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UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 - Mar 27 🇺🇸

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Saturday 27th March at the APEX in Sin City...


Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou - Heavyweight Title

Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega - Featherweight Title

Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque

Thomas Almeida vs Sean O’Malley

Marcin Tybura vs TBA

Randa Markos vs Luana Pinheiro

Abu Azaitar vs Marc-Andre Barriault

Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick 

Michal Oleksiejczuk vs Modestas Bukauskas

Jessica Penne vs Hannah Goldy 



Obviously, there’s more to be added yet but this is next month. There’s already been some talk of the main event elsewhere so we might as well get the ball rolling. Co-main’s quality as well. I’ll update this post as things change and the card takes shape, falls apart, takes shape, falls apart and so on.




Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou 2. The big rematch is nearly upon us. I’m really looking forward to this. The Heavyweight division gets shat on a lot for its lack of depth, and rightly so in a lot of cases, but the top few guys are a force to be reckoned with and these two have been the ones dominating the scene above all others over the past few years.


The first fight went down at UFC 220 back in January 2018 in Boston. The hype on Ngannou going in was pretty ridiculous but it was kind of understandable at the same time. He was 11-1 going in, on a 10 fight winning streak, all finishes, and he’d just laid waste to Alistair Overeem in brutal fashion. He’d also stopped Andrei Arlovski and Curtis Blaydes during that run but the Reem KO was the one that sent it over the edge and bagged him the title shot. Stipe was the reigning champ and had gone through the likes of Werdum, Dos Santos, Overeem, Hunt etc. A real badass. But his accomplishments got pretty much overlooked going into this one. All the talk seemed to revolve around Ngannou and his knockout punch. My main memory of this is Dana White at the press conference giving it the hard sell jizzing himself dry talking about Big Francis’ power.

“Francis Ngannou has the world record for the most powerful punch. His punch is the equivalent to 96 horsepower, which is equal to getting hit by a Ford Escort going as fast as it can. And it’s more powerful than a 12lb sledgehammer swung full force from overhead. HOLY SHIT!” - Dana White

Stipe didn’t look particularly impressed...



The night arrived and all that power ended up meaning little as Ngannou mostly hit thin air and got outworked, outstruck, outgrappled and outclassed over 25 gruelling and miserable minutes.


I’m going purely off memory, I don’t think I’ve watched the fight since it aired live. But as I remember it, aside from a couple of close calls, Stipe did a fine job nullifying the early threat of Ngannou and bossed the rest of the fight. Pretty sure I scored it a shutout on the night and officially it was scored 50-44 across the board. Stipe had conquered one of the scariest Heavyweights ever and made it look quite easy.

Since that fight, Stipe‘s fought 3 times, all against Daniel Cormier. A really strong trilogy and Stipe ultimately won it 2-1. He’s really solidified himself as the man at Heavyweight at this point.


What other Heavy has done what he’s done when it comes to quality wins, quantity of title defences and the manner in which he’s won most of his big fights? He’s the best ever for me. For Ngannou it was back to the drawing board. And it wasn’t plain sailing.


He looked awful against Derrick Lewis. This was supposed to be Ngannou’s big rebound fight after the Miocic loss. It looked like a can’t miss slobberknocker on paper yet they both did sod all. Lewis won just by looking slightly less shite. It was one of them. Ngannou looked really gunshy and at this point there were serious doubts if he’d ever get his confidence and swagger back. But since then he’s bulldozed Blaydes again, and done Cain, JDS and Rozenstruik quick time. Those 4 fights lasted a combined 2:42. I mean, fuck me. It’s all well and good people criticising him for his lack of cage time and saying he’s a one trick pony or whatever but these aren’t bums he’s been blowing through in seconds. People can talk about weathering the storm all they want but it’s easier said than done, isn’t it? The hyperbole gets silly some times no doubt but at the same time Ngannou’s killshot is real. There’s very little margin for error there.

Here we are. It’s hard to pick against Stipe for me. I’d probably like Ngannou’s chances against any of the rest of the current crop of Heavies at the moment. If Stipe wasn’t around, I think Big Francis would be your champ. But Stipe’s still here and he’s made of different stuff. He’s Ngannou kryptonite.

