UFC's Jon Jones Lectures Khabib Fans ... I'm the G.O.A.T. and It's Not Close!!!

Breaking News
THE REAL CHAMP

Jon Jones believes he's the GREATEST fighter of all time -- not Khabib Nurmagomedov -- and he's spelling it out in a new video.

"I’m talking to all you Khabib fans out there," Jones said ... "15 world titles to your guy's 4??? And, you guys are really talking about who’s the best fighter ever? You guys are joking, right?"

"15 to 4. Are you guys’ kidding me?"

What Jones is saying is he's 15 title fights for either an undisputed or interim title -- though it's worth noting, his victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 was overturned due to a failed drug test.

Khabib has won 4 title fights in his career -- defeating Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

Not a bad resume ... but Jones says his 8 title defenses blow that out of the water.

"The only person that could possibly come back and challenge my record and what I’ve done in the UFC is possibly Georges St-Pierre. He would have to come back and win 2 championship fights to tie me, and I’m not even retired yet! I’m 33 years old. I’ve got a whole 'nother chapter to go through.”

Oh, there's more -- Jones continued ...

"And, all you guys who are going with this, 'He’s more dominant' argument, [Khabib] just recently started fighting elite-level competition. Could you imagine me against the #10 ranked guy?”

Jones has a solid point there ... look at his resume -- Ryan Bader, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Alexander Gustafsson (twice!), Daniel Cormier (twice!) and many, many more.

And, Jones beat these guys in their primes.

Yes, Jones technically has a loss on his record -- a 2009 defeat against Matt Hamill -- but he was disqualified for an illegal elbow in a fight Jones was dominating. Most people don't really count it against him.

So, is Jones truly the G.O.A.T. over Khabib?? Jon thinks so. Do you?

Michael Chandler To UFC ... Let Me Fight Justin Gaethje!!!

Exclusive
ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
TMZSports.com

If Justin Gaethje is serious about fighting again in 6 weeks, Michael Chandler tells TMZ Sports he's all the way down to make that happen!!

Chandler -- who just signed with UFC after dominating Bellator for the past decade -- was the official "alternate" for the Gaethje vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight on Fight Island this past weekend ... and says he's already in shape for a 5-round main event.

So, when Justin took the mic after his loss to Khabib on Saturday and said he's ready to go again in the next 2 months ... Chandler says his ears perked up.

"That's a fight that I'd love for myself and for the fans," Chandler told us from the airport shortly after touching back down in the US.

"It's a fight that scares me, it's a fight that gets me excited. It's a fight that -- it gets your juices flowing. If you're a mixed martial arts fan, a UFC fan, you wanna see us step into the cage together.

Chandler believes his role as the alternate for the lightweight championship fight at UFC 254 should make him the number 1 contender to fight for the vacant lightweight belt ... now that Khabib has retired.

Chandler even delivers a message to UFC boss Dana White ... saying, "So, you need a new champion, why not me?"

Khabib Nurmagomedov RETIRES FROM MMA After Choking Out Justin Gaethje

Breaking News

Khabib Nurmagomedov just RETIRED FROM MMA -- after choking out Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Wow.

Khabib essentially said he doesn't want to continue in the sport without his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who passed away earlier this year after a bout with COVID-19.

Gaethje proved dangerous -- throwing bombs as the lightweight champ -- but ultimately, Khabib's ground game was too strong ... and he caught Justin in a triangle choke in the 2nd round. Gaethje was rendered unconscious but came to moments later. He's fine.

Afterward, Khabib broke down in the Octagon sobbing ... overcome with emotion in his first fight since the passing of his father.

Justin and Khabib embraced after the fight -- nothing but respect between these two.

"God give me everything," Khabib said in the post fight interview ... "This is my last fight. Ain't no way I come here without my father."

32-year-old Khabib ends his career 29-0 -- defeating superstars like Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Gaethje and more.

Khabib says he's thought long and hard about his career -- and is certain his decision to retire will stand. It's not a publicity stunt.

In fact, Khabib left his gloves in the center of the Octagon -- a tradition from fighters to symbolize the end of their career.

Next stopgap UFC Hall of Fame ... he'll go down in MMA history as one of the greatest of all time.

Conor McGregor posted a respectful message to Khabib after the fight -- saying, "Good performance. I will carry on. Respect and condolences on your father again also."

"To you and family. Yours sincerely, The McGregors."

Khabib Nurmagomedov Dad Wanted Son to Fight GSP ... Trainer Says

Exclusive Details

It's starting to make more sense why Khabib Nurmagomedov so badly wants to fight Georges St-Pierre -- it was his father's plan.

