MMA Junkie News

14 UFC and Bellator stars who were bullied growing up

You’re doing your job right if you bully opponents in MMA. But you’d be surprised at the number of MMA stars who were bullied before they ever stepped into the cage.

Some of the world’s toughest men and women, from Georges St-Pierre to Anderson Silva to Conor McGregor, were tormented as youngsters. Learning how to fight back started as a necessity, and then it became a passion.

Mike Brown, who’s worked with dozens of MMA fighters over two decades in the sport, thinks bullying is one of the main reasons ordinary people find the will to participate in an extraordinary sport.

“There’s a reason they want to become a great fighter,” he said. “It’s wanting to be able to defend yourself and be confident in any situation.”

Not everyone who gets picked on becomes a professional fighter, of course. It takes a lot more than bullying to keep someone coming back day after day to take punches to the head.

But for some fighters, the experience never fully goes away. No matter how tough they are, it’s always close to the surface, waiting to rear its head.

Javier Mendez, a head coach at the famed American Kickboxing Academy, thought he was having a laugh when he imitated a student from France who mumbled his words with a thick accent. After practice, another student told him the truth: It was a stutter.

Mortified, Mendez took the student aside and apologized for his behavior. The student thanked him, and started to cry.

“I felt like a piece of (expletive),” Mendez said. “I hope to God I never make that mistake again, because it’s not cool at all.”

Many MMA fighters have made anti-bullying their passion project outside the cage, traveling from school to school to share their stories and urge students to treat one another with respect.

This past December, UFC fighters were among dozens of celebrities who professed their support for Keaton Jones, an 11-year-old whose tear-filled plea against bullying went viral.

Ex-champ St-Pierre took a more direct approach – by accident. Prior to winning the UFC middleweight title after a four-year layoff, he encountered his childhood bully, who was homeless on the street. St-Pierre gave him money and told him to shape up his life.

Later, that bully visited his parent’s home and thanked the UFC star for turning his life around.

Here are a few MMA fighters who were bullied growing up:

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MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC 223 in Brooklyn

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC 223 event in New York.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC 223 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. UFC 223 will take place Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

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Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Records: Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC), Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC)
Past five: Ferguson 5-0, Nurmagomedov 5-0
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: Ferguson No. 2, No. 8 pound-for-pound; Nurmagomedov No. 3, No. 11 pound-for-pound
Odds (as of 4/01/18): Nurmagomedov -280, Ferguson +220

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MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for Bellator 196 in Budapest

We want your predictions for Friday’s Bellator 196 event in Hungary.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the Bellator 196 staff picks we release Thursday ahead of the event. Bellator 196 takes place Friday at BOK Hall in Budapest, Hungary, and it airs on Paramount via same-day delay.

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Benson Henderson vs. Roger Huerta

Records: Benson Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA), Roger Huerta (24-9-1 MMA, 1-2 BMMA)
Past five: Henderson 2-3, Huerta 3-2
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 4/01/18): N/A

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Bellator's Muhammed Lawal says belt or no belt, Ryan Bader has been on his radar

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Muhammed Lawal would certainly like to get his hands on Ryan Bader’s Bellator light heavyweight title, so it would be easy to understand if “King Mo” was frustrated about the pair’s first meeting taking place in a heavyweight clash.

He insists he isn’t.

“It’s all about competition to me,” Lawal told MMAjunkie. “I like getting paid, but I love to compete. I’ve been competing my whole life. Fighting, I think it’s the best job in the world. I wake up, I love going to the gym. I love training. I’m doing what I want to do, and I love it. I love fighting.”

Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-5 BMMA) and Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) clash in the headlining bout of Bellator 199 on May 12 in San Jose, Calif. As with all Bellator events, the night’s main card airs on Paramount.

The fight represents the final opening-round matchup of Bellator’s ambitious heavyweight world grand prix, with the winner advancing to face Matt Mitrione later this year.

Bader is currently Bellator’s light heavyweight champion, the same division in which Lawal has been a perennial contender. “King Mo” would certainly appreciate a crack at Bader’s belt, but that will have to wait for now.

Lawal insists that’s just fine, saying he’s got a history with Bader that dates back to their amateur wrestling days, and that an MMA fight between them was always inevitable, regardless of weight class.

“I competed against him before, a long time ago,” Lawal said. “I beat him in a wrestling match, but that was a long time ago.

“But I feel like this: If you weigh 205 or heavyweight, it’s on my radar because I fight in both weightclasses. Pretty much plain and simple – the moment he stepped in the cage and weighed in and fought at 205, he was on my radar.”

Lawal has long considered himself a moneyweight, willing to change divisions to chase the biggest fights possible. But he’s probably most effective at 205 pounds.

Should he down Bader in a heavyweight fight, the result could perhaps earn him a light heavyweight rematch with the champ down the line. But Lawal said he’s not looking past the task at hand. He’s happy with the booking, regardless of division, and he’s expecting a victory.

“That’s it,” Lawal said. “I just want to go out there, fight, fight hard, get that paycheck, man – and win.”

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

And for more on Bellator 199, check out the MMA 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.

Victory FC's Mohammed Usman: I didn't come in this sport to be normal

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Don’t look now, but there’s another Usman looking to make waves, this time at heavyweight.

The brother of current UFC welterweight contender Kamaru Usman, Mohammed Usman is ready to make an impact in the division, and he’s hoping an upcoming appearance on UFC Fight Pass will prove his worth.

“Every fight from this point on is the biggest fight of my life, so I made sure I dotted all my i’s and crossed my t’s, and I’m in the best shape of my life for this fight,” Usman told MMAjunkie Radio.

