Conor McGregor to Featherweight Champ Jose Aldo: ‘You’re Going to Die’

Surging UFC featherweight contender Conor McGregor decided to fight again instead of waiting for a title shot, but 145-pound champ Jose Aldo is still in his crosshairs

“The Notorious” did a Q&A session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil prior to the UFC 179 weigh-ins, and while the crowd did not give the Irish striker a warm welcome, he still spoke his mind (h/t FOX Sports). 

I am the No. 1 contender. The next time Jose steps into the Octagon after Saturday night it will be to face me. In the meantime, I took a fight with Dennis Siver to eliminate another contender. It’s as simple as that,” McGregor explained … (Aldo) has not submitted or knocked out anybody in the past five years. How’s he going to touch me? I will be too quick for him. I will be too powerful. I will put him away.

In the midst of heckling and taunting in Portuguese, McGregor managed to fire off the phrase “Jose Aldo — u vai morrer,” which translates to “you’re going to die”. 

“Scarface,” the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC’s official rankings, looks to make his seventh consecutive title defense in front of his UFC 179 home crowd tonight. 

The Brazilian striker once again encounters American rival Chad “Money” Mendes, whom he defeated by knockout at UFC 142 in January 2012. 

The loss is the only one in Mendes‘ 17-fight career, rebounding since then with five straight victories (four knockouts). 

Meanwhile, McGregor has won 12 fights in a row, four of which were contested inside the Octagon (three knockouts). 

Shortly after his decisive finish of perennial contender Dustin Poirier at UFC 178 in September, UFC President Dana White said McGregor could get the next championship bout at featherweight, per MMA Fighting

However, the former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship dual titleholder instead opted for a matchup with musclebound Russian-German striker Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59 in January. 

Will Aldo once again roll through Mendes and punch his ticket for a grudge match with McGregor or will either Mendes and/or Siver manage to successfully play the role of spoiler?

 

John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com.

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UFC 179: Live Results, Play-by-Play and Fight Card Highlights

Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes meet in a featherweight title rematch in the main event of UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro.

As part of the 11-fight card, No. 4-ranked light heavyweight Glover Teixeira takes on No. 6-ranked Phil Davis in the co-main event.

Bleacher Report will be here to chronicle the entire event for you on Saturday evening. The action gets underway at 7 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass (subscription required) for two bouts before moving to Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. The five-fight main card kicks off on PPV at 10 p.m. ET.

Come back here on Saturday night for complete analysis and play-by-play of UFC 179.

 

UFC 179 Fight Card

  • Jose Aldo (145) vs. Chad Mendes (145)
  • Glover Teixeira (205) vs. Phil Davis (205)
  • Fabio Maldonado (205) vs. Hans Stringer (206)
  • Darren Elkins (145) vs. Lucas Martins (146)
  • Carlos Diego Ferreira (156) vs. Beneil Dariush (156)
  • William Macario (170) vs. Neil Magny (171)
  • Yan Cabral (156) vs. Naoyuki Kotani (155)
  • Scott Jorgensen (128) vs. Wilson Reis (125)
  • Felipe Arantes (146) vs. Andre Fili (146)
  • Gilbert Burns (155) vs. Christos Giagos (156)
  • Fabricio Camoes (158) vs. Tony Martin (157)

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Bellator 130 Results: Winners, Scorecards from Newton vs. Vassell Fight Card

Emanuel Newton put his light heavyweight title on the line Friday night against Linton Vassell in a scintillating Bellator 130 main event. Vassell appeared ready to take down the champion early in the fight, but an experienced and resilient Newton was able to right the ship and pull out a victory in the final round.

While the card’s headline fight was extremely compelling, three feature fights only added to a very strong main card. These fights provided thrills of their own, as Dave Jansen, Marloes Coenen and Bobby Lashley each won their respective bouts in a variety of fashions.

With all of the night’s action now in the books, here’s a look at the complete results from both the main and preliminary cards, followed by a recap of the featured fights.

 

Emanuel Newton def. Linton Vassell

The night’s main event began in expected fashion from both fighters. Newton worked some leg kicks into his repertoire in an effort to keep the lanky challenger at a distance. Meanwhile, Vassell searched for an opportunity to take the champion to the ground, looking for a submission. The two traded positions on the ground, looking for chokes as time expired in Round 1.

