UFC pair Nadia Kassem and Liana Jojua have traded digital digs after the Georgian fighter called out her Australian rival, leading Kassem to suggest Jojua was a “p*ssy.”
Jojua, who lost on her UFC bow against Canada’s Sarah Moras in a bantamweight bout in October, announced this week that she was planning to drop down to 125lbs.
And ‘She Wolf’ even had a clear name in mind as to who she wanted first at flyweight, directly calling out Kassem.
“Hey @danawhite @ufc Nadia Kassem I’m coming down to 125 and want to challenge you for my debut fight,” Jojua wrote to her 188,000 Instagram followers, along with a mock-up fight poster.
“No trash, no beef. Just let’s give a great fight to the fans and let’s donate some money from the fight to charity for poor animals of Australia,” the Georgian added, referring to the devastating bushfires which have swept across Kassem’s homeland.
Word of the callout soon reached Kassem, although apparently not before she had announced her own plans to step down a weight class, in her case from flyweight to strawweight, meaning she would be beyond Jojua's reach.
“I posted this yesterday and woke up with a callout from a 135er,” the 24-year-old posted on her Instagram stories.
There seemed to be some confusion over that timing, though, as Jojua responded on her own account, suggesting that Kassem’s decision to drop down a weight had come AFTER her callout, and been triggered by the Australian running in fear.
“This is a good start, already a fighter from 125 is going down to 115 after hearing my call,” the 24-year-old Jojua wrote.
“I'm not going to chase after anyone, good luck in the new division. And about the charity, I thought as an Australian athlete she would be more interested.”
Perhaps wires were crossed or Jojua simply hadn’t seen Kassem’s message, but the reply clearly rankled the Aussie - who's nicknamed ‘187’ after the Californian penal code for murder.
“If you wanna lie that’s cool boo, I was making this move a long time ago. Who’s the pussy here? Australia doesn’t need your chat money,” Kassem shot back.
So with her preferred next opponent seemingly out of the equation, Jojua will have to train her sights elsewhere as she seeks the chance to pick up her first win in the promotion.
The Georgian prospect entered the UFC on a five-fight win streak, having picked up Fight Nights Global (FNG) bantamweight gold in Russia – making her the first ever female fighter to be awarded a title in the country.
But stepping into the UFC, Jojua appeared significantly undersized against Canadian Moras, who came in heavy for their bantamweight bout in Abu Dhabi.
In the event, Moras stopped the Georgian debutant with a ground-and-pound barrage in the third round, handing Jojua the third defeat in her 10th pro bout.
Based on that evidence, a step down to flyweight would seem logical for the Tbilisi-born fighter.
Kassem, meanwhile, has flitted between flyweight and strawweight, although clearly sees her immediate future in the latter division, having suffered defeat in her last two fights.
The Sydney fighter was beaten by South Korea’s Ji Yeon Kim at UFC 243 in Melbourne in October, suffering a body-shot KO on the buzzer of the second round. Ji had come in heavy for that bout, however, forfeiting 30 percent of her purse.
The defeat meant Kassem slipped to 5-2 in her professional career, having won her first five fights.