A former defensive lineman at the University of Arizona, the younger Usman turned his attention to MMA when his football days came to an end. He fought three times in 2017, all under the Tachi Palace Fights banner, scoring three first-round stoppage wins.

On April 14, Usman (3-0) takes on Don’Tale Mayes (3-2) at Victory FC 60, which streams live on UFC Fight Pass from The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind.

Usman said in preparation for the showcase, he’s trimmed off about 10 pounds and expects to be able to better display his full skillset with his leaner frame at approximately 250 pounds.

“You know when your body performs best – at what weight and at what speed, so it’s not just all about being big,” Usman said. “A lot of guys, don’t get me wrong, are big guys, but I can cut down to 245 and still be able to handle a 260 guy – perform better and move faster. A lot of it for me was just performance of my body and being able to move at a different speed.”

Mayes has competed on a few larger stages, boasting an appearance for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, as well as a win under the LFA banner. But Usman believes he’s well prepared to deal with the test.

“I don’t see the fight going past one,” Usman said. “If it does, it will be in my favor. I’m going to come out, I’m going to attack, I’m going to be in his face. I’m going to make him react.

“A lot of guys are kind of scared of him, but he’ll learn real, real fast that I’m a different type of guy. I’m not scared of nothing.”

Usman prepared for this fight at Wisconsin’s famed Roufusport MMA Academy, and he credits names like Tyron Woodley, Paul Felder, John Makdessi and Anthony Pettis for taking his talent “to another level.”

Now he’s hoping he’s primed for a breakout performance, and Usman insists he’s focused on big things in the sport.

“I didn’t come in this sport to be normal or be just a regular heavyweight,” Usman said. “I came in here to be exceptional.

“My work ethic speaks for itself. I get up every morning, I go work out. I go train, but I don’t do it crazy. I’m smart. I give myself enough time to recover. I put my time in. I think that’s what it comes down to and what I really realize about this business: You get out what you put in.”

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

And for more on Victory FC 60, check out the MMA 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.

Who's the best UFC champion in history after all four No. 1s reached the Final Four?

The quarterfinals of our 32-fighter tournament picking the best champions in UFC history are in the books, and we’ve hit the Final Four.

This past Friday, we asked what would happen if we took the best champions in UFC history and matched them up, bracket style? Who would wind up the best champ of all time?

So with the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four weekend here, and the title game set for Monday night, we’re giving you the chance to vote for your favorite UFC champions ever.

It may not come as a surprise, but all four No. 1 seeds in our bracket reached the Final Four. Current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is matched up against former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. And on the other side, former middleweight champ Anderson Silva is matched up against former welterweight and middleweight champ Georges St-Pierre.

Check out the bracket above (or open it in a new window here), then click through to vote in our polls for each of the new matchups. The voting in the quarterfinals will end today at 5 p.m. ET, and we’ll get the title matchup going after that. Everything will culminate Monday night when we crown our all-time best champ – through your votes – around the same time we have a new NCAA men’s basketball champion.

RelatedWho's the best Bellator champion in history – with upset winners in the semifinals?

(Disclaimer: Fighter seeding was done largely based on total number of title defenses. To make the field, fighters had to have had at least two successful title defenses and/or have held the rare distinction of being a two-division champion. Two fighters qualified, but in part through interim title fight wins. In that case, Renan Barao and Andrei Arlovski met in a play-in game, and Barao got into the field based on one more win in a title fight than Arlovski.)

Sound off in the comments – but most importantly, just vote. And if you want to take a look back at the first three rounds of voting, you can see the percentages in all the poll matchups here:

(Note that the polls may not show up in some versions of Firefox and may not work in some spots outside North America. It is recommended you use Google Chrome or Safari to vote.)

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Emmy-winning producer Mark Burnett joins Professional Fighters League as investor, advisor

One of television’s most prolific producers is again turning his attention to MMA.

Professional Fighters League officials recently announced that 12-time Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television Group & Digital and MGM Television, is a new investor in the promotion and will join the organization’s advisory board.

“We are thrilled to partner with MGM Television and Mark Burnett,” PFL CEO Peter Murray stated. “Mark’s creative vision for delivering innovative live content is among the absolute best the industry has to offer – and that is exactly what we will bring MMA fans this season.”

PFL, formerly known as WSOF, formally kicks off its debut season on NBCSN on June 7. The company is planning seven regular season events to air on Thursday nights through August before beginning playoffs that will crown tournament winners $1 million each.

“It’s no secret that MMA’s audience is rapidly growing, and PFL has an enormous global presence,” Burnett stated. “As an enthusiast for innovation within the television industry, I’m passionate about the growth and vision of PFL, and it’s time this sport revolves around a league format.

“They’re elevating the sport in an entirely new way, and I’m looking forward to being part of it.”

Burnett is responsible for producing current television staples such as “Survivor,” “Shark Tank” and “The Voice.” He also won a pair of Emmys for his work on “The Apprentice.”

According to the announcement, the new partnership “will bring unscripted programming and short-form content to PFL’s multi-platform distribution designed to maximize engagement with MMA’s 300 million fans worldwide.

Initial plans also call for an unscripted tournament series, where a bracket winner will earn a spot in the PFL playoffs.

“PFL is thrilled to partner with Mark Burnett, the innovator and icon who invented and perfected unscripted TV,” PFL Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board Donn Davis stated. “The PFL is re-imagining MMA, and the start of the 2018 Season June 7 will bring fans the same excitement and ‘Hey, I have never seen that’ reaction they felt when ‘Survivor’ debuted and ushered in the new age of television.”