The score remained very close with a possible slight edge to Vassell heading into Round 2. For a moment early in the round, Newton was locked into a kimura and appeared ready to tap. Somehow, he fought through the pain and the hold was relinquished. Vassell locked in a rear naked choke in the waning seconds of the round, but Newton just barely escaped as the bell sounded.

At this point, Mike Bohn of USA Today tweeted his take on the champ’s performance:

Both fighters remained standing for the first half of the third round. Newton landed once clean shot and immediately took the challenger to the ground as Vassell entered half guard. Newton couldn’t get in position to lock in a kimura or triangle and both fighters returned to their feet. The champion allowed his opponent to take him down and time expired with Newton on his back in full guard.

Between rounds, a cut over Newton’s right eye was visible after getting caught by a Vassell elbow in Round 3.

Despite Newton’s trainer telling the fighter to remain standing, the champion took the fight to the ground immediately to begin Round 4. The move paid off, as Newton remained in control for the duration of the round, landing plenty of shots on the ground against a seemingly gassed Vassell.

Entering the final round, the score appeared to be all knotted up at two rounds each. That score didn’t matter one bit, as a fresher Newton spun to the back of Vassell, locked his arm under the challenger’s neck and forced a submission via rear naked choke.

Here’s what Newton had to say after his successful title defense, via Bohn:

Vassell proved he is a talented fighter, taking advantage of several of Newton’s mistakes early. However, Newton showed once again why he is the light heavyweight champion after a fantastic display of resilience, patience and stamina.

 

Bobby Lashley def. Karl Etherington

Etherington was undefeated coming into Friday night’s fight against Lashley, who was fighting in home state of Kansas. Things didn’t begin in flawless fashion, as Lashley had great position with Etherington up against the cage. Etherington got himself out of a jam by kneeing Lashley in the groin, causing the referee to break up the fight for a moment.

When things reconvened, both fighters clinched up, and Etherington made a crucial mistake, slipping and falling on his stomach after attempting to throw his opponent to the ground. Lashley quickly pounced on top, pummeling Etherington with devastating rights to quickly end the fight in a Round 1 TKO.

Bellator MMA‘s Twitter account summed it up perfectly:

Lashley appears set on a path to the heavyweight world title, and this win was a great step in the right direction.

 

Marloes Coenen def. Annalisa Bucci

The fight went to the ground early, with Bucci in top position; however, Coenen appeared to have an early size and strength advantage, remaining aggressive while Bucci struggled to find her offense. Coenen took Bucci down soon after, getting Bucci into half guard and looking for an armbar. Although, she couldn’t get into position and the bell signified the end of the round.

Coenen looked to have the score advantage heading into Round 2. She kept up the pace immediately, taking Bucci to the ground and delivering a couple right hands. The fighters remained on the ground for the remainder of the round, with Bucci remaining on defense until time expired.

After another takedown in Round 3, Coenen finally got her opponent into a favorable position and forced her to submit by rear naked choke. The win marked her 22nd MMA victory and 16th by submission.

Jason Floyd of The MMA Report tweeted exactly how long it has been since Coenen’s last victory.

That makes her performance on Friday even more impressive.

 

Dave Jansen def. Rick Hawn

The main card’s first fight featured the efficiency of Jansen against the raw power of Hawn.

Jansen utilized low kicks to keep his distance from Hawn—and his heavy-handed punches—early in the first round but maintained an offensive approach. This strategy lasted throughout the full five minutes, as both fighters remained on their feet due to Jansen’s defensive strategy and Hawn’s inability to get close enough for any kind of strike.

The leg kicks of Jansen appeared to have him ahead through one round, and the second began in the same fashion, with Janson’s continued control of the range and pace of the fight. Hawn briefly caught a kick and pinned Janson against the cage, but he couldn’t land anything of significance. Although, one punch did reach Jansen midway through the round, and there was apparent swelling over his left eye as a result.

Jansen remained the aggressor early in the third round, clinching with Hawn and landing some knees to the midsection. The two fighters danced around late in the round, drawing boos from the crowd. Both fighters worked until the final bell, but without any big strikes from Hawn, Jansen’s aggressive strategy paid off, taking the fight by unanimous decision.

