The Friday Five: March 8th, 2019

1.  Van Zant Does SI Swimsuit Issue


Even with a broken arm, Paige VanZant’s profile continues to rise, as she joins current WWE women’s champion Ronda Rousey, as the only UFC athletes to pose for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

The 24-year old, who is recovering from a third fracture to her right arm, announced via Instagram that she will be in the 55th annual issue that hits newsstands in May.

“We are here in Puerto Vallarta in one of the smallest suits of the day. I am having to get a little more comfortable in front of this whole crew,” VanZant said in the video.

2. Canelo Feels He And Jacobs Are The Best At 160 Pounds

Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Canelo Alvarez believes that he and Daniel Jacobs, not Gennady Golovkin, are the two best middleweight fighters in the world.

On May 4th, Alvarez looks to add  Jacobs’ IBF 160-pound title with his WBC and WBA middleweight titles when they face off at the T-Mobile Arena.

“We are the two best fighters at 160 pounds and that’s the truth. He is a world champion, he is a great fighter and making the fights between the best against the best is my goal,” Canelo said to members of the press.

“He is a difficult opponent to see his weaknesses because he is a complete fighter, who thinks in the ring, who knows how to handle the ring, has two guards, but obviously we are going to cover all of our bases,” explained Canelo of the New York native.

3. Wilder-Breazeale Ordered by WBC

On Wednesday, the WBC officially made their demand for a world heavyweight title defense by Deontay Wilder against Dominic Breazeale.

The two sides will have until April 4th, when a purse bid will be set for WBC headquarters in Mexico City.

As previously reported, Wilder will be set for May 18th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Wilder’s first fight in the venue since his knockout of Luis Ortiz in March, 2018.

This replaces Wilder’s planned rematch with Tyson Fury, which was cancelled last month after Fury would sign a co-promotion agreement with Top Rank and ESPN, as well as purse bids being continuously postponed.

“This order constitutes the start of the free negotiations period for Champion Wilder’s mandatory defense of his title,” notes WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman. “If no agreement is reached between the camps, the WBC shall conduct a purse offer ceremony on April 4, 2019 at the WBC Offices in Mexico City, Mexico.”

4. GSP Officially Leaves USADA Pool

Georges St-Pierre has officially retired, as the former welterweight and middleweight champion has handed in his notice to the UFC.

St-Pierre, who announced he was walking away from MMA last week in Montreal, handed in a written notice to UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky. ESPN was the first to report the news.

Formally retiring the way St-Pierre did is in regards to the UFC’s anti-doping policy, allowing GSP to remove himself from the USADA drug-testing pool.

“He is out [of the pool],” Novitzky said. “He gave me written notice he’s retired and out of the USADA registered testing pool (RTP). If he were to ever return, he’d have to be back in for six months before competing.”

The 37-year old St-Pierre has only fought once since defeating Johny Hendricks in 2013, when he would win the UFC welterweight title at UFC 217 against Michael Bisping.

“I don’t know where I will be, mentally, the state of mind, in my life, in a few months,” St-Pierre said during his retirement announcement last week. “I don’t know. For me, it’s retirement now. I don’t want those other guys to call me out, because I’m out. If something happens and Dana calls me back with something interesting, we’ll see. Like a movie scenario, ‘Oh! He’s coming back!’ We’ll see, but right now I’m not thinking about it.”

5. UFC Wanted Cowboy-Conor As A Co-Main Event

Following his win in January, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone welcomed a showdown with Conor McGregor, which was immediately welcomed by the former “champ-champ.”

And while Dana White denied the existence of the fight between the two sides, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan revealed on his podcast that the fight was almost made.

“They were trying to do ‘Cowboy’ versus Conor and apparently the sticking point was that it was going to be a co-main event,” Rogan said (via MMA News).

“I think the idea is that they have to have world titles as a main event for pay-per-view. I think [McGregor is] only interested in big fights. Like things that excite him now because he’s got so much money and so much success. It’s just one of those things.”

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