“Francis is a super tough guy. He’s been knocking everyone out again and he’s on a tear, and unfortunately he’s going to have to fight me again. That’s the bad part. He’s definitely gotten better, but so have I. I know I’m getting old, but I’ve gotten wiser and I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, which is a lie. I’ve learned a lot. It’s the same outcome. I’m going to walk out with the belt around my waist. And still.” - Stipe Miocic

Ngannou’s still a very real threat. I don’t care how many rounds he lost to Stipe last time, if you’re locked in a cage with that bastard you’re never out of danger. Even Stipe. And just because Stipe absorbed a couple of bombs and avoided the rest doesn’t mean he can’t get clipped with one this time. But logically, Stipe’s winning this. He’s just got too many tools and Ngannou really hasn’t shown any new wrinkles to his game since the first fight. Which has been fine up to now because he hasn’t needed anything but his power. But if he hasn’t been working his arse off to close the holes in his game since 2018 then this’ll probably look like a re-run of the first meeting. It’ll be edge of the seat stuff regardless though.


There’s this extra layer of intrigue this time as well. All signs and indications are pointing towards Jon Jones challenging the winner of this fight. Dana’s already pretty much confirmed that’s the plan and Jones is certainly looking like a man who’s not cutting back to 205 again anytime soon. His Heavyweight debut and he’s going straight in with one of these two monsters. Can’t stand the prick but you’ve got to hand it to him. It’s a ballsy move. Granted he’ll be getting paid well for it. But it’s a move he really didn’t need to make. His legacy as the GOAT at 205 is already cemented. He wants the challenge and you have to respect that.



Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega. What a fight this should be. Love the clash of styles here. It’s kind of an odd one in some ways because Ortega is getting the shot off the back of one win following a big layoff. But I’m happy with it just because it’s a hell of a fight style-wise and I really didn’t fancy Volkanovski vs Holloway 3 just yet. Volk against a fresh opponent is what I was hoping for and this will do nicely. I’m going to give this one the old timeline treatment, going through both men’s careers year by year. I don’t think either of these two get enough recognition or discussion really.

Their entries into MMA were a real contrast. Volkanovski was into Rugby from a young age and did well as a semi-pro. He was a little tank at this time and, at just 5’6”, weighed well over 200lbs.


I remember Jon Anik mentioning this years later on UFC commentary and Joe Rogan was having none of it. He couldn’t believe little Featherweight Volk was once playing Rugby at the same weight Jon Jones competed in MMA at. Anyway, at 23, Volk sacked Rugby off and decided to give MMA a go. Which is pretty late to make the jump really, although he had wrestled Greco a bit as a kid. Ortega had a more traditional journey. He started martial arts training at just 5 years old and fell in love with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in his teens. He started training BJJ at 13 under the Gracies and never looked back.

2010: Ortega makes his MMA debut on a Gladiator Challenge show in April, winning by submission in under 2 minutes. He wins another couple of fights over the summer and it’s a successful first year for T-City. 3-0.

2011: Ortega fights twice for a shitely named California based promotion called Respect In The Cage. He wins both by decision and becomes the promotion’s Featherweight champion in the March, beating some ham and egger named Carlos Garces over 5 rounds.

2012: Volkanovski makes his pro MMA debut in Sydney for a fed called Revolution Promotions. It’s at Welterweight and he beats some fucker called Gerhard Voigt on points. Ortega is inactive all year.

2013: Volko fights 4 times. In April he stops Anton Zafir in the fourth round to win the Welterweight title for a company called Roshambo MMA.


Unfortunately, he tastes defeat for the first time in May, getting TKO’d in a tournament in Melbourne. He closes out the year back in the win column with another stoppage victory. Ortega is back in action, racking up another couple of wins. Defends the RITC belt with a submission in May, then subs Jordan Rinaldi in RFA in August. As 2013 ends, Volkanovski is 4-1, Ortega is 7-0.

2014: Volkanovski is soaring now. He goes 5-0 this year with 4 finishes. And his weight continues to come down. From 170 in his MMA debut, he starts 2014 off as a Lightweight and by the end of the year he’s down to Featherweight. It’s a big year for Ortega. In January he beats Keoni Koch by split decision in a wild fight to become RFA Featherweight champ.


