The Friday Five November 16th, 2018

1. Donald Cerrone Claims Conor McGregor Is His Next Opponent

Donald Cerrone said he had big plans for his return to lightweight, and it seems like he wasn’t lying.

Sending a shockwave through the MMA community on Tuesday night, Cerrone posted a photo of Instagram of both he and Conor McGregor, with Cerrone claiming he’s waiting on the former two-division UFC champion to sign a contract.

In a story first reported by Robbie Fox of Barstool as well as the Irish Mirror and ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, McGregor has been sent a contract to fight Cerrone for a fight in 2019 but is awaiting the results of his issues with the Nevada Athletic Commission before he signs.

2. Fury Wants Fight Of His Life From Deontay Wilder

For all of the hype and smack talk, Tyson Fury is preparing for Deontay Wilder as if its the toughest fight of his career.

During a media conference call, lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, was asked if Wilder would match the challenge of his 2015 win over Waldimir Klitschko, the “Gypsy King” said that, “I’m hoping it’s going to be the toughest fight of my life. That’s what I’m preparing for, so if it’s anything less, than it’ll be easy for me.”

“Because every fight that I fight is the biggest fight of my life up until that moment. They’re all the biggest fights — all of them. My last fight, the fight before that, the fight before that — they’re all the biggest fights because I don’t look back in the past. I only look forward to the future. So every fight that I come across is my biggest challenge to date.”

3. Nick Diaz Set To Return At UFC 235

 

The long wait for the return of Nick Diaz may in-fact be over, as one of Stockton’s finest is near a deal to fight at UFC 235.

First reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Nick Diaz will return at UFC 235 on March 2nd, 2019, in a fight against Jorge Masvidal.

If the fight happens, it will be Diaz’ first fight since his loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in early 2015 but would be overturned to a no-contest after Anderson would test positive for Performance Enhancers and Diaz would also test positive for marijuana.

Diaz would then enter a long legal battle with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and USADA following the test failure, but would settle with a one-year suspension, allowing him back inside the Octagon in early 2019.

 

4. Patricio Pitbull Calls Out Conor McGregor For Being A Hypocrite

Hours away from his second Bellator featherweight title defense, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire is ready for the challenge brought by Emmanuel Sanchez.

Following a win over Daniel Weichel earlier this year in Rome, Freire looks to stop Sanchez in Bellator’s return to Israel, as they main event Bellator 209 on November 15th (airing on the 16th in the United States).

“He’s a pretty good fighter, he puts a lot of pressure (on his opponents),” Friere said of Sanchez, who has scored submission victories in his last two fights. He admits Sanchez is formidable, but feels that he’s “better than him and much stronger.”

“(Sanchez) is a tough competitor, but I’ll have my hand raised.”

While he faces Sanchez at Bellator 209, Freire has opponents outside of the Bellator cage, primarily UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, Conor McGregor.

Last week McGregor claimed that ONE Championship is responsible for the death of the UFC’s flyweight division and should hire the fighters released from the UFC following the trade of Demetrious Johnson. Freire blasted McGregor on Twitter.


Talking to FIGHT SPORTS about the social media confrontation, Patricio claimed that, “I believe what I said was pretty clear, he’s just trying to find a scapegoat in that promotion (ONE).”

“Some people may say that I’m trying to get attention off Conor McGregor, and to that I say f**k Conor McGregor and whoever thinks that. I’m just calling a hypocrite a hypocrite.”

5. T.J. Dillashaw Claims Huge Payday To “Kill” Flyweight Division

With the trade of Demetrious Johnson and the releasing of numerous flyweights, the UFC flyweight division is on its way out, and T.J. Dillashaw is there to lock the door and turn out the lights.

“The UFC wants to get rid of the division and they hired me to go down and close it and get another belt in the process,” Dillashaw said to Ariel Helwani.

“It’s a win-win for me. They’re paying me a f*ck-load of money to move down and kill the 125-pound division and collect a second belt. So, it’s game time.”

The fight set for UFC 233 in January will see Dillashaw drop from bantamweight to flyweight and face off with current champion Henry Cejudo. Cejudo ended one of the most prolific streaks in MMA history when he defeated Demetrious Johnson earlier this year, but now Dillashaw looks to claim the division as his own.

“It seems like I’m gonna take it over, man,” said Dillashaw. “I mean, if I’m the champ in both weight classes, why even have it? All the attention is at 135 anyway so at the end of the day, make the guys that they believe should stick around, come up and challenge for the belt.”

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