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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
MMA Junkie Staff

Spinning Back Clique LIVE: Diaz-Masvidal boxing rematch, UFC 301’s main event, Jose Aldo’s return, Islam Makhachev speaks

Check out this week’s “Spinning Back Clique,” MMA Junkie’s weekly live show that takes a spin through the biggest topics in mixed martial arts.

This week’s panel of Mike Bohn, Matthew Wells and Brian “Goze” Garcia will join host “Gorgeous” George Garcia, live at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) to discuss and debate:

  • Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will run it back in June, but this time, the rivals will meet inside a boxing ring rather than an MMA cage. The former UFC mainstays will compete independently of the organization where they made their names and, in fact, will fight on the same night as UFC 302. The name power is there for this rematch between two of the more popular MMA fighters in recent memory, but should it have been in a cage like the first meeting?
  • Alexandre Pantoja has his next flyweight title challenger: Steve Erceg. UFC 301 has its headliner, and it’s a flyweight title fight that nobody saw coming. Pantoja gets the opportunity to defend his title on home soil, but the challenger in UFC-ranked No. 10 Erceg caught many, including several peers in his division, by surprise. Is this a case of perfect timing for Erceg, or there a larger message being sent to the division?
  • After walking away from the UFC after his 20th fight, to an instant Hall of Fame induction while dabbling in professional boxing, former featherweight king Jose Aldo is back. At UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro, Aldo will return to action against Jonathan Martinez, adding some much-needed weight to a light pay-per-view event. More importantly, what should be expected of the 37-year-old Aldo in return to the UFC?
  • Jon Jones and Tom Aspinall crossed paths at a sports convention this past weekend. The viral moment saw the two heavyweights exchange respectful words in a face-to-face encounter. Aspinall, the heavyweight interim title holder, placed his hand on Jones’ shoulder, which prompted the UFC champ to immediately remove it before continuing with the brief interaction. You could feel the respect, and also the tension. Should the UFC change course here from Jones’ expected fight against Stipe Miocic and unify the UFC title next?
  • Islam Makhachev spoke to MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn, hitting on several interesting topics. Among them were the reasons for wanting Dustin Poirier to be his next title challenger, his thoughts on the BMF title fight between Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway, and why he could not take on Leon Edwards in a champ vs. champ fight at UFC 300. What struck you the most about this interview with the UFC lightweight champion?
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