That turned some heads and by July, he’s making his UFC debut. He breezes through Mike De La Torre with a first round rear naked choke. But the win didn’t stand. It’s forgotten now (I forgot myself) but he got popped for PEDs and the win got overturned to a No Contest.

2015: Another successful year for Volko. He fights twice, finishes both opponents and wins the 145lb straps in both the AFC and PXC promotions. Ortega is back and trying to move on from the controversy surrounding his Octagon debut. He faces Thiago Tavares on a Fight Night in June...


And it’s an absolute belter. I need to revisit this fight. Haven’t seen it in years but I remember loving it and it’s where Ortega‘s fights became must-see viewing going forward for me.

2016: Volkanovski goes 3-0. He irons out Jamie Mullarkey in a round in May...


Mullarkey made it to the UFC a few years later and he’s tough as shit, so seeing Volk just blitz him like this is impressive. He follows that up with another first round knockout to win yet another promotions belt, this time at 155 and it’s the Wollongong Wars Lightweight belt. ‘Wollongong Wars’ sounds so much better than ‘Respect In The Cage’. Volk’s winning the better belt names contest. He closes out another strong year with a move to the UFC. He debuts on the Whittaker vs Brunson undercard in November and scores a TKO over Yusuke Kasuya. Ortega continues to rebuild from the dodgy UFC debut. He subs Diego Brandao in January and knocks out Clay Guida in June.

2017: Both fight twice, both win twice. Volkanovski gets a couple of decisions. Doesn’t wow anyone but it’s two more wins and 30 more Octagon minutes in the bank. Ortega has more of a highlight reel year, racking up submissions over Renato Moicano and Cub Swanson. Another year in the books. Volk 16-1, Ortega 13-0-1.

2018: Volkanovski goes 3-0. Solid wins over Jeremy Kennedy and Darren Elkins. Then he gets his first real break. He bags a fight with Chad Mendes on the main card of the big end of year PPV which was topped by a double-header of Jones vs Gustafsson 2 and Nunes vs Cyborg. A big opportunity for Volk and he grabbed it and ran with it...


Turned out to be Mendes’ last fight and Volk took his place as the powerhouse fireplug of 145. Ortega fights twice. UFC 222 in March was supposed to be headlined by a Max Holloway vs Frankie Edgar title fight. Holloway dropped out, Ortega jumped in on short notice. And...


Damn near uppercutted Frankie into the lights. Frankie had never been finished before this, Ortega did it inside a round and on short notice. It was only right that he got a title shot coming off that performance. How could you deny him? He got the shot in December against Holloway. Didn’t exactly go to plan.


Holloway proper busted him up. One of those long, drawn out, systematic dismantlings that’s hard to watch. He put a serious beating on Ortega that night, to the point people were questioning if Ortega would ever be right again. It was that bad of a battering.

2019: Ortega sits out all year. Probably a good idea after his face got bashed in by Holloway. Volk is well on his way up the ladder now. It’s only names and big fights from here on in for him. He beats Jose Aldo on points in May. In Brazil. Wasn’t an amazing fight but it’s a win over a legend. From there it was undeniable that Volkanovski deserved a crack at the gold.


He took on Max Holloway at UFC 245 in December. At this point, I always felt like Volk was a bit underrated but I didn’t realise just how much we were all underrating him. I thought he was a beast and wasn’t really getting the credit he deserved but I still thought Holloway would prove too much for him. I just didn’t see Volk dealing with Holloway’s volume and I thought Volk being so much shorter would be bad news for him. Wrong. Volkanovski put on an absolute masterclass.


The leg kicks were the key to the fight really. They opened up everything else but Volk’s timing and his tactics in general were so on point. Even as someone who felt he was underappreciated, he showed he was a level above what I thought him capable of. This was no fluke knockout or someone ‘just getting caught’. Volko won hands down, on merit, on technique and on skills. I think I had him taking 4 of the 5 rounds.


Little Volk, the new UFC Featherweight champion of the world.

2020: The COVID era. Despite the clear cut win over Holloway in December, the UFC push the agenda for an immediate rematch. I wasn’t really a fan of doing it straight away but whatever. They met again on Fight Island in July. Decent fight, not as good as the first. Volkanovski comes out with the W again.


Split decision this time and resulted in a load of whinging online that Holloway got robbed. Not having it. It was closer than the first fight for sure. No denying that. But nobody got robbed. Still think it was a mistake to rush into the immediate rematch. But when you see how great Holloway looked against Calvin Kattar in his last fight, and how good he’s looked in most of his other fights, it says a lot about the level Volk is operating on that he’s been able to shut down Holloway’s game twice. There’s a reason Holloway wasn’t firing off that insane output of strikes against Volk that he does against everyone else. Ortega finally returned to the cage in October, after nearly 2 full years of inactivity. He took on the Korean Zombie in a fight that was a long time in the making.


Bald Bri looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Whether it was just a good style for him to look good against or whether it was a case of the time off really benefitting him, I don’t know. Probably a bit of both.

2021: And we’re here. Love this matchup. They’re both in their prime now. Volkanovski seems to be firing on all cylinders at the moment. If he can bamboozle a machine like Holloway then he’s going to be a difficult puzzle to solve for anyone. But what I like about this is it’s a completely different set of skills he’s up against here. Ortega isn’t a volume striker like Holloway (who is?) but he’s shown he can be creative and dangerous in the striking and he’s lethal on the ground. We talk about Ngannou’s ‘puncher’s chance’ being higher than anyone’s. Well, Ortega’s kind of that guy with the subs. Volk’s not going to be easy to catch in a submission but Ortega’s got that sneaky BJJ where he pulls shit out of seemingly nowhere and you don’t realise you’re in trouble until it’s too late. A fascinating fight. I’d definitely favour Volkanovski. I think he’s just too good and too dialled in right now and he’s very consistent. But Ortega has the tools to make it very interesting.



Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque. I don’t know what to make of this one at all. What’s left where Woodley is concerned anymore? In fairness, he’s lost 3 on the trot but it was Usman, Burns and Covington. That’s probably the 3 best Welters in the game at the moment for me. It’s not that he lost to those guys, it’s that he wasn’t even competitive. He just has the look of a fighter who’s done at the top level. But...this isn’t the top level. I rate Luque, I think he’s great to watch, he’s tough, he’s dangerous and I think he’s gone a tad overlooked at times. But this is unquestionably a step back in levels for Woodley so it’ll be interesting to see if Woodley looks any better here. If he’s as shot as some say then Luque could hurt him here. But at the same time, we haven’t really seen Luque up against many wrestlers. Don’t have a clue on this fight. Woodley is such an unknown quantity at this stage it’s almost impossible to predict. He’ll be 39 this year, he’s had a great run and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s declining now. He should at least be competitive against this level of opposition though.



Thomas Almeida vs Sean O’Malley is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** on this card so far. Should be all kinds of fun. Almeida at one point was one of the most exciting prospects on the roster. He went 21-0 with 20 finishes at the start of his career before a loss to Cody Garbrandt derailed him. He’s never quite got back on track since and injury layoffs have played a big part in that. But he’s still entertaining to watch. He’s coming off 3 consecutive losses now though. I think it’s clear what the thinking is. O’Malley is coming off that TKO loss to Marlon Vera and I think it’s obvious the UFC see this as a fight to get O’Malley back in the win column. If that’s the plan, I’d like to see Almeida scupper it. I’ve kind of done a 180 on Suga Sean. Really liked him at first but he’s increasingly coming off as a bit of a dick more recently. Plus it’d be a shame to see Almeida fully fizzle out like Barao did. I think this’ll be an action packed fight and has potential to be something better than that if Almeida is coming in to make a statement.



Randa Markos vs Luana Pinheiro. Dunno. I like Randa and there was a time coming off TUF all those years ago when she looked like a future player at Strawweight. But at this point it’s just not happening. Surprised she’s not been released actually. Years of win one/lose one to now where it’s just been loss after loss in her last 3 fights. She’s 10-10-1 now. It’s going nowhere. Pinheiro is debuting here. 27 years old and fights out of Nova Uniao. She’s 8-1 with 7 finishes and scored a first round knockout on Dana’s Contender Series in November.