Burnett was previously executive producer of MTV’s MMA-themed series “Bully Beatdown.” He was also involved in an HDNet partnership to air King of the Cage events on the channel now known as AXS TV.

For more on the PFL’s upcoming season, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Reminder: 'Countdown to UFC 223: Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov' debuts tonight on FS1

This Sunday on #UFC223 Countdown… pic.twitter.com/vHoo0ZcMVG

— UFC (@ufc) March 30, 2018

The UFC’s traditional pre-event show returns tonight with the debut of “Countdown to UFC 223: Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov” on FS1.

The one-hour special previews the card’s title fight between interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) takes on Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC). The winner will become the undisputed 155-pound champion since Conor McGregor has yet to defend the belt he won in November 2016.

The show also will dive into the co-feature title rematch between women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC). Namajunas will put her belt on the line for the first time since she took it from Jedrzejczyk at Madison Square Garden at UFC 217 in November.

“Countdown” airs at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT) on FS1, and replays air throughout the week.

UFC 223 will take place Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The UFC 223 card includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov – for lightweight title
  • Champ Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – for women’s strawweight title
  • Calvin Kattar vs. Renato Moicano
  • Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis
  • Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Joe Lauzon
  • Evan Dunham vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

  • Alex Caceres vs. Artem Lobov
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Bec Rawlings
  • Devin Clark vs. Michael Rodriguez
  • Kyle Bochniak vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov

For more on UFC 223, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) celebrates with the belt after defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (left) faces off with Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) fights Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) reacts after her fight against Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Nov 4, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Rose Namajunas (blue gloves) celebrates with the belt after defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk (red gloves) during UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/PRfxKkNk5hxschbqceYpyk/311412", customAnalytics: true, title: "Namajunas def. Jedrzejczyk", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

MMAjunkie's 'Knockout of the Month' for March: An uppercut is 'The Answer'

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best knockouts from March 2018: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Knockout of the Month” award for March.

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

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The Nominees

Alexander Hernandez def. Beneil Dariush at UFC 222

If Alexander Hernandez’s (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) opening front kick to the body after faking a glove touch was a little bit dirty, the left hand he used to knock Beneil Dariush (14-5-1 MMA, 8-4-1 UFC) out was much, much dirtier – in a good way.

Hernandez took the fight on less than three weeks’ notice as a replacement for Bobby Green, and Dariush was one of the biggest favorites on the card at around -450. But Hernandez made a statement in his debut. He knocked out Darius for the finish just 42 seconds into the fight.

Brian Ortega def. Frankie Edgar at UFC 222

Brian Ortega’s (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) surge up to the UFC featherweight rankings took its biggest step forward when he became the first to stop former UFC champ Frankie Edgar (22-6-1 MMA, 16-6-1 UFC) inside the distance.

After rocking Edgar with a pinpoint elbow to the face, Ortega swarmed the future UFC Hall of Famer with a flurry. Ortega loaded up on a gigantic uppercut and planted Edgar right on the chin. “The Answer” had no to solution to a shot that literally took him off his feet for the stunning knockout.

Shannon Wiratchai def. Rahul Raju at ONE Championship 70

Shannon Wiratchai (9-2) produced the second fastest knockout in ONE Championship lightweight history when he obliterated Rahul Raju (4-2) in just 21 seconds.

Raju came out aggressively at the opening bell and looked to press the action, but as soon as he got within range, Wiratchai made him pay. Wiratchai pawed at Raju with a right hand before instantly loading up with a follow-up shot that put the lights out. Raju face-planted into the canvas and Wiratchai celebrated.

Jeremy Miado def. Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke at ONE Championship 70

Jeremy Miado (7-2) showed that reputation and past achievements aren’t the be all, end all when he knocked out former ONE Championship titleholder and multi-time Muay Thai champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (8-4) in less than 90 seconds.

Miado, who entered the strawweight bout on a two-fight skid, showed no fear of Sor Amnuaysirichoke’s striking and attacked with combinations that put his opponent on the back foot. Just when it seemed the athletes were settling into the fight, Miado unleashed a flurry of hooks at his opponent. The right hand caught Sor Amnuaysirichoke clean on the chin, and he went down in a heap.

Nathaniel Wood def. Luca Iovine at Cage Warriors 92

Nathaniel Wood (13-3) and Luca Iovine (12-2) wasted no time getting down to business as soon as the buzzer signaled the start of their Cage Warriors bantamweight title fight.

Wood, who was fighting in front of a local crowd, didn’t even get a full minute of action in. Out of a brief exchange in the pocket, Woodley launched a thunderous left hand that landed flush on Iovine’s jaw for the knockout just 50 seconds into the fight.

WOW! Nathaniel Wood with an absolute peach of a left hook and the man with the most out of date nickname in MMA @TheProspectMMA gets a huge KO win. #SuperSaturday #CW92 @CageWarriors pic.twitter.com/etbFnF4IPx

— Simon Head (@simonhead) March 24, 2018

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The Winner: Brian Ortega

Ortega stayed patient in the first round against Edgar, then became the first to finish the veteran. And he did so with authority.

Ortega finished Edgar with a massive knockout from a right uppercut with 16 seconds left in the first round. Edgar had just five career losses coming into the fight, all by decision.

Ortega was a replacement opponent for featherweight champion Max Holloway, who was supposed to defend his title against Edgar in the main event. But rather than wait for Holloway, Edgar took the fight with Ortega and put his No. 1 contender spot on the line. It went by the wayside, and Ortega earned a title shot with Holloway now, instead.

