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UFC owner Endeavor looking to raise nearly $700 million when it goes public

New UFC championship belt circa 2019

UFC majority owner Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) is set to go public with the possibility of raising in the neighborhood of $700 million dollars from its initial public offering.

Endeavor has been in the process of going public for quite some time, but put off its initial summer timeframe to acquire live events company On Location Experiences LLC.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Endeavor has registered more than 22 million shares of Class A common stock shares, which it expects to sell in the range of $30 to $32 per share. If Endeavor sold all of its registered Class A shares at the high end of its target range, the company would raise around $712 million.

According to a report by The Wrap, Endeavor is more likely to release 19-million-plus Class A shares at the time of the IPO. At the low end of $30 per share, Endeavor would raise over $580 million or more than $619 million at the top end of $32 per share.


TRENDING > UFC on ESPN+ 16: Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje recap video


Endeavor was the driving force behind the $4 billion UFC purchase in 2016. The UFC generated revenue of just over $600 million in 2015. Estimates have the company producing revenue of just under $1 billion in 2020.

Was Urijah Faber’s UFC return one and done?

Urijah Faber - UFC on ESPN+ 13

(Video courtesy of MMAFightingonSBN | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber made a successful return to the Octagon earlier this year after two-and-a-half years on the sidelines. But was it a one-and-done fight?


TRENDING > Cody Garbrandt updates wrist injury, timeline for UFC return


Faber was in attendance at UFC Vancouver this past weekend, where he met with reporters and discussed why two months after his return, there has been no chatter about his next fight and if there will even be one.

Cody Garbrandt updates wrist injury, timeline for UFC return

Cody Garbrandt double fists

(Video courtesy of MMA Junkie)

Three years ago, Cody Garbrandt was at the top of the UFC bantamweight division. After three consecutive losses, he went back to the drawing board, but the drawing board threw a wrench in the works. Garbrandt damaged his wrists in training. 


TRENDING > Conor McGregor draws motivation from Nate Diaz


Having been on the sidelines since March, Garbrandt is now eyeing his return and recently provided an update on his injuries and the timeline for his next fight.

Francis Ngannou is waiting for the call to fight UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic

Francis Ngannou UFC 226 Media Day Vegas

(Courtesy of MMA Junkie)

Francis Ngannou missed out on his first opportunity to capture the UFC heavyweight title, but has put himself in position to get another shot at gold. He's ready to go, but is currently awaiting a phone call to tell him when and where the fight will happen.

Champion Stipe Miocic defeated Ngannou in a five-round unanimous decision at UFC 220 in January 2018. His confidence shaken, Ngannou then lost to Derrick Lewis in his next bout.

Following the first back-to-back defeats of his career, Ngannou has since returned to form knocking out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, and Junior Dos Santos in consecutive bouts.


TRENDING > Colby Covington: UFC 244 negotiations ‘not fair; the company is rolling in money’


 

Tyron Woodley wants to win his belt back and challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov (video)

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tyron Woodley

(Video courtesy of TMZSports | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

In the latest Hollywood Beatdown, Tyron Woodley reacted to Kobe Bryant's controversial IG post about his daughter's youth basketball team. Also, Woodley called out current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, saying he wants to get his belt back and then fight the champ.


TRENDING > Khabib’s manager shuts down Conor McGregor rematch, angling for Georges St-Pierre


 

Lupita Godinez critical of her winning Combate Americas performance

Though she was able to pick up a unanimous decision victory in her Combate Americas debut on August 23 versus Felisha Magallan, strawweight Lupita Godinez feels she could have done better.

Never one to be satisfied with her performance, Godinez is quick to point out what when wrong in a fight rather than what went right, even in the case of a win.

“I think I didn’t do perfect,” Godinez told MMAWeekly.com. “Always, every time, every fight, I always see the bad things I did. And I did a lot of bad things or things I wanted to do that I didn’t do. I got the win and there’s nothing wrong with that.

