The UFC Standbys

It’s no secret that injuries have hindered several big UFC events and as the UFC enters the fourth quarter of 2018, Dana White and company have been more vocal on having members of the roster on standby in case of injury. Today, there are no shortages of standbys for some crucial events coming to an MMA theater near you.

Welcome to the UFC injury reserve list. So far we’ve got Kamaru Usman, Kevin Lee and potentially Colby Covington and Tony Ferguson. Names like Alexander Volkov, Jeremy Stephens, Kelvin Gastelum, Brian Ortega were in the conversation to step in on days notice to save a main or co-main event. Al Iaquinta scored the biggest fight of his career as a last minute replacement, which in turn inspired others to vie for the coveted role of standby.

Because letting the show go on with odd match ups on short notice is much better than watching the two intended opponents face off after months of promotion. With Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov set to fight in two months time, Kevin Lee took it upon himself to book a fight on the same date at UFC 229. That’s right Sean Shelby, Lee is coming for your job.

Lee seems intent on replacing Nurmagomedov in case the proverbial banana peel finds its way on the AKA gym floor. As of today Lee’s opponent is non-existent. Then there’s Paulie Malignaggi who reignited his beef with McGregor. The feud has been enflamed appropriately on Twitter. Because there is no better way to promote McGregor’s impending showdown with Nurmagomedov then to poke fun at retired boxers online.

Speaking of social media, Nurmagomedov took it upon himself to request Dana White’s help in granting his father a visa via Instagram. It’s worth noting that Nurmagomedov’s last performance, which has been open for criticism, took place without his father at his corner. The Dagestani abandoned the game plan in the middle of his championship bout, which resulted in Nurmagomedov appearing human for a change. His father’s visa was also not granted prior to UFC 209 either, an event that ended with Nurmagomedov being hospitalized due to a botched weight cut days ahead of his interim title bout against Tony Ferguson. There is no worse omen than not having your father in your corner during a fist fight.

Nate Diaz still hasn’t made up his mind whether he will fight Dustin Poirer at Madison Square Garden at UFC 230, which means the UFC might have to rely on Al Iaquinta in the last minute once more. An ode to all the standbys for their sacrifice in case they are needed, which often times they are.

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