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Masvidal, White Talk Conor McGregor; Jon Jones Wanted Stipe Miocic Fight

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

Mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor of Ireland attends a media briefing in central Moscow on October 24, 2019 to announce his next MMA combat schedule on January 18, 2020 in Las-Vegas. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the world of MMA.

    

Jorge Masvidal Wants Conor McGregor, Says Notorious Would be "Melted"

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 03: UFC Fighter Jorge Masvidal greets fans during halftime of an NCAA basketball game between the Syracuse Orange and the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Carrier Dome on December 03, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Bryan Bennett/G
Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

BMF title-holder Jorge Masvidal talked up a possible fight with former two-weight champion Conor McGregor during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show (h/t MMA Fighting) and said people would feel sorry for the Irishman once he's done with him:

"He gets melted. What the world is looking for him is for him to suffer and get chastised for some of the things that he's done in public.

"Everybody's going to feel sorry for him after the fight, I can tell you that much. They'll forgive him all after the fight, I can promise you that. This baptism's gonna be a little extra for Mr. Conor. ...

"... And of course I'd like to fight Conor. Not just because he brings in a lot of cash and eyeballs to the sport, but he's a two-time champion. He's one of the few to do it, and he did it in outstanding fashion. Both guys that he defeated for the belt, he did it with no pressure, no resistance, nothing. So it would be an honor to fight with him."

The 35-year-old had the best year of his UFC run in 2019, earning high-profile stoppage wins over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. The latter earned him the BMF title, which gives him plenty of leverage going into the new year.

He could be in line for a shot at champion Kamaru Usman―a fight he also talked about―but the returning McGregor would generate even greater buzz for Gamebred, who has never been more popular.

A card headlined by the two would likely do well at the box office, even if only the BMF title is on the line.

   

Dana White Talks "Crucial" Donald Cerrone Fight for McGregor

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: UFC President Dana White speaks to the media during the UFC 247 Press Conference at T-Mobile Arena on December 13, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Chris Unger/Getty Images

Before McGregor can turn his gaze toward Masvidal or a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, he'll have to navigate Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on January 18. UFC President Dana White went on the Stephen A. Smith Show (h/t MMA Mania's Dan Hiergesell) to talk about the challenge:

"He has been training hard. He has been getting ready for this moment. The problem is, Stephen A., you've seen this—not just in fighting, but in other sports when a guy has 100-and-something million dollars, he's young, he's famous, and now he is unbelievably rich. It is hard to keep the train on the tracks for some guys. That has definitely been Conor McGregor.

"I think he is at a point now where he realizes he needs to get his act together. This win over 'Cowboy' Cerrone, if he can pull it off, is crucial in his career right now and his future. So he is taking it very serious—he wants to stay active. That is why this fight is at 170, and hopefully we will get three good fights from him this year."

McGregor has fought just once in the UFC since 2016: a losing bid against Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. He's looking to fight three times in 2020, and with his high profile, two good wins should be enough to put him back in title contention.

Cerrone has lost his last two fights after winning four of his previous five. The 36-year-old is a well-rounded MMA fighter, but he is starting to show his age. He should present a challenge, but it's one the Notorious should overcome without too many problems.

Both are currently ranked inside the top-five contenders of the lightweight division. Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier separate McGregor from the champion, Nurmagomedov.

   

Jon Jones Wanted Stipe Miocic, Could Move up to Heavyweight in 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: Jon Jones speaks to the media during the UFC 247 Press Conference at T-Mobile Arena on December 13, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Chris Unger/Getty Images

Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has teased a move up to the heavyweight division for some time, and per Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, he wanted to fight Stipe Miocic before the latter's trilogy bout against Daniel Cormier was confirmed: "I was trying to get a Stipe Miocic fight. I thought that maybe it would happen, but instead we have Stipe-DC 3. But at the moment I was so ready to go to heavyweight and stick my hands in with some of those big fellas."

He also talked about potentially moving up in 2020:

"After this Thiago Santos fight, I was at a place where I wanted to start entertaining the heavyweight division. I've been wrestling with my brother my whole life. I've been going with Andrei Arlovski and [Alistair] Overeem and all these big guys my whole career, and I've always done well. At 240 [pounds], I move just as well as I do at light heavyweight. My versatility, I realize, is not things most heavyweights would do: spinning things, flying knees, things like that. I feel really good.

"The time is going to be really close. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened in 2020. I was 240 not that long ago. Right now, I'm living with my nutritionist, and I've built a home gym in my garage, and I feel really, really good right now. I'm 230 with a six pack."

Jones will defend his title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 on February 8. He beat Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos earlier this year, and with no big-name challengers in the light heavyweight division remaining, a move to heavyweight seems likely.

The third fight between Miocic and Cormier hasn't been booked yet, but even if Jones has to wait for a title shot, there are other intriguing bouts to be made.

Francis Ngannou has won three in a row, while Junior dos Santos and Curtis Blaydes will clash at UFC Fight Night 166 on January 25. The winner would be in a good position to welcome Bones to the division.