Welcome to Midnight Mania!
On Thursday, the UFC 286 combatants took a break from their weight cuts for the pre-fight press conference. Naturally, a large portion of the attention went to the main event athletes, Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, who will fight for a third time and decide the future of the Welterweight title.
By next week, one man will be looking forward to new challenges, and there isn’t a clear-cut next contender at Welterweight currently. Belal Muhammad and Shavkat Rakhmonov ride impressive win streaks, but most feel they need at least one more win to set up a title shot. Meanwhile, the division’s bigger stars like Colby Covington and Khamzat Chimaev are AWOL, or they just cannot win a single fight.
It’s an open field where a single standout performance could equal a title shot.
As such, Conor McGregor has entered the discussion. The proposed weight class for his showdown vs. Michael Chandler keeps flip-flopping between 155- and 170-pounds, but McGregor seems more interested in Welterweight. If the former double champ wins impressively, he’s suddenly in the discussion, and he might be in attendance at UFC 286.
How do the champion and challenger feel? Edwards confirmed he’s more than willing to face McGregor or anyone else.
“As the king, I welcome all challengers,” Edwards said (via MMA Junkie). “Whoever comes, can get it.
“… Him and whoever comes next. Now, I’m focused on Kamaru Usman. I believe that he’s the toughest challenge right now in the division, and I’m focused on that. Whoever comes next, that’s what it is, you know?”
Usman, meanwhile, has been discussing a potential fight with McGregor for much of his championship reign. If he reclaims the title this weekend, he’s still plenty willing to welcome McGregor to the elite Welterweight ranks.
Usman explained, “I’ve always said I welcome it, so if it happens, it happens.”
LIVE! Watch UFC 286 PPV On ESPN+ Here!
CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.
Matt Frevola, who can always be counted upon to deliver a banger, is fighting Drew Dober, who is pathologically opposed to not putting on bangers. Anyone got a guess at the outcome?
Frankie Edgar shows off a bit of wear-and-tear.
Ricardo Lamas with a pretty slick breakdown of this throw-to-kimura attack!
California weather is actually pretty wild this year.
Trends like this are going to make MMA fans even thirstier — a concerning concept initially thought impossible.
What’s funny about this clip is that this is an EXTREMELY Justin Gaethje combo.
Slips, rips, and KO clips
The consistent component between Jumaev’s pair of finishes was brutal ground striking.
Why sprawl when few punches do trick?
It often only takes a single connection from the double-collar tie to end the fight.
Bonus finish tonight because it’s one of the most remarkable things I’ve seen!
The bullet was determined to be copper jacketed 0.40 caliber. The entry wound demonstrated thermal injury at the entry hole indicating a close proximity. The bullet tract was found to go through the implant exiting from the medial aspect of it and it flipped implant over.
— Oren Gottfried, MD (@OGdukeneurosurg) March 15, 2023
Midnight Music: Classic, classic, classic.
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.