MMA Junkie News

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Al Iaquinta and Michael Chandler


Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Al Iaquinta and Michael Chandler.

Outspoken UFC lightweight Iaquinta discusses his plans for 2018. Former lightweight champ Chandler meets Goiti Yamauchi on Jan. 20 at Bellator 192.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC, Videos

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2592 with guests T.J. Dillashaw, Emil Meek, Matheus Nicolau

Stream or download Wednesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests T.J. Dillashaw, Emil Meek and Matheus Nicolau.

Dillashaw talked about his preference of having a super fight vs. fellow champ Demetrious Johnson next over defending his bantamweight title. Meek is focused on his fight vs. Kamaru Usman, which takes place Jan. 14 at UFC Fight Night 124. Nicolau discussed his win over Louis Smolka at UFC 219 this past Saturday.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.


Filed under: News, Radio, UFC

Dana White: Cyborg vs. Nunes is next; Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov likely before McGregor

Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) reacts after losing her fight against Amanda Nunes (red gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) celebrates with the championship belt after defeating Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Amanda Nunes (red gloves) celebrates with the championship belt after defeating Valentina Shevchenko (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/VmdxYzNRQCwFjN3cFenG9g/294587", customAnalytics: true, title: "Nunes def. Shevchenko", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

UFC President Dana White laid out some immediate plans for a couple UFC title pictures.

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports‘ Kevin Iole, the UFC executive shared some big title plans for 2018.

They include confirmation that UFC’s women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will be the next to challenge for Cris Cyborg’s (19-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) featherweight title. He also said a title fight between interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and recent UFC 219 winner Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) will likely happen before undisputed 155-pound champ Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) returns to the cage to face the winner.

RelatedKhabib Nurmagomedov camped out at Dana White's car after dominant UFC 219 win

White didn’t give exact dates for the planned title fights, but he suggested Ferguson and Nurmagomedov, who are respectively No. 2 and No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, could fight for the interim belt before meeting No. 1-ranked McGregor later in the year – with a caveat.

“As long as Conor is willing to fight by March, we could do Khabib vs. Tony … and then the winner fights Conor for the title,” White told Yahoo! Sports. “Or, if Conor wants to sit out until next fall, then we’d have to make Khabib vs. Tony for the title – not the interim title.”

It’s not clear why McGregor would need to return by March; after all, it’s unlikely Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov gets booked before then anyway.

RelatedWant Conor McGregor back? UFC champ says it will take begging, calls Nurmagomedov dog (expletive)

Although McGregor has recently griped about pay, White said MMA’s kingpin, who’s fresh off a boxing pay-per-view blockbuster with Floyd Mayweather, should be satisfied with the financial offer he makes him to get back in the octagon.

As for Cyborg vs. Nunes, it’d represent the UFC’s first female champion-vs.champion fight. Although Cyborg recently announced she accepted a fight with Invicta FC titleholder Anderson at UFC 221, the Australian dismissed it as “fake news” soon after.

RelatedUFC champ Cris Cyborg responds to banning of Jackson-Wink photographer

“Amanda Nunes wants to fight Cyborg,” White said. “That is the fight to make, and that is the fight I will make. That’s the fight.

“Amanda Nunes is a big, strong, powerful puncher. I think she matches up very well with Cyborg too, and I think that’s a fun fight. And that’s the fight to make.”

Check out Iole’s full interview with White below.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for December: Which back-and-forth brawl was best?

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best fights from December. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and the winner of MMAjunkie’s “Fight of the Month” award for December.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Ryan Janes def. Andrew Sanchez at TUF 26 Finale

Canada’s Ryan Janes (10-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) survived a vicious first-round assault from Andrew Sanchez (9-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) only to battle back and score a third-round TKO win in the middleweight clash.

Yancy Medeiros def. Alex Oliveira at UFC 218

Yancy Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) has a knack for putting on exciting fights, and his lightweight clash with Alex Oliveira (17-5-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) may have been his best yet. Combining for a single-fight UFC record six knockdowns, the pair went toe to toe for a little more than 12 minutes until the Hawaiian put “Cowboy” down for the TKO.

Eddie Alvarez def. Justin Gaethje at UFC 218

It was billed as a can’t-miss firefight to determine the most violent man in the sport. It delivered. Eddie Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) battered each other in a brutal striking battle that finally ended when the former UFC and Bellator champ laid out Gaethje with a third-round knee.

Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart at UFC on FOX 26

After a thrilling win in his Dana White’s Contender Series audition, Julian Marquez (7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) impressed again in his UFC debut, downing Darren Stewart (7-3 MMA, 0-3 UFC) after a back-and-forth fight that ended when Marquez cinched a tight guillotine that slept his opponent midway through the second round of the middleweight contest.

Cris Cyborg def. Holly Holm at UFC 219

A smart game plan from ex-champion Holly Holm (11-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) could not overcome the aggressive and precise attack of UFC women’s featherweight queen Cris Cyborg (19-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC). Cyborg showed continued evolution in waging a patient, yet persistent attack that countered Holm’s best weapons as Brazilian titleholder took home a unanimous-decision win.

* * * *

The Winner: Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira

Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira

Medeiros broke something in Oliveira – and not just his nose. After more than two rounds of raucous back-and-forth action in which both fighters were badly hurt, Oliveira winced and wilted, and Medeiros picked up the third-round TKO win.

Oliveira had Medeiros out on his feet at several points in the first round after chasing the Hawaiian around the octagon with right hands. Early on, Oliveira prioritized body work with kicks, allowing up to move upstairs and catch Medeiros clean.

Medeiros repayed the charges with a left straight that briefly dropped Oliveira and busted his nose. But as the first round came to a close, it was Medeiros who was holding on for dear life as Oliveira pounded away.

RelatedYancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira met up for hospital pic following UFC 218 'Fight of the Night'

The only problem for Oliveira was that Medeiros simply wouldn’t quit.

As the second frame got underway, Medeiros again found his left and caught Oliveira coming in. For the first time, Oliveira started to backpedal. Medeiros seized the momentum with body work, and when Oliveira dove for a takedown, he reversed and unleashed hellacious elbows from mount position.

RelatedYancy Medeiros cool with brawls but wants to be longterm investment for UFC

Oliveira had one last dash in the third round and chased Medeiros around the cage with more right hands. A pair of suplexes put the Brazilian in top position. But the pace of his footwork had clearly caught up; Medeiros spun out of back control and escaped submission danger.

When Oliveira exploded back to his feet, he backpedaled for no apparent reason. Not wasting a moment, Medeiros gave chase and fired off a flurry of punches. Oliveira dropped to the mat, seemingly as much from the cumulation of blows than one particular event.

It was a triumphant turnaround and sure bonus-winner for Medeiros, who’s now won three straight.