“She was a tough cookie. She kept coming no matter how hard I was hitting (her). She also hits hard. I had a lot of fun, and I’m really happy I got to do this, and I want to do it again soon.”

Though she’s always critical of the way she performs in fights, Godinez does see the improvements she’s managed to make in her game since she turned pro in June of 2018.

“I see a lot of changes for sure,” said Godinez. “Not only in my techniques and having more techniques in my tool box and that, but just when I’m fighting I see everything. I’m calmer. I’m relaxed. I know how to manage my nerves better.

TRENDING > UFC on ESPN+ 16: Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje recap video

“I keep evolving with my coaches and my team, and we are just getting better, and are putting everything together and what works for us. I’m happy with this.”

Having had the opportunity to step into an international promotion with Combate Americas, Godinez is looking to secure a spot with the company and see what kind of opportunities it can provide her in the near future.

“I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now,” Godinez said. “I’m not rushing things. I’m taking things how it goes. But I do want to be more active. I just want to be busy.

“I am not exactly sure (what’s next). I think my coach is going to talk to Combate and see what’s next. I don’t know what I’m going to sign or know anything right now, but I just know I really like Combate.”

UFC on ESPN+ 16: Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje recap video

UFC Vancouver Cowboy vs Gaethje recap video

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See the highlights and recap from UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje. Gaethje defeated Cerrone in the main event of the Saturday, Sept. 14, even in Vancouver, British Columbia.

After defeating Cerrone, Gaethje kicked any thoughts of fighting Conor McGregor to the curb and instead took aim at the UFC lightweight title. He wants the winner of an as yet unscheduled match-up between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.


TRENDING > Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal headlines UFC 244; Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington sidelined


 

UFC Vancouver Bonuses: Promotional newcomer Tristan Connelly banks an extra $100,000

Following Saturday's UFC on ESPN+ 16 event at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced the winners of the fighter bonuses. Headliner Justin Gaethje, light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov and promotional newcomer Tristan Connelly took home the performance incentives.

Gaethje earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his first-round stoppage of Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in the featured bout on the fight card. Gaethje landed a right hand that knocked Cerrone down late in the opening frame. Cerrone got back to his feet but was met with uppercuts and another right hand that put him back on the canvas. The referee stepped in after two more punches landed.

Fight of the Night honors went to Connelly and Michel Pereira. Pereira was highly hyped heading into the bout but Connelly derailed the hype train with a unanimous decision win. Pereira missed weight for the bout making him ineligible to receive a bonus resulting in Connelly doubling his bonus checks. The Canadian took home an extra $100,000.

RELATED > UFC on ESPN+ 16 Live Results: Cowboy vs. Gaethje (Results & Fight Stats)

Cirkunov was awarded a Performance of the Night bonus for his first round submission of Jimmy Crute to kick off the main card. The 32-year old secured a rare Peruvian necktie. It was his ninth career win by submission.

UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Gaethje took place in front of 15,114 spectators at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada generating $1.34 million in gate receipts.

UFC Vancouver: Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone discuss Gaethje’s first-round win

(Courtesy of UFC)

Hear what Justin Gaethje and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone said after Gaethje's first round TKO victory in the main event of Fight Night Vancouver. Gaethje discussed how difficult it was to fight a friend and called for a title shot.

RELATED > UFC on ESPN+ 16 Live Results: Cowboy vs. Gaethje (Results & Fight Stats)

UFC Vancouver: Glover Teixeira wanted to set UFC light heavyweight record

(Courtesy of UFC)

Glover Teixeira edged out Nikita Krylov for a split decision victory in the co-main event at UFC Fight Night Vancouver on Saturday. Following the fight, Teixeira discussed the win, his desire to set a light heavyweight record and what he wants next.

RELATED > UFC on ESPN+ 16 Live Results: Cowboy vs. Gaethje (Results & Fight Stats)

Justin Gaethje stops Donald Cerrone in UFC on ESPN+ 16 main event

Lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin Gaethje headlined UFC on ESPN+ 16 on Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in a match-up that promised excitement.