The victory improves Jansen’s record to 7-0 in Bellator and Floyd tweeted the fighter’s place in the division’s history:

Friday’s win could pave the way to a lightweight title shot for the dominant Jansen. Based on his most recent performance, he appears to have proved himself worthy.

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The 3 Worst Coaches in TUF History

Between the American version of the show and international variants, The Ultimate Fighter has had over 20 seasons. In that time, we have seen a plethora of coaches give their time and effort to their teams in an attempt to help build future champions of the world.

The show has seen its fair share of excellent coaches. A couple that come straight to mind are Chuck Liddell, Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen, all of whom were great leaders and teachers of the sport.

That said, there has also been some awful coaches on the show. These men were not very successful when it came to the scoreboard and generally were a disservice to the fighters they guided.

So who are these coaches that were the worst of the bunch? Here are the three men who were the worst in the history of the show.

 

Rampage Jackson

You’d think after his first lackluster coaching stint on TUF that the UFC would pick up that Rampage Jackson wasn’t exactly Greg Jackson in terms of coaching. Nope, he was given a second season to coach, likely because of his rivalry with Rashad Evans, which I must admit was highly entertaining. 

Jackson is likely the worst coach in the history of the show. In two seasons coaching, he went 3-9 against Forrest Griffin-coached fighters (season 7) and 2-8 against Rashad Evans-coached fighters (season 10).

Furthermore, his general demeanor on the show proved that he was more into goofing around and leaving things up to his assistant coaches, rather than passing on his high-level knowledge to his up-and-coming fighters.

This was especially the case on season 10, where he was more worried about pranks and jawing with Evans than putting in serious work with his guys. He even admitted on the show that he was not a coach, which was the reason why he brought assistants like Tiki Ghosn and Tom Blackledge.

Add the fact that he would not check on his fighters after they lost and his overall lack of seriousness in his coveted role, and Jackson will go down in history as the worst coach in the history of the show.

 

Ken Shamrock

Speaking of guys who were more worried about the other coach than their own team, Ken Shamrock finishes a close second behind Jackson in terms of the worst coach in show history. That comes mostly because he was consumed with rival Tito Ortiz and not making sure he put his full attention on his fighters.

Shamrock went 3-10 against Ortiz’s guys, and the only reason he had two fighters in the semifinals of the light heavyweight bracket was because Noah Inhofer left the show for personal reasons, and Matt Hamill was too injured to fight in the semifinals.

In that time, Shamrock was constantly bickering with Ortiz and performing the “hold me back, bro” confrontations where he threatened Ortiz, but nothing came of it.

Not only that, but he oftentimes did not make the fighters work hard and gave them days off from the gym. Hard to imagine, given the limited time the fighters have on the show to get in the gym and learn new things from the legend.

Shamrock was not successful and clearly not interested in his coaching duties.

 

Josh Koscheck

An under-the-radar worst coach in TUF history has to be Josh Koscheck. Sure, he’s not the first name to come to mind, but if you rewatch the season, you can see why he’s included here.

He was 3-8 against George St. Pierre’s squad, and the only reason he had three guys advance the opening round was because the wild card gave him two of his own fighters competing against one another. Though his attempts at coaching were more admirable than Shamrock’s and Jackson’s, he surely was in over his head here.

In looking at his squad, he certainly did not gauge the talent well. He was even tricked by GSP into selecting Marc Stevens with his first pick so that GSP could snag eventual finalist Michael Johnson with his first pick.

Not only that, but Koscheck was a bully who also was more into playing stupid, childish pranks on GSP. He came off as a jerk on multiple occasions, especially when he had a confrontation with a team medic on St. Pierre’s team.

All in all, Koscheck did not represent himself well on the 12th season of the long-running show.

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Jose Aldo Is Capable of Greatness, but He Must Be Willing to Take Risks

Jose Aldo is the only featherweight champion the UFC has ever had.

It has been nearly nine years since he gave up the only loss of his career, and truth be told, he has rarely been challenged since that night. He stormed into the WEC in 2008 and finished his first five opponents, then finished champion Mike Brown to capture the featherweight title. That championship eventually became the UFC featherweight title, and Aldo’s held it ever since.

