MONDAY NEWS DIGEST AND WEEKEND RECAP 12/4: Conor McGregor and Max Holloway trade jabs on social media after Holloway’s dominant UFC 218 victory (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)

BY ZACK HEYDORN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

At UFC 218, featherweight champion Max Holloway dismantled former champion and former pound for pound number one, Jose Aldo, in dominant fashion. Holloway was strategically and physically pristine in the fight and solidified himself as the man to beat in the featherweight division. Enter Conor McGregor. After Holloway’s victory, McGregor took to Twitter and posted a picture of Max Holloway after his fight against McGregor four years ago.

Conor McGregor vacated the UFC featherweight championship shortly after becoming the UFC lightweight champion and the first ever two-weight world champion in UFC history. In an effort to not allow McGregor to steal his spotlight, Holloway responded on his Twitter account by calling McGregor a retired fighter.

Since losing to McGregor in 2013, Max Holloway has won 12 straight fights and is one of the hottest fighters on the UFC roster. Conor McGregor defeated Jose Aldo in 2015 to capture the featherweight title but did not defend it before vacating it.

Heydorn’s Analysis: This rematch gets more and more intriguing by the day. It’s abundantly clear that Max Holloway is a different fighter today than he was in 2013 when he took his loss to Conor McGregor. McGregor isn’t the same fighter either. This fight would draw an immense amount of attention, draw loads of money, and be entertaining to watch. Holloway would take it in seconds. That said, I have my doubts about McGregor wanting to fight at 145 again. That cut has to be difficult for him and he is more natural at 155. Time will tell and money talks, but at the very least McGregor striking first in this social spat shows he still cares about what goes on in the featherweight division of UFC.

WEEKEND ROUNDUP

-On TUF finale Friday night, Nicco Montano became the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight champion.

-UFC 218 drew a sellout crowd of 17,587 and an approximate gate of 2 million dollars. Fight of the night bonuses were sent to Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez as well as Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira.

-After defeating Michelle Waterson at UFC 218, Tecia Torres told the media that she’s looking and angling for a strawweight title fight.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Get in line Tecia Torres. I like the confidence of her remarks, but Joanna Jedrzejczyk will most certainly be first up to take on Rose Namajunas for the title. After all, she is the former champion. For as good as Torres looked on Saturday night, Jedrzejczyk getting the title fight first is an obvious choice. It will draw more money and because Jedrzejczyk was a dominant champion for so long, she deserves this opportunity before anyone else.

-Alistair Overeem is ok after getting knocked out by Francis Ngannou at UFC 218. Overeem suffered his first loss of the year after a vicious and scary left hook from the undefeated Ngannou. After the loss, Overeem posted a statement on social media which can be read below.

Heydorn’s Analysis: I was thrilled to see this post from Overeem. The knockout he suffered is amongst one of the worst I’ve ever seen and was glad to hear that he was ok. Ngannou is getting the next heavyweight title shot against Stipe Miocic which leaves Overeem in a bit of a holding pattern. A rematch between him and Fabricio Werdum may be the best avenue to explore as the title situation gets settled.

-In his post-UFC 218 press conference, Dana White called Francis Ngannou an eventual global star. “We’ve had some trouble getting him a fight, “But once we keep this guy active and you see him doing this to all the big stars that you know and yeah, I think this guy’s going to be a rock star globally.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: I agree with White’s assessment. Ngannou seems to be a once in a lifetime fighter. He’s incredibly fast and incredibly strong which poses big problems for any potential opponent. More importantly for his pocketbook is the fact that he is becoming a knockout artist in tremendous fashion. That is a skill and quality that is marketable in a big way.

MONDAY NEWS NOTEBOOK

-Suspended UFC legend, Anderson Silva, is still interested in boxing Roy Jones Jr. This potential fight started gaining steam in 2009 and was reignited this week when Roy Jones Jr. appeared on the Gary Vee Show. On the show, the boxing legend said, “Both of us want to fight right now still and the UFC won’t let him free to fight. I’m 48, going on 49 in January, and because of how big it is, and how big of an event it is, and I know what it means to him, I’m still willing to fight Anderson Silva tomorrow if he was free to do it.” Silva responded on social media by saying, “Ok Roy Jr this is everything I’ve wanted for years, long before all this happened, it will be a pleasure to step into the ring with you. I have great respect and admiration for everything you’ve done in boxing and everyone knows that this has always been my great dream. Let’s make this event happen. I think we have this right, in fact this is something that both You and I are willing to do. So. Let’s make it happen, Mr. Roy.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: Jones Jr. and Silva are trying to sell this thing, but I’m not buying. Yes, they may have been the first two to discuss a cross-promotional boxing match, but that doesn’t mean it will be bigger or as important as a Mayweather vs. McGregor type fight. Roy Jones Jr. is way past his prime and irrelevant in today’s fight game. Silva is a UFC legend but on the outs due to another PED suspension. It will be tough to pull this off as it is and even if they do, I don’t believe the interest is there to make it worthwhile.

-MMA Junkie reports that TUF finale main-eventers Nicco Montano and Roxanne Modafferi each took a $100,000 purse for their inaugural women’s flyweight title fight on Friday. Both also received Fight of the Night bonuses of $50,000. Montano won the fight and became champion.


NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS NEWS:  WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 11/29: Cormier vs. Oezdemir is set for UFC 220, Alvarez guarantees fireworks against Gaethje, Aldo is the reason why UFC 218 sold out

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