The two veteran fighters met in the center of the octagon and Gaethje delivered leg kicks.  Cerrone tried to land counter punches off the leg kicks with limited success.  In each exchange, Gaethje appeared to be the faster fighter.  He beat Cerrone to the punch and when Cerrone engaged, Gaethje answered with counter strikes.  Cerrone pressed forward with a combination and Gaethje landed a right hand that dropped "Cowboy" to his knees.  Cerrone stood only to be met with uppercuts.  Another right hand by Gaethje knocked Cerrone down.  Gaethje thought the fight was over but the referee didn't step in.  Gaethje landed a two more punches before the fight was stopped. 

After the fight, Gaethje thought the referee should have intervened earlier and criticized the late stoppage. 

"The ref, in the back he said if you fall to your face it's over.  I thought he fell like that two times and I had to continue to hit him," said Gaethje.  "That was my friend.  I didn't want to keep punching him.  I'll be honest with you." 

With the win, Gaethje is now riding a three-fight winning streak and will likely be ranked third in the 155-pound division.  Asked if he wanted to fight Conor McGregor or champion Khabib Nurmagomedov next, Gaethje made it clear that he wants a title shot.   

"The Irishman is retired.  I want a real fighter.  I want the winner of Tony (Ferguson) and Khabib," he said. 

In the co-main event, former title challenger Glover Teixeira extended his winning streak to three consecutive fights by edging out Nikita Krylov by split decision.

Krylov came out utilizing kicks to keep Teixeira on the outside. Teixeira caught a kick in the early going and secured a takedown. He quickly mounted Krylov and flattened him out. Krylov escaped the position by shaking Teixeira off his back. He turned the tables and mounted Teixeira. Teixeira gave up his back and defended a rear-naked choke attempt before regaining top position. Krylov worked his way back to his feet and landed a combination as the round ended.

TRENDING > UFC on ESPN+ 16 Live Results: Cowboy vs. Gaethje (Results & Fight Stats)

In the second frame, Krylov continued to employ kicks as Teixeira pressed forward. Teixeira's right hand began to find a home. Both fighters put together combinations but Teixeira connected with the more significant strikes. In the closing moments of the round, Krylov secured a takedown but was unable to inflict damage.

While the second frame was mostly a striking affair, the third round was grappling heavy.  Krylov looked to get the fight to the ground and Teixeira applied a guillotine choke and pulled guard.  Krylov defended the submission attempt and gained top position.  Teixeira escaped and regained top control.  He mounted Krylov and worked to secure an armbar.  Teixeira against looked to lock on a guillotine choke but Krylov popped his head free.  In the closing seconds of the round, Teixeira swept Krylov and ended the fight in top position.  The judges scored the fight for Teixeira by split decision.  It was the first time in Krylov's career that he went the distance. 

"I was really looking for the submission because I want to break that light heavyweight record, but he was a tough son of a gun," said Teixeira after the win.  "Focus and discipline and believing in yourself.  Fighting young guys like this is not easy," he said.

UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Gaethje Results

- Justin Gaethje def. Donald Cerrone by TKO (punches) at 4:18, R1
- Glover Teixeira def. Nikita Krylov by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Todd Duffee vs. Jeff Hughes ruled No Contest (accidental eye poke) at 4:03, R1
- Tristan Connelly def. Michel Pereira by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
- Uriah Hall def. Antônio Carlos Júnior by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Misha Cirkunov def. Jimmy Crute by submission (Peruvian necktie) at 3:38, R1

Preliminary Card Results

- Augusto Sakai def. Marcin Tybura by KO (Punches) at 0:59, R1
- Miles Johns def. Cole Smith by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Hunter Azure def. Brad Katona by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 39-28)
- Chas Skelly def. Jordan Griffin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Louis Smolka def. Ryan MacDonald by TKO (punches) at 4:43, R1
- Austin Hubbard def. Kyle Prepolec by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

UFC on ESPN+ 16 Live Results: Cowboy vs. Gaethje (Results & Fight Stats)

UFC Cowboy vs Gaethje live results

(Click on the fight below and then scroll down to see in-fight live stats and full results, courtesy of Fight Analytics. Full live results for the first UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje bout from Vancouver is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.)


