Ali Abdelaziz may very well be the most well-known MMA manager in the game. He represents some of the biggest stars in the game including lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Obviously, Abdelaziz is very busy and recently spoke to MMAJunkie radio where he gave updates on several of his clients including former bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt.
Here is what he had to say of his clients and what is next for them.
Cody Garbrandt, former UFC bantamweight champion: “Cody Garbrandt will make his comeback March 2 (at UFC 235). I would like him to fight Pedro Munhoz. The UFC need to do what they need to do. I think Pedro Munhoz is an amazing fighter. He just knocked out Bryan Caraway. When he fought Rivera, I thought he beat Rivera, too. I think Pedro Munhoz is an amazing fighter, and I would like to see Cody Garbrandt fight Pedro Munhoz.”
Frankie Edgar, UFC featherweight top contender: “It has to be Frankie (fighting Max Holloway for the featherweight title next). If (Holloway) doesn’t go up, and I don’t think he’ll go up, it has to be Frankie. He might go up, but it has to be Frankie. The UFC owes it to Frankie, (Max) owes it to Frankie. Frankie didn’t have to fight (Brian) Ortega (at UFC 222), but he stepped up, the stud that he is.”
Justin Gaethje, UFC lightweight contender: “Gaethje wants to fight Al (Iaquinta). There’s talk about Gaethje (vs. Edson) Barboza, but Al owes him one. He owes him this. He bailed out on him when tickets went on sale (for their scheduled fight at UFC Fight Night 135 in August). Once tickets went on sale, Al didn’t show up. I think Al owes him this one.”
Fabricio Werdum, UFC heavyweight, currently suspended by USADA: “I don’t think Fabricio fights in the UFC again. I think he is going to be fighting, probably not in the UFC. You think USADA is legit? Fabricio’s going to do what’s the best for Fabricio. He has a family, kids and I love him to death. I think he got – I don’t know what happened to him – but he got screwed. I know he didn’t cheat, but I’m his manager, and I’ve got his back.”
Anthony Johnson, former UFC light heavyweight contender: “I think he will (fight again). I don’t know (when), but I think he will. I know at one point he will.”
Nick Newell, former WSOF lightweight: “I like Scott Coker, I like Mike Kogan, I like Rich Chou, but I think – I don’t know. I think they need to step it up. I think they’re blowing it (by not signing him to Bellator). Nick Newell, he will have a future wherever he goes.”
Ray Borg, UFC flyweight/bantamweight: “I think he’ll probably fight in March or April at ’35. He’s going to ’35. (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby thankfully and gratefully accepted to move him up to ’35 when he didn’t have to, but he understands what’s going on with him and he’s going to give him a shot.”
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime