Greg Hardy shares dream scenario: ‘Taking out Jon Jones’

Greg Hardy is still new to the sport of MMA and the UFC, but that doesn’t mean he has his mind set on a dream matchup in the future.

Hardy, who will face Juan Adams this weekend at UFC San Antonio, recently stated that he wants to be the greatest heavyweight of all-time. To accomplish that very feat, Hardy knows he may have to get by one of the greatest to ever step in the cage; the UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.

When asked if he would be interested in stepping in the Octagon with Jones down the road, Greg Hardy didn’t hesitate to respond positively.

“That’s like saying you want to play against Troy Aikman and the Cowboys,” Hardy told TMZ Sports. “It’s impossible not to dream of Greg Hardy vs. Jon Jones for the heavyweight title after he’s done finishing off the light heavyweight division. Full disclosure, Jon Jones is someone that I emulate as a fighter. I think he’s one of the most complete fighters in the game. I think he’s one of the most dangerous men in this world and that’s, honestly, who I’m trying to fight like. It would be an honor and a pleasure to go to war with him if I make it that far.”

Greg Hardy will look to make it two straight in the UFC this weekend following a disqualification loss to Allen Crowder at UFC on ESPN+1 in February and a first-round TKO win over Dmitrii Smolyakov in April at UFC Fort Lauderdale.

As the conversation continued, Hardy was asked if he could see himself defeating Jones should they square off down the road.

“For sure,” Hardy said. “Like I said, he’s a great dude, a great competitor, but I’m here to clean out the whole division and anyone who wants to join it. I’m here to be the greatest combat sports heavyweight of all-time, and if that includes taking out Jon Jones to do that, than that’s what I’ve got to do. And I’ll do it with all due respect like I would Stipe, like I would Daniel. I think a lot of times my comments get misconstrued as disrespectful and it’s not. If I’m sitting here saying I can’t beat somebody, than do I even belong here?”

Will there be a future heavyweight showdown between Greg Hardy and Jon Jones? Whatdo you think?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/18/2019.

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Tito Ortiz: ‘I would think I’d have a great chance’ against Jon Jones

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz likes his chances in a prospective showdown with the promotion’s reigning light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

In fact, he believes he’d perform better against Jones than Daniel Cormier did.

“I think I would do a lot better against Jon Jones than Daniel Cormier, because Cormier is just a shorter guy (with) bigger legs, bigger torso,” Ortiz said recently on the Domenick Nati Show (transcript via Bloody Elbow). “He’s just a big, big guy.

“Jon Jones is long and lengthy. I’m going to get in the inside and try to overpower some of the positions.

“But if it would be Jon Jones, I would think I’d have a great chance against (him).”

Tito Ortiz continued, assuring that with proper preparation, he could be the man to defeat the seemingly unbeatable UFC light heavyweight champion.

“Yup, I think I could. If I have a camp like I did the last one of 18 weeks, 100 percent,” he said. “There really hasn’t been anybody to fight Jon Jones, to get in his face, and stay in his face. Everybody else, they want to strike on the outside with him. He’s too damn long, you cannot do that. You got to get in the inside of him. That’s the way to fight him.

“As a coach and as a fighter, that’s the way to beat him,” he continued. “Someone should be aggressive enough to keep the fight, pushing him around. Make him feel uncomfortable.”

This is not the first time Tito Ortiz has made comments of this kind. He recently shared what he believes is the best strategy to beat Jon Jones in an interview with Helen Yee. 

While Ortiz likes his chances against Jones, of course, he’s currently got his hands full with an upcoming showdown with former pro wrestler Alberto Del Rio, which will occur under the Combate Americas banner. Stay tuned for updates on that.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/17/2019.

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MMASucka’s July UFC Pound-for-Pound Rankings

The UFC rankings seem to be meaningless these days, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to talk about. Pound-for-pound rankings are a fun concept, but difficult to come up with a tangible formula for. We here at MMASucka have decided to formulate our own UFC pound-for-pound rankings. Our formula? “Who would be the best fighter if everyone was the same size?” That is the question we set out to answer.

MMASucka’s UFC Pound-for-Pound Rankings

The Panel

The following writers contributed to the creation of this list. Each fighter’s own personal  rankings can be found at the bottom of this page.

