Helwani's MMA Show: Barber thinks VanZant is afraid; Reyes on Jones

Barber: VanZant is scared to fight me (1:15)

Maycee Barber explains why she wants to fight Paige VanZant and the confidence in her skills to win. (1:15)

Ariel Helwani's MMA Show featured a combination of MMA and wrestling conversation on Monday, as he looked back at Friday's controversial UFC Fight Night card in Boston and looked ahead to Tyson Fury's future in WWE. Fury and Triple H were among the guests.

Watch the show on YouTube or on the ESPN App.

Barber claims VanZant is afraid to fight her

Maycee Barber said the UFC is working on putting together a fight between her and Paige VanZant, but she said VanZant is scared to face her.

"As far as I know, we all want [this fight]," Barber said on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. "Everyone wants it except for Paige, which is understandable."

Barber (8-0) remained undefeated Friday with a first-round TKO of Gillian Robertson in Boston. It tied the longest knockout streak in women's UFC history at three, shared by Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Barber and Cyborg are the only female fighters to start their UFC careers with three consecutive knockout wins.

After the fight, Barber called out VanZant, and on Monday she explained the reason for the beef.

"At first it was really just a fight that I really wanted," Barber said. "She has a big following. She has all of the social media and the fans that a lot of people want to see.

"The way I look at it is -- and I've said this before -- she didn't hold up her end of the deal. She came into the UFC, and the UFC backed her, and they gave her all of the support and built her as an athlete. They viewed her as, OK, here's a girl who's beautiful, and she's talented, and she's well-spoken, and she has all of these things, and we think she can fight. So they built her up. Well, she didn't hold her end of the deal.

"She didn't continue to evolve as a fighter, and instead she fell into the fame, which is great for her if that's the path she wants to take. But I view it as ... that girl is so beatable. She doesn't even belong in the position in the UFC that she's in because there are so many other girls out there, like me, who work our butts off, day in and day out, and I would maul her. So I want to take that from her."

Barber, who worked with Roufusport to train for the Robertson bout, credited new teammate Ben Askren for helping her with fight promotion skills.

"I feel like I'm pretty smart as it is, but he added a lot to that," Barber said. "We were texting back and forth all day yesterday, all day today, like think about what you're going to say and who you're going to call out. We talked about different people, but at the same time, we were also talking about how I'm not afraid to fight any of these girls. But in terms of fight promotion, he's taught me a lot. Just being able to speak with someone who has that kind of mentality, listening to someone like that talk, I pick up a lot."

Barber was the No. 6-ranked fighter in ESPN's Top 25 under 25, released last week, and she admitted to being a little "salty" with the ranking. "You guys should change it now that you've seen my last fight," she said. "I truly believe I am No. 1."

Weighing in on Greg Hardy's inhaler situation


Helwani weighs in on Hardy's inhaler situation

Ariel Helwani reacts to Greg Hardy's win being overturned due to using an inhaler, saying the situation is gray, but it shows the need for a national commission.

Lauzon done? He isn't closing the door

Friday night could not have gone much better for Joe Lauzon. Coming off a year-and-a-half layoff, he thrilled his hometown fans in Boston with a quick, dominant TKO win. There was just one thing missing from the 35-year-old's performance, from the perspective of Dana White.

"Me and Joe Lauzon had a deal that he would retire after this fight -- win, lose or draw," the UFC president said after the event. "And he didn't do it."

"Inaccurate," Lauzon countered during an appearance Monday on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. "I'm a man of my word."

In Lauzon's version of events, he had to do some persuading for the UFC to give him a fight. "When I texted Dana, I told Dana, 'Look, give me one more shot. If the fight does not go well, I promise you'll never hear from me about fighting again.' And he said, 'Deal.'"

And, boy, did it go well. Lauzon finished Jonathan Pearce in 1:33. So he (28-15), after ending a three-fight losing streak, isn't committing to saying goodbye.

White understands the impulse behind that, saying Friday, "When you're talking to a guy who loves to fight like Joe Lauzon loves to fight -- the Chuck Liddells and many, many more in the past that I've dealt with -- it's so hard to walk away. 'I looked great tonight.' And then if they lose, 'Well, I can't go out like this.'"

Lauzon isn't committing either way. He might be finished fighting. He might not. And he does appreciate the UFC's concern. "They're looking out for me," he said. "I definitely understand. But I'm not 100 percent closing the door."

Dominick Reyes on Jon Jones

Dominick Reyes describes Jon Jones throwing jabs on Twitter and claims that "Bones" is using his management to avoid a potential fight.


Reyes: Jones 'clearly doesn't want to fight me'

Dominick Reyes describes Jon Jones throwing jabs on Twitter and claims that "Bones" is using his management to avoid a potential fight.

Before Wilder rematch, Fury has a WWE date

When Tyson Fury popped up during the WWE's debut broadcast of SmackDown on Fox, by all appearances, it seemed, at the outset, to be another in a long line of celebrity cameos. That changed quickly, though, as a tangle with WWE giant Braun Strowman indicated that Fury might be up for something bigger once he jumped over the barricade, only to be restrained by security guards in the kind of gentle, inoffensive way you see only on WWE TV.

Over the weeks that followed, Fury defied even the boldest of projections by lining up opposite Strowman for a match at WWE's upcoming Crown Jewel event on Oct. 31 in Saudi Arabia -- just more than a month removed from suffering a devastating cut over his eye that required 47 stitches.

Why would Fury risk a once-in-a-lifetime payday in a proposed February rematch against Deontay Wilder? Aside from his passion for pro wrestling, there are rumors of a $15 million windfall for Fury floating around.

"I can't comment on monies," Fury told Ariel Helwani during an interview alongside WWE executive Paul "Triple H" Levesque taped this past Thursday in New York. "I'm not going to confirm or deny because I don't want to breach my contract." He then broke into a big smile.

As Helwani brought up examples of other crossover combat athletes and their alleged paydays with the WWE, Fury countered.

"You said none of the other boxers who came into [the WWE] made that type of money. But none of the other boxers were the current lineal heavyweight world champion ... And also, they're not the Gypsy King.

"You want the king, you gotta pay for the king," Levesque added.

That payday comes attached to Crown Jewel, the WWE's fourth show as part of a 10-year agreement with the Saudi Arabian government. The WWE has received criticism for holding shows in the country due to human rights concerns and even had talent bow out of performing there, but Levesque stressed that the WWE's visits to Saudi Arabia are simply about entertaining the fans.

"That's what we do. We entertain," he said. "We're not in it for politics, anything else. It's about going there and entertaining our fan base, and there's millions of our fans there."

Fury offered a brief take of his own on performing in Saudi Arabia, just six weeks before one of the biggest boxing fights of the year -- Andy Ruiz-Anthony Joshua II -- is also held there.

"I'm a prizefighter," Fury said. "I'm an entertainer, like Triple H just said. I go where I have to go. I'm going over there to put on a show for the fans around the world -- boxing fans and wrestling fans alike."