RelatedUFC champ Max Holloway: Everyone says Brian Ortega is the future, but I'm the present

Edgar got right after things and kicked low. Ortega pumped his left jab and tried to use a big height and reach advantage to his favor. But Edgar came forward with a combination and had Ortega backing up early. But he stayed calm and despite Edgar continually working to get off multi-punch combinations, Ortega got solid kicks off.

With a minute left, Ortega grabbed Edgar’s neck and had the potential for a guillotine choke, but Edgar slipped out. Not long after, Ortega stunned Edgar with a big left elbow. He wobbled, and seconds later Ortega put a few punches on him. And with Edgar trying to recover, Ortega measured a massive right uppercut an put Edgar out for good on the canvas.

RelatedBrian Ortega gets call from Dana White: UFC title shot vs. Max Holloway is next

“It feels great,” Ortega said. “This is something I’ve always envisioned. I’ve seen it in my dreams, and even in my fears – I fear myself getting knocked out. But that fear makes me kind of deadly in here, as you see. I’m making history. I’m just humble, and to share the octagon with him is an honor. Frankie is a legend.

“I knew he was going to be in my face pressuring me. Because I have these long arms, I use my elbows when I can. Once I saw him wobble, I thought, ‘Is this fake, or is it real?’ I knew I had to finish him.”

Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brian Ortega celebrates his TKO victory against Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar defends against Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar moves in with a hit against Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brian Ortega lands a hit against Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar moves in with a hit against Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar moves in with a hit against Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brian Ortega lands a kick against Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brian Ortega lands a hit against Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar moves in with a hit against Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar reacts to his loss by TKO against Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar reacts to his loss by TKO against Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Mar 3, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brian Ortega is declared the winner by TKO against Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/QPNfkXfKmDDfnC2vQgPPo6/311319", customAnalytics: true, title: "Ortega def. Edgar", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start(); Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s2.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

MMA's week out of the cage: Thiago Alves gets 10th surgery, Jon Jones garage training

Social media has become a significant part of the sporting landscape. But few, if any, professional sports match the level of interaction and personal access provided by MMA.

In an individual competition in which nearly every athlete is chasing the same goal of financial success and championship glory, it’s important for fighters to provide insight into their lives in order to connect with fans and gain followings.

Although the life of a fighter often can be mundane and repetitive, there still are moments of interest that take place outside the cage, ring or training room. Here are some of the most interesting of those occurrences from the past week.

* * * *

Animals of Instagram

Weekly eats

Children of MMA

Shooting, hunting, fishing

Activities and adventures

Random leftovers

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly seriously, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

Who's the best Bellator champion in history – with upset winners in the semifinals?

The quarterfinal round of our 16-fighter tournament picking the best champions in Bellator history has wrapped up and we’ve hit the Final Four.

On Friday, we asked what would happen if we took the best champions in Bellator history and matched them up, bracket style? Who would wind up the best champ of all time?

So with the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four upon us, we’re giving you the chance to vote for your favorite Bellator champions ever.

A couple fighters pulled upsets, at least according to their seeds, to reach the semifinals from your voting. No. 1 Ben Askren now will go up against No. 6 Douglas Lima, and No. 4 Eddie Alvarez ousted No. 1 Michael Chandler to move on to a matchup with No. 2 Patricio Freire.

Check out the bracket above (or open it in a new window here), then click through to vote in our polls for each of the matchups. The semifinal voting will end Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, and we’ll get the championship voting going after that. Everything will culminate Monday night when we crown our all-time best Bellator champ – through your votes – around the same time we have a new NCAA men’s basketball champion.

(Disclaimer: Fighter seeding was done largely based on total number of title-fight victories. To make the field, fighters had to have had at least two wins in title fights and/or have held the rare distinction of being a two-division champion. Not all fighters who qualified based on those criteria made the final field of 16.)

Sound off in the comments – but most importantly, just vote. And if you want to take a look back at the first two rounds of voting, you can see the percentages in all the poll matchups here:

(Note that the polls may not show up in some versions of Firefox and may not work in some spots outside North America. It is recommended you use Google Chrome or Safari to vote.)

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Who's the best UFC champion in history, and who pulled an upset to reach the quarterfinals?

The second round of our 32-fighter tournament picking the best champions in UFC history has wrapped up and the quarterfinals have arrived.

On Friday, we asked what would happen if we took the best champions in UFC history and matched them up, bracket style? Who would wind up the best champ of all time?

So with the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four upon us, we’re giving you the chance to vote for your favorite UFC champions ever.

Now that the quarterfinal round is here, things went almost to plan – at least based on fighter seeding. We have three No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups. The fourth is a No. 1 vs. No. 3 – thanks to a bit of an upset. Current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, beat inaugural women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey to advance to a meeting with Jon Jones.

Check out the bracket above (or open it in a new window here), then click through to vote in our polls for each of the new matchups. The voting in the quarterfinals will end Sunday at 9 a.m. ET, and we’ll get the semifinal round going after that. Everything will culminate Monday night when we crown our all-time best champ – through your votes – around the same time we have a new NCAA men’s basketball champion.

(Disclaimer: Fighter seeding was done largely based on total number of title defenses. To make the field, fighters had to have had at least two successful title defenses and/or have held the rare distinction of being a two-division champion. Two fighters qualified, but in part through interim title fight wins. In that case, Renan Barao and Andrei Arlovski met in a play-in game, and Barao got into the field based on one more win in a title fight than Arlovski.)

Sound off in the comments – but most importantly, just vote. And if you want to take a look back at the first two rounds of voting, you can see the percentages in all the poll matchups here:

(Note that the polls may not show up in some versions of Firefox and may not work in some spots outside North America. It is recommended you use Google Chrome or Safari to vote.)

