UFC News: Latest Buzz on Holly Holm, Georges St-Pierre, Cody Garbrandt Fights

Martin FennContributor IIIJuly 24, 2020

Holly Holm celebrates after defeating Raquel Pennington during a UFC 246 women's bantamweight mixed martial arts bout Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The UFC hoped to kick-start August with a card highlighted by former women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm and No. 6 bantamweight contender Irene Aldana.

However, the company had to scrap the plans for that main event after the Mexican was forced to withdraw.

Aldana, a winner in five of her last six fights, took to Instagram earlier this week to announce she had tested positive for COVID-19 (h/t Ariel Helwani of ESPN):

"We are going through a very complicated world situation and my country is no exception: Covid-19," she wrote. "Despite the fact that we have made camp in total isolation and with all health measures recommended by the authorities, unfortunately I had some symptoms and the test came back positive."

The new main event for Aug. 1 is a middleweight bout between No. 8 contender Derek Brunson and No. 9 contender Edmen Shahbazyan. However, Helwani also reported the UFC is still working to reschedule a fight between Holm and Aldana, with Oct. 5 as a target date.

This would have likely been the biggest matchup of Aldana's career, and it might even have been considered a No. 1 contender's fight.

Aldana saw a run of three straight wins ended by a decision loss at the hands of top contender Raquel Pennington in July 2019. But she quickly picked responded with a dominant decision win over Vanessa Melo before securing a KO/TKO victory over then-No.2 contender Ketlen Vieira in December, earning her a Performance of the Night bonus.

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Meanwhile, Holm—the No. 2 bantamweight contender—bounced back from a title loss against Amanda Nunes by soundly defeating Pennington at UFC 246 in January.

While Holm and Aldana might have to wait a couple more months before squaring off, the winner might just be in line for a title shot against Nunes.

         

Georges St-Pierre Not Interested in Comeback

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre respectfully declined current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman's challenge, saying he is not interested in making a comeback.

St-Pierre told TMZ (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting) he still feels he can beat the best fighters in the company, but he also noted he will be 40 next year and it's in his best interests to remain retired:

"Do I really want to go back into a hardcore training camp, two months, put myself in jail so to speak and getting ready for hell? And I'm like, no I don't. I've done it for a very long time and unfortunately in my sport there's too many guys that retired too late and I do not want to be one of these guys. I'm very fortunate. I'm healthy, most importantly, and I'm also wealthy. I came at the right time, the right timing, I made a lot of money, and I think when I measured and calculated the pros and cons it's better that I stay retired."

Rumors surrounding a St-Pierre comeback have regularly surfaced ever since he formally announced his retirement in February of last year. 

"Rush" and undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov have been complimentary about each other in the past, and UFC President Dana White said last October he would consider a bout between the two men.

However, Nurmagomedov's training partner and former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, told the MMA Show on Monday that he does not see the 31-year-old fighting again this year after the loss of his father earlier in the month.

In any case, it seems GSP is settling into retirement, and it would likely take something massive for him to make a comeback.

          

Cody Garbrandt Dropping a Weight Class For Title Shot?

John Locher/Associated Press

The men's flyweight title was on the line last weekend, with Deiveson Figueiredo submitting veteran Joseph Benavidez to be crowned champion.

But the question for the new titleholder now becomes: Who's next?

Figueiredo improved to 19-1 with the win over Benavidez and has now won four successive fights. It's possible former No. 3 flyweight contender Brandon Moreno would be a solid opponent his first title defense. In March, the Mexican defeated Jussier Formiga, who was the last man to beat Figueiredo.

However, an intriguing candidate might drop from bantamweight.

Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt is contemplating moving down to 125 for a possible shot at the title.

The 29-year-old is coming off a stunning knockout over veteran Raphael Assuncao in his last bout, ending a three-fight skid and moving up to No. 3 in the division rankings.

However, it remains to be seen whether the UFC would let Garbrandt skip the line of flyweight contenders.

No Love has plenty of star power, with nine knockout wins and a trio of first-round finishes to his name. Two of his three losses also came at the hands of T.J. Dillashaw, who is serving a doping suspension.

But Garbrandt has never fought at 125, and the UFC might do well to explore fights with other contenders in the division following Henry Cejudo's abrupt retirement

         

All stats and rankings obtained via UFC.com, unless otherwise noted.

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