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Alex Olivera (red gloves) fights Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Yancy Medeiros (blue gloves) reacts to fight against Alex Olivera (red gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/wmwmQh274ZFUBFULTu8MBi/294379", customAnalytics: true, title: "Medeiros def. Oliveira", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC 219's 'Thrill and Agony': Cris Cyborg ponders champ-vs.-champ fight with Amanda Nunes


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Cris Cyborg may currently have her focus on Megan Anderson, but immediately after UFC 219, she had fellow UFC champion Amanda Nunes on her mind.

The “Thrill and Agony” series takes us up close and behind the scenes of pay-per-view events, and at UFC 219, which took place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, we saw the aftermath of Cyborg’s (19-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) narrow title defense over challenger Holly Holm (11-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov’s (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) total domination of Edson Barboza (19-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC).

On Wednesday Cyborg suggested a fight with Invicta FC champ Anderson (8-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was in the works for UFC 221 in Australia; Anderson, meanwhile, dismissed it as “fake news” soon after.

RelatedMegan Anderson dismisses Cris Cyborg's claim of UFC 221 title fight as ‘fake news’ (Updated)

However, as we see in “Thrill and Agony,” Cyborg was discussing a possible bout with women’s bantamweight champ and fellow Brazilian Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) as she headed backstage at T-Mobile Arena following her first title defense.

“I won’t say no to the (Amanda Nunes fight),” Cyborg, who discussed a possible bout with Nunes prior to UFC 219, tells her team. “I’d say I wouldn’t like it because we are both Brazilian. But if she wants to fight me and the UFC wants it…”

She’s then cut off by her team, including Jason Parillo and Tito Ortiz.

“I don’t know,” Ortiz says. “After that ass-whooping (of Holm), I don’t think she’ll want to.”

RelatedAmanda Nunes jokes she needs blonde hair, blue eyes for UFC to promote her better

Nunes, who’s 2-0 (with title defenses over Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko) since winning the belt from Miesha Tate in 2016, currently awaits her next fight.

Check out the full clip, including Nurmagomedov’s cageside chat with UFC President Dana White, above.

The above video is a preview of “Thrill and Agony.” The full episode is available on UFC Fight Pass for subscribers.

For complete coverage of UFC 219, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory by unamimous decision against Holly Holm and her title defense following UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg is introduced before fighting against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a hit as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a hit as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a kick as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg defends against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a kick as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg fights against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a kick as Holly Holm defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm lands a hit against Cris Cyborg during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm lands a hit against Cris Cyborg during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory by unamimous decision against Holly Holm and her title defense following UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory by unamimous decision against Holly Holm and her title defense following UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg is declared the winner by unanimous decision against Holly Holm and retains her title followng UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/qPrnZ2GMzKchbr2tKPsHvf/294554", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cyborg def. Holm", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz rematch booked for UFC Fight Night 127 in London

July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa (red gloves) fights Corey Anderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa (red gloves) fights Corey Anderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa (red gloves) fights Corey Anderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa (red gloves) defeats Corey Anderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa celebrates his victory over Corey Anderson during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa (red gloves) defeats Corey Anderson (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa addresses the crowd after his win over Corey Anderson during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa salutes the crowd after his win over Corey Anderson during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Mar 18, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Jimi Manuwa poses with his coaches during UFC Fight Night at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Jimi Manuwa (blue gloves) enters the arena before his fight against Ovince Saint Preux during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights against Jimi Manuwa (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights against Jimi Manuwa (blue gloves) during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Oct 8, 2016; Manchester, UK; Jimi Manuwa (blue gloves) celebrates his victory over Ovince Saint Preux during UFC 204 at Manchester Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/6syM4EY695QDbDDTuZXich/294542", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jimi Manuwa", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

A light-heavyweight rematch is set for UFC Fight Night 127 in London.

Officials today announced Jimi Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) and Jan Blachowicz (21-7 MMA, 4-4 UFC) are slated to fight at the event.

UFC Fight Night 127 takes place March 17 at The O2 in London, and tickets go on sale this week. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

RelatedEx-UFC champ Michael Bisping still plans to retire in London in March

Manuwa, who’s No. 8 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, defeated unranked Blachowicz via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 64 in 2015.

Since that fight, which took place in Blachowicz’s native Poland, Manuwa is 2-2. The 37-year-old British slugger had posted back-to-back knockout wins over Ovince Saint Preux and Corey Anderson before a 42-second KO loss to top contender Volkan Oezdemir in July.

He looks to rebound against Blachowicz, who was recently stuck in a 1-4 skid with four decision losses. However, the 34-year-old Polish fighter has since rebounded with a submission victory over Devin Clark (“Performance of the Night”) and a decision win over Jared Cannonier.

The latest UFC Fight Night 127 card includes:

  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Jimi Manuwa
  • Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta
  • Magomed Ankalaev vs. Paul Craig
  • Mark Godbeer vs. Dmitry Poberezhets
  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Alex Reyes

For more on UFC Fight Night 127, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Co-Main Event Podcast: Download episode No. 287 with Ben Fowlkes, Chad Dundas

Episode No. 287 of the Co-Main Event Podcast now is available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie/USA TODAY columnist Ben Fowlkes and Bleacher Report lead MMA writer Chad Dundas host the weekly show (also dubbed the “CME,” if you nasty). This week, the dudes discuss champ Cris Cyborg, Khabib Nurmagomedov and the rest of the UFC 219 fallout, while also looking ahead to 2018.

Check it out at comainevent.com, or download the podcast directly.


Filed under: News

Kevin Lee open to 'easy money' fight vs. Justin Gaethje but not before big changes to style, camp

Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) punches Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) competes against Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) fights Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC official Herb Dean separates Kevin Lee (blue gloves) from Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) punches Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the first round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) punches Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the second round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) tackles Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the second round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) punches Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the second round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) competes against Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) kicks Tony Ferguson (red gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) chokes out Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) chokes out Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) chokes out Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) and Kevin Lee (blue gloves) are seen after Ferguson defeated Lee during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Oct 7, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tony Ferguson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Kevin Lee (blue gloves) in the third round during UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/kZysKpDSjUG4B7zroo5zrb/294509", customAnalytics: true, title: "Ferguson def. 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Kevin Lee will happily oblige fellow UFC lightweight contender Justin Gaethje’s callout, but he won’t rush back to make it happen.

Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) hasn’t fought since falling short of the interim 155-pound title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216 in October. Lee said afterward that he planned to take some time off, and the sudden death of his coach, Robert Follis, appears to have compounded that plan. “The Motown Phenom” appeared on Sirius XM’s “MMA Tonight” on Wednesday and revealed he’s about to make some significant career changes.

“I’m changing up my whole style,” Lee told hosts Miesha Tate and Sean O’Connell. “I’m changing up my team around me. There’s been a lot of things happening, especially at the end of this last year, unfortunately, that I’ve had to make changes. But it’s a new year. It’s a new start. When I come back the folks are going to see a new me.

RelatedKevin Lee on UFC champ Conor McGregor's antics: 'He's (expletive) up'

“I’m still young in the game, and I’ve got a long time to go,” he continued. “I want to make the necessary changes to my camp. I just changed new management, too. It’s going to be a lot of big changes coming, and I think a lot of people are going to be excited about it. And I’m only going up from here, regardless of who it is against.”