Khabib's dad, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, passed away back in July after battling COVID. Khabib and his dad were extremely close. Abdulmanap trained him since he was a little kid back in Dagestan.

Khabib will step back in the Octagon for the first time since his father's death on Saturday to take on Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 ... but he's talked publicly about wanting GSP as his next opponent.

We spoke with Khabib's trainer Javier Mendez who tells us he was with Khabib and his father in Dagestan back in 2019, when Abdulmanap talked about his dream for Khabib to fight St-Pierre.

STICKING TO FATHER'S PLAN
TMZSports.com

"I was present when they had that conversation," Mendez says ... "That was the one he talked about as the fight his father would want to see … him fight GSP at 155 pounds."

"His father respected GSP probably more than anybody out of all the people he admired ... and therefore he wanted his son to fight GSP at some point."

In other words, it seems Khabib is calling out GSP in the hopes of honoring his father's wishes.

In the meantime, Javier tells us he's been incorporating Abdulmanap's training techniques for the Gaethje fight -- reminding Khabib to follow "Father's Plan."

"I've always used 'Father's Plan' because I want to honor the man who taught him everything," Mendez says.

UFC's Dana White Demi Lovato, The Rock Will Be 1st Fans Invited to Fight Island

Exclusive

Officials in Abu Dhabi are considering allowing fans on Fight Island to watch UFC fights in person at some point down the road ... and Dana White says he's already putting together his VIP list!

"I have a list of people that, when I get it done, I'm gonna reach out to see if they're interested in coming to Abu Dhabi for the fights," White says.

ARE YOU ON THE LIST?
TMZSports.com

So, who's gonna make the A-list? Some of the biggest stars on the planet.

"Well I haven't even put it together yet but, definitely, obviously The Rock ... and Anthony Kiedis is a die-hard fan. Demi Lovato is a big fan."

"There's so many but we'll shoot something out to all of them and see if they want to come."

There's more ... we also talked to Dana about several upcoming potential fights.

Here are the main points:

-- UFC is targeting Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou for a heavyweight title fight in March.

"That's the goal, we'll see what happens."

-- What's up with the Diaz brothers?

"I know Nate's been texting and stuff like that. And, usually when you see Nate starting to get active, saying this about this guy and that about that guy, means he's getting ready to fight."

-- Do you want to see Nate run it back with Jorge Masvidal?

"Nah, somebody else. I don't even know off the top of my head. But, if Nate was interested in fighting, they'd reach out, let us know and then they'd probably let us know who they were thinking [as an opponent] and we'd try to figure out whatever it is we could."

Justin Gaethje's Twin Bro We Wrecked People Together ... As Football Teammates!

Exclusive
GROWIN' UP GAETHJE
TMZSports.com

Did you know Justin Gaethje has a twin brother?

It's true -- his name is Marcus, and shocker -- turns out knockout power runs in the family!

We spoke to the Gaethje boys (both on Fight Island getting ready UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje) ... and they revealed how they used to destroy people together, while playing high school football back in Arizona!

Both Gaethje's were 2-way players -- Justin was a QB and strong safety, Marcus was a tight end and middle linebacker.

But, they got their kicks on defense -- where Justin says they were a "brotherly force" ... "We both hit hard!"

Marcus tells TMZ Sports he always knew his bro was a talented athlete but didn't think he'd pursue professional fighting until Justin became a star wrestler in college.

"He met one of those wrestling coaches that was kinda in the fight game and he brought some UFC fighters to the wrestling [gym] and I think that's when he made the decision that he wanted to at least try fighting," Marcus says.

"Other than that, he did a couple backyard fights with gloves on but that was really it."

Justin's career choice has panned out -- he's fighting for the UFC lightweight belt on Saturday.

Justin says he always wanted to be an NFL player -- but he just wasn't big enough.

He's still a huge fan of the Raiders and plans to take his UFC belt to the team after he beats Khabib!

There's a lot more ... Marcus also talks about what it was like growing up in the small town of Safford, AZ -- population 10,000.

FAMILY MAN
TMZSports.com

"You would never think that this was possible for someone coming from our town [to make it big] ... and then it being my brother? It's kinda cool."

"We've seen, us as a family, have seen all the hard work that he's put in since such a young age and now it's all starting to pay off so it's really cool."

UFC's Michael Chandler On Being Alternate for Khabib vs. Gaethje ... 'I'm Ready'

Exclusive
STAYIN' READY FOR ANYTHING
TMZSports.com

UFC's newest star Michael Chandler says he's taking his job as "alternate" for the Khabib vs. Gaethje fight very seriously ... and he'll be ready to step in if either fighter can't go on Saturday.