#1: Robert Whittaker

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker is without a doubt one of the most underrated fighters in all of MMA. His striking is right up there with the best in the sport. Whittaker is extremely layered as a striker, as his stand up game just seems to flow. He manages distance well, and is proficient at damaging his opponents while he is coming forward or moving backwards. Essentially, Robert Whittaker’s game can be described as “he is good at not getting hit, and even better at hitting his opponents.”

Not only has Whittaker mastered the finer details of striking, but he also possesses legitimate knockout power. To go with all of this, The Reaper has tremendous hips and takedown defense, which leaves his opponents with one option: strike with him, and lose. Since Whittaker’s move to middleweight, all of his opponents not named Yoel Romero have been beaten down, and as long as the Aussie stays healthy, he is poised to be on top of the division for a long time.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 8

#2: Max Holloway

Despite a loss in his UFC lightweight debut, Max Holloway is still undoubtedly one of the best fighters to ever fight in the UFC. The pace he sets and the extreme volume he puts out in each fight has a way of breaking his opponents down. We saw it happen most recently to Jose Aldo and Brian Ortega. “Blessed” doesn’t exactly possess one punch knockout power, but the damage he can do over the course of a fight really adds up on an opponent. Holloway has really great footwork and uses it well to mix his angles and keep his opponents guessing. As seen in the Dustin Poirier fight, even when Holloway does get hit, he has a granite chin and impressive recovery. Elite boxing, an incredible pace, a superhero chin and underrated takedown defense make Max Holloway one of the best all-around fighters in the UFC.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 6

#3: Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo might not always show an extremely nuanced approach to the technical aspects of MMA, but he is likely the best athlete in the UFC. A few things that come to mind with Cejudo are speed, explosive power, and a chin like we have never seen before. As seen against Marlon Moraes, Cejudo still isn’t a great range fighter, especially when his opponent is willing to attack his legs. But, in the same fight, Cejudo showed his durability, very good work in the clinch and persistence in the pocket. In the third and final round of the fight, Cejudo was blasting Moraes with knees to the body out of the clinch. The fight-ending sequence came when he forced Moraes’s back to the fence, took him down, and choked him out. As Cejudo continues to improve as a boxer, his grappling skills and pure athleticism will make him a tough out against anyone in the UFC.

UFC pound-for-pound rankings
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 08: Henry Cejudo celebrates his TKO victory over Marlon Moraes of Brazil in their bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 238 event at the United Center on June 8, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 4

#4: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Coming in at number four on the list is the Russian grappling sensation Khabib Nurmagomedov. Every time he steps into the octagon, “The Eagle” has shown he is as good as it gets in the grappling department. An enthusiastic pressure fighter, Nurmagomedov’s best work comes after he gets his opponent’s back to the fence. When he gets his opponent to the fence, there’s typically no stopping the fight from going to the ground. After it gets there, Nurmagomedov uses his otherworldly top game to smother his opponent. He specifically excels at tying up his opponents’ legs and controlling their wrists. This presents The Eagle the opportunity to do what he does best: smash. Though he’s no K-1 level kickboxer, Nurmagomedov does well enough on the feet to advance forward and get the fight to the ground. His very durable chin and solid cardio allow him to walk through his opponents until they have nowhere to go but to the ground.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 3

#5: Kamaru Usman

Similar to the man who preceded him on this list, Kamaru Usman makes his money through grappling, particularly wrestling. “The Nigerian Nightmare” is absurdly strong for the welterweight division and is definitely one of the strongest pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC. Like Nurmagomedov, Usman does great work when he can force his opponents against the fence. He is great in the clinch, and when he gets his opponents to the ground, they don’t get back up. Though he’s not a finisher, Usman has shown an uncanny ability to grind his opponents down over the course of a fight. Look no further than his dominant victories over Tyron Woodley and Rafael dos Anjos. Against opponents who don’t like having their backs to the fence, Usman showed just how dominant he can be in that position. His strength, cardio, and wrestling skills will likely keep Kamaru Usman on top of the welterweight division for a long time, as long as he doesn’t move up to middleweight.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 7

