MMA Junkie News

Who's going to watch Francis Ngannou if Chael P. Sonnen is fighting?

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Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, News, UFC

From the second Alistair Overeem’s head bounced off the canvas at UFC 218, there’s been insane buzz for Francis Ngannou’s title shot against UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.

It’s only gotten stronger with a killer promo, press conference and somewhat nutty set of stats on Ngannou’s power.

RelatedWatch the official video trailer for UFC 220, then pray tomorrow is Jan. 20

The UFC 220 pay-per-view headliner on Jan. 20 at Boston’s TD Garden has been billed as the most highly anticipated heavyweight matchup in years. But the real main attraction isn’t Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC).

It’s Chael Sonnen – according to Chael Sonnen, anyway.

“Ngannou’s going to be given his opportunity right at the first of the year,” Sonnen recently said on his podcast, “You’re Welcome.” “Sadly for Ngannou, nobody’s going to watch him fight. I think him vs. Stipe is a very interesting one. The problem is, I’m fighting at the exact same time on free TV.”

Even Sonnen’s producer couldn’t keep a straight face for that one.

“So who the hell is going to sit there and watch Ngannou when Chael P. is up? Fair question, though, right?” Sonnen continued. “And how many people go on pay-per-view and watch it after the fact? If it was free TV, maybe you would DVR it and watch it afterward. So it’s going to be crickets and nobody’s going to see it.”

In case you haven’t heard, Sonnen (30-14-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) is facing Quinton Jackson (37-12 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) in the Paramount-televised co-headliner of Bellator 192, which takes place Jan. 20 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. It’s part of the opening round of Bellator’s eight-man heavyweight grand prix, which awards the vacant belt to the winner of the tourney, which features a mix of veteran heavyweights and light heavyweights.

Related'Rampage' Jackson vows Chael Sonnen will pay in Bellator grand prix if he tries to wrestle

Sonnen has declared he wants Bellator to beat the UFC in a head-to-head contest for ratings, so consider his most recent interview with that in mind – and also that it’s Sonnen, the guy who helped write the blueprint for self-promotion in modern MMA.

For more on UFC 220 and Bellator 192, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Francis Ngannou reacts after he is declared the winner by TKO against Curtis Blaydes during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Francis Ngannou fights against Curtis Blaydes during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Francis Ngannou moves in with a punch against Curtis Blaydes during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports April 10, 2016; Zagreb, Croatia; Francis Ngannou reacts after he wins by TKO against Curtis Blaydes during UFC Fight Night at Zagreb Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Francis Ngannou celebrates his knockout victory against Luis Henrique during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Francis Ngannou is stopped by the official following his knockout against Luis Henrique during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Francis Ngannou moves in with a punch against Luis Henrique during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports December 19, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Francis Ngannou moves in with a punch against Luis Henrique during UFC Fight Night at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Francis Ngannou (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) competes against Francis Ngannou (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) competes against Francis Ngannou (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Jan 28, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) competes against Francis Ngannou (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) gestures in a fight with Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Anthony Hamilton (blue gloves) fights Francis Ngannou (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports Dec 9, 2016; Albany, NY, USA; Anthony Hamilton (blue gloves) fights Francis Ngannou (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Adamucci-USA TODAY Sports July 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Bojan Mihajlovic (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports July 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) pins Bojan Mihajlovic (blue gloves) to the mat and wins by TKO during UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Francis Ngannou during weigh ins for UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Francis Ngannou during weigh ins for UFC Fight Night at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-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/9VkJ9BQnBbiN6LeniuSzR3/294272", customAnalytics: true, title: "Francis Ngannou", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

 


Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, News, UFC

If he beats UFC champ Cormier, Volkan Oezdemir expects Gustafsson or Saint Preux next

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – UFC light-heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir has a fight with champ Daniel Cormier to think about at UFC 220.

But he sees Alexander Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Ovince Saint Preux (22-10 MMA, 10-5 UFC) as future opponents should he win the belt in the pay-per-view co-headliner on Jan. 20 at TD Garden in Boston.

RelatedDaniel Cormier wants to erase Jon Jones 'stench' by smashing Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220

“(Gustafsson) is definitely No. 1,” Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) said this past weekend before his title fight with Cormier (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC). “But he also stayed inactive for a long time.

“He’s No. 1 in the ranking. He’s (fought for) the belt. But what I see also is (Saint Preux) right now. I have, I guess, unfinished business with him because of what happened. He’s going to be fighting four times this year. He’s in great shape and looking really good.”

Saint Preux, who’s won his past three in impressive fashion, has said he wants back his losses, and that includes Oezdemir, who bested him via split decision in February 2017. Saint Preux currently is booked to face Ilir Latifi (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) at UFC on FOX 27 on Jan. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.

RelatedAttorney: Administrative error corrected; Volkan Oezdemir case to proceed Jan. 9

Gustafsson, meanwhile, remains a contender following a knockout win over Glover Teixeira earlier this year. The two-time title challenger recently underwent shoulder surgery. He’s also called for a fight with deposed champ Jon Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC), who remains on the shelf pending the outcome of his latest failed drug test.

There are plenty of immediate options for a new champ. Now, though, all Oezdemir has to do is get past Cormier.

For complete coverage of UFC 220, check out 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/HEBcogVsJo8qj8t4c4FpL7/294183", customAnalytics: true, title: "Volkan Oezdemir", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Former NFLer Greg Hardy set for amateur MMA bout at 'LFA 33: Willis vs. Stewart'

Two undefeated welterweights have taken top billing on next month’s LFA 33 lineup, which also features NFC vet Greg Hardy’s third MMA bout.

Officials today announced former U.S. Marine Kyle Stewart (9-0) and Memphis native Jaleel Willis (8-0) will meet in the main event.

LFA takes place Feb. 16 at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, and the main card airs on AXS TV.

In addition to the pro bouts, Hardy, a former Dallas Cowboy and Pro Bowler who’s 2-0 since moving to MMA, takes on heavyweight Ryan Chester (2-1 amateur) at the show.

RelatedVideo: Former NFL star Greg Hardy gets 2nd amateur MMA win in 28 days

Hardy, who’s expressed interest in competing for the UFC, has needed a little more than two minutes total to win his first two amateur bouts.