As we previously reported, several Khabib fights have been scrapped at the last minute to due unforeseen circumstances ... from bad weight cuts to freak injuries.

So, Dana White has a backup plan for UFC 254 -- flying out Michael Chandler, one of the best lightweights in the world, to stay ready in case something happens to either Justin or Khabib before that bell rings.

"Of course I don't want bad luck to befall Khabib or Gaethje because I respect them a ton," Chandler tells TMZ Sports ... "but they needed someone to be here as an insurance policy, as a backup plan in case somebody did fall off the card. So, I've said I have to be ready."

Chandler is on Fight Island and preparing himself as if he'll fight on Saturday night -- everything from conditioning to the weight cut.

"At this point, I still don't know if whether I'm weighing in and then waiting for Khabib and Gaethje to make weight," Chandler says.

"I don't know if I'm gonna go to the arena, warm-up, get my hands wrapped until Khabib and Gaethje actually step into that cage and that cage door's locked and Bruce Buffer's announcing them."

Chandler admits it's frustrating training for a fight that might not happen -- but "I signed on the dotted line saying I'd be the alternate, I am the alternate until I'm needed no more."

"All I can do is do my job."

After UFC 254, Chandler says he's hoping to sign a contract to fight Tony Ferguson -- and if he wins that, it would put him in a great spot for a potential title shot with Khabib or Justin.

We also asked Chandler to make a fight prediction for Saturday -- and he's taking Khabib over Gaethje.

BET ON KHABIB
TMZSports.com

"You gotta bet on the guy who is undefeated."

But, Chandler says Gaethje is a dangerous man -- and he's got a real shot at upsetting the champ.

Is it Saturday yet?!??!

Justin Gaethje I Don't Fear Death 'That's Why I Won't Buy a Motorcycle'

Exclusive
NOT SCARED ONE BIT
TMZSports.com

UFC superstar Justin Gaethje says he doesn't have a healthy fear of dying -- which is exactly why he refuses to buy a motorcycle.

We should explain ...

31-year-old Gaethje says the way he's built, he goes "balls to the wall" in everything he does -- and that little voice that most people have in their heads telling them to "slow down" and "be careful" ... yeah, he doesn't have that.

He doesn't WANT to die -- but once he starts to do something that might be dangerous (like riding a motorcycle), he'll push it to the limit with no regard for his own safety.

Hence, his rule of trying not to put himself in a position where death is a real possibility. Get it?

Here's how Justin put it to us while talking about his upcoming fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254.

"I'm confident in my skills, not one bit scared to step in there. I'm looking forward to that feeling. I chase that feeling. That's why I don't buy motorcycles because I will die. That's why I do a lot of things to keep myself from even putting myself in positions where I can be in danger because once it starts, it's balls to the wall."

Scary as hell, right?!

There's a lot more ... as far as Justin's MMA career, Gaethje says he's got "at least 5 more fights" -- but he'll only count a fight if it's a "war."

"If they're not wars, they don't count."

The money is also a factor -- "As long as [the UFC is] paying me as much as they're paying me, I'm probably gonna fight until I do not believe I can be the best in the world anymore."

Gaethje says the money he'll make from the Khabib fight will mean his mother no longer has to work another day in her life.

The only issue ... mom -- a Postmaster at Safford Post Office in Arizona -- isn't ready to retire just yet!

"She's so crazy. She's like 'Son, I can't leave them for Christmas. I have to at least work until Christmas!' I'm like, 'No you don't! You don't owe them nothing!'"

"But it's just a testament to who they are and who I am."

How can you not love this guy?!

Khabib vs. Gaethje Tracking to be Biggest Fight in UFC History ... Dana White Says

Exclusive
A LOT ON THE LINE
TMZSports.com

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje is tracking to be the biggest fight in UFC history ... bigger than any Conor McGregor fight ... so says Dana White.

We just spoke with the UFC honcho who tells us the data he's looked at shows massive interest in UFC 254 -- and he's expecting to break the 2.4 million PPV buys that Conor vs. Khabib did in 2018.

"Yeah, it's trending bigger than that right now," Dana says.

White says the data doesn't always hold up -- but right now, he's pretty confident.

For the record, 2.4 million buys at $65 a pop is $156 MILLION in PPV money alone ... so yeah, this is a big deal.

We also asked Dana about Khabib's comments to ESPN on Tuesday morning -- when the Dagestani said he's very interested in a fight with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre after he gets through Justin.

