Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on Monday featured two of the hottest stars in the UFC, as well as four other fighters who were victorious at UFC 244 on Saturday.
Jorge Masvidal, who defeated Nate Diaz for the BMF title, was on the show talking about wanting to fight Canelo Alavarez. UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was in the studio in Bristol and laid out plans for his future, which could include Jon Jones. Kevin Lee, Stephen Thompson and Derrick Lewis also checked in, fresh off key wins at Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Lee credits training changes for KO win over Gillespie
More than one thing was different about Kevin Lee on Saturday night. It wasn't just that his move back down from welterweight for a lightweight bout with Gregor Gillespie, a rising contender who came in unbeaten. A big reason why Lee ended Gillespie's unbeaten run with a devastating head-kick knockout in the first round, he believes, was his change of training camp. For this fight, "The Motown Phenom" trained under Firas Zahabi at Montreal's Tristar Gym.
Lee, whose flashy KO ended a two-fight skid, appeared on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show to explain how that made a difference.
"If this would have been the old me, if this would have been the me that fought back in May, it would have been a much harder fight. I can say that right out of the gate. The kick was cool, but that wasn't really what made that fight happen so quickly. It was the wrestling. It was me staying in position. ... He hit me. And I feel like the old me, when he hit me, would have wanted to really get it back and started brawling with him. And then he would have ducked underneath me [for a takedown] or whatever. For this one, I heard Firas's voice in me the whole time. It was just, "Stay focused," "Stay calm," "Stay relaxed." And I feel like that's what won me he fight."
Adesanya says Jones can meet him at 185
Adesanya tells Jones to 'come see me at 185'
Israel Adesanya says he wants to clean out the middleweight division before moving up to fight Jon Jones, but says Jones can jump the line at 185.
McGregor manager Attar expects fight announcement soon
McGregor's manager expects fight announcement in the coming weeks
Conor McGregor's manager, Audie Attar, says an announcement for McGregor's next UFC bout will come in the next few weeks.
Darren Till on an Adesanya fight, his visa issues, more
After surviving an unpredictable week with multiple issues that threatened to derail his fight, Darren Till picked up a massive win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244. So what's next? He checked in as a guest on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on Monday.
Is Till done at 170?
"Probably not. I've got a few screws loose in my head, Ariel. I ain't too well up in this noggin. I just took a few smacks off Kelvin, so my brain's a bit mashed. But maybe one day again."
Is an Israel Adesanya fight going to happen? (Adesanya eyed Till during his walkout at UFC 244.)
"Yeah, the cheeky bastard. It's gotta happen. ... There ain't no blueprint out there on how to beat him yet. Me and Israel need to fight. I need to provide his blueprint. It's not about the belt. It's not about anything [else]. It's about destiny, and he knows. He'll come in the studio and tell ya. Me and him are meant to fight at some point. We'll see. I'll have to get off these crutches first, but we're meant to fight."
Would an Adesanya fight be next? How is Till feeling after the Gastelum fight?
"I don't want to rush things. I'm on cloud nine after this fight. I want to hone my skill set. I want to get better. I've only been doing MMA eight years. I'm getting better. It's about being a true martial artist. The week before the fight, I know I tore my knee. I just put it to the back of my head. And when Kelvin first took me down but I jumped back up, I sort of felt it a little bit. You've gotta put these things to the back of your mind. I'm not worried about it. I recover quite quickly. I know how to do my recovery well. We'll see."
Are the visa issues sorted out for good?
"I spoke to Dana [White, the UFC president]. I'm getting it sorted right now. ... He spoke to me with the team. They're doing everything they can to just sort this problem out and iron it out. I appreciate that from them. They didn't have to go to the lengths they did, and I think [President] Trump got involved. I think so -- I'm not sure, but I think he got a call. It's f------ madness ... Trump speaking my name. I don't even know what to say."
Jorge Masvidal has his eye on a new opponent: Canelo Alvarez?
Masvidal 'dead serious' about boxing Canelo
Jorge Masvidal tells Ariel Helwani that he's serious about his desire to box Canelo Alvarez and explains why he'll cause issues for Alvarez.
Stephen Thompson injures hands at UFC 244
Stephen Thompson earned a unanimous decision win over Vicente Luque at UFC 244 in what was easily his most impressive performance in years. But those watching the Helwani Show had to have been stunned at how "Wonderboy" was able to snap his two-fight skid after seeing his heavily swollen hands.
"I'm pretty sure I broke both my hands," Thompson said. "Broke this knuckle here [on left hand] on Vicente's head and my front knuckle here [on right hand]. Got the professional club hands going on. I remember going out in the second round and letting my coaches know that my hands are definitely broken.
Thompson knocks down Luque in Round 3
Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson lands a left-handed strike that knocks Vicente Luque to the ground. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
"So third round, you know, I threw them anyway. Wanted to go out there and put on a good show for the fans and come home with that 'W.' I tried putting him away, so I had to let my hands fly."
Thompson's last win prior to Saturday was two years ago today against Jorge Masvidal. Thompson called Masvidal's recent rise to superstardom "inspirational" and will use that as motivation to get back into the welterweight title picture.
"After beating him and me just getting knocked out by Anthony Pettis," Thompson said, "knowing that if I come back and put the work in ... I can maybe fight for the title again this time next year."
Perry tells the story of breaking his nose before the Luque fight
Walt Harris provides an update on the search for his daughter
Harris: I won't stop until I find my daughter
Walt Harris says he won't stop the search until he finds his daughter and can bring closure to the situation.