo, 29, immediately said he wanted a rematch.

“He threw a cross at my chest I wasn’t expecting,” Aldo said via a translator. “I think we need a rematch. It wasn’t really a fight.”

The two met in the middle of the cage the second referee John McCarthy started the fight. After a McGregor left broke the ice, Aldo came in hard with a lead right hand and left hook. McGregor, a southpaw, slipped the right hand and threw the counter left that dropped Aldo instantly. As he fell, Aldo’s left hook came through and grazed McGregor across the face.

Aldo fell to his back, where McGregor followed with two hard hammerfists from a standing position. McCarthy had already started to dive between them as the second blow came down.

“Nobody can take that left-hand shot,” McGregor said. “He’s powerful and he’s fast, but precision beats power, timing beats speed. That’s what you saw there.

“These are fundamentals. That’s all it takes. These are fundamentals, especially when you have my left hand.”

McGregor could remain at featherweight and face No. 1 contender Frankie Edgar (20-4-1), a former lightweight champion who is on a five-fight win streak and is coming off a knockout win against Chad Mendes.

The 27-year-old could also move up to lightweight and challenge for that title. In UFC history, only two men have ever won belts at different weight classes: Randy Couture and BJ Penn.

Current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is scheduled to defend the title against Donald Cerrone next week in Orlando, Florida.

“I think that was always his plan,” UFC president Dana White told SportsCenter. “He wanted to fight Jose Aldo and then move to 155 and fight for that title.

“Whoever wins this fight [on Saturday], between Dos Anjos and Cowboy Cerrone, we’ll see who wins that fight and go from there.

The championship fight brought to a close a rivalry that had brewed all year. In January, McGregor earned a title shot by knocking out Dennis Siver in the second round in UFC 183 at TD Garden in Boston. After the fight, McGregor jumped the fence and confronted Aldo, who was observing the fight from the front row.

The UFC opted to invest in its first World Tour promotion for the fight, setting up March news conferences for McGregor and Aldo in stops that included Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas, New York, London and Dublin. McGregor repeatedly promised a first-round knockout. The week of the fight, he said anything after the first four minutes of the bout would be a “formality.”

The fight was scheduled at UFC 189 in July, but Aldo, who fights out of Nova Uniao in Rio, withdrew with a rib injury. McGregor remained on the card and fought three-time title challenger Chad Mendes for the interim belt. He knocked out Mendes in the second round and unified that title with Aldo’s on Saturday night.

McGregor’s past five wins have come via knockout. He has not lost since November 2010, when he faced Joseph Duffy, a current UFC lightweight.

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Holly Holm KO’s Ronda Rousey to win women’s bantamweight title

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Former world boxing champion Holly Holm (10-0) scored the biggest upset in the sport’s history Sunday, knocking out Rousey (12-1) with a left head kick in the second round to claim the bantamweight championship fight at UFC 193 inside Etihad Stadium.

The fight, the first UFC event ever held in Melbourne, drew 56,214 fans and broke the promotion’s previous attendance record of 55,724 set at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011.
The shocking result came 59 seconds into the second round, after Rousey already had been stunned several times by Holm’s left hands. After Rousey ducked in desperately for a clinch, Holm broke off at an angle and landed a clean left head kick to the jawline that rendered Rousey unconscious. Referee Herb Dean stepped in immediately, as Rousey fell limp, arms extended, to the canvas.

UFC president Dana White said Rousey was taken to a hospital after the fight because she suffered a knockout and to treat facial cuts. White said that Rousey was “devastated,” but OK physically.

Rousey’s representative said she did not have a concussion but would stay overnight in the Melbourne hospital.

“I think for all the fans watching that love her and is a fan is heartbroken,” her trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan, told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “I’m just staying strong now next to Ronda. There are no words I can say right now how I feel. It’s just, gotta be strong next to Ronda. That’s how I feel.”
Rousey did not attend the postfight news conference.

“I don’t know, I’m trying to take it all in. This is crazy!” Holm said. “Getting in here, I just felt so much support — I thought, ‘How can I not do this with all this support?’ I had the best coaching, from standup to grappling to wrestling.

“I have to say, everything we worked on presented itself in the fight. Every grab she tried to get, on the cage — I have not spent this much time in the gym before any fight in my life.”

A former Olympic medalist in judo, Rousey was clearly willing to trade punches with Holm. She opened the fight throwing left hooks and straight rights and didn’t attempt her first takedown until nearly two minutes into the first round.
“The game plan was pressing,” Tarverdyan said. “We knew Holly Holm was going to keep the distance. So we had to faint and get inside and pressure the right way so we can get the on the side of the cage. And we’ve talked about that and Holly Holm did a good job with moving today and stayed calm.

“I wouldn’t say in the striking game she was getting the best of Ronda, you know, but I have to watch it again. But we know this was not a striking match; we know that Ronda is smart enough to take the fight where she is best at and today she did. Holly stopped an attempt on an arm bar and stopped some of the takedowns. She did a good job.”

Holm handled Rousey’s boxing pressure beautifully. She started to find a home for the straight left early and went back to it time and again. Rousey’s face was reddened within the first exchanges and her striking defense went out the window as she became obsessed with keeping a high pace on Holm. Holm calmly circled away from the pressure and avoided eating a big shot. She allowed Rousey to graze her with a few right hands, but never appeared fazed by any of them.

Midway through the round, Rousey managed to drag Holm to the ground but did not do so with the same authority she traditionally has. The two fell awkwardly to the mat, where Rousey transitioned to her go-to armbar. Holm was never in serious danger, however, as she cleared the arm and quickly got back to her feet.
Facing real adversity for arguably the first time in her MMA career, Rousey’s response was more pressure in the second round. She stalked forward with her hands down, however, and nearly fell over after throwing a wild, ineffective haymaker. Holm remained patient through it all.

“Holly today fought a good fight,” Tarverdyan said. “Today she took the shots pretty well and she, ah, hew takedown defense was good.”

Tarverdyan said Rousey will re-evaluate her next steps after some rest.

“[Ronda] apologized to me — and I told her that you are still the best and we’ll talk about what the plans are after she rests,” Tarverdyan said. “Certainly the girl needs rest. Its not easy to deal with everything she has been dealing with. She needs time to rest and after she rests we’ll figure out what is best for her career.”

Holm, who trains out of Jackson-Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, New Mexico, becomes the second female bantamweight champion in UFC history, halting Rousey’s run of six consecutive title defenses. It is the seventh knockout win of Holm’s MMA career and is her quickest finish.

“A rematch makes a lot of sense,” White said. “I think the rematch is what people will want to see. It changes a lot of things — Cyborg (Cris Justino) fight, some other stuff we were working on. It’s one of those moments, these are the moments in fighting that make it so crazy and so fun. Tonight was one of those moments.”

The notion of three fights this year being too much, plus the added distractions, did not play a role, Tarverdyan said.

“Ronda is born to fight, he said. “Again, it is too much sometimes with everything else that happens but, three fights, she is a fighter. They want her to fight that fight; that’s why the UFC is as exciting as it gets because their fighters and nobody is just fighting on the time they want to — they have to be ready and that’s about it.”

“She works hard and what she has done is very difficult to explain unless you witness it. The things she has done — no one can to them. She’ll come back stronger.”

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