The Friday Five: April 12th, 2019

1. Conor Wants Khabib Rematch, Blames UFC 229 Loss On Broken Foot

Less than a month ago, Conor McGregor announced his retirement, that retirement may be short-lived, as the former double champion may plan a return to the Octagon.

While talking to fans on his very active Twitter account, McGregor revealed that he suffered a serious injury just a month before his UFC 229 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“I broke my foot 3 weeks out from the bout,” McGregor tweeted.

“I still marched forward however, and also landed the final blows of the night. On his blood brother. I am happy with how the contest went and the lessons learned. In my fighting and more importantly my preparation. Time will reveal all.”

McGregor has been vocal for not only a fight with Nurmagomedov, but defending his actions inside the cage in their first fight and that if there is a rematch, McGregor would rededicate himself to being the best at lightweight.

2. Sonnen Wants More Fighters Jumping Around Weight Classes

Walking into Viacom’s world headquarters on Tuesday, Chael Sonnen was reserved and respectful towards his opponent Lyoto Machida, as the two will headline Bellator’s return to Madison Square Garden this June.

Sonnen told those in attendance for the Bellator 222 announcement, that he will refuse to “manufacture controversy” for the light heavyweight showdown on June 14th but is looking to get a measure of revenge for teammates Randy Couture and Dan Henderson, who were defeated by Machida during their UFC careers.

“I think it’s a fight that needed to happen,” Sonnen told FIGHT SPORTS following the press conference. “The first time I was offered this fight was in 2011, I’ve had my eye on this guy for a long time. I admire his style in many ways, it’s not one that I can do. I would encourage other guys to copy him… I wanna beat him.”

Machida is looking to stay active in his Bellator career, fighting at not only light heavyweight, but also at middleweight. When asked if constantly pinging between 185 and 205 pounds would take a toll on Machida, Sonnen was unsure.

“I’d be curious with his experience (with weight cutting/different weight classes), we didn’t have weigh-ins when I started in this sport. There was no weight classes, there was no weigh-in,” Sonnen explained about late 90’s MMA.

“I had my fifth or sixth fight before I even saw a scale, they didn’t even bring one out, the relevance being that it’s kinda a new phenomenon for the prima donnas that are in the sport today. Not for the real tough guys who got into the sport in the ’90’s like I did, like (Machida) did. They can do a weight, not do a weight, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I’ll do whatever the commission says, but if they don’t want to do a weigh-in at all, we don’t have to weigh-in.”

3. Heather Hardy Blames Boxing Politics On Bellator Hiatus

It has been over a year since Heather Hardy had her third fight inside the Bellator cage.

The Brooklyn born boxer turned to MMA in 2017 after being disgruntled with the politics and lack of big money for women in boxing. Since then, Hardy debuted with a vicious brawl in her Bellator debut, suffered a doctor’s stoppage loss in her second fight, and would snag a decision win at Bellator 194.

Now, after will be an 18 month break from MMA, Hardy steps back into the cage at Bellator 222 on June 14 inside Madison Square Garden and told FIGHT SPORTS on Tuesday that what kept her out of the cage were the politics of boxing.

“I really wanted to back in February, when they had (Bellator 215 and 16) at Mohegan,” Hardy said following Bellator’s press conference.

“There were talks of a potential unification bout in boxing… I put Bellator on the shelf thinking this was going to be a huge fight for women’s boxing, and it never materialized, so when that happened it was extremely disappointing that I missed my opportunity (with) Bellator.

“So, when I heard they were coming back to New York, I told my manager, ‘do what you have to do to, get me on that show.’”

4. Daniel Jacobs Feels Canelo Challenge Easy After Cancer Battle

Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

The oddsmakers may have Daniel Jacobs as the underdog on May 4th, but the middleweight champion of the world doesn’t see it that way.

“This is my opportunity to prove what I have been saying, that I am the best middleweight in the world,” Jacobs said to reporters during his training camp. “Doing the impossible is not new to me. Ten years ago, I was in a wheelchair in the hospital. Fast forward to now and I’m fighting for middleweight supremacy. You can’t make this story up, and I feel like this is my destiny.”

Jacobs has overcome the odds not only in the ring, but beating cancer and feels the emotional and physical test he was put through make a fight with Alvarez seem easier in comparison. “I’ve looked death in the eyes. It happened when I was in the hospital bed with my back to the wall after doctors told me that I had cancer and would never box again,” Jacobs explained. “I’ve been through the toughest of all mental battles. I see it and feel it. Canelo hasn’t faced and beaten an opponent like cancer, but I have, so to me I am already a victor.”

“Canelo is a true champion with superstar status who has fought so many great fighters, so to step in the ring with him is an honor for me. But aside from that, my legacy is on the line here. I have so much to gain from this fight, and I look forward to doing that and giving the fans a great show. I want to be a Hall of Famer one day, and you only achieve that by fighting the best like Canelo.”

5. Vitali Klitschko: Wladimir Would Return For $100 Million

The hottest free agent in boxing, Wladimir Klitschko has been rumored since the start of 2019 to end his two year exodus from the sport of boxing.

When asked if his brother is interested in fighting for the first time since his April 2017 stoppage loss to Anthony Joshu, Klitschko believes in the idea of “never saying never.”

“You never say never,” the former world heavyweight chamoion told SID. “My status has not changed so far. There are always rumours and I take them as a compliment. It’s nice if the fans really want to see that. I’m pleased the community and the sport miss me.”

Klitschko’s older brother and fellow former world heavyweight champion, Vitali, knows his brother will be interested if the money is right.

“Let me tell you a true story. When the news came that a TV channel had offered him $40 million to make a comeback, I called him and asked what was going on. He said, ‘This is an offer that does not really interest me.’ Then, a few weeks later, they were talking about an $80 million offer, I called again and asked, ‘What is the situation now?’ He said, ‘This is not an offer that changes my mind, maybe I’ll start thinking about it at $100 million,’” the current mayor of Kiev, Ukraine said.

“One thing is certain: no matter what decision he makes, I will support him 100 percent on his path and stand behind him -as we have always done. For me, this is how it is: Yes, money is very important in life. But Wladimir doesn’t need any money, he’s very well off. He has earned a lot as a boxer, the money has been well spent, he has a good career beyond the [boxing] career. The money alone will not motivate him.

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