The Friday Five: September 6th, 2019

1. Khabib To Make BANK At UFC 242

Credit: Twitter/@MMAFighting

After giving up half of his purse due to the infamous UFC 229 riot, Khabib Nurmagomedov will be sitting pretty after UFC 242 with his biggest payday to date.

Nurmagomedov defends his lightweight title on Saturday against Dustin Poirier and per his father and coach, Abdulmanap his sun will be making considerably more than the $2 million he made in 2018.

“This time, it [the purse] will be 3-3.5-fold higher,” Nurmagomedov told TASS this week.

“We aren’t fighting for peanuts and we know our value. That sum [of $2 million] is too little for us because we are the best at the moment. We have defeated the best and are ready to keep fighting with the best.”

2. Covington Off UFC Return To MSG?

A month ago Colby Covington looked to make Madison Square Garden great again by defeating Kamaru Usman this November.

Now, the former interim welterweight champion may end up on the outside looking in this November, with negotiations hitting a reported “snag.”

Initially reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the November 2nd card inside Madison Square Garden may see Usman against another opponent or neither fighter headlining the card.

Now in-play is Jorge Masvidal, who called Usman out on Twitter for “partying” while part of a group of champions in Abu Dhabi for UFC 242 this weekend.

Usman clapped back at Masvidal, while Masvidal’s agent Malki Kawa put out an interesting poll on Thursday.

3. Joshua Or Ruiz Best Heavyweight In Boxing?

n Thursday, Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz touched down in New York for the first time since Ruiz knocked out Joshua in an upset inside Madison Square Garden.

Three months after Ruiz’s crowning as world champion, the two fighters promoted their December 7th rematch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and promoter Eddie Hearn commented to the press on Thursday that nerves hit both men at Wednesday’s media event in Saudi.

“Both guys are a little bit nervous whether they admit it or not because it’s a whole new experience,” Hearn told reporters in New York. “Ruiz had a little air of confidence not arrogance. Joshua was reminded of how he was in the early days. He has a lot more edge than in the first press conference because in the first press conference [in June] he gave him his belts. Ruiz looked like a competition winner.”

“In terms of who’s got more pressure? Joshua seems hungry. Does all the money from the last fight take Ruiz’s edge off? We have to see. If he wins this fight, he’s the biggest star in boxing. If Joshua wins the fight, then he probably is.”

4. BJ Penn Not Welcomed Back To UFC

After the most recent incident of UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn getting into a street fight with someone, UFC President Dana White no longer feels comfortable with letting Penn fight inside the Octagon.

White, who is in Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s UFC 242 event, said he will no longer do business with Penn, even though the former lightweight champion told TSN that he’s in talks for a November fight with Nik Lentz.

“He won’t fight again,” White told ESPN. “That’s it. It’s a wrap.”

The incident last week outside of a bar in his native Hawaii was the second is as many months for Penn, who is also in a custody dispute with his ex-partner, who has claimed Penn verbally, sexually, and physically assaulted her and exposed their children to his drug use.

Penn’s legal and personal troubles are part of the reason why White no-longer wants Penn fighting. another issue is Penn losing seven straight fights and going 1-9-1 since the start of the decade.

“It’s not even that this was the last straw,” White said. “I didn’t love him continuing to fight anyway, but we having the relationship that he and I have and he’s getting me on the phone, begging me for another fight, begging me for another opportunity, it’s hard for me to turn him down, but after what I saw on that video, B.J. needs to focus on his personal life and get himself together before he thinks about fighting again.

“Listen, I don’t wanna sit here on TV and pick B.J. apart on his life or whatever. I think that we all know what B.J. Penn needs to do and hopefully B.J. Penn knows what B.J. Penn needs to do. Not gonna sit here like I’m his father or I’m some guy who’s above him and pointing the finger at B.J. and B.J. needs to do this and that. What I saw in that video was sad. I love the kid and I hope he gets his life together.”

5. Ferguson Calls Dibs On Title Shot

With a twelve-fight winning streak, an interim title on his shelf, and being denied his shot at history due to a freak accident, Tony Ferguson has the best claim of anyone to be the next man up to fight for the UFC lightweight title.

Ferguson, whose last appearance inside the Octagon against Donald Cerrone could be considered a title eliminator, told Ariel Helwani this week that he is not a backup plan for the UFC 242 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier in-case something happens.

“First of all, I’m not [a] backup for anybody,” Ferguson said. “I’ve got 12 fights in a row. F*ck that. It was talked about it, I was kind of interested but at the end of the day, I’m not here to be back up. I have a belt. I’ve won 12 in a row. The next fight that I have is for the belt. It’s gonna have to have a lot of buildup, especially for the fans. It has to have the hype. It deserves a full camp and lead-up time.”

While Ferguson has only had one fight in the last year due to possible mental health issues, the former interim 155-pound champion is only entertaining a title fight and not giving any credence to a fight with Conor McGregor as his next appearance.

“He’s not my concern,” Ferguson said. “He’s like a female, like one of those ex-girlfriends. I stopped worrying about that. At first, he was in line, trying to go for the title, then once he became irrelevant, I stopped caring about the dude. Now he’s mentioning my name? Get the f*ck out of here.”

“If push comes to shove, and then we need to,” Ferguson said of fighting McGregor. “I see him fighting the loser of this next fight this weekend. If you want to keep up with the rankings, we have to do it the right way. . . So [for] me, if I fight for the title next he’s got to fight for the underdog. If he wins, you what, maybe I’ll give him a shot.”

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