On Tuesday, Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) told “The MMA Hour” that he would like to fight Lee next because he likes “punching loudmouths in the face.” The former WSOF champ is coming off the first loss of his career, a third-round knockout vs. Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218 in December.

After the loss to Alvarez and his “Fight of the Year” contender win against Michael Johnson at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale in July, UFC President Dana White said he would like to see Gaethje take some time off. Lee agrees, but if the timing of Gaethje’s return lines up with his own, he said the fight would be “easy money.”

RelatedKevin Lee thinks title-unifier, TKO loss are next for champ Conor McGregor

“If it’s going to be against Justin, I like easy money,” Lee said. “Justin likes to take a lot of damage; I like to give a lot of damage. It seems like a good matchup to me, but I’m trying to look out for Justin’s health here. He needs some time, too. The man has taken a lot of beatings over the last couple months. I don’t think he wants another one right here, right now. And if he does, then so be it. But for now I’m taking my time.”

For more on the UFC’s schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC's Jeff Novitzky optimistic Nick Diaz will fight again

Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nick Diaz (blue gloves) walks to the ring before a middleweight fight against Anderson Silva (not pictured) during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) kicks at Nick Diaz (blue gloves) during their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nick Diaz (blue gloves) punches at Anderson Silva (red gloves) during their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nick Diaz (blue gloves) and Anderson Silva (red gloves) fight during their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nick Diaz (blue gloves) and Anderson Silva (red gloves) exchange kicks during their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) and Nick Diaz (blue gloves) fight during their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 31, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Nick Diaz (blue gloves) fights Anderson Silva (not pictured) during their middleweight bout during UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Mar 16, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Nick Diaz (blue) watches the clock in the final seconds of the fifth and final round during their Welterweight title bout against Georges St.Pierre at UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Mar 16, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Nick Diaz (blue) taunts Georges St.Pierre (red) during their Welterweight title bout at UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Mar 16, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Nick Diaz (blue) lands a punch on Georges St.Pierre (red) during their Welterweight title bout at UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Mar 15, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Nick Diaz on the stage in front of the crowd during the weight-in for UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports Mar 15, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Nick Diaz and his entourage make their way to the stage during the weight-in for UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports February 4, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Carlos Condit (left) fights against Nick Diaz (right) during UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Carlos Codit defeated Nick Diaz. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports February 4, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Carlos Condit (left) fights against Nick Diaz (right) during UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Carlos Codit defeated Nick Diaz. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports February 4, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Carlos Condit (left) fights against Nick Diaz (right) during UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Carlos Codit defeated Nick Diaz. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/bT55nfjZvHniCM59UbfY6S/294471", customAnalytics: true, title: "Nick Diaz", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Does Nick Diaz want to fight again?

That question has been pondered over and over again by the MMA world.  UFC President Dana White doesn’t think Diaz has the fire. UFC VP of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky, however, is a bit more optimistic.

Novitzky thinks Diaz will return to the cage once he works out his issues with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which placed him under a provisional suspension for failing to report his whereabouts while being subject to the UFC’s drug-testing program.

“Nick was our first fighter that ran into the whereabouts issue,” Novitzky said on “Joe Rogan Experience.” “So he got three whereabouts failures in a rolling 12 months, so he’s currently going through that process. It’s a tough one.

“I think he does (want to fight). I think he does. I’ve sat down with him over the past couple months trying to resolve this whereabouts issues. The unfortunate thing there is, look, the whereabouts failures are there to catch people that are cheating and trying to avoid testing. I just think Nick’s lifestyle led to those three whereabouts, not that he was trying to avoid testing. We’re trying to work through that.”

RelatedNate Diaz refuses to be manipulated into UFC return: 'Ask nicely, motherf*ckers'

Brad Horn, a USADA spokesperson, confirmed Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) is still under provisional suspension “pending the resolution of his case, as the matter is still pending.” The UFC announced the suspension in June. Athletes who fail to report their whereabouts three times within a 12-month period face a suspension between six months and two years.

Novitzky explained Diaz’s troubles with USADA as a failure to take personal responsibility for his duties under the UFC’s anti-doping program.

“(Diaz) trusted certain individuals to do his whereabouts for him,” he said. “What I think happened was, over time, those individuals were in and out of his life, and it was unbeknownst to him that he was missing all these things. But again, there’s strict liability here. He’s currently under sanction, but we’re hoping to resolve that pretty quick.”

Of course, it’s not the first time Diaz’s schedule has put him in trouble with regulators. Back in 2009, a fight with Jay Hieron in now-defunct Strikeforce was canceled when he no-showed a pre-fight drug test.

RelatedTrading Shots: What does Nick Diaz's provisional suspension tell us about USADA's real UFC impact?

Diaz once spoke openly about how to circumvent commission testing for marijuana. That didn’t keep him from testing positive on three occasions for the drug, with the third positive resulting in a five-year ban that was reduced to 18 months after massive public outcry.

It’s been almost three years since Diaz fought in the octagon, losing a unanimous decision to Anderson Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC) that was overturned when Silva tested positive for performance-enhancers and Diaz tested positive for marijuana.

Even while sitting on the sidelines, though, Diaz remains a huge object of intrigue to MMA fans who love his anti-hero persona. Thus, people still want to know when he’ll be back.

On the same day Diaz was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation, UFC President Dana White gave an interview to MMAjunkie in which he was skeptical of the one-time UFC welterweight title challenger’s return.

RelatedDana White: I don't think Nick Diaz will ever fight again

“I highly doubt it,” White said. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t think that, and I can’t speak for him, you’d have to speak with Nick himself, but if you ask me – people ask me, ‘Do you think Ronda (Rousey) is coming back?’ No. I think Ronda’s going to retire. Ronda hasn’t retired, but my opinion is, I think she will. I don’t think Nick Diaz will ever fight again. I just don’t think he has the desire anymore.

“The thing about fighting, first of all it’s a young man’s game. You’ve got to be young, hungry. You’ve got to be an animal to jump out of bed every day and go in there and train the way that you do. The things that you have to do to get to the UFC, let alone break into the top 10, or the top 5, or be a world champion, you have to love it. I just don’t think that Nick loves it anymore.”

For his part, Diaz has been quiet about his future, though his younger brother, UFC star Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC), said a return was just a matter of presenting the right contract offer – and some respect.

“We put in our work,” Diaz said. “And I’ll put in more work. But ask nicely, (expletive). Ask nicely.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The key to beating Kamaru Usman? A bunch of crazy f*cking vikings, Emil Meek says

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Emil Meek has the biggest test of his career at UFC Fight Night 124, but “Valhalla” believes he’s ready for the challenge, thanks to the help of a few “f*cking crazy f*cking vikings.”