Headliner Stewart, meanwhile, has five stoppages in seven career wins since his 2015 pro debut. The 28-year-old recently followed up a LFA-debut submission win over Ty Freeman with a TKO victory over Jason Jackson at Dana White’s Contender Series 3 in July. Stewart didn’t get a UFC contract after Jackson’s ankle buckled after he ate a second-round punch, which forced an injury stoppage, but it did give the 170-pound prospect some solid exposure (via YouTube):

He now meets Willis, a 25-year-old who’s registered wins with organizations such as Bellator and WSOF since turning pro in 2014. He’s posted four knockouts and four decisions in eight career wins. Most recently, he edged Nolan Norwood on the scorecards at a June V3 Fights event in Tennessee.

In the LFA 33 co-headliner, former Legacy FC champion Damon Jackson (13-2-1), who’s 4-1 since his UFC release in 2016, returns to lightweight from featherweight for a fight in his hometown against Chris Pecero (14-7),

The LFA 33 card currently includes:

For more on LFA 33, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA;Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) arrives prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Dec 27, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws as Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) rushes during the first half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) during the game against the New York Jets at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) taunts Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans during the second half of a football game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) leaves the field following a game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Eagles won 33-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) rushes the passer against Philadelphia Eagles tackle Lane Johnson (65) in the third quarterat AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) warms up on the field before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) during the first quarter of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Eagles won 33-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy (76) warms up on the field before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-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/bMsCdb9r3tPagbnsgV7bRL/294269", customAnalytics: true, title: "Greg Hardy", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News

Urijah Faber wants Sage Northcutt ('Santa with abs') to vocalize title aspirations

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Sage Northcutt is one of the recent new additions to Team Alpha Male, and gym founder Urijah Faber said the sky is the limit for the UFC lightweight.

Northcutt (9-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) joined the Sacramento, Calif.-based Team Alpha Male prior to his-unanimous-decision win over Michel Quinones (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 120 in November. He showed strides to in skill set with the performance, which he credited to his new fight team.

Since retiring from the sport this past year, Faber has taken a more vested interest in the rising talent at his gym, and 21-year-old Northcutt, in particular, has “The California Kid’s” attention. It’s not just because of Northcutt’s talent, though. Faber said his personality is infectious and a makes him a pleasure to be around.

“As far as a positive energy, I’ve never really met anyone like that,” Faber said this past weekend at UFC 219 in Las Vegas. “He brings joy. He’s like Santa with abs. It’s really cool to have him in the room. He brightens the mood. Everybody loves him. He’s genuine. He really comes off as real genuine, and he learns super fast. It’s crazy. It’s just about finding those bits and pieces to an already great skill set and mindset and good genetics and a lot of hard work.”

RelatedSage Northcutt focused solely on UFC career with college no longer holding him back

Northcutt’s next bout is against Thibault Gouti (12-3 MMA, 1-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 126. The event takes place Feb. 18 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, and it airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass (Northcutt is likely to be on the main card).

After beginning his UFC run with consecutive victories, “Super” has had an up-and-down run in recent years. He’s 2-2 in his past four fights, and the victory over Quinones marked his lone octagon appearance of 2017.

At Northcutt’s age, though, long breaks between fights can be beneficial. He was able find the right gym ad develop his skills. Faber said Northcutt has a high ceiling in the sport, and he’s encouraging the youngster to be more vocal about his goals and ambitions.

RelatedMMA's week out of the cage: Jon Jones' Christmas song, Sage Northcutt chucks axes

Northcutt told MMAjunkie in December 2015 that he wants to become the youngest champion in UFC history, breaking the record of Jon Jones, who at 23 captured the UFC light-heavyweight belt. Northcutt still has nearly two years to make that happen, and though Faber wishes he would say it more, he said he views a UFC title as a realistic goal for the 155-pound prospect.

“I’m encouraging him; he’s too nice to say he wants to go get the strap,” Faber said. “But that’s in his mind. At what point does someone just decide they want to be a champion? I think he’s probably had that for a long time, but I’m encouraging him to voice that because I think he can be a world champion, and I think we’re on a path to do that. It’s awesome to see him progress, and I think he’s going to be a world champ.”

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

Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) celebrates beating Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Sage Northcutt (red gloves) fights Michel Quinones (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-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/fTHEXUGswpn6n5W4DMKpr5/294225", customAnalytics: true, title: "Northcutt def. Quinones", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie's '2017 Robbery of the Year': The MMA gods giveth, and they taketh away

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

As far as robberies go, the best (or worst?) of the bunch in 2017 wasn’t exactly “Ocean’s Eleven” level.

It probably wasn’t even “Ocean’s Twelve” or “Ocean’s Thirteen.” It might’ve been “Logan Lucky.” That’s to say the year’s biggest robbery isn’t one we’re likely to still be talking about five years from now like, say, Leonard Garcia over Chan Sung Jung. Or Garcia over Nam Phan. Or Diego Sanchez over Ross Pearson.

We could have gone with an avant-garde suggestion given to me earlier this week that it should be Khabib Nurmagomedov not making the scale for UFC 209, thus denying us (for now) the opportunity to see him vs. Tony Ferguson. But barring that, if we have to hand out “Robbery of the Year,” it has to be Anderson Silva’s unanimous decision win over Derek Brunson at UFC 208.

RelatedTwitter reacts to Anderson Silva's controversial victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208

The MMA gods work in strange ways sometimes. Perhaps those gods thought Silva was due for a little good karma. After losing the middleweight title he held for years, he broke his leg in a rematch with Chris Weidman. Then he beat Nick Diaz, but popped hot for steroids and was suspended.

When he returned 13 months later, he fought Michael Bisping – and lost a decision in front of Bisping’s home fans that many thought either should’ve been a TKO win for Silva after a controversial near stoppage at the end of Round 3, or at the very least a win on points. And he followed up the Bisping loss by stepping up on three days’ notice to fight light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier when Jon Jones failed a drug test – a fight he seemingly was destined to lose, but took to save the card at UFC 200 in a way.