#6: Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier has definitely been one of the most improved stars in the UFC over the past couple of years. Since making his return to lightweight, Poirier holds a record of 9-1-1 in the division. “The Diamond” has developed into one of the best boxers in the entire promotion. He has legitimate knockout power for the lightweight division. He can strike well moving in both directions, but definitely does his best work going forward and countering. Poirier mixes his angles well, and he can strike effectively at range or in the pocket. Combine that with a BJJ black belt, more than capable wrestling abilities, and a strong top game (ask Anthony Pettis), Poirier is a tough matchup for anyone in the lightweight division. If he can find a way to stay off of the cage and keep his upcoming fight with Nurmagomedov on the feet, Poirier could be the first man to defeat the Dagestani champion.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 10

#7: Yoel Romero

Yoel Romero is one of the most intimidating fighters in the UFC. Originally known for his Olympic-level wrestling, Romero has developed into one of the ten best boxers in the UFC. He’s not a high volume striker, but fights in explosive bursts where every strike has the potential to take the target’s head off. These bursts proved very effective in Romero’s rematch with Whittaker. He dropped Whittaker multiple times throughout the fight with great counterstriking. His great wrestling skills (offensive and defensive) paired with his much-improved boxing make Romero one of the very best fighters in the UFC. In the promotion, Romero has only ever lost to Whittaker. A fight that everyone should want to see is a matchup between Romero and our next entry at light heavyweight.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: Unranked

#8: Jon Jones

Likely controversially, Jon Jones comes in at number eight on our list. Widely considered as the greatest fighter of all time, Jones hasn’t looked like the Jon Jones of old in his recent fights. “Bones” hasn’t developed his stand up game as the sport has evolved. He is used to relying on an absurd reach advantage, to the point where he hasn’t needed to showcase elite boxing or footwork to win fights. Despite all that, Jones still belongs on this list, mostly thanks to his incredible clinch game. He does his best work with elbows out of the clinch, and can work his opponent to the ground from the clinch as well. Though he hasn’t showed it recently, Jones does have a very strong wrestling game, too. To top it off, Jones is solid defensively and incredibly durable. If he does take any considerable damage, Jones typically walks through it and continues to do work while picking apart his opponent.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 2

#9: Tony Ferguson

A fan favorite action fighter, Tony Ferguson is one of the most unique and exciting fighters in the UFC. Everything Ferguson does is unorthodox, but he makes it work so well. His cardio is the best in the UFC, he’s extremely dangerous off of his back, and is unpredictable and wildly effective on the feet. A slow starter, Ferguson doesn’t ever seem to be at full strength until he is dropped or at least rocked in a fight. When adversity arrives, Ferguson is at his absolute best. Ferguson’s opponents almost always leave the cage covered in blood and completely exhausted. Currently on a 12 fight win streak, only one person in the UFC has been able to crack the code of stopping Ferguson’s madness.

UFC pound-for-pound rankings
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 08: (R-L) Tony Ferguson punches Donald Cerrone in their lightweight bout during the UFC 238 event at the United Center on June 8, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 12

#10: Daniel Cormier

The other controversy on this list is Daniel Cormier rounding it out at number ten. Most fans consider “DC” to be one of the top two or three fighters in MMA. At 40 years old, Cormier seems to become more successful with age. Back in the heavyweight division, Cormier has shown no signs of slowing down. He is most known for his wrestling, top game, toughness and great cardio. Most recently, Cormier showcased his grappling skills against Volkan Oezdemir and Derrick Lewis. DC is also strong in the clinch, and is a good enough striker to work his way into grappling exchanges safely. Cormier has only ever lost to Jon Jones, and a second win over Miocic could jump him up this list and make a case for him as the greatest heavyweight of all time.

