Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Kevin Lee might someday find himself at welterweight. After missing weight for the first time against Edson Barboza this past weekend, Lee has admitted the idea intrigues him, but he wants a clearer title picture first. Via BloodyElbow.com:
“It’s some options to be had at 170,” Lee told MMAjunkie after his fifth-round TKO of Barboza. “Right now they (expletive) around with this whole interim title (between Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington at UFC 225) and the top of that division is kind of muddy right now. It don’t really seem like there’s too much there right now.”
Lee was beaten by Tony Ferguson for the interim title via triangle choke, coming into the bout with a staph infection that seemed to suck his energy. He had no trouble with his cardio against Barboza, making good on his promise to do what Khabib did to Barboza, only better (or worse, depending on perspective). The win bounces him back towards the top of the lightweight division, which is where his focus is.
He did say, though, he would love a prospective 165-lb. weight class, which, unlike weight classes at the higher or lower ends of the distribution, would have an ample stock of fighters from the bulging middle of the population curve.
“155 is where I’ve been focusing. So many good fights. The best fighters at 155. I love a challenge. Yeah, 170 is there, maybe for the future, but right now I’ve got to get that gold around me. But (165) would probably entertain me a little bit more.”
“I’m going to sit back, I’m going to make some adjustments,” he said. “I’m going to take some time. I would love a 165 weight class. I’ve been calling for it for a long time. I wish more guys would call for it. A ’65 weight class definitely needs to be made. I still feel like that’s where I’ll truly shine, you’ll see the best version of me. But in the meantime I’ll make my adjustments, and we’ll see how this whole thing works.”
Does Lee have a point about 165? With Eddie Alvarez, Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier also in the mix to face new champion Khabib-not to mention the name of a certain well-known Irish fighter- does Lee have a case for Khabib Time? He says he will fight for a lot less than McGregor will- but of course, he will also make the UFC a lot less than a fight with McGregor.
TJ Dillashaw is working with Vasyl Lomachenko’s camp again in preparation for his rematch with talented boxer-wrestler Cody Garbrandt.
Rose Namajunas, then and now: still silly, still fun-loving, still uniquely herself.
The UFC’s actions in paying Leslie Smith to not fight and declining to renew her contract may trigger a National Labor Relations Board review as to the status of UFC fighters as contractors or employees; they are also fodder for Project Spearhead’s marketing.
Fighters - upset, concerned or disappointed by the @ufc and its decision to cut our President @LeslieSmith_GF for exercising her federal rights to unionize? The best reaction is to submit an authorization card today! #PROJECTSPEARHEAD #ImWithLeslie pic.twitter.com/GRFhjKzG8F— Project Spearhead (@ProjSpearhead) April 23, 2018
Interesting to note as Lucas Middlebrook did and Prof. Zev Eigen spelled out to me a couple years back that UFC "punishing' Leslie for her union actions could lead to a review of her employee status that doesn't involve getting 30% of the roster to sign https://t.co/3D5voJpxN9— John S. Nash (@heynottheface) April 21, 2018
Yep. It could lead to a claim under the NLRA, which, in turn, would have to resolve the contractor v. employee question. https://t.co/jHq1rUzAnv— Yakov Feygin, LLC. A history ICO (@BuddyYakov) April 23, 2018
This was Leslie’s side of the story (worth a reminder that just two weeks ago they claimed they wouldn’t pay out win bonuses because they “aren’t that rich”)
Ultimately I said I would fight @AspenLaddMMA (who is lying about offering me 5k) if @ufc renewed my contract for one more fight at my current terms and they said no. UFC said they'd pay me $62k NOT to fight, so I would've been fighting for $0 since I already had $62k coming.— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) April 20, 2018
Leslie Smith already taken off the rankings. That was fast. Didn't even wait until Tuesday and the update. https://t.co/p97t3w7gOc— John S. Nash (@heynottheface) April 22, 2018
If @LeslieSmith_GF never fights for UFC again, she leaves the company as the only women's bantamweight fighter to land 100+ significant strikes in 2 bouts and with the highest overall significant strikes per minute rate in UFC history (7.56) #UFCAC— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) April 21, 2018
If there was ever proof the UFC was scared of a union its their cheap asses paying Leslie her full show/win amount of 62k to end her contract (this was her last fight on the contract) and then on the same card only paying Ulka Sasaki 10k when his show money was 21k when Bibulatov couldnt fight.... #mma #ufc #ufcatlanticcity #ufc226 #ufc225 #mmamemes #ufcmemes (First post of this I fucked up and misspelled Leslies name so I had to fix)
Michael Chandler is also in the free agency market, and he’s got options in front of him. Surely he could hang with the UFC’s top lightweights, but will he make the jump?