Meek originally thought he was going to compete at this past weekend’s UFC 219 event in Las Vegas, and the Norwegian native decided to come to Sin City early to take advantage of the UFC Performance Institute for the final stages of his preparation. Meek said the decision was made easier by the difficulty he often faces finding available bodies to fill his camp during the holiday season back home.

“Over here, the training goes all year ’round, and it’s a lot of really good, talented training partners here,” Meek told reporters backstage at UFC 219. “I feel really, really, really sharp now.”

However, the promotion ultimately decided to shift a fight between Meek (9-2-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Kamaru Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) to UFC Fight Night 124, which takes place Jan. 14 at Scottrade in St. Louis. The night’s main card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

It’s a big step up in competition for Meek, with Usman sitting at No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings. But Meek insists it’s exactly the type of fight he had been seeking.

“It feels really right,” Meek said. “It feels fun. Like I said before, it’s one of those fights that makes me want to get up in the morning and work my f*cking ass off until I pass out. It’s like everything I have in my mind, I don’t want to do anything that can damage that.”

To assist him in that effort, Meek said he’s enlisted a few key figures to help him in Las Vegas.

“(I) took a bunch of Norwegian f*cking crazy f*cking vikings coming over and just having fun, training hard, getting work in over at Xtreme Couture and some of the guys over there,” Meek said. “Kevin Lee helped me a lot with the wrestling, and it’s been really good.”

For Meek, the fight is his first since December 2016, with injuries delaying his targeted rise up the ranks. But believes now is his moment, and he thinks Usman will provide his path to the top.

“I will be the best Valhalla there is on Jan. 14,” Meek said.

To hear more from Meek, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 124, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Emil Meek (blue gloves) reacts to fight with Jordon Mein (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Emil Meek (blue gloves) reacts to fight with Jordon Mein (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Emil Meek (blue gloves) reacts to fight with Jordon Mein (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Jordon Mein (red gloves) fights Emil Meek (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Jordon Mein (red gloves) fights Emil Meek (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Jordon Mein (red gloves) fights Emil Meek (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Jordon Mein (red gloves) fights Emil Meek (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Emil Meek (blue gloves) enters the arena during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/A9mywvREWmC4GDEDBM2Hm4/294184", customAnalytics: true, title: "Meek def. Mein", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

UFC 220 gets fight between Dana White Contender Series alums


Filed under: News, UFC

A late scratch has set up a clash between Dana White’s Contender Series alums.

With Charles Rosa forced to withdraw from UFC 220 due to injury, Julio Arce has stepped in to face fellow DWCS winner Dan Ige, the promotion announced Wednesday.

UFC 220 takes place Jan. 20 at TD Garden in Boston and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on

Arce (13-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) scored a second-round TKO of Peter Petties at DWCS 5 in August to earn his UFC roster spot, his fifth win in a row.

Ige, from Hawaii, earned his way into the UFC with a third-round submission of Luis Gomez at DWCS 3 in July, giving him six straight wins.

The UFC 220 lineup now includes:

  • Champ Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou – for heavyweight title
  • Champ Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir – for light heavyewight title
  • Shane Burgos vs. Calvin Kattar
  • Francimar Barroso vs. Gian Villante
  • Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja
  • Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Gleison Tibau
  • Kyle Bochniak vs. Brandon Davis
  • Thomas Almeida vs. Rob Font
  • Maryna Moroz vs. Jamie Moyle
  • Julio Arce vs. Dan Ige

For more on UFC 220, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Megan Anderson dismisses Cris Cyborg's claim of UFC 221 title fight as ‘fake news’

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Don’t expect to see Megan Anderson in the octagon five weeks from now fighting Cris Cyborg for UFC gold.

Cyborg (19-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC), the UFC women’s featherweight champion who is fresh off a title defense vs. Holly Holm at UFC 219 this past weekend, took to Instagram today to reveal that she’s accepted an offer to fight Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 221, which takes place Feb. 10 in Australia.

RelatedUFC champ Cris Cyborg continues to dominate weight class that doesn't exist

The turnaround would be very quick for the Brazilian, especially after a five-round “Fight of the Night,” but given the fact the UFC has actively attempted to book a second title fight on the card, there was no ruling it out entirely.

Anderson squashed all that, though. The former Invicta FC champ, who hasn’t competed since January 2017 and pulled out of a scheduled UFC 214 title fight due to personal issues, shared Cyborg’s post on her own social media feed with one clear and concise hashtag caption: (via Instagram stories):

#FakeNews

UFC 221 takes place Feb. 11 (but airs live Feb. 10 in North America due to the time difference) at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedUFC champ Cris Cyborg responds to banning of Jackson-Wink photographer

The card currently features a headliner between middleweight champ Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) and Luke Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC).

For more on UFC 221, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory by unamimous decision against Holly Holm and her title defense following UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg is introduced before fighting against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a hit as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a hit as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a kick as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg defends against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm moves in with a kick as Cris Cyborg defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg fights against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg moves in with a kick as Holly Holm defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a hit against Holly Holm during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm lands a hit against Cris Cyborg during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Holly Holm lands a hit against Cris Cyborg during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory by unamimous decision against Holly Holm and her title defense following UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory by unamimous decision against Holly Holm and her title defense following UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cris Cyborg is declared the winner by unanimous decision against Holly Holm and retains her title followng UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/qPrnZ2GMzKchbr2tKPsHvf/294481", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cyborg def. Holm", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC Fight Night 126 gets three fights added to Austin card

The UFC announced on Wednesday three fights have been added to UFC Fight Night 126.

They are as follows: Sarah Moras vs. Lucie Pudilova at women’s bantamweight; Brian Camozzi vs. Geoff Neal at welterweight; and Joby Sanchez vs. Roberto Sanchez at flyweight.

UFC Fight Night 126 takes place Feb. 18 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The event airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Moras (5-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC), who competed on “The Ultimate Fighter 18” in 2013, will enter coming off a submission win over Ashlee Evans-Smith in her first fight in over two years. Pudilova (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) also will seek a second consecutive win after defeating Ji Yeon Kim by unanimous decision in her last fight in June at UFC Fight Night 111.

Camozzi (7-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) will look to snap a two-fight losing streak and earn his first UFC win against Neal 8-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who will make his promotional debut on a two fight winning streak, which includes TKO finishes in LFA and Dana White’s Contender Series.

Joby Sanchez (11-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will look to continue his momentum and extend his winning streak to five in the first bout of his second go-round with the UFC. Joby earned his way back with two wins on DWCS, by decision and TKO, respectively. Roberto Sanchez (7-1 MMA, 0-1) was undefeated until suffering a submission loss in his UFC debut in August.