So the MMA gods maybe thought Silva deserved to get back in the win column, officially, for the first time in four and a half years – an unthinkable stretch for a man once considered the best in history. At UFC 208, which took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., this past February, those gods were played by Derek Cleary, Eric Colon and Doug Crosby.

Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC) picked up a unanimous decision over Brunson (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) with a pair of 29-28s (Cleary and Crosby) and a 30-27 (Colon). If you run that past the media outlets tracked by MMADecisions.com, only four scored the fight for Silva at 29-28. Eleven had it 29-28 for Brunson, one was 30-28 Brunson, and eight, including MMAjunkie, had it 30-27 for Brunson.

RelatedUFC boss Dana White had Derek Brunson over Anderson Silva in UFC 208 co-main event

The case for Silva, at least statistically, may have been in his takedown defense. Brunson tried nearly a dozen times to get the fight to the canvas and only did so twice and kept the fight there for only a couple minutes. On the feet, Silva may have been a little deceptive in how much he truly was controlling the fight. He landed his share of punches, but Brunson was twice as active in the striking department, and Silva was content to try to stay on the outside to land counters and be flashy when he did throw.

That flashiness arguably was deceptive enough to convince the judges he was winning the fight, even though Brunson spent time on top in all three rounds. After the fight, Silva even raised Brunson’s hand – which usually is one of those tell-tale signs of admitting defeat. But the judges saw it differently, and the fans in Barclays Center let them know about it.

The loss was a second straight for Brunson after a 5-0 stretch that had him on the verge of title contention until a TKO loss to Robert Whittaker, who now is the middleweight champion. Brunson rebounded with back-to-back knockout wins over Dan Kelly and Lyoto Machida, the latter coming in a main event in Brazil to get back into the title picture.

As for Silva, he was supposed to return in November – but popped hot again. So maybe those MMA gods still know something about karma after all.

Were there other robberies in the MMA world this year that should’ve made the cut over Silva-Brunson instead? Sound off in the comments section and let us know.

Also see:

For complete coverage UFC 208, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) moments after his fight against Derek Brunson (blue gloves) (not pictured) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) moments before his fight against Derek Brunson (blue gloves) (not pictured) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) shares a smile with Derek Brunson (blue gloves) moments after their fight during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) celebrates after his victory against Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-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/75dpnYz26NNbhtaT5nSjwA/294209", customAnalytics: true, title: "Silva def. Brunson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with James Krause, UFC 219 recap


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest James Krause.

Krause, who cornered Tim Elliott this past weekend at UFC 219, fights Alex White at UFC Fight Night 124 on Jan. 15. The hosts also recap the year-end UFC 219 card and all the fallout.

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: News, UFC, Videos

MMA world rings in 2018 on social media, and it includes Miesha Tate's big announcement

The new year is here, and for many a turning of the calendar means a new chapter in life, and that includes those within the MMA community.

Check below to see how fighters and other personalities from the industry reflected on 2017, celebrated New Year’s Eve, and what they posted heading in 2018.

* * * *

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.


Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, News, UFC

Michelle Waterson targets March return, potentially against Felice Herrig or Carla Esparza

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – After disappointing turns in her previous octagon outings, UFC women’s strawweight Michelle Waterson is looking to bounce back against a surging opponent in March.

Despite losing her past two fights, Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) aims to take on a winning opponent for her next challenger, she told reporters backstage at this past Saturday’s UFC 219.

“I’m really looking forward to watching the bout tonight between Carla (Esparza) and Cynthia (Calvillo at UFC 219),” she said at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “I think either one of those girls would be a fun match for me.

“Also, I know Felice (Herrig) has been on a four-fight win streak. She and I kind of grew up in the sport together; I think that would be an entertaining fight. But at this point, I just want to get in the win column, so we’ll see who they give me.”

Waterson gave her interview before Esparza (13-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) upset the surging Calvillo (6-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC), who’d previously won three fights.

Herrig (13-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC), meanwhile, remains unbooked after calling out onetime title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

Weight category is not Waterson’s primary concern after her most recent setback, a decision loss to Tecia Torres (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) this past month at UFC 218. The former Invicta atomweight champion said she feels comfortable fighting at 115 pounds and doesn’t feel compelled to move down to her former division.

“I worry less about cutting weight and more about training, and I think that’s more important,” Waterson said. “I’d rather take that advantage. But never say never. If (the atomweight division) opens and it’s a good opportunity for me, then we’ll see where it takes me.”

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

Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) reacts after fight against Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) and Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) fights Michelle Waterson (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; UFC Tecia Torres (red gloves) reacts after fight against Michelle Waterson (blue 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/yQU6vGvvBqsaKpEupqHV4n/294180", customAnalytics: true, title: "Torres def. Waterson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Jake Matthews vs. Li Jingliang set for UFC 221 in Perth

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

The lineup for the UFC’s first visit to Western Australia next month continues to build with the addition of a new welterweight fight.

Australia’s own Jake Matthews (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) is set to take on China’s Li Jingliang (14-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at UFC 221. UFC officials recently announced the new booking.

UFC 221 takes place Feb. 10 at Perth Arena in Perth in Western Australia. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

RelatedGeorges St-Pierre vacates; Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold title fight set for UFC 221

Matthews got back on track in November when he returned to welterweight after fighting at lightweight for the first seven bouts of his UFC tenure. That resulted in a 4-1 start in the promotion, with the lone loss coming against the highly touted James Vick.

But after a 10-1 start, including stoppages in his first four UFC victories, Matthews was stopped with a first-round TKO by Kevin Lee at the TUF 23 Finale in July 2016. It was his first fight in the United States after starting his career with 10 fights in Australia and one in nearby New Zealand.

After the Lee loss, he dropped a split decision to Andrew Holbrook at UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne in November 2016. After a year off, though, he returned at UFC Fight Night 121 in November with the move back up to 170 pounds and took a split call from Bojan Velickovic in Sydney. Now he’ll fight in his home country for the third straight time.

RelatedJake Matthews not thrilled with win at UFC-Sydney, but believes welterweight is his home

Li Jingliang

Jingliang ran his winning streak to four straight fights with a first-round TKO of Zak Ottow in November at UFC Fight Night 122 in his home country of China. The bout was his first appearance in a UFC co-main event, and he picked up his second straight $50,000 fight-night bonus.