White says he's interested in exploring a possible deal -- but he's not making any promises.

"I'd be interested in talking about it. Just because that's what Khabib wants doesn't mean that fight can be made. I mean there's just so many things that have to come into play for that fight to happen."

As for Conor McGregor ... Dana tells us the contract to fight Dustin Poirier in January is NOT officially done at this point, but he's expecting it to happen soon.

"No, the deals not signed yet but in the history of dealing with Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor has never come out publicly and said 'I accept this fight' and not fought," White says ... "I expect the fight to go on."

I EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN
TMZSports.com

Conor has said he wants the fight to take place at AT&T Stadium in Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones has said he's open to hosting a McGregor fight.

So, we asked Dana if there's a realistic chance that could happen.

White says the UFC has been trying to book a fight there for years but it just hasn't come to fruition -- and it definitely won't until Texas allows full capacity for fans.

In other words, if Conor is hoping for this fight to go down in Texas ... don't hold your breath.

UFC's Mike Perry's Mom Called 911 During Alleged Violent Incident Perry Denies Wrongdoing

Breaking News
"HE HAS A TEMPER"

"Platinum" Mike Perry's mother told 911 dispatchers she was "scared for (her) life" during an alleged violent incident involving the UFC fighter back in February ... in which his ex-wife claims he cracked her ribs.

Important to note -- 29-year-old Perry is denying the allegations ... saying he NEVER put his hands on her during their "short-term marriage."

Danielle Nickerson went public with the allegations to MMA Junkie on Tuesday ... claiming Perry assaulted and injured her during a Feb. 10, 2020 incident in Orlando, FL -- forcing her to seek safety at her mother-in-law's home.

Perry's mother, Sabra Young, then called 911 ... saying she was fearful he would lash out against them.

"My son is out in the driveway, and he’s violent right now, and I’m scared for my life, and I don’t know what he’s going to do," Young says in the call.

"He’s revving his engine right now. His wife is inside my house, and I’m afraid he’s going to hurt her."

When asked if Perry was involved in a fight with his ex, his mother responded, "yes, he has a temper."

Police arrived at the scene a short time later, but Perry was already gone ... so no arrests were made, according to the news report.

Nickerson says she later filed for a protective order against Perry back in March ... but the request was denied after she "omitted certain details from her request," according to MMA Junkie.

They officially became divorced in July, according to the news report.

Perry addressed Nickerson's allegations on Twitter Monday night ... saying, "I did not put hands on my ex at any point in our short term marriage."

"I realize that I have said some things in the past that do not put me and what I stand for in the best of light and for that I apologize."

"I’m hopeful my ex can move on and find peace as I have.”

Perry recently completed an anger management course after knocking out an old man at a Texas restaurant in July ... and is set to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 255 next month.

THE BRUTAL SHOT

UFC's Joaquin Buckley Trump Loved My Wild Knockout ... 'That's Crazy!'

Exclusive
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
TMZSports.com

Joaquin Buckley's incredible spinning back kick KO has made it to the White House -- President Trump was so impressed, he called Dana White to rave about it!

Buckley's insane takedown of Impa Kasanganay at UFC Fight Night 179 has exploded after being hailed by many as the greatest knockout in MMA history.

In fact, Kanye West used the KO footage as the backdrop for his new song, "NAH NAH NAH" ... which has already been viewed by millions of people.

When we spoke with Buckley, he was STOKED to get love from Yeezus -- suggesting they could collaborate on a project together down the line ... even though Joaquin doesn't rap!

"Hey, I can learn how [to rap] though! I can write it down real quick. I can come up with a couple of things!!"

As for President Trump, Joaquin says he got a call from UFC president Dana White after the KO telling him his good friend POTUS personally called him up to tell him how impressed he was with the epic finish.

And yeah, Joaquin says he's flattered by the compliment from the Commander In Chief.

"He's the world leader at the end of the day. If anything, that's good to have a person like that on your side."

And get this, 26-year-old Buckley is still NOT a full-time MMA fighter -- he has a job at Walgreen's ... though he admits he might have to cut back his hours to focus on fighting now!

"I'm still employed by Walgreens. I gotta talk to my boss right now because I was supposed to head back on Monday!"

Buckley says he loves the Walgreen's job, but his fighting career is exploding right now and he knows he'll have to commit full-time in order to compete at the highest level.

The good news ... Buckley says his boss and co-workers are 100% supportive.

"They're just happy for me. I told 'em where I come from, they know my background, they know my story -- and just to see where I'm at now, everybody's proud of me."

