UFC

McGregor fighting Masvidal is 'a bad idea', warns White

By Sports Desk December 31, 2019

UFC president Dana White thinks it is "a bad idea" for Conor McGregor to chase a fight with Jorge Masvidal.

McGregor will make his return to the octagon after over a year away when he takes on Donald Cerrone at welterweight at UFC 246 on January 18.

Announcing his comeback in October, the Irishman said he wanted to fight the victor of Masvidal's UFC 244 bout with Nate Diaz – which the former won with a third-round TKO – before a rematch with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to close his 2020 season.

However, White has urged McGregor to reconsider his desire to take on Masvidal.

"I think it's a bad idea, but Conor gets p****d off when I say it is a bad idea. He's like, 'You think I can't beat Masvidal?', and that whole thing," White told ESPN.

"I'm not saying that you can't beat Masvidal, anybody can beat anybody on any given day, but why? Why go after that fight when you could possibly just wait?

"This is the reason that Conor McGregor is so intriguing and why so many fans love to watch him fight. And you've got to love the fact that a guy is willing to fight anybody.

"I've said this a million times, I'll say it again, I've been in the trenches and when we're standing in the living room and fights pull out, Conor McGregor will fight anybody."

Masvidal's victory over Diaz earned him the new BMF title, which White thinks is behind McGregor's desire for the bout.

"Conor wants that belt from Masvidal," said White. "I did it as a one-off, it was fun, it was awesome. We'll see what happens."

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    Middleweight champion Adesanya had spoken of chasing big-money fights with Jon Jones and even Conor McGregor.

    But for now the Nigeria-born New Zealander has a score to settle with Costa and fight fans are undoubtedly relishing the pair mixing it in the Octagon at UFC 253.


    WHY THE HYPE?

    Because these guys have been on a collision course for some time and only a biceps injury sustained by Costa made the wait so long.

    Jibes have been thrown back and forth, with Costa accusing Adesanya of ducking the challenge of former light-heavyweight king Jones.

    Adesanya has something to prove after an underwhelming win via unanimous decision against Yoel Romero back in March, and his kick-boxing brilliance and Costa's pressure fighting make this a bout of real intrigue.


    GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

    Adesanya became the UFC's interim middleweight champion with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum in a classic in April 2019. He then defeated the legendary Robert Whittaker in October with a stunning knockout to unify the division.

    Each of Costa's first four wins in a UFC ring came via way of KO/TKO and in August 2019 he defeated Romero via unanimous decision.


    WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

    Adesanya: 19-0-0

    Costa: 13-0-0


    TALE OF THE TAPE

    Adesanya:

    Age: 31
    Height: 6'4" (193cm)
    Weight: 185lbs (84kg)
    Reach: 80"
    Leg reach: 44.5"

    Costa:

    Age: 29
    Height: 6'1" (185cm)
    Weight: 185lbs (84kg)
    Reach: 72"
    Leg reach: 39.5"


    WHAT THEY'VE SAID

    Adesanya referred to Costa as an "inflated balloon animal" back in June and during his media activities ahead of UFC 253 made a figure out of balloons to impersonate Costa, saying: "Hey guys, my name is Paulo Costa. I'm the Eraser and I'm going to be the champion. Israel, I will erase you." Adesanya then twisted the balloons until they popped…

    In controversial comments to Submission Radio in August, Costa said: "I have just one question. Adesanya, why are you freezing when you face Romero? You're not a real champion, man. You don't deserve. I will kill you."


    FIGHT STATS IN UFC

    Adesanya:

    - Adesanya has connected with 503 of his 1,032 attempted significant strikes, a success rate of 49 per cent.

    - Of his successful strikes, 88 per cent have come from a standing position.

    - On the defensive side, Adesanya has guarded against 87 per cent of takedown attempts.

    - He has also seen off 66 per cent of strikes against him.

    Costa:

    - Costa has landed 307 of his 531 attempted significant strikes, giving him a success rate of 58 per cent.

    - As with Adesanya, Costa tends to strike from a standing position - with 82 per cent coming via that method.

    - He has successfully blocked 80 per cent of takedown attempts against him.

    - Costa has also thwarted 54 per cent of strikes from his opponents.

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    Adesanya – who is nicknamed "The Last Stylebender" – is the defending UFC middleweight champion and goes up against Costa on "Fight Island".

    Both fighters are undefeated heading into what has been billed as the fight of 2020, but Adesanya was adamant Costa will prove no match for him.

    "I think the muscles fool everyone. The muscles and the whole flurries and fighting punching bags fool everyone," Adesanya said of Costa at media day.

    "Everyone thinks, wow this is a big fight. I'm like, no, I've already had the fight of the middleweight division, which was Kelvin Gastelum.

    "I've already had the biggest fight in the middleweight division crowd-wise, which was Robert Whittaker. I'm gonna make it look easy. A lot of people are gonna be shocked by that."

    Adesanya and Costa enjoyed a civil meeting in Abu Dhabi, with the duo trading compliments.

    Costa acknowledged his surprise at Adesanya's change in demeanour during the meeting.

    "I don't know what happened, he changed his personality a lot, his persona," Costa told MMA Mania. 

    "The Adesanya that I saw on the video conference was a very disrespectful guy, he showed his fingers a lot to me. But when I met him upstairs, he was very kind, very gentle."

    However, neither fighter held back in their verbal insults during media day, with Adesanya going as far as to tell Costa: "Shut the f*** up before I become your stepdad."

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