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Who are the 15 most influential women in MMA history?

Women’s MMA has come a long way from the days when UFC President Dana White was saying there never would be a female fighter in his promotion.

And it’s come a long way in a big, big hurry. Now the women’s side of the sport has names that rival the men’s side for some of the biggest in the sport.

Let’s take a look at some of the most influential women’s fighters in MMA history, from UFC groundbreakers like Ronda Rousey to current champs like Cris Cyborg.

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Jimmy Smith's UFC 223 breakdown includes a cautionary take on Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis

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Jimmy Smith recently broke down UFC 223’s main card, and he had an interesting take on a lightweight bout between Michael Chiesa and Anthony Pettis.

Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who’s No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, meets former champ and No. 12-ranked Pettis (20-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC) in UFC 223’s second main-card bout, which airs on pay-per-view from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

It’s an interesting matchup between two perennial contenders who need to bounce back from recent losses. Chiesa, an imposing 155-pounder who’s one of the division’s biggest members, is a moderate favorite (-135) over ex-titleholder Pettis (+115), a flashy striker whose speed is well known.

Smith, a former Bellator commentator who’s quickly adapted to his new home octagon side in the UFC, also previously fought professionally, and as a fixture in the gym, he still laces up. So, when he was asked to give his prediction for Chiesa vs. Pettis, he admitted that the former’s stature can be imposing – but that the latter’s tool set can create real (and sneaky) issues.

RelatedMichael Chiesa explains how he's reinvented himself for Anthony Pettis bout at UFC 223

“When I was sparring, what always bothered me was the punch you really didn’t see really scared you,” Smith told MMAunkie Radio. “When you were sitting there sparring – and then boom! You get hit with a shot, and you’re like, ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ That always scared me more than power you saw coming.

“When I usually fought powerful guys, I could at least see the shot coming, and if you couldn’t get out of the way or block a little bit of it, you could at least mentally prepare for it.”

As MMAjunkie Radio host George Garcia explained, an in-studio visit from Chiesa made him realize just how big of a lightweight he is. And the longtime wrestler knows how to use it to his advantage and often out-muscle opponents. But the Roufusport-trained Pettis has a highlight reel full of crafty punches and kicks, and that could create problems, as Smith explained.

RelatedWhy Michael Chiesa picks Khabib Nurmagomedov to beat Tony Ferguson at UFC 223

“The guys who hit you and you sometimes don’t know what happened? That, I always found unsettling when I was sparring,” Smith said. “That was always my opinion. If someone is versatile and fast, and they hit you and you didn’t see it all, you’re paranoid for the rest of the training session.”

Check out Smith’s breakdown of that fight and the rest of the UFC 223 main card, including the Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) lightweight title headliner, above.

And for more on UFC 223, 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.

Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) reacts after beating Anthony Pettis (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; Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) walks out for the fight against Dustin Poirier (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) walks out tot he fight against Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) celebrates beating Anthony Pettis (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; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (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; Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) leaves the fight against Dustin Poirier (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/oLeXGUMhkr8i7LDMVe8As8/311366", customAnalytics: true, title: "Poirier def. Pettis", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Ricky Rainey in for Abdul Razak Alhassan, meets Muslim Salikhov at UFC on FOX 29

Ricky Rainey

A couple weeks out from the UFC’s return to Arizona, an injury has changed a bout and opened the door for a fighter to make his promotional debut.

Abdul Razak Alhassan (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is out of his welterweight fight against Muslim Salikhov (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC on FOX 29. In Alhassan’s place will be Ricky Rainey (13-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the promotion today announced.

UFC on FOX 29 will take place April 14 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The main card will air on FOX following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Rainey, from North Carolina, will make his UFC debut after a seven-fight run in Bellator. There, he went 5-2 over a stretch of a little more than three years with losses to Michael “Venom” Page and Chidi Njokuani. But he had three knockout wins in 2014-15 and is coming off back-to-back decisions over Gilbert Smith and Marc Stevens.

Salikhov, a 33-year-old Dagestan-born Russian, who suffered a submission loss to Alex Garcia in his recent UFC debut. Prior to that, he had an 11-fight winning streak to get the call from the UFC – including eight knockouts and two submissions.

Alhassan, a 32-year-old from Ghana, is coming off back-to-back knockout victories over Sabah Homasi, the latter of which earned “Performance of the Night” honors. But his momentum now is put on hold.

The UFC on FOX 29 lineup includes:

  • Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Matt Brown vs. Carlos Condit
  • John Moraga vs. Wilson Reis
  • Arjan Bhullar vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Dhiego Lima vs. Yushin Okami
  • Cortney Casey vs. Michelle Waterson
  • Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
  • Shana Dobson vs. Lauren Mueller
  • Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares
  • Patrick Williams vs. Luke Sanders
  • Matthew Lopez vs. Alejandro Perez
  • Ricky Rainey vs. Muslim Salikhov
  • Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori
  • Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Moret

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Video: Before UFC 223, watch the wicked elbows Paul Felder landed on Stevie Ray

Don’t question the effectiveness of Paul Felder’s elbows. It’s a lesson his past two opponents, including Stevie Ray, have learned the hard way.

This past July at UFC Fight Night 113 in Scotland, Felder blasted Ray with some brutal first-round ground and pound. Check it out above in the UFC’s latest “KO of the Week” feature.

RelatedPaul Felder's UFC 223 prep for Al Iaquinta comes with perk: 'I'm eating a lot'

And catch Felder (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), who’s No. 15 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, back in action when he fights No. 13 Al Iaquinta (13-3-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC 223.