The full UFC Fight Night 126 card now includes:

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Sage Northcutt vs. Thibault Gouti
  • Tonya Evinger vs. Marion Reneau
  • Brian Camozzi vs. Geoff Neal
  • Jessica Aguilar vs. Livia Renata Souza
  • Joby Sanchez vs. Roberto Sanchez
  •  Sarah Moras vs. Lucie Pudilova

For more on UFC Fight Night 126, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Sarah Moras (red gloves) fights against Ashlee Evans-Smith (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Sarah Moras (red gloves) fights against Ashlee Evans-Smith (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Sarah Moras (red gloves) fights against Ashlee Evans-Smith (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Sarah Moras (red gloves) fights against Ashlee Evans-Smith (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports Sep 9, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Sarah Moras (red gloves) defeats Ashlee Evans-Smith (blue gloves) during UFC 215 at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/9aoB8xnW9BxTtbJatbcYdX/294470", customAnalytics: true, title: "Moras def. Evans Smith", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

MMAjunkie's '2017 Breakout Fighter of the Year': UFC newcomer wasted no time rising up

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Volkan Oezdemir wasn’t on the UFC roster to begin 2017. By year’s end, he was granted a shot at the light heavyweight title.

For that reason, Oezdemir has been chosen as MMAjunkie’s 2017 “Breakout Fighter of the Year.” After just three fights with the promotion, which took place in a span of roughly six months, he’s set to challenge champ Daniel Cormier later this month at UFC 220 in Boston.

Oezdemir was signed by the UFC in early 2017 and made his debut as a short-notice replacement against top-10 competitor Ovince Saint Preux in February at UFC Fight Night 104. After a close fight, in which he was rocked on a few occasions, the judges awarded Oezdemir an upset split-decision win to make him the first Switzerland-born fighter to compete and win in the UFC.

Oezdemir, proud of that accomplishment, declared his intentions afterward.

“I want to climb the ranks,” then-unknown Oezdemir told MMAjunkie backstage. “I don’t know where my rank is going to be, because I wasn’t even existent before this fight. I don’t know. I hope people count on me a little bit. I’m here.”

Oezdemir was next booked to fight Misha Cirkunov in May at UFC Fight Night 109. Cirkunov entered the bout heavily hyped and on an eight-fight winning streak, including four with the UFC, all by stoppage. And Cirkunov had just signed a new UFC deal. To many, that was his time to shine, but Oezdemir had other ideas.

Cirkunov pressed forward in the early going, backing up Oezdemir with an aggressive punch combination. And then suddenly the tables turned. Out of nowhere, Oezdemir landed a short right hand on the charging Cirkunov just behind his ear, dropping him on his face for the violent knockout win after just 28 seconds.

Earlier in the week, Oezdemir warned people not to doubt him but said afterward he understood why they would.

“I know how it is. I know the fight game,” Oezdemir said. “It’s tough, and it doesn’t last long. So when you’re inside the cage, you need to make the most of it.”

He added, “I want to be the fastest guy rising to the title.”

Immediately after beating Cirkunov, Oezdemir turned his attention to Jimi Manuwa, who at the time had consecutive knockout wins that earned him “Performance of the Night” honors. Oezdemir got his wish at UFC 214 in July, and the stakes were high, given that Manuwa would be next in line for a title shot with a win.

Oezdemir, though, stole the spotlight with an emphatic 42-second knockout of Manuwa to state his case as a title contender. And just like that, “No Time” was born.

So what do you think? Did we get it right? Who would your pick have been for “Breakout Fighter of the Year?” Sound off in the comments.

Also see:

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir reacts following his knockout victory against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) fights Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Volkan Oezdemir (blue gloves) defeats Ovince Saint Preux (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts before his both against Misha Cirkunov (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) fights Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) fights Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (right) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports May 28, 2017; Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden; Volkan Oezdemir (red gloves) reacts after defeating Misha Cirkunov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ericsson Globe. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in with a hit against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir reacts following his knockout victory against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in with a hit against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in with a hit against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir reacts following his knockout victory against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/HEBcogVsJo8qj8t4c4FpL7/294126", customAnalytics: true, title: "Volkan Oezdemir", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Why UFC's Jeff Novitzky doesn't believe Jon Jones intentionally used steroids

The starting point for Jon Jones’ punishment following a second potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency violation is a four-year suspension. But the UFC’s anti-doping czar thinks it should be less.

“I don’t necessarily think that we put up a four-year sanction for a second-term offense when the first-term offense was shown that that person didn’t cheat intentionally – just operated with careless disregard,” UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said.

Novitzky appeared today on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast and discussed the publicly known details of Jones’ case, which stems from a positive in-competition test for the steroid oral turinabol following his third-round knockout of Daniel Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC 214 in July. Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) has publicly denied using performance-enhancers.

RelatedToday in MMA History: Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier fight for 1st time (not counting press conferences)

In giving his opinion, Novitzky referenced Jones’ first case with UFC anti-doping partner USADA, a positive pre-fight drug test that led to the cancellation of a title unifier with Cormier at UFC 200. After Jones contested USADA’s findings, an independent arbitrator ruled that he had not intentionally cheated but had been reckless in his use of an over-the-counter supplement. Still, Jones received the maximum punishment allowed under the UFC’s anti-doping rules.

USADA has the ability to take into account mitigating or aggravating factors when deciding how long a UFC athlete can be suspended. Jones could have his suspension reduced if he’s able to convince the third-party firm his use was unintentional. Conversely, he could be found to have knowingly used the banned substance and receive a longer suspension.

Novitzky indicated the circumstances surrounding Jones’ second positive test point to unintentional use.

“It would not make a lot of sense for an individual, a UFC athlete, especially a championship contender like Jon Jones who knew, ‘I’m tested quite regularly in this program’ – it would not make a lot of sense that that would be your drug of choice if you’re trying to cheat,” Novitzky said. “I think it’s come out after the fact that USADA did another test on Jon a month or two months after his positive test, and he was negative. So that would be indicative that the prohibited substance entered his system sometime after July 7th or 8th, and that was likely a pretty small amount and that cleared his system pretty quickly.

RelatedJon Jones (@JonnyBones) finally acknowledged Jon Jones (@jonjones) on Twitter

“Again, who knows where it plays out? But on the surface of things, at this point in the game with that type of information out there, it wouldn’t indicate intentional use. That could be wrong. I don’t know that definitively, and we’ll see how this plays out.”

Novitzky clarified that USADA will ultimately decide Jones’ punishment as the results management process unfolds. He said Jones’ camp and USADA are “working closely” and had a “productive” meeting one or two weeks ago. Jones anti-doping attorney Howard Jacobs confirmed the meeting to MMAjunkie but declined to provide further details.

Jones has the right to appeal USADA’s punishment to an independent arbitrator. Jacobs said no hearing has been scheduled as of yet.

Jones’ second positive drug test marked another devastating blow in his decorated career. After UFC 214’s overseeing athletic commission declared the fight with Cormier a no contest, he was stripped of the UFC light heavyweight belt, the second such time his title was taken away.

Reinstated as champ was Cormier, who will defend the belt at UFC 220 against Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC).