Abu Azaitar vs Marc-Andre Barriault. Could be decent. Abu Azaitar is the older brother of Ottman Azaitar who made UFC headlines recently for violating the quarantine rules on Fight Island and getting himself sacked as a result. The absolute plum. He was really exciting in his couple of UFC fights as well and looked like someone well worth keeping an eye on. He’s pissed it all away. You’d hope Abu’s got a wiser head on him but it’s just been recently announced that he failed FOUR tests with USADA! They suspended him 7 months but it was dated back to August so it’ll be up in time for this card. Anyway, Abu doesn’t look as good a prospect as his brother but he doesn’t sound too shabby. He’s 14-2-1 with 8 finishes. Stopped Jack Marshman in just 34 seconds on a Cage Warriors show back in 2014. And he beat Vitor Miranda in his UFC debut. But that was in 2018 and he hasn’t fought since through injuries and probably more drug test shit. I mean, Jesus Christ, these Azaitars just seem like more hassle than they’re worth, don’t they? Barriault is from Quebec, Canada with a record of 11-4-0-1. Former ‘champ champ’ at 185 and 205 for the TKO promotion. He’s had a nightmare UFC run so far though. Lost his first 3 fights, finally got a win in June but then that got overturned to a NC. Why? USADA again. Pair of dodgy bastards these two.



Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick could be fun actually. At 9-5, Robertson probably isn’t going to be making any real waves but she’s usually good to watch all the same. She’s coming off a points loss to Taila Santos in December but I rate Santos as a real darkhorse in the Flyweight division so no shame in losing to her. Robertson’s still young as well, maybe she can turn the corner. She trains at ATT and is a BJJ black-belt under Din Thomas so it’s not like the tools aren’t there. I think her aggression works for and against her at times though. Maverick is 23 years old with a record of 8-2 and she’s won her last 4 on the bounce. She beat up and stopped Liana Jojua in a round on the Khabib-Gaethje undercard in October. I remember her looking a bit of a handful in that one and, like Robertson, she’s very aggressive. It’s a nothing fight in the big picture but I can see it being a lively one. 



Michal Oleksiejczuk vs Modestas Bukauskas. Could be decent. I don’t see either making any waves at 205 but neither have bored me in the limited footage I’ve seen of both so far. Oleksiejczuk is Polish, 14-4-1 with 11 finishes, mostly knockouts, mostly early. He hasn’t beat anyone that good but he’s a bit of a scrapper and goes for the kill. Bukauskas might have a bit more upside, to be fair. He’s Lithuanian, 11-3 with 10 finishes. He got put away but Jim Crute last time out but was on a 7 fight streak before that. Alright fight for what it is.



Jessica Penne vs Hannah Goldy is whatever. Didn’t expect to ever see Penne back, to be honest. She lost her last 3 fights in a row (one of them being a truly horrific beating from Joanna Jedrzejczyk), had a bunch of injuries and got a USADA suspension back in 2018. Plus she’s 38 now. Just don’t really see her doing much of anything at this stage. Goldy’s 28 years old with a 5-1 record. Don’t know her, don’t recall seeing her fight before, don’t recognise any of the names she’s beat etc. But if she can’t beat a 38 year old Penne coming off years of injury and inactivity then the future isn’t looking too bright. We’ll see.



Edited by wandshogun09
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Never thought I'd see "Wollongong" written on the UKFF. That's where I live! Of course, I didn't attend Wollongong Wars because I'm always late to the party on these kind of things, didn't even know Australia had a MMA scene for the longest time. UFC is ridiculously popular here but the local MMA scene gets zero coverage. But I'm Team Volk all the way here. He's attracted so much hate over those Holloway fights. I can see where people are coming from on the second fight, even as a Volko fan that decision was kind of dodgy. Lots of people trying and claim that he shouldn't have won the first fight either. I'm not having that. It wasn't the most jaw-dropping fight, but Alex won that easily with his leg kick gameplan. I'm hoping he scores a big finish against Ortega- even though I really like Ortega, I want to see Volkanovski get a statement victory just to shut people up.

And we have the heavyweight and possibly Suga Sean's hype train derailed for good. A loaded show indeed!