Prior to that, he cashed an extra check for a “Fight of the Night” unanimous decision over Frank Camacho in Singapore this past June and had back-to-back knockouts of Anton Zafir and Bobby Nash. His booking at UFC 221 will be his first fight on a UFC pay-per-view since his promotional debut, a split call over David Michaud at UFC 173 in 2014.

RelatedLi Jingliang wanted to share joy of UFC-Shanghai win with wife and daughter, so he ran to them

With the addition, the latest UFC 221 card now includes:

  • Champ Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold – for middleweight title
  • Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov
  • Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Mark Hunt
  • Cyril Asker vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Damien Brown vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim
  • Teruto Ishihara vs. Jose Quinonez
  • Mizuto Hirota vs. Ross Pearson
  • Jeremy Kennedy vs. Alex Volkanovski
  • Israel Adesanya vs. Rob Wilkinson
  • Li Jingliang vs. Jake Matthews

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

Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) defeats Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) fights against Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) defeats Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) defeats Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-USA TODAY Sports Nov 25, 2017; Shanghai, China; Li Jingliang (red gloves) defeats Zak Ottow (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Mandatory Credit: David G. McIntyre-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/zn7jRhftJkRTWVbbZxpc3d/294194", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jingliang def. Ottow", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

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

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

UFC welterweight Yancy Medeiros is ready to brawl every time he walks into the octagon. He just doesn’t want to.

“Yes, I’m competitive, and I’m down to go to war, but that’s not my initial reaction – ‘I’m going to stand toe-to-toe and see who takes the harder punches,'” Medeiros told MMAjunkie Radio after his barnburner with Alex Oliveira at UFC 218. “That’s not something I pride myself on.”

First and foremost, Medeiros said, health and longevity matter. He can’t achieve his goal of becoming a long-term investment to his promoter if he keeps on brawling.

“An asset is replaceable,” he said. “When you’re an investment, that’s when the company takes care of you. And how do you do that? You’ve got to find your windows of opportunity and take them.”

Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) certainly did that in the octagon when he faced Oliveira (17-4-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) earlier this month in Detroit. Dropped by punches early in the fight, he rallied to pick up a third-round TKO for his third consecutive UFC win. He also earned a $50,000 bonus for “Fight of the Night.”

Afterward, the thrill he felt from overcoming adversity was coupled with disappointment at taking so many punches. When he sat down and watched his performance against Oliveira, he couldn’t help but notice how many shots he’d blocked with his face.

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

“I took way too many hits,” Medeiros said. “‘Cowboy’ is definitely a tough individual. Usually, I punch people, and they make adjustments, and they’ll back off and give you some space. I punched him right square in the nose, and he seriously ran after me. I’m like, ‘Alright, this guy, he’s going to take it. We’ve got to make some adjustments.’ And then he friggin’ dropped me, my first drop in the first.

“In my head, I was like, ‘This mother(expletive) dropped me. I can’t believe it.’ I got so pissed off. I got egotistical. I got prideful. I was like, ‘I’ve got to punch him back, and I’ve got to drop him.’ Then he dropped me again, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to get back to the game plan.'”

With that lesson learned, Medeiros faces another challenge moving forward. How does he turn all of the excitement over his performances into something more than just a fleeting wave of attention from fans? How does he get his promoter to look at him as more than just an expendable asset?

Medeiros seems to be getting closer to his goal. He’ll make a quick turnaround to headline his first UFC event, facing veteran Donald Cerrone (32-10 MMA, 19-7 UFC) in an FS1-televised headliner at UFC Fight Night 126, which takes place Feb. 18 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. As it happens, Medeiros said he’s also up for contract renegotiation.

RelatedDonald 'Cowboy' Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros headlines UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin

“I would love to talk and get locked in with the upper staff and have a good talk,” he said. “I want to know what they see in me and if they want to invest in me and how much am I’m worth to them.

“Because you get guys like Sage Northcutt, (and) he fights, but he gets seen way more than me. He gets endorsed, and he gets pushed out, and I’m not saying that’s unfair. I’m just saying that I’ve put in the work, and I know I’m entertaining. I don’t get fights like that guy, and I don’t get paid like him.

“These guys give me headbangers. They give me guys that try to take you out. And I’m all for it. I just want to get paid more, because I know I fight to entertain, and this is an entertaining business, and I’m going to put my life on the line, because it’s kill or be killed. I want to build my brand and do what I can with the time that I have. This sport is growing fast, and the fight life isn’t forever.”

Medeiros believes a fighter should be improving with age, getting more mobile and more facile with skills. He mentions UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture as cautionary figures in a career in which physical damage racks up fast.

“All these old-time fighters, they have a hard time being mobile,” Medeiros said. “It’s not supposed to deplete, and that’s something I really focus on. I don’t want to be immobile after my career is done. That’s a huge factor I focus on, especially when it comes to training.”

Medeiros isn’t the first fighter to complain of depressed pay during an era in which the gap between stars and rank-and-file is wider than ever. It’s a persistent problem for fighters who’ve seen rankings thrown out the window in search of lucrative matchups.

That’s one reason Medeiros wants a sit down with the UFC, because he doesn’t have many answers for how to fix the problem. Asked what he needs to do to become a star, he presents one solution. It’s the only constant in the way fighters get ahead.

“Keep knocking guys out,” he said with a laugh.

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

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

UFC 219 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

Since the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream endeavor, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and, perhaps most importantly, social-media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more through the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which helps outsiders get a deeper look into the minds of the athletes.

Following Saturday’s UFC 219 event in Las Vegas, several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters.

* * * *

The defeated

Great at sucking I guess https://t.co/8Y9m1AgauN

— Louis Smolka (@LASTSAMURAIUFC) December 31, 2017

The draw

The victorious

Thank you, been a rough few weeks. On to the next one.

— Tim Elliott (@TElliott125) December 31, 2017

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

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.


Filed under: Blue Corner, News, UFC

Finisher Michal Oleksiejczuk didn't mind going the distance with Rountree at UFC 219

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Michal Oleksiejczuk wasn’t supposed to win at UFC 219.

That’s what the oddsmakers said, anyway. Oleksiejczuk (13-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was the card’s biggest underdog against Khalil Rountree (6-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in a featured light heavyweight heavyweight bout to close out the prelims.