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; UFC president Dana White puts the championship belt on Jon Jones following his victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones before the match against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands an elbow hit as Daniel Cormier defends during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands an elbow hit as Daniel Cormier defends during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Daniel Cormier defends as Jon Jones moves in for a hit during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Daniel Cormier defends as Jon Jones moves in for a hit during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Daniel Cormier defends as Jon Jones moves in for a hit during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones reacts following his TKO victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones fights Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in with a knee hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands a kick against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones moves in for a hit against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones lands hits against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones pins Daniel Cormier to the mat during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones reacts following his victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones reacts following his TKO victory against Daniel Cormier during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Jon Jones is declared the winner against Daniel Cormier by TKO during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/bdoeQcZL7CgusvB3jtbMZ9/294447", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jones def. Cormier", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Zach Makovsky sidelined until mid-2018 after 'first serious injury' of career

Former Bellator champ and UFC veteran Zach Makovsky won’t see competitive action for the next several months after suffering a torn ACL.

Makovsky (20-9) did not reveal how his injury occurred, but the flyweight did share to his social media followers that he’s likely to be out of action for the first half of the year while he rehabilitates (via Instagram):

Sidelined…They say winter is a season of recovery and preparation, and this is my likely viewpoint for the first half of 2018. Unfortunately, I’ve suffered the first serious injury of my career, a torn acl. I plan on doing whatever I can to make a full recovery and have a stellar last couple years of competition.

Makovsky, 34, has been a professional fighter since December 2006. During that time he’s competed for various organizations against some of the top names in the sport. He won titles under the Bellator and RFA banners before debuting with the UFC in December 2013, where he had an up-and-down run.

“Fun Size,” who trains out of Tristar Gym in Montreal, parted ways with the UFC after a stretch of four losses in five fights. He signed with ACB in mid-2017 and has since gone 1-1, with his most recent bout being a unanimous-decision loss to Yoni Sherbatov at ACB 72 in October

For more on the MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Zach Makovsky (red gloves) fights Dustin Ortiz (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/hWWVxcK9Cqa5FxWmB2GhbS/294404", customAnalytics: true, title: "Ortiz def. Makovsky", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News

Dooho Choi wants UFC title shot before upcoming mandatory military service

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Dooho Choi’s UFC career will have to be put on hold not too long from now, but he’s got one goal to achieve in the meantime.

Like all male citizens in South Korea, Choi is expected to fulfil mandatory military service for approximately two years. This won’t be an octagon first; “The Korean Zombie,” Chang Sung Jung, fought former champion Jose Aldo for the 145-pound belt in August 2013 and – albeit with some help from injuries – wouldn’t return to the UFC until 2017, after serving his own term.

Choi, however, said he still has “at least another year” in the octagon before that happens. And even when it does, “The Korean Superboy” doesn’t think it will be a hindrance to his future as a fighter.

“I feel that during that time I’m in the military, I’m still going to be working on my fighting career,” Choi said through an interpreter. “So I’ll just become an even greater fighter, in my opinion.”

Before that, though, there’s one thing to get out of the way.

“I want to have a title shot,” he said.

If everything goes according to plan, Choi gets to set that in motion on Jan. 14, when he meets Jeremy Stephens in UFC Fight Night 124’s headliner, which airs Jan. 14 on FS1 from Scottrade Center in St. Louis. It’s Choi’s first fight since his first UFC loss, which stemmed from an instant classic “Fight of the Night” with Cub Swanson more than one year ago.

RelatedA UFC free fight – highlighting the loser? Makes sense with Dooho Choi vs. Cub Swanson

Choi (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was on a three-fight UFC winning streak – all via first-round knockout – before the setback. Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC), in turn, recently bounced back from a two-fight skid after obliterating Gilbert Melendez’s legs in route to a unanimous-decision win at UFC 215.

Despite the setback and the injury-motivated time away, 26-year-old Choi is happy with where he stands in the 145-pound division. But he’s still eager to get back to the top. And Stephens, who’s ranked above him in the official UFC rankings at featherweight, is certainly a solid way to start.

“I knew he’s a scrappy fighter, as well, and (has) powerful punches,” Choi said. “And he has a good gameplan. So I knew if we were to ever compete together – and then when I was presented this match, we would put on a good fight.”

Even with a win there, Choi will still have some catching up to do if he wants to fulfil the tight timeline for his title shot. Still, unsurprisingly, the ever-cool knockout artist remains unfazed.

“I don’t really feel stressed or pressured at all,” Choi said. “I just enjoy what I do. And I’m just going to take one fight at a time. But then my goal is to get a title shot.”

To hear more from Choi, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 124, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Dooho Choi (blue gloves) reacts to fight with Cub Swanson (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Cub Swanson (red gloves) fights Dooho Choi (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Cub Swanson (red gloves) fights Dooho Choi (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Cub Swanson (red gloves) fights Dooho Choi (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Cub Swanson (red gloves) fights Dooho Choi (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Cub Swanson (red gloves) fights Dooho Choi (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Cub Swanson (red gloves) fights Dooho Choi (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Toronto, ON, Canada; Dooho Choi during weigh ins for UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Nov 28, 2015; Seoul, South Korea; Doo Ho Choi (red gloves) competes against Sam Sicilia (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Olympic Gymnastics Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lili Troncale-USA TODAY Sports Nov 28, 2015; Seoul, South Korea; Doo Ho Choi (red gloves) competes against Sam Sicilia (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Olympic Gymnastics Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lili Troncale-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/3RT4pvEusjLsZmqHT7T3QD/294362", customAnalytics: true, title: "Dooho Choi", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Today in MMA History: Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fight for 1st time (not counting press conferences)

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

They hurled expletives, executives, and shoes – and that was just the pre-fight press conference.

Then on Jan. 3, 2015, the world’s top two light heavyweights finally stepped in the cage at UFC 182 in a battle for supremacy that would pit their opposing styles and personalities – in fact, their entirely different ways of being – against one another.

Did it settle anything? Yes and no. Jon Jones was still the UFC light-heavyweight champ in the end. Daniel Cormier went home with the first loss of his pro career. Any hope that they might bury the hatchet and end up as unlikely friends evaporated when Jones went on the FOX Sports 1 post-event show to express his sincere hope that Cormier was “somewhere crying right now,” which in fact he was.

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier’s back

What looked at first like it might be the end of a bitter rivalry turned out instead to be the end of the beginning. Within a matter of months, Cormier would be champ and Jones would be jailed. And the carousel still wasn’t done spinning.

The story of how this great rivalry started is so dumb that it has to be true. According to both men, they first came face to face backstage a UFC event in 2010. Cormier was the Olympic wrestler new to MMA and competing as a heavyweight. Jones was the wunderkind on his way to the UFC light-heavyweight title.