But those six finishes to begin his Zuffa career? Those became increasingly rare after Aldo captured the belt. In the four years he’s been WEC/UFC champion, Aldo has finished three opponents. He’s gone to decision five times. Granted, his pace has slowed greatly; eight fights in four years is not a very dense schedule.

Still, it’s as though Aldo’s style has undergone a shift in tone. He’s no longer the terrifying finisher he once was. Instead, he’s content to sit back and wait for his opponents to make a mistake. If they don’t make a mistake, he’s perfectly fine scoring enough points to win a decision.

But Aldo is still mostly viewed as an offensive machine and devastating finisher. When his name is mentioned, the first thing that pops in my brain is usually his eight-second finish of Cub Swanson back in 2009. That’s the moment that has been drilled into our collective memories: a lethal striker running through his opponents with ease.

But the facts don’t back that up. Luke Thomas over at MMAFighting.com brings you statistics

In terms of knockdowns, Aldo has only two. He does rank fifth among featherweights for significant strikes landed, but that figure is aided by the long duration of his bouts (Aldo is number one among featherweights for longest total fight time and longest average fight time). Moreover, Aldo doesn’t even rank in the top ten among his 145-pound peers when it comes to strikes landed per minute or significant strike accuracy. He is also not in the top 10 in terms of overall strikes landed.

So Aldo has the longest average fight time of all UFC featherweights, and he doesn’t rank near the top in striking categories. Those numbers indicate Aldo has become something entirely different than what he was when he entered the UFC: He has become a safe fighter.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Too many fighters don’t understand that not getting hit is nearly as important as hitting your opponent. Not getting hit helps you win fights, and it extends your career.

But it also serves as a perfect explanation for why Aldo has such a difficult time connecting with fans.

Aldo’s long championship reign and position in the pound-for-pound rankings—he’s currently No. 2 in the UFC’s official rankings—should translate into genuine stardom. He doesn’t speak very much English, but as we discussed earlier in the week, that isn’t a deal breaker. Anderson Silva did not publicly start speaking English until later in his career, and he still achieved superstar status.

Aldo’s problem, and the reason he hasn’t reached the same heights as Silva and others, is his style. It is his willingness to sit back and wait, to do just enough to hold onto his championship. And it has become increasingly noticeable as the UFC becomes more desperate for stars who can carry pay-per-view events.

For an example of a champion who goes for the finish whenever possible, look at new bantamweight titlist T.J. Dillashaw. In May, the Team Alpha Male product dominated Renan Barao so thoroughly that he could’ve put things in cruise control during the fourth and fifth rounds and still secured an easy decision.

But Dillashaw believes the best way to sell himself is by being exciting, and so he continually pressed for the finish. He got it in the fifth round. And in Aldo, Dillashaw sees a fighter who would rather hold onto his belt than make a statement with the fans. Here’s what he told Ben Fowlkes from MMAjunkie.com: 

That’s smart for your career, but for me, that’s not my fighting style. I’m too aggressive and I like to make it action-packed. The way I try to sell my fights is with my performances, making them better and better and knocking off good guys. I’ve got some tough guys in my weight class who I can prove a point with, and I think that’s the best way to sell a fight. …

I think ultimately it comes down to how you perform as a champion. Instead of just trying to hold onto your title like you’re afraid to lose it, go out there and give it hell and be entertaining.

I think Dillashaw is correct. Aldo is a superb fighter. I remember sitting by the Octagon when he faced Frankie Edgar last February. I was absolutely floored by Aldo’s use of space and distance. He is among the best I’ve ever seen at reacting to moments in the cage, and he made the lightning-fast Edgar look moderately slow on that night. It is an absolute joy to watch Aldo do his thing in the Octagon.

But we expect more from our champions. We don’t want to see them go to a decision. We want to see them go in the Octagon or ring and prove they are the best in the world at what they do. We don’t mind seeing them mentally and physically tested, because that’s when they prove their mettle.

What we don’t want, however, is to see them go in the cage and settle. Not when they can do so much more.

Aldo is capable of great and violent things, but he must be willing to risk his championship and his winning streak in order to attain them.

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