UFC cleans house – Conor McGregor teammate gets the axe

Five fighters appear to have been released from the UFC roster this week, including a longtime teammate of Conor McGregor.

By: Zane Simon | 4 months ago
UFC cleans house – Conor McGregor teammate gets the axe
Conor McGregor teammate Makwan Amirkhani celebrates a victory. IMAGO/NurPhoto

For all the guts, glory, and victory that fans get to witness inside the Octagon, there’s every bit as much failure, loss, and heartbreak. Every time one fighter gets their hand raised, their opponent’s has to fall. Unfortunately, that also extends to the UFC’s unending thirst for new talent. For every fighter that gets signed, someone has to go. The days of an ever expanding UFC roster seem to be in the past, with the promotion regularly releasing fighters after each and every event these days.

Most recently that means another seven fighters appear to have gotten the axe to open up the month of June. The UFC Roster Watch twitter account (a script-based service that regularly scrapes the UFC’s own .com athlete profiles for changes) announced a bevvy of apparent new cuts. Occasionally, fighters have been removed from the UFC’s website due to contract negotiations, USADA failures, or pure record-keeping errors, so this isn’t a guarantee that everyone listed is gone from the Octagon for good. Although that’s likely the outcome.

Conor McGregor’s teammate Makwan Amirkhani gets the axe

Most notable of the fighters likely finding themselves on the Outside of the Octagon looking in for the near future is longtime SBG Ireland trained fighter and Conor McGregor teammate, ‘Mr. Finland’ Makwan Amirkhani. Amirkhani quickly rose to prominence in his UFC career off his own accolades, after making a shocking debut back in 2015—with an 8-second flying knee KO of Andy Ogle. He quickly followed that success up with a first round submission of Masio Fullen, and started 2016 with a win over Mike Wilkinson.

Success became more difficult to find from that point forward, however. The former Finnish national team wrestler ran straight into recent rising contender Arnold Allen in 2017, to give him his first setback—a well contested split decision loss. Victories over Jason Knight and Chris Fishgold followed, as did TKO loss to action-standout Shane Burgos in November of 2019. From that point forward, Amirkhani would only win two of his next seven fights.

Joining him in the notables category is longtime former light heavyweight and current heavyweight fighter Ilir Latifi. The ‘Sledgehammer”s removal comes as no great surprise, with the 40-year-old Swedish fighter having teased his possible retirement on several occasions lately. Despite his stated interest in stepping away, and despite a lot of trouble actually getting to fight day in recent years, Latifi was 2-2 in teh UFC after making the jump up to 265 in 2020. That included victories over Tanner Boser & Oleksiy Oliynyk. Most recently Latifi dropped a three round split decision to Rodrigo Nascimento.

Perhaps the most surprising release on this list is Team Nogueira Dubai’s Mounir Lazzez. It appears the 35-year-old will see his run in the UFC end after just four bouts, including victories in thrilling wars with Abdul Razak Alhassan and Ange Loosa. Inactivity has been a major problem for Lazzez since making his debut, however, with the Tunisian-born fighter only competing once in each calendar year since his signing in mid-2020. Most recently Lazzez lost to DWCS newcomer Gabriel Bonfim, via submission, just 49-seconds into the opening round of their bout at UFC 283.

List of recent UFC releases

  • Bantamweight: Trevin Jones, 1-4 (1 NC) UFC record
  • Bantamweight: Tony Gravely, 4-4 UFC record
  • Bantamweight: Batgerel Danaa, 3-4 UFC record
  • Featherweight: Makwan Amirkhani, 7-7 UFC record
  • Welterweight: Mounir Lazzez, 2-2 UFC record
  • Heavyweight: Ilir Latifi, 9-7 UFC record
  • Lightweight: Omar Morales, 3-4 UFC record

No updates from the most recent UFC card as of yet, but it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see Jinh Yu Frey, Maxim Grishin, Johnny Munoz Jr., and even potentially Andrei Arlovski come up on the UFC Roster Watch feed in the not too distant future.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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