NOTE the UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje start times


The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Vancouver on Saturday for UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje.

UFC on ESPN+ 16 is topped by an explosive lightweight contender showdown between friends Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje.

Cerrone (36-12, 1NC; No. 4 UFC lightweight) is looking to rebound from a loss to top-ranked Tony Ferguson. He returned to the lightweight division earlier this year with wins over Alexander Hernandez and Al Iaquinta. Had he defeated Ferguson, Cerrone likely would have been next in line for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

A former World Series of Fighting champion, Gaethje (20-2) was on the fast track to a title shot before stumbling in back-to-back bouts with Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. He has since returned to the win column with victories over James Vick and Edson Barboza. A win over Cerrone would have him once again knocking on the door to the title.

TRENDING > Dan Hardy breaks down Justin Gaethje vs. Cowboy Cerrone (UFC video preview)

Check out the MMAWeekly.com Rumors page for more scheduled events and rumored fight cards.

NOTE: To select the appropriate fight, click on the images with the yellow name plates at the bottom of the Fight Analytics window and drag until you see the fight you are interested in. Quick results are located below the Fight Analytics window.

UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje results from Vancouver

 

UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje results

Main Card (8 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

Prelims (5 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

Knockout Radio featuring UFC Vancouver’s Uriah Hall, Misha Cirkunov, Jimmy Crute and Louis Smolka

Uriah Hall

Knockout Radio Hour One: Misha Cirkunov and Uriah Hall

Knockout Radio: Jimmy Crute and Louis Smolka

Check out Knockout Radio's podcast featuring UFC Vancouver fighters Uriah Hall, Misha Cikunov, Jimmy Crute, and Louis Somlka; plus, all the latest MMA news and happenings.

Knockout Radio consistently brings the best guests in the world of mixed martial arts, covers the latest news, and breaks down and recaps every UFC event and many of the other top mixed martial arts events from around the world.


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An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

Cowboy Cerrone’s top finishes ahead of UFC Vancouver (video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

Watch the top knockouts and submissions from the fan favorite Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone who holds the UFC record for fight night performance bonuses with 18. Cerrone headlines UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje opposite Justin Gaethje on Saturday in Vancouver, B.C.


TRENDING > Watch Cowboy Cerrone’s Fight of the Night victory over Al Iaquinta


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

Glover Teixeira’s top finishes ahead of UFC Vancouver (video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

Check out the top knockouts and submissions from former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Glover Teixeira. Teixeira faces Nikita Krylov in the UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje co-main event on Saturday in Vancouver, B.C.


TRENDING > Watch Cowboy Cerrone’s Fight of the Night victory over Al Iaquinta


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje weigh-in video

UFC Cowboy vs Gaethje weigh-in video

(Courtesy of UFC)

Watch the UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs Gaethje Ceremonial Weigh-in live on Friday, September 13th at 7pm ET/4pm PT. The UFC Vancouver weigh-in video will be available for on-demand viewing immediately following the live stream.


TRENDING > Dan Hardy breaks down Justin Gaethje vs. Cowboy Cerrone (UFC video preview)


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

Watch Cowboy Cerrone’s Fight of the Night victory over Al Iaquinta (UFC Vancouver fight video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone added another Fight of the Night award to his collection when he faced off with Al Iaquinta in May. Cowboy next squares off with Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC Fight Night Vancouver on Saturday, September 14.