But apparently no one bothered to tell Oleksiejczuk about the odds. Against a man who had back-to-back first-round knockouts, and who was fighting in his home base in Las Vegas, Oleksiejczuk put on a stifling and dominant performance for a sweep of the judges’ scorecards.

“It’s still hard to believe what happened – it’s a big day for me in my life,” Oleksiejczuk said through a translator after the fight. “Of course, I believed in myself and my abilities to win this fight, but I had no clue I would do it in such a dominant style and I would beat Khalil everywhere – standing, wrestling and on the ground.”

UFC 219 took place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Oleksiejczuk, from Poland, ran his winning streak to an impressive 10 straight fights with the unanimous decision over Rountree. The 22-year-old hasn’t lost in more than three years, and even though eight of his previous nine wins in the current run were by stoppage, he isn’t fretting going to the judges against Rountree.

“I’m surprised I didn’t finish him in the second round,” Oleksiejczuk said. “But he’s a very tough guy and I have a lot of respect for him because he took a lot. I’m very happy – I thought that I would have a finish, but a decision for a (UFC) debut isn’t a bad thing,  especially against such an opponent as Khalil.”

And he wants his next fight to be a big one, too, at least in terms of name value. Gokhan Saki was supposed to fight Rountree at UFC 219, but pulled out a month prior with an injury – which allowed Oleksiejczuk to step in for his UFC debut.

Now, Oleksiejczuk figures, he might as well be the one who steps in with Saki his next time out.

“I want to fight Gokhan Saki because he’s a legend – he’s a legendary striker and kickboxer, and it would be an honor to enter a cage with him,” Oleksiejczuk said. “I think that’s a good fight to make after this one. Hopefully that will happen. I think when I’m in shape with a good camp, I can fight any light heavyweight in the world and I will prove that in my next fights.”

For more from Oleksiejczuk, check out the video above.

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

Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khalil Rountree lands a kick against Michal Oleksiejczuk during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk moves in with a hit against Khalil Rountree during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khalil Rountree moves in with a hit against Michal Oleksiejczuk during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk moves in with a hit as Khalil Rountree defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk moves in with a hit against Khalil Rountree during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk moves in with a hit against Khalil Rountree during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk lands hits against Khalil Rountree during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Khalil Rountree moves in with a hit as Michal Oleksiejczuk counters with a low kick during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk moves in with a hit as Khalil Rountree defends during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk pins Khalil Rountree 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; Michal Oleksiejczuk pins Khalil Rountree 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; Michal Oleksiejczuk moves in with a hit as Khalil Rountree counters during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Michal Oleksiejczuk pins Khalil Rountree to the mat 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/raeNpd5dCbLSiKWLF9UScg/294130", customAnalytics: true, title: "Oleksiejczuk def. Rountree", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie's 'Knockout of the Month' for December: Brutal KOs everywhere to close the year

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

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

* * * *

The Nominees

Gaston Bolanos def. Rick Gutierrez at Bellator 189

Gaston Bolanos (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) gave Rick Gutierrez (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) a rude welcome to professional MMA when he connected with a violent spinning back elbow to end the featherweight bout just 62 seconds after it began.

Francis Ngannou def. Alistair Overeem at UFC 218

Francis Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) scored the signature win of his career against former Strikeforce and DREAM champ Alistair Overeem (43-16 MMA, 8-5 UFC). “The Predator” connected with one of the cleanest left hands ever seen in the octagon and laid out Overeem in the first round to earn a heavyweight title shot.

Marlon Moraes def. Aljamain Sterling at UFC Fight Night 123

Marlon Moraes (20-5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) made a major statement in the UFC’s bantamweight division with a brutal knockout of Aljamain Sterling (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC). The knee landed by the former WSOF champ was so devastating Sterling had to be taken out on a stretcher.

Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose at UFC on FOX 26

Alessio Di Chirico (11-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) didn’t exactly wow from the start, but his finish of Oluwale Bamgbose (6-4 MMA, 1-4 UFC) proved impressive when he ended the lackluster middleweight bout with a perfect knee that led to a face-plant knockout in the second round.

Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via punch at UFC on FOX 26

Josh Emmett (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) took a big challenge on short notice, stepping up to fight perennial featherweight contender Ricardo Lamas (18-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC). The risk paid off when he landed a perfect left hook in the opening round, which led to a walk-off finish.

* * * *

The Winner: Francis Ngannou

One powerful left hand from Ngannou was all it took, and suddenly Overeem was unconscious on the mat.

A brutal one-punch knockout extended Ngannou’s winning streak and dashed Overeem’s title hopes, all in slightly less than two minutes of cage time.

In the bout between two big men known for their striking, it was Overeem who seemed to want to get the fight to the mat. After charging across the cage to start the fight, Overeem tried for a takedown and then initiated a clinch, though it didn’t take long for Ngannou to turn him and force him into the fence as a counter.

But back in the center of the octagon, as Overeem ducked in low with a wide left hook, Ngannou dipped with the blow and came back with a thunderous left hand uppercut that practically lifted Overeem into the air as it dropped him flat on the mat.

Ngannou would come diving in with an additional right hand hammerfist before referee Dan Miragliotta could stop him, but there was no need, as Overeem was already out cold and the bout halted at the 1:42 mark of Round 1.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, UFC

MMAjunkie's '2017 Coach of the Year': Former champion becoming standout instructor

When Mike Brown finally decided in 2014 that his fighting days were over, he didn’t make an announcement. An offhand comment from Joe Rogan during a UFC broadcast served as official notice.

After a litany of injuries, including a persistent neck issue that forced surgery, Brown’s transition from combatant to coach came gradually in the public eye. Behind the scenes, though, he’d been groomed for the job by management at American Top Team, who spotted his talent for translating MMA knowledge and gave him a part-time coaching position when he lost the WEC featherweight belt.

That job replaced another one at the Florida gym: front desk clerk. If you called the gym for hours and directions, you might have spoken to Brown.

By the time Brown got back to Florida on the heels of a knockout loss to Steven Siler at UFC Fight Night 26 in 2013, he’d already been traveling the world with fighters from the team, learning the nuts and bolts of what it took to be a head coach. When he decided to hang up his gloves, it didn’t take long before he was asked to lead training camps. Once a corner, he was now in charge.