Buckley is 11-3 as a pro and is now scheduled to take on Jordan Wright at UFC 255 next month!

What a month for Buckley!

McGregor Vs. Poirier Jerry Jones 'Very Open' To Hosting Fight ... I Love Conor!!!

Breaking News

Conor McGregor's wish is evidently Jerry Jones' command ... the Cowboys owner says he's now "very open" to hosting the Notorious' next fight at his palace in Dallas!

"I'm a real admirer of his," Jerry said of McGregor on 105.3 "The Fan" on Friday. "He's one of the neatest individuals I think I've met. Period."

Conor said Wednesday he's accepted a UFC fight with Dustin Poirier for Jan. 23 ... and in his announcement, McGregor said he wanted the scrap to take place at AT&T Stadium.

And, when Jerry was asked about the possibility of making that happen ... the 78-year-old said he was more than down to try to make it work.

"[Conor] is special," Jerry said. "It would be quite a day for AT&T Stadium to have him."

Of course, the UFC has yet to officially cross the T's and dot the I's on the fight ... so selecting a location for the possible tilt is still a ways away.

But, if a deal is eventually made ... it could pave the way for thousands of fans to watch the fight in person.

Jerry's been operating Cowboys home games with roughly 25,000 people in attendance all season.

As for how Jones knows Conor so well ... you'll recall, he played host to the fighter at a Dallas game back in 2018 -- and everyone LOVED the guy there!!

So, do we officially have a fight AND a location now???

Stay tuned ...

Brian Ortega UFC Star Shaves Off Luscious Locks ... For Korean Zombie Fight

Breaking News

6:56 AM PT -- Ortega's manager, Tiki Ghosn, says the fighter will now donate the shaved-off hair to Locks of Love ... ESPN's Brett Okamoto reported Friday.

#Awesome

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

The man with the best locks in the UFC no longer has hair ... Brian Ortega shaved off his beautiful salad for his bout with the Korean Zombie this weekend -- and we're heartbroken.

We just spoke with the 29-year-old a couple days ago, ... and his luscious slicked-back ponytail was still intact.

But, Ortega clearly broke out the razor in the last day or two ... showing up to weigh-ins bald as a cue ball!!!

Of course, Ortega is still handsome as hell ... but man, that hair was something!!

Unclear if Brian needed to ditch the mane to make weight ... back in 2017, he said he came close to shaving it off for the scale at UFC 214.

As for his thoughts back then on going bald? "I still look pretty regardless, I feel ... I woulda pulled it off!"

He's not wrong ... but, man, pour one out for that hairdo. Gone too soon.

Originally Published -- 6:35 AM PT

Justin Gaethje Khabib Fight is Life-Changing for Me ... 'I Won't Go Out Like a Bitch'

Exclusive
I'LL PROVE THE HATERS WRONG
TMZSports.com

Justin Gaethje says he knows his upcoming fight with UFC champ  Khabib Nurmagomedov can change his life forever -- and to steal a line from Hamilton, he's not throwing away his shot.

"The stakes are huge," Gaethje tells TMZ Sports ... "This is life-changing for me. I go out there and get a dub?! This is life-changing."

And, for all of the critics who think he'll get smoked by the undefeated Dagestani, Justin offered up this message ...

"I am prepared and you can bet your bottom dollar I will not go out like no bitch!"

Justin and Khabib -- two friends who share the same manager, Ali Abdelaziz -- are scheduled to throw down for the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 254 on Oct. 24 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

Wanna hear Justin's fight plan?

"I'm gonna go out there and I'm gonna try and break his face, I promise you."

That simple.

We asked Justin what he believes will be the biggest challenge in the fight -- and his response was interesting.

"Right now, this man is gonna be very hard to beat. With the passing of his father -- for people like us that is a driving motivating factor. He's going to be 100% motivated but I do believe ... that I can beat him."

Justin says he knows he has to punish Khabib early and often -- explaining, "If he takes 8 clean shots I truly believe that he will understand that he doesn't want to take this damage."

Justin says the UFC is flying his parents out for the fight -- and when he wins the belt, they'll be the first people he seeks out to celebrate with.

"When I win, I'm gonna go find them and give them a huge hug because we f*cking did it!"

We also asked Gaethje about Conor McGregor -- and if he still wants to fight the Irishman after all of the back and forth over the years.

NOT WORRYING ABOUT CONOR
TMZSports.com

"When I get this belt, the target will be on my back and I will have no need to call anybody out," Gaethje says.

"Honestly it wouldn't matter who I fought after Khabib. This will cement my legacy and that's the only thing I'm here for."

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!