TRENDING > UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier recap video


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

War Room: Dan Hardy breaks down Justin Gaethje vs. Cowboy Cerrone (UFC video preview)

Dan Hardy - Justin Gaethje vs Donald Cerrone UFC Vancouver

(Courtesy of Full Reptile)

Former UFC welterweight challenger Dan Hardy steps into the War Room to break down this weekend's UFC on ESPN+ 16 main event between lightweight contenders Justin Gaethje and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. UFC on ESPN+ 16 takes place on Saturday, Sept. 14, in Vancouver.


TRENDING > UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier recap video


 

Justin Gaethje breaks down his James Vick KO; can he do the same to Cowboy Cerrone?

(Courtesy of UFC)

Every one of UFC lightweight contender Justin Gaethje's fights in the Octagon have ended by way of knockout. For better or worse, Gaethje's fights have rarely gone the distance throughout his eight-year professional career.

Gaethje's fight with James Vick in the UFC Fight Night Lincoln headliner last year was one for the better. Gaethje made quick work of Vick, knocking him out in less than a minute and a half into the first round. 

Next up for Gaethje is friend and former training partner Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. The two fan favorites will throw down in Saturday's UFC on ESPN+ 16 headliner in Vancouver, British Columbia. Can Gaethje do the same thing to Cerrone as he did to Vick?

Watch and listen as Gaethje breaks down his first-round knockout of Vick.


TRENDING > UFC 242: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Dustin Poirier recap video


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

UFC on ESPN+ 16 weigh-in results: Cerrone and Gaethje set for five-round headliner

Donald Cowboy Cerrone UFC Ottawa post scrum

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Vancouver on Saturday for UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje. First, the fighters had to step on the scale on Friday to weigh-in and make their bouts official. UFC on ESPN+ 16 is topped by an explosive lightweight contender showdown between friends Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje. Cerrone (36-12, 1NC; No. 4 UFC lightweight) is looking to rebound from a loss to top-ranked Tony Ferguson. He returned to the lightweight division earlier this year with wins over Alexander Hernandez and Al Iaquinta. Had he defeated Ferguson, Cerrone likely would have been next in line for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. A former World Series of Fighting champion, Gaethje (20-2) was on the fast track to a title shot before stumbling in back-to-back bouts with Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. He has since returned to the win column with victories over James Vick and Edson Barboza. A win over Cerrone would have him once again knocking on the door to the title. Cerrone stepped on the scale early during the official UFC on ESPN+ 16 weigh-in proceedings, weighing 155.5 pounds, a half pound below the limit for a lightweight non-title fight. Gaethje matched him, also weighing 155.5 pounds to give their headlining bout the green light. The only fighter to miss weight was Michel Pereira, who weighed 172 pounds for his welterweight bout with Tristan Connelly. Pereira was fined 20-percent of his fight purse, which goes to Connelly.
TRENDING > Dan Hardy breaks down Justin Gaethje vs. Cowboy Cerrone (UFC video preview)

UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje weigh-in results

Main Card (8 p.m. ET on ESPN+) Prelims (5 p.m. ET on ESPN+) *Pereira missed weight and was fined 20-percent of his fight purse.
An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

Justin Gaethje: ‘I’m here to create a legacy’

(Courtesy of MMAFighting.com)

Lightweight contender Justin Gaethje headlines the UFC on ESPN+ 16 fight card on Saturday and spoke with the media about his reputation, the match-up with Donald Cerrone, and when he'll consider retiring from fighting.


TRENDING > Jorge Masvidal on Colby Covington: ‘We were (cool) until he ripped off my coach’


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

Hunter Azure likes the UFC Vancouver match-up with Brad Katona for his Octagon debut

Against fellow undefeated bantamweight Chris Ocon at Dana White’s Contender Series this past July, Hunter Azure was able to have a good enough performance to earn an opportunity to fight in the UFC whit his unanimous decision victory.

For Azure, the bout with Ocon played out much how he and his team thought it would.

“It was a big opportunity being on the Contender Series,” Azure told MMAWeekly.com. “Chris was a tough kid. It was definitely a different setting in that Apex building. It was kind of tough to feel like you were in a fight, but everything went smooth and went to game plan.”