“I came up to (Cormier) with a big smile on my face,” Jones recalled later. “He’s another black guy in the sport, and I felt the need to say hello to him, and I was just like ‘Hey man, I hear you’re a great wrestler’ and all this stuff. And he’s like ‘Yeah, yeah, you don’t know who I am?’ I’m like ‘No, I don’t know who you are, but my coaches were telling me that you wrestle on the Olympic level.’ And I was like ‘I bet you that I could take you down.’ It was my way of trying to develop a new friendship, and he just took it so seriously, and he was just so offended that I didn’t know who he was, and from that moment on, he decided that there was a beef between us.”

Cormier, while not disputing the essential facts of Jones’ version of their first meeting, remembered the incident somewhat differently.

“What I said was, ‘How do you break the ice by insulting someone?’” Cormier said. “That’s the only problem I had. It was the first time he and I ever interacted. He walked up to me, a very tall individual. He looked down on me and started to make derogatory comments toward me, talking about how he could take me down easy and stuff. … You don’t even know who I am, guy!”

They’d get acquainted soon enough. Jones became the youngest champ in UFC history the following year, while Cormier entered the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix as an alternate and then won the whole thing in 2012 shortly after the UFC’s parent company purchased the promotion.

But heavyweight was a fraught prospect for Cormier in the UFC. His friend and teammate Cain Velasquez was the on-again, off-again champion, and he worried that he was too small to hang around in the division longterm. Before defeating Roy Nelson in his second bout with the UFC, Cormier announced he’d be moving down a division for his next fight. That plan seemed almost guaranteed to put him on a collision course with Jones.

Still, it took an injury to Alexander Gustafsson to finally bring the men together. After the Swedish contender withdrew from his planned rematch with Jones at UFC 178, Cormier, who by then had racked up two straight wins at 205 pounds, was more than happy to step in.

To promote the fight, the UFC scheduled them for a press conference in the lobby of MGM Grand in Las Vegas that August. Normally this would have been the kind of thing that Dana White would have presided over, but the UFC president was en route to Bali for a family vacation, according to former UFC Vice President of Public Relations Dave Sholler, who filled in for him that day.

Jon Jones, Dave Sholler and Daniel Cormier

The press conference went well right up until Jones and Cormier came together for the customary photo op face-off at the end. As Sholler recalled later, there was something about the way Jones strode across the stage with the belt over his shoulder.

“I’ll never forget going, ‘This doesn’t feel right,’” Sholler said.

When Jones took off his sunglasses and stepped close to Cormier, pressing his forehead into the challenger’s face, Cormier put both hands on Jones’ neck and shoved him back (watch above). Jones didn’t hesitate to respond, dropping his title belt and advancing on Cormier, pausing just long enough to throw Sholler out of the way when he tried to intervene.

“The one thing I remember is grabbing Jon Jones by the bicep and for some reason thinking I was going to stop him,” Sholler said later.

RelatedEx-UFC PR head Dave Sholler still can't believe it was Jones-Cormier who tossed him off stage

He didn’t. Few people on earth could have in that moment. And while several flooded the stage to try, Jones let fly with a left hand as the melee swirled off the stage and onto the lobby floor. Cormier would later throw a shoe in Jones’ general direction, just to give you a sense of how quickly all sense of order broke down.

Even when they were separated for an ESPN interview later on, the enmity boiled over – both on- an off-air – with Jones waffling between his public and private personas as he taunted an incredulous Cormier:

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For the UFC, it was a godsend. The press-conference brawl hyped the fight almost to the point of ruining it (Jones was later fined by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and assigned community service as punishment), and the end result was a media frenzy that only drew more attention to the pairing, all while producing more incendiary footage for future use.

Unfortunately for the UFC, an injury to Jones forced a postponement, moving the bout from UFC 178 to UFC 182. By that time, some of the mainstream interest in the fight may have cooled. But for the fighters, it was still easily the biggest bout of either man’s career.

The fight went down at MGM Grand Garden Arena, the same building where they’d brawled in the lobby some four months earlier. The promos for the event featured Cormier explaining that his journey through MMA was a search for the man who would prove to be his equal.

The first indication that he may have found it came in the fight’s opening minute, when Jones caught a Cormier kick and then swept his other leg out from under him. It was the first takedown Cormier had ever conceded in his 16-fight pro career.

Jon Jones

For Cormier, it soon became apparent that the challenge would be not just getting inside Jones’ famous reach, but doing damage once he got there. He spent much of the early part of the fight trying to bull his way past the sharp elbows and stinging left hands of Jones, only to get hammered by knees when he managed to get close.

Still, by the end of the first round, Cormier was finding his range and landing punches. In the second he started attacking Jones’ body with kicks and knees, and Jones consented to spend more time fighting in close where Cormier could reach him.

“That’s the dog fight I want!” Cormier’s coach Javier Mendez told him in the corner between rounds.

But Jones was unrelenting. He attacked with kicks from distance, with elbows in close. He suffocated Cormier against the fence in the clinch, and little by little he seemed to be taking over the fight.

When he came back to his corner before the fourth, Cormier’s coaches implored him to increase his output.

“Do you want this?” Mendez asked.

“I’m trying,” Cormier replied.

Daniel Cormier

But as the fight wore on, the variety of Jones’ attacks seemed to wear on Cormier. He took Cormier down two more times in the fourth round, then threw him to the mat a third time at the horn.

Cormier’s coaches, clad in T-shirts that read “Break Bones,” informed him that he needed to finish Jones if he wanted to win. An exhausted Cormier could only nod his head before marching back into the battle he was now clearly losing.

In the final minute of the fifth, Cormier finally managed a takedown only to have Jones immediately pop back to his feet. When he kept trying to dig for a single-leg takedown in the last seconds of the fight, Jones smiled and raised his fists, celebrating rather than defending.

When Cormier gave up on the takedown just before the horn, Jones snapped back into the fight just long enough to sneak in a couple more punches before it ended. A frustrated Cormier fired back after the horn, nearly clipping referee Herb Dean with a right hand. Jones responded in the universal language of pro wrestling gestures.

The scorecards were no surprise. All three judges gave the fight to Jones with scores of 49-46. In his post-fight interview, Jones encouraged the people who’d bought Cormier’s “Break Bones” shirts to seek a refund.

“See what this shirt says?” Jones asked, gesturing to his own. “By Reebok, it says ‘unbroken.’ This team is unbroken. And still.”

As he gloated over his takedown edge in the fight, Jones paused just long enough to apologize for his own behavior.

“I’m sorry I’m being classless right now,” he said. “I do not like ‘DC,’ and this is why I’m being this way.”

He would continue taunting his beaten opponent in further post-fight interviews. Cormier found his way backstage, where he was embraced by his teammate Velasquez while UFC cameras watched.

RelatedOn Daniel Cormier's heartbreaking backstage moment with UFC champ Cain Velasquez

At the time, the fight seemed to close an important chapter. Jones was the better fighter. Cormier was stuck in second place. Secure in this knowledge, we could all move on.

The picture was complicated when, three days after the fight, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett confirmed that Jones had tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine in the weeks before the bout. The news was paired with an announcement that Jones would enter rehab, where he wound up staying for all of one night.