More and more, the stars who trained at American Top Team – Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Amanda Nunes, Dustin Poirier, Santiago Ponzinibbio, Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, among others – began to sing Brown’s praises in pre- and post-fight interviews.

This past year saw Brown emerge on the national stage as an MMA head coach and strategist. No longer a former fighter holding pads, he turned around lagging performers and further refined standouts in the octagon.

RelatedMMAjunkie's '2017 Gym of the Year': New entrant makes immediate impact

Of course, like many well-known coaches working this past year, Brown had his share of high-profile setbacks. The biggest was Jedrzejczyk, who lost the UFC strawweight belt to Rose Namajunas after her fifth title defense against Jessica Andrade.

But there were plenty of successes. Nunes defended her bantamweight belt against the insurgent Valentina Shevchenko. Poirier went 2-0, stopping ex-lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, and arguably would have been 3-0 had a foul been correctly called against Eddie Alvarez. Ponzinibbio went 3-0 with a stoppage of Gunnar Nelson and decision over the fearsome Mike Perry. Covington beat Demian Maia, a bittersweet accomplishment considering the public fissure it created with current and former coaches and fighters at ATT. Just in time for New Year’s, onetime UFC flyweight title challenger Kyogi Horiguchi won the RIZIN FF bantamweight title.

The gym chain based in Coconut Creek, Fla., has produced dozens of standout fighters over the years. Very few of them, however, went on to become standout coaches. Talent in the cage doesn’t guarantee the patience and wisdom needed to teach an extremely nuanced and complex sport. In 2017, however, Brown was able to make the jump and find a new identity.

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


Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC

Jackson-Wink photographer apologizes after calling Cyborg a man on social media

A photographer on staff at the Jackson-Wink MMA Academy today apologized on social media after referring to UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg as a man.

Mark Aragon, the famed gym’s media director, wrote (via Instagram): “I am embarrassed by my actions and I sincerely apologize to @criscyborg and her friends, fans, and most importantly her family for posting such an ugly misrepresentation of a great hard earned championship retention.

“I also want to apologize to the members of team (sic) Jacksonwink who were effected by that insincere post.”

The apology came one day after Aragon’s initial post triggered anger online, with several media members and MMA fans taking him to task for his words about Cyborg (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who beat ex-UFC bantamweight champion and Jackson-Wink product Holly Holm (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) in the headliner of this past Saturday’s pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Aragon received a media credential for the event to take pictures. On Sunday morning, he posted a since-deleted photo – captured by multiple MMA media sites – of Cyborg at the event’s press conference with the caption, “This dude is tough as hell! That being said Holly was the first one to make his nose bleed! You are my hero @hollyholm see you back in the gym.”

Cyborg demanded an apology for the post, on Monday posting a screenshot of the message and writing (via Instagram): “It is not acceptable for an official representative of @hollyholm @jacksonwink_mma to call me transgender following my Fight. Their official photographer was given a backstage credential to attend the @UFC and I expect an apology or their ability to get credentials for future UFC events to be affected by these actions.”

Multiple requests for comment to gym founders Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn went unanswered on Monday. The controversy initially appeared to be ignored by Winkeljohn, who reposted an Instagram message mocking transgender bathroom laws before deleting it.

But by midday Monday, Aragon had posted his apology, attempting to explain why he used the offensive language. The gym’s official Facebook page also posted its own statement, attempting to diffuse the issue.

Aragon claimed he let his emotions get the better of him after sitting on a bus with Cyborg and her team on the way back to the event’s host hotel. He wrote that Cyborg laughed about a photo of her kicking Holm and claimed the champ called the challenger “the bitch” who “stayed and hugged her but she did nothing.”

“My personal emotions got in the way of my professional status which I failed to adhere to,” he wrote.

Aragon attempted to soften the blow of his words by by pointing out Cyborg’s prior to the fight. He said the champ’s repeated anti-doping accusations against Jackson-Wink fighters were “a totally fabricated lie and can’t be based on any merit whatsoever.”

Meanwhile, Jackson-Wink MMA’s official Facebook account seemed to justify Aragon’s remarks by detailing his backstory while also disavowing the language used.

“In response to our media person’s recent Instagram remark about Cyborg, there is a backstory as to why he made his comment,” read the statement (via Facebook). “After Cyborg’s victory, she was heard backstage by our media guy calling Holly a “Bi#%h” and laughing at a photo depicting her own toe in Holly’s eye. They were heard mocking Holly’s performance. Our media guy was defensive of our fighter and space and he used Cyborg’s past history of steroid use, in a knee jerk, response. We were unaware of all the backstage talk and his response on a public forum until yesterday. He regrets putting JW in this position. We don’t condone putting others down. Congratulations to Cyborg and her team and we look forward to a rematch.”

Cyborg’s victory over Holm solidified her status as the dominant presence in women’s MMA. Holm, who two years ago upended the sport with a knockout of Ronda Rousey, failed to deliver another huge upset in attempting to capture a second UFC belt 10 pounds above her usual weight class.

Despite her success, Cyborg has been repeatedly maligned by fans using gender-based insults. UFC President Dana White once infamously said she “looked like Wanderlei Silva in a dress,” prompting widespread criticism. After a long and rocky relationship, the promoter and fighter appeared to make ends earlier this year, and Cyborg signed a lucrative new deal that paid her a disclosed $500,000 to face Holm.

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/294166", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cyborg def. Holm", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

It's a new year, and the next phase of the Conor McGregor saga is just beginning

It’s starting to look like Conor McGregor did not resolve to change his whole social media strategy in 2018. If anything, seems like he decided to get back to his greatest hits.

In a series of tweets on New Year’s Day, the UFC lightweight champion: 1) Disparaged Khabib Nurmagomedov’s performance in a three-round evisceration of Edson Barboza at UFC 219, 2) insisted that he’s not coming back to the UFC until he’s paid “(his worth)”, 3) as in, seriously, you’re going to have beg him, 4) because his whiskey brand launches soon and he expects to make “Diddy bread” as a result, 5) and that’s on top of the Diddy bread he already has, 6) so go on and open up that wallet, for real this time.