With an opportunity now to fight in the UFC, Azure feels like this is just the start of the journey, and as such he’s made changes to his training camp in preparation for the road ahead.

“I feel like the work is just now beginning,” said Azure. “All the fights will be tough. I have to be very well prepared. It’s exciting and stuff to be here, but I always knew this is where I was going to be. Now is the time to prove that I belong in here; and just keep climbing up.

“I just switched gyms (to Fight Ready) for my style of fighting and for things I felt was lacking and needed to be better at. It’s a big wrestling gym, and that’s where my roots are, so I just figured I needed to get back to those and into the little details of wrestling and bring it back up again.”

On September 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Azure (7-0) puts his undefeated record on the line versus Brad Katona (8-1) in a preliminary 135-pound bout at UFC on ESPN+ 16.

TRENDING > Colby Covington: UFC 244 negotiations ‘not fair; the company is rolling in money’

“He’s had a few fights in the UFC now, but it’s a perfect match-up for me against a name to come out and get a first win on,” Azure said of facing Katona. “Stylistically I like the match up as well. I’ve just got to go in there and get my feet wet for my first UFC fight, get a win and keep banging them out after that.”

Not only being new to the UFC, but to MMA as a whole, Azure isn’t trying to look too far ahead, but he does have an idea of where he’d like to find himself rankings-wise in the coming year.

“I have a roadmap as in keep getting better fights and climbing the rankings, but at the same time, I’m not trying to rush and just tossed up to the top either,” said Azure. “I’m still new to the sport, so I have a lot of growing to do, and with a couple right fights I’ll be right in the Top 15.”


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

For Donald Cerrone, it’s all about the journey

(Courtesy of MMAFighting.com)

Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone talks about his UFC on ESPN+ 16 headlining bout against Justin Gathje and the landscape of the 155-pound division. Of course, there's also a little talk about Conor McGregor thrown in.


TRENDING > Conor McGregor draws motivation from Nate Diaz


An exciting throwdown between fan favorite lightweight contenders Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje headlines UFC Vancouver. Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday, Sept. 14, for full UFC on ESPN+ 16: Cowboy vs. Gaethje live results. The first bout is slated to begin at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.

Conor McGregor draws motivation from Nate Diaz

UFC 202 McGregor vs Diaz

Former UFC dual-division champion Conor McGregor has been through numerous ups and downs over the past few years. From being stripped of both UFC titles to his blockbuster professional boxing debut opposite Floyd Mayweather to his out-of-the-Octagon legal issues, McGregor has been riding a rollercoaster.

Having sat out the past year following his UFC 229 loss to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor's UFC return has been anything but assured.

In a recent ESPN interview, however, McGregor said that there is no way he's stepping away from the fight game. In fact, he referenced rival Nate Diaz's recent return to the Octagon as a motivation for his own career.

"I’m just trying to find that balance and get motivated again. And I’m looking for inspiration everywhere. Like I said, I took great motivation from watching Nate go out and do his thing. And even looking at Nate, there’s many things that were amazing about that whole performance for Nate," McGregor said.

"One of the most important ones that stood out for me is that the very first thing that he said post-fight was 'the Nick Diaz army.' He gave a shout out to his brother and I hope his brother is doing well. I hope Nick is doing well, a soldier of the game, of the real fight game," he continued.

"And he gave him respect straight off the bat. It’s why the fans love Nate. It’s why I love and respect Nate. Even now with the cannabis strain that he’s coming out with. I hope he has his business mind screwed on because he’s in a position now where he could also make a generation like I have. And I hope to see that. These are the things that I’m just looking at taking motivation from to use in my game and to push me forward."


TRENDING > Khabib’s manager shuts down Conor McGregor rematch, angling for Georges St-Pierre


Conor McGregor's full ESPN interview

(Video courtesy of ESPN MMA | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

UFC 245 Fight Card

UFC 245 event page and fight card for Saturday, December 14th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.