That April, Jones would be arrested following a hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque, N.M., that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm. This was bad news for his next planned title defense against Anthony Johnson. Soon after, the UFC announced that Jones had been stripped of the belt and suspended “indefinitely.”

The title fight at UFC 187 in May, however, would go on as planned. But with Jones out of the picture, Cormier again got the call. This time, he went home with the belt. He’d wind up keeping it for two more years, right up until he met Jones in the rematch at UFC 214, where he was knocked out in the third round.

At least, that was the preliminary result, until it was announced that Jones had failed another drug test – this time for the steroid Turinabol. Just like that, thanks to another Jones screwup, Cormier was champion again. And so the carousel spun around again. It is spinning still.

For more on UFC 182, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

“Today in MMA History” is an MMAjunkie series created in association with MMA History Today, the social media outlet dedicated to reliving “a daily journey through our sport’s history.”

Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) before his light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) in his light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) in his light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) competes in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) in his corner during his light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones (not pictured) UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) reacts during his light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones (not pictured) UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) compete during their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Official referee Herb Dean separates Jon Jones (red gloves) and Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) as they fight after the buzzer to end their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Daniel Cormier (not pictured) in their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Daniel Cormier (not pictured) in their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jan 3, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jon Jones with his corner after defeating Daniel Cormier (not pictured) in their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/Q68BrGpYE3JJQTTqfMpgXT/294347", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jones def. Cormier, UFC 182", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC 219 medical suspensions: Holly Holm gets 3 months following loss to Cyborg

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Filed under: News, UFC

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm left her UFC 219 title bout with a nasty shiner and a three-month suspension.

MMAjunkie today obtained the list of medical suspensions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which oversaw Saturday’s event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Main card bouts aired live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the headliner, Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) was battered by women’s featherweight champ Cris Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) over five rounds en route to a unanimous-decision loss. Cyborg didn’t receive a medical suspension.

In other notable terms, prospect Cynthia Calvillo (6-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) could be out six months and needs doctor’s clearance for a potential left hand injury following her decision loss to Carla Esparza (13-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC). Calvillo sported a brace on a social media post following the fight.

RelatedUFC 219 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

Welterweight standout Neil Magny (20-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) also needs doctor clearance for a potential left thumb injury after his pivotal decision win over ex-interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit (30-11 MMA, 7-7 UFC).

Here are the full list of medical suspensions from UFC 219:

  • Holly Holm: suspended until March 2 with no contact during training until Feb. 15
  • Edson Barboza: suspended until March 2 with no contact until Feb. 15
  • Cynthia Calvillo: needs left hand X-rayed, and if positive must be cleared by a orthopedic doctor or suspended until June 30; minimum suspension until Feb. 15 with no contact until Jan. 30
  • Carla Esparza: suspended until Jan. 30 with no contact until Jan. 21
  • Neil Magny: needs left thumb X-rayed or MRI, and if positive must be cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until June 30; minimum suspension until Jan. 30 with no contact until Jan. 21
  • Khalil Rountree: suspended until Feb. 15 with no contact until Jan. 30
  • Michal Oleksiejczuk: suspended until Feb. 15 with no contact until Jan. 30 for right eyebrow cut
  • Rick Glenn: suspended until Feb. 15 with no contact until Jan. 30
  • Marvin Vettori: suspended until Feb. 15 with no contact until Jan. 30 for precautionary reasons
  • Omari Akhmedov: needs left hand fracture cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until June 30; minimum suspension until March 2 with no contact until Feb. 15
  • Louis Smolka: suspended until Feb. 15 with no contact until Jan. 30 for left forehead cut
  • Mark De La Rosa: suspended until Jan. 30 with no contact until Jan. 21

For complete coverage of UFC 219, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov before fighting Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov fights Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Edson Barboza lands a kick as Khabib Nurmagomedov defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Edson Barboza moves in with a hit as Khabib Nurmagomedov defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov moves in with a hit against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov moves in with a hit against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov moves in against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov moves in against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov pins Edson Barboza to the mat during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov pins Edson Barboza to the mat during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov lands punches against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov lands punches against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov lands punches against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov applies a chokehold against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khabib Nurmagomedov lands punches against Edson Barboza during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/78MBnsBgMaD7THB69QSSuf/294399", customAnalytics: true, title: "", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Jimmy Smith explains departure from longtime Bellator commentary role

Longtime Bellator announcer Jimmy Smith surprisingly parted ways with the company this past week, and it left many questions about what exactly happened.

Bellator has featured a number of different broadcasters in its commentary booth over the years, but Smith was the one constant in the color-commentary position. Bellator’s announcement of his departure was rather vague, as was the statement included from Smith.

RelatedJimmy Smith parts ways with Bellator broadcast team after lengthy run

The relationship lasted for nearly the entire existence of the Bellator brand. Smith appeared on Tuesday’s edition of Joe Rogan’s “JRE MMA Show” podcast and provided some insight on the situation, and ultimately, he said it was as simple as not being able to reach an agreeable contract extension.

Smith said an option year for 2018 was part of his contract. Extension negotiations took place, but he admitted the offer wasn’t satisfactory.

“They were great to work with,” Smith said during his conversation with UFC color man Rogan. “What happened was I had a deal with an option year, and 2018 was an option year. When I was doing the (Bellator 182) show in Verona, N.Y., my boss sat me down and said, ‘We’re not going to renew for 2018. We want a different deal.’

“When your girlfriend comes to you and says, ‘We need to talk.’ It’s never to say, ‘I don’t give you enough blowjobs.’ They never say that. It’s always bad.

“They said, ‘We want to change the deal around,'” he continued. “They did make an honest effort to keep me. They really tried, they just – they didn’t make me an offer that was worth me coming back. That was the deal.”

Smith didn’t expand much further on the topic, but throughout the podcast, he was consistently positive about his experience with Bellator and the treatment he received from the company during his tenure.

RelatedWhat makes Bellator champ Douglas Lima so scary? Jimmy Smith breaks it down

What the future holds remains to be seen, but longtime UFC commentator Rogan said he would like to see the organization add Smith to its staple of broadcasting talent. In fact, Rogan revealed that he previously encouraged UFC officials to sign Smith and hopes it will happen now.

“I tried to get Jimmy Smith hired by the UFC four years ago,” Rogan said. “I was like, ‘Dude, you want better people? You want more people? Hire that (expletive) guy. He knows what he’s doing, he’s excited, and he loves the sport. I was telling him you’re a great guy, he’s genuine, he’s a real fan, and he’s (expletive) good at it. Go get him.’

“You (expletive) up, Bellator,” Rogan continued. “I’ve been telling everybody Jimmy Smith’s the best out there, and you let him go. That’s a huge error on their part. I would be thrilled if somehow or another they were able to work it out where Jimmy Smith was at the UFC. That would be what I would like to see.”

For more on Bellator’s and the UFC’s schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC

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