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Cole: Avs can beat any team in playoffs – TSN

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With the NHL potentially closing on a 24-team Return to Play format, two-time Stanley Cup champion Ian Cole expressed his confidence in the Colorado Avalanche’s chances.

Cole told the Denver Post that he believes the Avalanche can beat any team in the NHL in a best-of-seven series, should the NHL keep the traditional path to the Stanley Cup.

“You only have so many opportunities to be on a really great team that has a very legitimate chance, and I view us as a team that has a very legitimate chance to win a Stanley Cup,” Cole told The Denver Post. “I look around at all the teams in the league, and obviously I’m quite a bit biased, but I think we can beat any team in this league in a seven-game series. 

“I’ve been fortunate enough to win two Stanley Cups, but there’s nothing more I want to do than win a third one, and then a fourth one, and then a fifth one. I think a lot of guys on this team mimic that.”

The National Hockey League Players’ Association’s executive board is in the process of voting on the 24-team format, which would see the top four teams in each conference play a round-robin to determine playoff seeding while teams sitting Nos. 5-12 in the standings would play in best-of-five series. The Avalanche, who currently sit third in the Western Conference, would enter the round robin.

Cole, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, is in his second season with the Avalanche and had four goals and 26 points in 65 games when the season was paused. 

The Avalanche were eliminated in the second round of last year’s playoffs after a Game 7 loss to the San Jose Sharks. The team had already surpassed their point total from last season before the pause, owning a 42-20-8 record.

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Conor McGregor retires (again) via Twitter moments after UFC 250 – MMA Fighting

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For the third time in his career, former two-division champ Conor McGregor suddenly retired via Twitter. And as with his first two announcements, there were immediate questions and speculation as to his true intentions.

“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor wrote in a tweet posted just moments after the conclusion of UFC 250. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins! Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it’s yours.”

Many fans suspected the Irish star was either trolling or engaging in a form of contract negotiations. The previous two times McGregor signed off – first in 2016 when he declared “thanks for the cheese” and the second when he retired from “Mixed Martial Art” – he was in the midst of negotiations with the UFC over his next fight and later returned to competition after hashing things out behind the scenes.

A rep for McGregor’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 31-year-old McGregor’s path remained unknown after his triumphant return to the octagon in January with a first-round drubbing of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. He bounced from opponent to opponent, targeting rival Khabib Nurmagomedov, who submitted him in a pay-per-view blockbuster at UFC 229, Jorge Masvidal, and, most recently, Anderson Silva. Many of his requests were filtered through UFC President Dana White, who most recently suggested the ex-champ wait for the winner of Nurmagomedov’s title unifier against interim champ Justin Gaethje, which is expected to take place in September.

Apparently, McGregor wasn’t keen on that, and with one tweet, he took the attention from the UFC’s most recent PPV product and redirected it at him. If the retirement sticks, it would add the promotion’s biggest star bar none to a group of major stars who’d recently backed away from the company. In the past week, top stars Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal asked to be released from contract, citing disputes over pay and treatment.

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UFC 250 bonuses: Cody Garbrandt, Sean O’Malley earn bonuses for dramatic one-punch knockouts – MMA Fighting

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UFC 250 had no shortage of exciting finishes and four fighters rewarded for avoiding the judges.

Cody Garbrandt and Sean O’Malley both received $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses for their sensational one-punch knockouts of Raphael Assuncao and Eddie Wineland, respectively. For Garbrandt, his win came at the second-round buzzer, while O’Malley needed less than a round to silence Wineland and he did so in style walking off after landing a blasting Wineland with right hand.

O’Malley has now won a bonus in each of his three UFC appearances to date.

In lieu of a Fight of the Night award, two other fighters received a Performance of the Night bonus, Aljamain Sterling and Alex Perez.

Sterling cemented his status as a future title challenger with an 88-second rear-naked choke submission of Cory Sandhagen, who was previously unbeaten in the UFC. Perez made short work of longtime flyweight contender Jussier Formiga, forcing a referee stoppage after dropping Formiga with leg kicks.

That’s back-to-back fight night bonuses for Perez now, while Sterling cashes in for the first time in his six years with the UFC.

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Conor McGregor says he’s ‘decided to retire from fighting’ – Sportsnet.ca

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Conor McGregor has announced his retirement for the third time in four years.

McGregor abruptly made his latest dubious declaration Sunday morning on his Twitter account, where the former two-division UFC champion also announced his retirement in 2016 and 2019.

“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor wrote in a caption below a photo of him and his mother. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!”

The 31-year-old Irish superstar revitalized his combat sports career in January with an impressive first-round stoppage of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. McGregor (22-4) hadn’t won a fight in a mixed martial arts cage or a boxing ring since 2016, but he remained the UFC’s brightest star and biggest financial draw.

UFC President Dana White has already said McGregor is next in line for a title shot at the winner of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s bout with Justin Gaethje this summer.

The UFC’s schedule is in upheaval due to the coronavirus pandemic, but McGregor was expected to get his title shot later this year, and he recently had been talking to White about taking another fight even earlier. Earlier this week, McGregor posted photos and videos of himself training for fights.

White was still willing to take McGregor’s retirement announcement at face value — at least publicly — when he learned about it at his news conference following UFC 250 in Las Vegas.

“If Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement,” White said. “You should absolutely do it. And I love Conor. … There’s a handful of people that have made this really fun for me, and he’s one of them.”

Retirements are a time-honoured device for gathering attention and increased bargaining power in combat sports. From Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather to Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, countless champions of boxing and MMA have gone back on their solemn announcements whenever need or ego brought them back to the sport.

McGregor made his first Twitter retirement announcement in April 2016 during a spat with the UFC over promotion of his rematch with Nate Diaz.

McGregor famously wrote: “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”

McGregor and Diaz fought in August 2016.

Three years later, McGregor retired again in March 2019 in what White believed was a gambit to entice the UFC to offer him an ownership stake in the company. McGregor began talking about new fights shortly afterward, and he eventually returned to face Cerrone in early 2020.

The loquacious McGregor has long proven that his pronouncements can’t be taken as gospel truth. Earlier this year, McGregor “accepted” future fights against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and long-retired boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya with little reason to think they will ever happen.

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