Edited by Shane O' Mac Version 2
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Yeh Volkanovski has become a heel in this whole thing. Its quite shit because he has 2 straight wins (and i had him winning both) over the greatest Featherweight of all time and hes getting no credit for it. He's the new Benson Henderson.

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49 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

Why's Volkanovski a heel? He doesn't strike me as having done anything wrong? Bendo was a heel because of his constant Bible-thumping.

Because a lot of people felt Holloway was robbed by the judges in their second fight. When in reality, it was a very close fight that could have reasonably been scored either way. 

It's a shame, because both Holloway and Volk are two of the finest fighters in the sport. Only Usman, Izzy and Khabib have operated on their level in recent years. Both deserve admiration. 

Edited by jimufctna24
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I hate stuff like that. As wand often says, someone losing a close fight by decision isn't a robbery, and it's certainly not the winner's fault if it was. Has anyone, in the history of professional combat sports, where career and earnings are significantly affected by wins and losses, ever forfeited a decision win, even one that was dodgy? Obviously, I don't know for certain, but somehow I highly doubt it. And in Volkanovski's case, there's even less case for him to think so, because he fought a good fucking fight.

Regardless of whether they thought Holloway should've won or not, calling it a robbery is unreasonable, and stacks the deck - this version of Holloway will lose rarely, and, the level he's operating at, when he does lose, it will most likely be a close-run thing. He's not champ any more, so even the "champion's privilege" doesn't apply (not that it should ever, really).

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1 hour ago, Carbomb said:

Why's Volkanovski a heel? He doesn't strike me as having done anything wrong? Bendo was a heel because of his constant Bible-thumping.

Yeah, not for anything he'd done. Simply for winning a razor thin fight, doesn't help that Holloway so loved. 

Agree on Bendo to a degree too, but i think he was more disliked for irking out close decisions against fan favorites rather than thumping the bible.

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5 hours ago, Carbomb said:

Why's Volkanovski a heel? He doesn't strike me as having done anything wrong? Bendo was a heel because of his constant Bible-thumping.

Did he fight with a tooth pick concealed in his mouth or did one of his corner hand it to him after his fights? Bendo, I mean. Everyone knows that toothpicks are only cool on Razor Ramon. 

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7 minutes ago, Panhead said:

Did he fight with a tooth pick concealed in his mouth or did one of his corner hand it to him after his fights? Bendo, I mean. Everyone knows that toothpicks are only cool on Razor Ramon. 

Ah, that was the other bit too. Yeh, more like Bellendo.

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Just now, Carbomb said:

Ah, that was the other bit too. Yeh, more like Bellendo.

I wasn't sure if I'd imagined it. I don't even understand the logistics of it. Might see if I can get some toothpicks at Morrison's tomorrow and try squeeze one in with my mouth guard for when I'm sleeping. I reckon Mrs Panhead will be dead impressed. 

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7 minutes ago, Panhead said:

I wasn't sure if I'd imagined it. I don't even understand the logistics of it. Might see if I can get some toothpicks at Morrison's tomorrow and try squeeze one in with my mouth guard for when I'm sleeping. I reckon Mrs Panhead will be dead impressed. 

Yeh, more like Pinhead, eh? Eh?

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I thought he said that a while back? Think he pretty much confirmed it to the media after an event quite recently. I think as soon as Jones relinquished the 205 belt, the writing was on the wall as long as him and the UFC could get past whatever the hurdle was in the negotiations. And I think Dana confirmed that was the case and they were ‘in a good place’ a few months ago.

It’s a good time for Jones to make the move because they need him at Heavyweight. It’s not as bad as the Tim Sylvia days but the HW division now is lacking in quality and depth more for me now than it has at any point since about 2008ish. And I don’t think Jones has completely closed the door on a 205 return either. You have to think if Adesanya beats Blachowicz in a few weeks then the buzz for a potential Adesanya vs Jones fight will pick up steam. No doubt Izzy will call him out post-fight. IF he gets by Jan. Very interesting times ahead for Jones. Could be the spark he’s kind of been missing in some of his recent fights. The HW move especially is something he seems fired up about. And we haven’t really seen a fired up Jones since the Gustafsson rematch IMO. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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  • wandshogun09 changed the title to UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 - Mar 27 🇺🇸

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