UFC 223 tales place April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Felder vs. Iaquinta is part of the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC 223, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Paul Felder (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Stevie Ray (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Stevie Ray (red gloves) fights Paul Felder (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Stevie Ray (red gloves) fights Paul Felder (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Stevie Ray (red gloves) fights Paul Felder (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Stevie Ray (red gloves) fights Paul Felder (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Stevie Ray (red gloves) fights Paul Felder (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; (EDITORS NOTE: Graphic Content) Stevie Ray (red gloves) reacts during his bout against Paul Felder (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports Jul 16, 2017; Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom; Paul Felder (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Stevie Ray (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at SSE Hydro. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/xbuGFeFh9XdFg9YUWpHpAS/311196", customAnalytics: true, title: "Felder def. Ray", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

UFC 223's Kyle Bochniak wants to hijack Zabit Magomedsharipov's hype train

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UFC featherweight Kyle Bochniak noticed something different about himself during his most recent trip to the octagon.

Facing Brandon Davis at UFC 200, he noticed how unusually calm he was trading blows with his opponent.

“I had a calming effect on myself, just not overthinking situations, just being more creative,” Bochniak (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) told MMAjunkie. “Like more artistic. Being free and doing what I have to do and not having so much tunnel vision.

“I felt like wherever the fight went, I was cool, calm and collected.”

At the end of 15 minutes, he earned a unanimous decision to take home his second UFC win.

Bochniak hopes that minset carries over to a fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), whom he meets in the UFC Fight Pass-streamed opener of UFC 223, which takes place April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Looking at Magomedsharipov’s wild and inventive style, you could say he’s got a handle on staying in the flow during fights. Many UFC fans are excited about the unique and creative attacks he brings to the octagon. Two opponents already are on his list of victims.

Does Bochniak think he’s got a solid fight ahead? Sure. But that doesn’t stop him from preparing to dominate when they meet in the cage.

“All I know is he’s an MMA fighter, he’s got a lot of hype behind him, and I’m not underestimating him,” he said. “I never underestimate anyone. April 7, I’m going to show up.

“I’m just trying to take his hype train away and take all his fans and put myself on the map.”

If anything, Bochniak believes Magomedsharipov’s style could work against him when they touch gloves. While other fighters might be caught by surprise by unconventional attacks, they’re the type that create openings for an opponent who can counter using sound fundamentals.

“I can’t put myself in stupid positions and get out of position too much,” Bochniak said. “I feel like these flashy guys, they’re going to put themselves out of position a lot more than I will. So I’ve just got to be ready, stand in the pocket and throw.”

For more on UFC 223, 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.

Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (blue) kicks Charles Rosa (red) during a featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Rosa won in three rounds by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Charles Rosa (red) fights Kyle Bochniak (blue) during a featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Rosa won in three rounds by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 17, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (blue) after his fight with Charles Rosa (not pictured) during a featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Rosa won in three rounds by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Kyle Bochniak (blue gloves) fights Enrique Barzola (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Kyle Bochniak (blue gloves) fights Enrique Barzola (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Kyle Bochniak (blue gloves) fights Enrique Barzola (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Aug 27, 2016; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Kyle Bochniak (blue gloves) fights Enrique Barzola (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Jeremy Kennedy (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jan 20, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Brandon Davis (blue gloves) during UFC 220 at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 20, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Brandon Davis (blue gloves) during UFC 220 at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 20, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Brandon Davis (blue gloves) during UFC 220 at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 20, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Brandon Davis (blue gloves) during UFC 220 at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 20, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Brandon Davis (blue gloves) during UFC 220 at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 20, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Brandon Davis (blue gloves) during UFC 220 at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports Jan 20, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Kyle Bochniak (red gloves) fights Brandon Davis (blue gloves) during UFC 220 at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/4AcQLj3DWc5oxxEkb7FvTa/311103", customAnalytics: true, title: "Kyle Bochniak", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

10 fights that shaped UFC's lightweight division – from Pulver-Penn to McGregor-Alvarez

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When the UFC first hit the scene in 1993, we saw a spectacle that sought out superior fighters and fighting styles through a raw form of caged combat. The allure of no rules or weight classes was undeniable, and the in-fight applications of martial arts challenged age-old perceptions while opening eyes at the same time.

By 1997 names such as Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock had moved on to other places in their career, while the competitors inside of the UFC cage only seemed to get bigger and badder. Whether it was brutal brawlers such as David “Tank” Abbott or ruthless tradesman like Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, the UFC was in an arms race that produced memorable moments that – for better or worse – still stick among the sports historical timeline.

This type of packaged violence, of course, drew ire from the Western world in which it operated, namely from politicians such as John McCain, who played a decent role in the UFC’s loss of its – at that time – TV deal, as well as its banning in 36 states. These political pressures forced the UFC to cooperate with state athletic commissions, which eventually gave way to the first weight class separation being rolled out at UFC 12, classifying all fighters 200 pounds and heavier as heavyweights, while the competitors who were 199 pounds and lighter were considered lightweights.

By UFC 14, the promotion renamed the lighter division “middleweight.” Although the lightweight moniker made its return at UFC 16, it now represented all competitors who weighed 170 pounds or lighter. At UFC 26, a 155-pound class was introduced, but it was technically considered the UFC’s bantamweight division.

Finally, in the year 2000, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board took charge of MMA regulation in its home state, conceiving a set of rules and weight classes that became the base of operations that we are now familiar with today. And in 2001, the UFC complied by realigning its weight classes, starting at UFC 31 – an event that saw the first official lightweight fight at 155 pounds.

