The Friday Five: August 16th, 2019

1.  PFL/Harrison Welcomes Cyborg

For Cris Cyborg, her options of fighting for major U.S. based promotions are only two.

The first is Bellator, which may be a great landing spot for Cyborg due to her relationship with Bellator President and her former Strikeforce boss, Scott Coker.

Yet, another option is the Professional Fighters League, which can offer Cyborg a return to the ESPN family of networks, a potential $1 million payday, and the potential to fight at 155 pounds, which is exclusive to the league.

“Absolutely, we’re interested in Cris Cyborg,” PFL President Ray Sefo told MMA Fighting. “Cris Cyborg is a legend. She’s been around a long time and she’s been a champion for many years. A champion in different organizations. Our team is talking to her team and hopefully we can make something happen.

“She’s in a situation where she’s shopping right now. She’s probably talking to Bellator, ONE FC and so on, so we’ll see. For her, I would love to sign her but we’ll just have to wait and see how that all pans out.”

Sefo, who created the 155-pound division specifically for two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison, believes Cyborg can thrive at lightweight due to the lack of a strenuous weight cut.

“I’ve seen some of the “Embedded” stuff that she was on and it looks like she’s suffering when cutting weight. So her at 155 [pounds] would be very dangerous,” Sefo said.

“Listen, ultimately that’s her decision and at some point, that decision is going to be made. I think everybody is looking forward to where she ends up.”

Harrison has not been shy about wanting Cyborg to join her in the venture-backed organization, calling out the former UFC featherweight champion a multitude of times.

“Absolutely. Come on down, Cris,” Harrison told MMA Fighting. “It would be great. Listen, whether or not she loses to Amanda [Nunes], she’s still one of the greatest and to be the greatest, you’ve got to beat one of the greatest. So I’m happy to take that fight on, I’m happy to climb that mountain and take on that challenge.

2. Nate Diaz Does Nate Diaz Thing… Skips UFC 241 Media Day

If you expected Nate Diaz to follow the traditional order of UFC fight week, you were wrong.

The popular UFC fighter started fight week stoking fires as he’d light up a joint containing CBD, which is legal under the UFC’s anti-doping policy, and instead of attending UFC 241 media day, did the scrum on Wednesday and forgo any more interviews leading to his return against Anthony Pettis.

Diaz was granted permission to skip the media day and any more media avails, as he prepares for his return to not only welterweight, but his first fight inside the Octagon since his 2016 rematch against Conor McGregor.

3. Saunders To Canelo: Let’s Do Winner Take All

Billy Joe Saunders doesn’t care about the weight-class or the location, he just wants to fight.

Saunders, who is the current WBO super middleweight champion is down to face off against WBA champion Callum Smith on Smith’s home turf of Liverpool, as he looks to rebuild his legacy under the Matchroom Boxing banner.

“I’ve been the away fighter numerous times,” Saunders said of a potential 2020 fight. “I haven’t got a problem fighting him at Anfield, as long as there is a ring and fair judging and the best man wins. That’s all I’m concerned about. My main thing in boxing is be fair. I’ll fight him in his back garden if he wants, as long as there’s a ring and fair judging.

“Anfield would be a big occasion. I believe this is the sort of fight that we deserve in this country, to be part of one of them is very exciting. I think if he beats a big name and I beat a big name it’s a fight that can be made.”

“I was hoping to get a name for the fight in Stevenage,” he said of his last fight for Frank Warren against Shefat Isufi. “It was my first fight there and I needed a big, big name to draw a big crowd and get the buzz of a big fight.”

“Ramirez vacated and the No 1 (Isufi) was the No 1, so I had to fight him. That fight got made and after that I was scratching around thinking ‘who should I look for’. I’ve tried (Gennady) Golovkin twice before, I’ve tried Canelo before, (Chris) Eubank (Jr) is hard to make a deal with, then with Callum Smith, Frank put an offer in but it wasn’t the right one for him.”

“It was inevitable to come to Matchroom,” Saunders continued. “I think it was always in my mind that it was the best place to be because of the access to the elite fights at middleweight.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m in the final stage of my career but I’m at the back end of it,” he said. “I’m not going to be pro for another ten years.

“DAZN need to make these big fights. Let the best fight the best and I know I’d be the best at 160 and 168.”

4. Wilder-Ortiz Out of LA, Paul-KSI In

A much anticipated WBC world heavyweight championship rematch between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz is on the move.

The fight initially set for November 9th at the Staples Center, is rumored by Boxing Scene to now be set for November 23rd in Las Vegas.

Both camps have decided the November 23rd date as a better option for them, but it will not be inside the T-Mobile Arena, as the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have a home game scheduled for that date.

The other date tossed around by both camps, September 28th will now see a welterweight unification clash between Errol Spence Jr and Shawn Porter inside Staples Center.

As for November 9th, a boxing match will take place, but not between two of the sport’s top heavyweights, but between YouTubers Logan Paul and KSI, in a rematch of their 2018 draw inside London’s O2 Arena.

5. Usher Eyes Move Into Boxing

Usher has a confession…

He’d like to become a boxing promoter.

The Atlanta based singer was asked by TMZ if he’s interested in the sport after attending a pre-fight event for family friend Avery Sparrow, before his September 14th clash with Ryan Garcia.

The 40-year-old singer, who played Sugar Ray Leonard in a 2016 bio-pic on Roberto Duran, admitted he got bit by the boxing bug.

I’m obviously here for a reason,” Usher said of the sport. “Who knows? I may be bitten by the bug.”

Raymond commented that he greatly admires Al Haymon and Jay-Z, for their work in turning some boxers into major superstars, such as Floyd Mayweather and Deontay Wilder.

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