It’s a lot to unpack, is the point. And if the UFC really wants to have McGregor back by the summer, it probably needs to unpack a boatload of cash and maybe even an ownership stake in the company first.

But if you’re trying to understand where the McGregor phenomenon stands now and where it might go next, this muddies the waters somewhat. (It also casts still further doubt on that claim that McGregor was slated to fight in December right up until the UFC pulled him as punishment for storming the cage at a Bellator event in November, but is that really a surprise?)

If the last two years proved anything, it’s that McGregor is the biggest star in MMA. In fact, he’s the biggest star in the history of MMA, and obviously he knows it. Ensuring that the UFC pays him as such seems like it’s as much a matter of pride for him as it is one of finances. He wants that money not just because he wants to spend it, but because it’s his.

This is a position we can respect. Why should McGregor rush back into the cage just to add a few more zeroes to the bank accounts of already wealthy UFC owners? He’s out here changing the game. He’s just doing it from a distance at the moment.

But eventually people are going to decide that it’s not much fun being a fan of a fighter who doesn’t fight, especially when there are so many interesting opponents just waiting for his return.

Nurmagomedov is a true stylistic test. Tony Ferguson is guaranteed fireworks. If you want to get really non-sensical you could probably throw Georges St-Pierre and Nate Diaz into the conversation too, all of them standing around and waiting for McGregor to bring the payday to them.

Plus, the longer he doesn’t return, the more he just seems to be in the way. These other lightweights, they’re him a few years ago. They want to be the best, get the belt, make that money. That’s harder to do when the champ is off selling whiskey and counting Diddy bread.

RelatedKhabib Nurmagomdeov takes early lead in 2018's 'Best Beatdown via Photoshop'

Sooner or later, something has to give. It could be the UFC giving McGregor money and equity, or McGregor giving some enterprising contender a shot – maybe even fans and media giving less of their attention to the occasional Twitter rants of a guy who used to fight.

It just can’t keep on like this forever, and it really shouldn’t have to, especially since all sides seem to want most of the same things. Fans? They want to see McGregor fight. So does the UFC and so do all the people hoping to beat him up for money.

And McGregor? The fact that he’s watching Nurmagomedov’s fights and forming strong opinions on them makes you think he’s not quite ready to be done. You don’t ask people to beg you if there isn’t a big part of you that’s looking for a good reason to say yes.

All we need now is for the interested parties to decide on how to make it happen, and then everyone can end up getting what they want. Because if not, that’s a whole lot of Diddy bread that’s going to go stale just sitting on the shelf.

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

Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) fights Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) after losing to Conor McGregor in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) with his championship belt after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates with his two championship belts after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-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/iSB7aU6D52K4iNWoucxBiP/294142", customAnalytics: true, title: "McGregor def. Alvarez", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Watch the official video trailer for UFC 220, then pray tomorrow is Jan. 20


Filed under: Blue Corner, News, UFC, Videos

No offense, January, but as far as we can tell, there’s about 19 useless days to start you.

You see, we love welcoming in a New Year just as much as anyone, but this year is a little different because we know UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) is fighting the incredibly dangerous Francis Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) on Jan. 20 at UFC 220 in Boston.

And yeah, we’ve known that for a while now, but then the UFC released the official video trailer for the event over the weekend, and it just took things to a whole new level.

So, we’re just going to go to sleep tonight, and if you can work your magic and make it Jan. 20 when we wake up in the morning, that would be greatly appreciated. I know we’re supposed to look at every day as a gift, but I’m willing to bypass a few tie clips and ugly sweaters in order to get to this fight.

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

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) celebrates after he defeats Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) defeats Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) fights Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) fights Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) fights Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) defeats Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) defeats Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports May 13, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves)celebrates after he defeats Junior Dos Santos (blue gloves) during UFC 211 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) competes against Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) competes against Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) competes against Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) competes against Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) defeats Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) defeats Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) greets Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) after their fight in UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) defeats Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports Sep 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Stipe Miocic (red gloves) defeats Alistair Overeem (blue gloves) during UFC 203 at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Stipe Miocic (blue) reacts after defeating Fabricio Werdum (red) during UFC 198 Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Stipe Miocic (blue) exits the ring after defeating Fabricio Werdum (not pictured) during UFC 198 Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports May 14, 2016; Curitiba, Brazil; Stipe Miocic (blue) reacts after defeating Fabricio Werdum (not pictured) during UFC 198 Fight Night at Arena Atletico Paranaense. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-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/GvaJQaMVwy6DqVjCrq5HfK/294150", customAnalytics: true, title: "Stipe Miocic", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, News, UFC, Videos

Report: Unbeaten prospect Mackenzie Dern meets Ashley Yoder at UFC 222

One of the top prospects in the sport officially will join the UFC roster in 2018.

UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby confirmed this past week on a MetroPCS chat with UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin that unbeaten strawweight Mackenzie Dern (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) make her octagon debut in the early portion of the year.

“Mackenzie Dern will be making her debut in the UFC,” Shelby told Griffin. “I think (in) early 2018.”

Today, MMAFighting.com reported Dern’s opponent will be Ashley Yoder (5-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at UFC 222, which takes place March 3 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. UFC officials have not yet made a formal announcement of the booking.

Dern, a multi-time jiu-jitsu world champion, has made her transition to MMA over the past few years. The 24-year-old is coming off a third-round submission of Kaline Medeiros at Invicta FC 26 in December. Prior to that, Dern racked up the first four wins of her pro career under the Legacy FC (later LFA) banner.

Ashley Yoder

Yoder started her career 5-1, including a win for Invicta FC, and got a shot in the UFC through Season 23 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” She made her official promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 102 in December 2016, but dropped a decision to Justine Kish. And this past July, in her follow-up, she dropped a decision to former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill.

With the addition, the UFC 222 card includes:

  • C.B. Dollaway vs. Hector Lombard
  • Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Stefan Struve
  • Mackenzie Dern vs. Ashley Yoder

For more on UFC 222, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

MMAjunkie's '2017 Gym of the Year': New entrant makes immediate impact

Typically, “Gym of the Year” is awarded to the fighting team that collectively puts together the best results over the course of a 12-month period.