Since then, the lightweight division has gone through trials and tribulations like no other UFC weight class, taking four official tries to get it off the ground. Still, the fighters found ways to persevere, and the weight class produced talent that helped open many doors for growth in the modern era. In fact, the 155-pound stable has arguably been the deepest populated division in the UFC for the past decade, consistently providing amazing fights for us to sink our teeth into each year. At UFC 223 on April 7, we get our next major lightweight attraction: interim champ Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) for the undisputed belt.

Below, I will do my best to pay homage to the weight class that inspired me to get into this sport in the first place. In chronological order, here are the top 10 fights that I believe helped shape the UFC’s lightweight division.

Jens Pulver vs. B.J. Penn

‘UFC 35: Throwdown’ (Jan. 11, 2002)

Jens Pulver, who was initially crowned the bantamweight champion after defeating Caol Uno at UFC 30, went on to successfully defend his title as an official lightweight against Dennis Hallman at UFC 33. Unfortunately for Pulver, it was ultimately a forgettable five-round decision that fell victim to being on a card that UFC President Dana White said “is the only one I can remember where every fight sucked.”

And subsequently, despite already being a proven champion and pioneer of the lighter divisions, Pulver found himself as a 3-1 underdog heading into a fight with a brash 23-year-old by the name of B.J. Penn.

B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver

The inside circles of the MMA world were excited to see what Penn, who was the first American to achieve a gold medal at the black belt level in Brazil (2000 Mundials), could do inside of the UFC cage. Although many, including noted matchmaker Joe Silva, were initially skeptical of the success that Penn could achieve, the young Hawaiian grappler surprised everyone by storming the UFC scene with three consecutive stoppages due to strikes, propelling him headfirst into a lightweight title fight with Pulver.

Penn, who was training at American Kickboxing Academy at that time, had the familiar faces of Frank Shamrock, Javier Mendes and Bob Cook in his corner. Across from him was Pulver, who had the usual suspects from Miletich Fighting Systems at his back, not to mention a bit of a healthy chip on his shoulder.

Pulver came out of the gate closing in on his target, while Penn looked to stifle the champion’s pressure with level-changing takedowns. And sure enough, heavy grappling exchanges transpired throughout the first two rounds.

By the end of the second round, Penn was controlling well from topside, hitting transitions like dope mounts, techniques that were ahead of its time in the MMA space, on Pulver. Dropping back from an armbar at the buzzer, Penn appeared to get Pulver to tap, but time had ultimately run out.

Immediate pandemonium erupted in each corner, and we saw both men forced to work through adversity in different ways.

Luckily for Pulver, this was not the first time he had to work through a hard fight. Penn, however, had never found himself out of the first round in what was only a nine-month professional career at that point.

Penn made a solid account for himself on the feet and never showed signs of quitting, but Pulver’s pressure and punctuating counters steadily edged the later rounds. Still, both men swung till the last second of what was a competitive contest.

By the end, the scorecards secured the belt around Pulver’s waist, and both men displayed a strong sense of respect toward one another through their post-fight interviews with the late Ryan Bennett.

Unfortunately for the lightweight division, its first official hurdle at the top came soon after this fight. Negotiations with Pulver and the UFC came undone, and the weight class was without a champion. Although Penn later had contract issues of his own, the loss to Pulver gave the young Hawaiian a special kind of motivation that later served both him and the division well.

Yves Edwards vs. Josh Thomson

‘UFC 49: Unfinished Business’ (Aug. 21, 2004)

Shortly after Pulver – the first official titleholder at 155 pounds – left the organization due to a contract dispute in 2002, a four-man tournament was held to determine the next UFC lightweight champion.

The participants were B.J. Penn, Matt Serra, Caol Uno and Din Thomas. Culminating in a competitive five-round final between Penn and Uno at UFC 41, the judges ultimately called the contest a draw – once again leaving the lightweight division without a champion to hold it together.

Thankfully, the UFC continued to book other exciting lightweights such as Yves Edwards, who also competed on the same UFC 41 card that failed to crown a 155-pound champion by choking out Rich Clementi in the opening prelim that night. Although Edwards later lost a decision to Tatsuya Kawajiri outside the UFC (in the Shooto organization), the Jamaican-born fighter earned his fifth straight UFC win (over Hermes Franca) at UFC 47.

Yves Edwards and Josh Thomson

After the fight, Edwards put on his customary black hat, calling for a showdown with an undefeated hot prospect by the name of Josh Thomson.

Shortly after their run with Penn, American Kickboxing Academy  seemingly had another stud it was ready to set loose on the lightweight division. Before hitting the big show at UFC 44, Thomson already had a record of 5-0 against names such as Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Kajan Johnson and “Razor” Rob McCullough. At UFC 46, Thomson also earned himself a hard-fought decision victory over Franca, improving his record to 7-0 and demonstrating that he belonged at the top.

With a showdown between the two inevitable, Edwards and Thomson end up colliding at UFC 49.

It was electricity from the start with each fighter prodding with hard kicks and attempted blitzes in bursts. Thomson hit an early takedown, briefly stifling Edwards, one of the craftiest southpaws to grace the UFC cage.

Luckily for Edwards, his technical savvy and knowledge in grappling allowed him to get back to his feet, where the fighters continued to exchange inside of the clinch. And despite Thomson appearing to get the better of wrestling stanzas, Edwards found himself in on the AKA product’s hips, briefly thinking about hoisting him in the air for a suplex.

