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Morning Report: With Nate Diaz out, Khabib Nurmagomedov waits for a lightweight to answer Dana White's challenge

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After a wild weekend or back and forth between UFC brass and a number of lightweights, Khabib Nurmagomedov's dance card remains empty. The undefeated Dagestani standout has been getting a bit antsy about finding his next opponent, openly mocking some of the division's elite. Things came to a head Saturday when UFC president Dana White tweeted that Nate Diaz had turned down a potential scrap with Nurmagomedov.

Diaz, who quickly responded on Twitter himself, claimed that wasn't the case.

Nurmagomedov issued the challenge again, but was met with no response.

Enter Diaz' manager, Mike Kogan. On Sunday, Kogan admitted that while the fight was offered, the promotion refused certain conditions, effectively pumping the brakes on talks. "Nate has never turned down a fight against anyone," Kogan told MMA Mania. "There are conditions that we asked for that were turned down by the UFC, so the fight didn't happen."

Elaborating on the issue to FOX Sports, Kogan explains where exactly the UFC wasn't willing to budge:

"We asked for Nate's contract to be redone. The UFC turned it down. We asked for a change to his contract, and changes to when the fight takes place. They said no and we said no thanks. This is supposed to be a professional sport, but then this resorts to these Twitter wars. This isn't a street fight, it's a professional sport. If it's a street fight and they want to see who the better man is they know where the fuck Nate is, and then we can see who is the better man."

Knowing an opportunity when he sees it, Michael Johnson joined the fray Sunday.

Johnson had been campaigning to face Diaz, but told MMA Fighting he's after anyone ahead of him in the divisional standings. With back-to-back wins over Gleison Tibau and Joe Lauzon, a win over Nurmagomedov (currently ranked No. 7) would undoubtedly push Johnson (No. 13) into the division's top ten. To his credit, Jamie Varner also threw his name in the ring, but after dropping two of his last three and a tough short-notice fight with Abel Trujillo coming up at UFC 169 you would have to imagine it being a tough sell to Nurmagomedov and UFC brass, alike.

Nurmagomedov was originally slated to face perennial contender Gilbert Melendez at UFC 170 until White officially put the kibosh on it Jan. 3. According to Melendez' training parter Jake Shields, it's a fight 'El Nino' still wants down the line, but that nothing was ever agreed to before being prematurely announced late last December.



'It was an accident.' Anderson Silva says he doesn't consider his UFC 168 bout with Chris Weidman to be a true loss and believes he was well on his way to winning the fight before being injured.

Technique talk. Luke Thomas gets together with Ray Longo to talk Weidman's infamous 'destruction' leg check.

'One day I'll fight at 155.' UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo says competing in the heavier weight class is still very much in his plans.

No regrets. Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre says he's been loving his time away from MMA. "I just took a break. I spent Christmas time and New Years, with my family. That's something I haven't done for a long time."

Moving on. Keith Kizer has resigned as executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission to take a position with the Nevada Attorney General's office.




Trailer for GSP's upcoming documentary.


Urijah Faber wants dirty fight with Renan Barao.


Chael 40 feet high.


K-1 World MAX Quarterfinals recap.


Bellator 111 comes together.


Vitor Belfort and Thiago Alves doing some pad work.


My favorite of the Luke parodies.


Long watches.

Former Cage Rage boss and UCMMA promoter Dave O'Donnell talks the ups and downs (losing £10 million) of running an MMA promotion.

The MMA Beat on Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber, Bellator vs. WSOF, Brock Lesnar, more






Putting the break to good use.




Just in case ... water wings.


Looking good.


Shameless plug.


House that Conor built.


Get him before the coppers do.


Last resort.



Announced this weekend (Jan. 10-12 2014)

Louis Gaudinot vs. Phil Harris at UFC Fight Night 37

cancelled Pascal Krauss vs. Adam Khaliev at UFC on FOX 10

Fabio Maldonado vs. Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night Natal

George Sullivan vs. Mike Rhodes at UFC on FOX 10



Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via tigerlee.

The Hierarchy of MMA - Revised and Expanded!

Recently WSOF match-maker Ali Abdel-Aziz threw down the gauntlet with Bellator in a proposed PPV event matching up stars from respective organizations. It certainly started a lot of debate concerning which promotion is number two behind the UFC and how close these trailing promotions are when it comes to roster talent.

I decided it was time to add some statistics to the debate so that we have some sort of factual information to gain insight into just how the top market share of fighters is divided up, rather than pure speculative opinion. We must all understand that most rankings are subjective anyway, so the weight of this information should be scrutinized and I accept that this is no way definitive.


Check out the rest of the post here.


Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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