Massive camps like American Top Team and Jackson-Wink MMA are always logical candidates just based on the sheer number of athletes who are racking up victories for the crew. In 2017, Team Alpha Male had a number of memorable moments, even if a few late stumbles offered a bit of a setback.

But for this year, MMAjunkie’s “Gym of the Year” award goes to a facility that was opened in late May, but already has served more than 40 percent of the UFC’s roster: the UFC Performance Institute.

“Going into this thing, we didn’t know how it would be received, but we’ve been hugely excited by the response,” UFC Performance Institute Vice President Dr. Duncan French told MMAjunkie. “We’ve only been open six months now, and so far the feedback and the experience of the fighters has been outstanding, so we’re really excited.”

Part of the UFC’s new multi-million dollar corporate campus in Las Vegas, the UFC Performance Institute – often referred to as “the P.I.” by staff members and UFC fighters alike – is visually stunning and boasts the most high-tech training and recovery equipment available to any MMA fighter. And best of all, it’s free to use for any athlete on the UFC roster. Just make your way to Las Vegas, and the facility is at your disposal.

“Every fighter comes with a different set of experiences and skills, and obviously the teams around them are all different,” French said. “Some of the big gyms have got lots of expertise – their own strength coaches, their own nutrition staff, their own physical therapists, etc. But there’s a majority of the roster that they’ve got an MMA coach, a striking coach and themselves, and that’s it. So, look, we try to plug the gaps and plug the holes in the portfolio of services that an athlete needs.

“It’s a very individualized and customized approach, but in working with their MMA coach, their head coach and the athlete, themselves, to try and really figure out how we can support the process, we feel we can really contribute, No. 1, in terms of objectivity and diagnostics but also just conversations, philosophical ideas on how we’re going to support this athlete to continue to develop and improve.”

The facility served as base camp for UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor as he prepared for his historic boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. Upcoming UFC heavyweight title challenger Francis Ngannou relocated from France to Las Vegas to take advantage of the P.I. And perennial flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez has been utilizing the building’s state-of-the-art recovery tools while rehabbing from surgery.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Tours of the Performance Institute will yield sightings of any number of current UFC fighters, not to mention UFC Hall of Famer and current UFC Vice President of Athlete Development Forrest Griffin, who’s always on hand to lend some advice.

The UFC Performance Institute is receiving rave reviews among UFC fighters and potentially could assist not only the betterment of every fighter on the company’s roster, but of the sport itself.

“You walk through the front door of the Performance Institute, and our mission statement is right there on the first wall, and it starts with the evolution of the sport of MMA,” French said. “That is absolutely our mantra here. We all buy in to that, and we all feel that the Performance Institute connecting with the global community of MMA is going to advance the sport for the greater good of everyone.”

A non-traditional winner for a revolutionary facility: MMAjunkie’s 2017 “Gym of the Year.”


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

How a friend's wedding and a few beers brought Myles Jury back to Alliance MMA

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Two years ago, Myles Jury was among a small group of athletes who left California’s Alliance MMA to train at Arizona’s Power MMA. Ultimately, the move didn’t necessarily prove as beneficial as “Fury” had hoped.

Jury readily admits there were many factors involved in his recent career struggles. After opening up his professional run undefeated through 15 fights, back-to-back losses to Donald Cerrone and Charles Oliveira brought incredible frustration. Becoming a father for the first time was incredibly life-changing, as well.

In fact, the 29-year-old Jury just admits he had some growing up to do.

But after pushing his way through those challenges, a chance encounter this past September changed everything. After two years away from San Diego’s Alliance MMA, Jury was reunited with the team’s head coach, Eric Del Fierro, at Jeremy Stephens’ wedding. With the frosty beverages flowing, Jury said a conversation began.

Del Fierro said Jury (17-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) was welcome to come back to the team whenever he wanted, and the UFC featherweight accepted the invitation, heading there almost immediately after to start his training camp for Rick Glenn (20-5-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at this past Saturday’s UFC 219 event in Las Vegas.

“I flew out there the next week, and we just started training and getting it,” Jury told reporters following his UFC 219 win.

Jury looked calm and composed throughout the contest, outstriking Glenn on the feet and preventing the matchup from hitting the floor en route to a clearcut decision win. Following a two-fight losing streak and a 16-month layoff, Jury is now riding a two-fight winning streak and seems ready to resume the form he held in winning his first six UFC appearances.

“I was happy going into this fight because I worked my butt off in this camp and had a good time,” Jury said. “Whenever you come away with a victory in this game at this level, I mean, I’m happy. All good.

“There were some people that you guys wouldn’t guess unless I straight up just told you that I needed to get away from me. Look, I’m a fighter. In my mind, if I have to, I’ll train by myself and fight. As a fighter, that’s just what you do. But sometimes I’m so stubborn that I try doing (expletive) on my own, and I cut myself short. So I do really believe this is where I need to be, training with Eric and Alliance and guys like Jeremy Stephens and stuff like that.”

Jury admits he’s not terribly concerned with who he fights next. Focusing too much on what’s ahead only proved problematic in the past, Fury explains. Instead, now content again with his old team, Jury said his focus is only on preparation and performance, and he believes that will provide him all the success he desires.

“We’ll see what the UFC wants to do,” Jury said. “I’m 29 – just have some patience. I’m getting better. I’m getting stronger, and if a top-ranked opponent comes, if a title shot comes, whatever, I’m not going to chase it.

“Of course I want gold. I want the belt. I want the money. I want all that stuff. But everybody wants that, and I can’t focus on that. That (expletive) is going to come as a byproduct of me training, taking fights, me serving the UFC, me serving the fans. When I serve the people in my company, that’s wen money and everything comes back to me.”

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

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

Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury lands a kick against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury lands a kick against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury lands a hit against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Rick Glenn defends against Myles Jury during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury lands a hit against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury brings down Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury pins Rick Glenn 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; Myles Jury pins Rick Glenn 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; Myles Jury lands a hit against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury defends against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury lands a hit against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury defends against Rick Glenn during UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Dec 30, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Myles Jury pins Rick Glenn to the mat 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/Wcqd9wxMMHx9NHYg3phjfL/294095", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jury def. Glenn", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

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