Michael Chandler has a huge decision to make in the coming months as he approaches free agency. I talked to him about Bellator, UFC and much more for @FloCombat #UFC #Bellator— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) April 23, 2018
➡️➡️ https://t.co/a0fY7q3vc5 pic.twitter.com/QMoLk9cQrU
I never saw Alastair Overeem choke out a young Vitor Belfort before. The similarity between their long, at times chemically-enhanced careers in both independent organizations and the UFC is interesting to consider.
Clearly Khabib Nurmagomedov’s best preparation option for his next opponent.
David Teymur is one of the most underrated lightweights on the UFC’s roster.
David Teymur is nasty with the Muay Thai and that wink after the first knockdown says he knows it! pic.twitter.com/YM45DVAVsS— Punch-Drunk Pauly (@punchdrunkpauly) April 23, 2018
All the greats pictured here.
thinking of this advertisement for a "legends collection" of metal print posters where the legends are Elon Musk, Conor McGregor, Einstein, Paul Walker, Saul Goodman, and Walter White pic.twitter.com/HRFV0F1eZ0— simpranos (@Phylan) April 23, 2018
This is a gorgeous bait and counter
Israel Adesany and Al Iaquinta
A reminder of what an incredible feat it was for Edson Barboza to make it to the fifth round of his fight with Kevin Lee.
I can't recall the last time I've seen a fighter like this fighting on muscle memory. Edson Barboza is just unconsciously doing shit he's learned in the last 20 years of his life to preserve his own mortal husk.— Jordan Breen (@jordanbreen) April 22, 2018
Donald Cerrone is a true Cowboy
Groovy Lando Vannata with the sweet silhouette photo.
Big John McCarthy shares his thoughts on that crazy, record-breaking finish between Ricky Simon and Merab Dvalishvili
Saved by the bell was a shitty sitcom and a term that is associated with old boxing. It does not apply to this and MMA with submissions. Man was out at the bell and several times before. Why is it you want someone to win a fight they were submitted in? #AskBJM https://t.co/Q4cH4Aoi4z— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) April 22, 2018
Anderson Silva training his intercepting strikes
What a combination
Some serious work went into this meme
Tony Ferguson healing
Mike Perry is watching videos of himself to get better
When Genetics Isn't Enough ● Mike Perry, The Curse of Talent https://t.co/tsqvpS5wSK via @YouTube— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) April 22, 2018
Back to the crisp boxing technique, tight but loose. Foot work. Back to the pity pat shots. Hands up. Defend and counter #LoveTheTechnique #ShowItYouLoveIt
This was an excellent moment of real-life theater between Dan Hooker and Paul Felder. Respectful yet ballsy.
Dan Hooker calling out Paul Felder TO HIS FACE AND YET VERY RESPECTFULLY. pic.twitter.com/uXT9AwFnga— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) April 22, 2018
I wouldn’t say the highlight of the evening, but certainly a highlight.
A very nice finish here
Sweet jiu-jitsu moves
Berimbolo to the back. Dark Haven to Invisible Collar with @CurtisHembroff @10PATX. New music from #SmokeSerpent @compella @alex4sakensoul_littylexx. Follow @10pwarmups and subscribe to 10thPlanetJJ.com for the most detailed instruction #berimbolo #darkhaven #InvisibleCollar #10PATXh4 #LunchCrush #GetOnnit
Chris Weidman was impressed
- “Mindset Mike” offers his insight into how Kevin Lee overcame his moment of adversity (and stanky-leg dancing) to beat Edson Barboza
- Buzzfeed took an interesting look into how the Fertittas have been increasing their donations to the Republican party in the age of their old pal, Donald Trump. The author bought into a few of the Zuffa storylines regarding the UFC’s origin and impact on the sport, but it’s a worthwhile read nonetheless.
- American Top Team’s strength and conditioning coach, Phil Daru, shares his thoughts on the utility of the Zercher squats for MMA training.
- Ben Fowlkes and Danny Downes discuss why the powers that be don’t want Leslie Smith, but apparently they do want Greg Hardy.
Podcasts and Video
The MMA Hour was packed today
The JRE’s episode with Kevin Lee