Official UFC P4P Ranking: 1

Connor Deitrich’s Rankings

  1. Robert Whittaker
  2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  3. Max Holloway
  4. Jon Jones
  5. Henry Cejudo
  6. Kamaru Usman
  7. Daniel Cormier
  8. Yoel Romero
  9. Dustin Poirier
  10. Israel Adesanya

Ed Gallo’s Rankings:

  1. Robert Whittaker
  2. Henry Cejudo
  3. Max Holloway
  4. Jon Jones
  5. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  6. Kamaru Usman
  7. Dustin Poirier
  8. Daniel Cormier
  9. Yoel Romero
  10. Tony Ferguson

Ryan Wagner’s Rankings

  1. Robert Whittaker
  2. Henry Cejudo
  3. Max Holloway
  4. Dustin Poirier
  5. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  6. Kamaru Usman
  7. Tony Ferguson
  8. Alexander Volkanovski
  9. Yoel Romero
  10. Israel Adesanya

Danny Martin’s Rankings:

  1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  2. Robert Whittaker
  3. Kamaru Usman
  4. Henry Cejudo
  5. Dustin Poirier
  6. Max Holloway
  7. Yoel Romero
  8. Alexander Volkanovski
  9. Israel Adesanya
  10. Tony Ferguson

Juilan Lung’s Rankings:

  1. Robert Whittaker
  2. Max Holloway
  3. Tony Ferguson
  4. Rafael dos Anjos
  5. Jose Aldo
  6. Joseph Benavidez
  7. Yoel Romero
  8. Henry Cejudo
  9. Khabib Nurmagomedov
  10. Daniel Cormier

 

Featured image:
Embed from Getty Images

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Anthony Smith fires back at Jon Jones: ‘I’m the guy that made you almost likeable’

Back at UFC 235, Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith. Although it was a dominant performance from “Bones” he nearly had another DQ loss on his record.

During the fight, the champion threw a knee that connected with Smith’s head while he was down. It was an illegal knee and had “Lionheart” not been able to continue, he would have won the belt. But, he decided to stay in the fight and took Jones to the scorecards.

Now, months removed from their fights, the two are going at it on social media.

“Anthony Smith in a recent interview: “I’ve said it over, and over, and over again” I’m coming, and there’s no one who’s gonna stop me.” — Jones wrote on Twitter.

Smith then saw the post and replied to Jon Jones, seemingly not happy with him.

“Oh now we’re making fun of people? You better check yourself, tough guy. Don’t forget I’, the guy that made you almost likable. I’ll quickly be the guy to change that if you keep it up. Also, you owe me a f*****g drink and I don’t forget… Modelo… 12oz bottle… chilled,” Smith replied.

Of course, during the post-fight press conference, Jon Jones said he owed Anthony Smith a beer after he decided not to take the DQ win. And, he mentioned how much of a good guy he was for continuing to fight. But, it doesn’t seem like Jones feels the same way months after his win over the former middleweight.

Given the state of the light heavyweight division, and Smith’s recent win over Alexander Gustafsson, it seems likely the two will fight again soon. Whether or not Smith will be able to do what he says he will remains to be seen.

The 30-year-old remains confident he will be able to beat Jon Jones the next time they fight.

Would you like to see Anthony Smith and Jon Jones fight again? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/16/2019.

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Jon Jones takes Twitter shots at contenders Anthony Smith, Corey Anderson

Jon Jones isn’t a fan of recent remarks made by light heavyweight contenders Anthony Smith and Corey Anderson.

The 31-year-old UFC champion has never been shy to voice his opinion on social media, which he proved once again on Tuesday.

Smith (32-14 MMA, 8-4 UFC) who was the first target of a vintage Jones (25-1 MMA, 19-1 UFC) tweet. The UFC champ took exception with comments Smith made in a recent interview with Submission Radio. Smith had stressed his focus on a rematch with Jones and how things would be different the second time around. Apparently, “Bones” found Smith’s comments humorous, so he let the world know it.

Anderson (12-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) was the next target of Jones’s Twitter fingers. While the champion did not specify the interview he was referencing, he took up issue with alleged Anderson’s criticism of the champion.

The deriding of Anderson’s recent trash talk continued, as Jones responded to tweets in his replies. After taking a jab at Anderson’s follower count, Jones expressed his hope fighters “would let their skills speak for them.”

Not done yet, Jones took one more dig at Anderson for good measure.

Despite fighting earlier this month at UFC 239, retaining his championship in a tight split decision over Thiago Santos, Jones has voiced his hopes to return to the octagon as soon as possible. While Jones recently defeated Smith at UFC 235 in March, the champ has never squared off with Anderson.

Smith. who isn’t known for taking swipes at people on Twitter, felt compelled to respond to Jones. So it seems clear this light heavyweight Twitter spat is far from over.

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