Thomson smartly fought Edwards’ hands in the effort to create space, but he then decided to throw a spinning back fist on the separation. The problem, however, was that Thomson turned directly into a head kick that Edwards put everything into; he literally left the ground just to throw it.

It was a moment that deservedly lives on through the highlight reels of today, and it served as a statement for the presence and capabilities of lighter-weight fighters.

At the end of the match, Edwards expressed to Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview how he felt that he and Thomson were currently the best, adding, “Even though I don’t have a belt around my waist and am not the official UFC lightweight champion, I’m the people’s champion.”

UFC 49’s event title of “Unfinished Business” referenced the headliner between Vitor Belfort and Randy Couture, but it was arguably a more appropriate description for the state of the lightweight division during that time.

Sean Sherk vs. Kenny Florian

‘UFC 64: Unstoppable’ (Oct. 14, 2006)

After a couple of years of stagnation on the title front, the UFC was finally ready to take another stab at establishing 155 pounds as a proper division.

The organization was experiencing a new era of growth after recently making a successful debut on Spike TV with the now staple series, “The Ultimate Fighter.” Kenny Florian, one of the middleweight finalists of the show (and most notably the smallest contestant in the house), shook off a tourney-final loss to Diego Sanchez and hit the ground running in the UFC.

Accumulating a three-fight winning streak that saw him work his way down to 155 pounds, Florian steadily added to his skills as he proved that hard work accompanied by the wits of a warrior could compensate for a lot. He was a thinking man’s fighter who was doing his part to change the perception of what was a sprouting sport. And though Florian was still growing, as well, he quickly found himself in a title fight with a face that was familiar to hardcores.

Enter “The Muscle Shark.”

Sean Sherk and Kenny Florian

Sean Sherk, a former welterweight whose initial run saw him challenge for Matt Hughes’ title in previous years, was now in his second stint with the promotion. After being overpowered by a fast-rising Georges St-Pierre, Sherk took one last fight at 170 pounds, earning a hard-fought decision win over Nick Diaz at UFC 59 before deciding to make the drop to lightweight.

Offered another shot at a UFC strap, Sherk took the opportunity seriously and made trial runs to the weight class before committing to it. Renowned for his wrestler-like work ethic and insane physique, Sherk embodied the opposite stereotypes that Florian drew, making this a styles match on multiple levels.

This comparison became only clearer once each fighter made the walk at UFC 64.

Florian, representing his martial arts spirit, walked to the cage in full samurai garb (sword and all), blasting “The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone over the speakers above. And just as Florian touched down on the mat, the lights in the arena cut to spotlights as Sherk’s classic “Jaws” intro cued a walkout that seemed very fitting for the times.

Despite the fight being one-sided on the scorecards, the clash of styles made the exchanges exciting and the swings in momentum palpable. In the second round, Florian cut Sherk with an elbow off his back that ended up painting the entire canvas by the end of the fight, as well as providing an example of offense that’s still referred to today.

Still, Florian’s efforts were not enough, and Sherk was crowned just the second man to sit atop the lightweight throne.

Sherk’s title reign, however, was ultimately short-lived. He successfully defended his belt with a win over Franca the following summer at UFC 73, but both men tested positive for elevated levels of nandrolone, leaving the lightweight division, once again, without a champion.

Roger Huerta vs. Clay Guida

The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale (Dec. 8, 2007)

With the lightweight division champion-less due to a pair of positive tests at UFC 73 (Sherk and Franca), the weight was once again placed on the working class of 155 pounds to represent its spot in the sport.

Doing more than his part at the time, Roger Huerta – who recently became the first mixed martial artist to end up on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” magazine – was on a five-fight UFC winning streak, and he lost only once prior to entering the organization.

Still, Huerta found himself as the betting underdog to the future staple in Clay Guida. A more seasoned fighter who accrued experience in other promotions such as Strikeforce, Guida had already faced the likes of Gilbert Melendez and Thomson.

That said, as a Las Vegas local, I can still remember seeing the billboards for this fight being posted around town, thinking to myself, “Who are these guys?”

And it wasn’t in a disrespectful way, mind you. At the time, if you did see an MMA advertisement at that level, it was typically accompanied by a recognizable name or body north of 155 pounds. With that in mind, an expectation to deliver was definitely at play.

Clay Guida and Roger Huerta

Thankfully, the style differences between Huerta and Guida made for an exciting affair that quickly exceeded expectations. The exchanges were back and forth on the feet while they lasted, but Guida, the better wrestler of the two, was able to get the fight to the floor and finish both Rounds 1 and 2 on top.

As fun as the fight was, there was a clear sense of urgency in Huerta’s corner. They knew they were likely down 0-2 to Guida heading into the final frame. And when the camera cut to Huerta before the start of the third round, you could see the look of a man possessed – a demon, if you will.

Coming out on fire, Huerta seemingly hit Guida effectively with everything he threw, and he landed a knee that changed the course of the fight. Guida dived in for a single-leg takedown soon after, but Huerta was able to spin out and take Guida’s back for the rear-naked-choke finish.

It was an emotional comeback and an instant classic, an example of what 155 pounds could bring to the UFC. Huerta moved on to face Florian (who coincidentally made his color-commentary debut during this fight), and Guida went on to become a “Fight of the Night” regular for the promotion for years to come.

B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson

‘UFC 80: Rapid Fire’ (Jan. 19, 2008)

With Sherk sidelined due to a suspension following a failed drug test, the lightweight title was once again up for grabs.

Penn was coming off a successful return to 155 pounds while avenging his only lightweight loss – to longtime rival Pulver. Whereas Joe Stevenson, the welterweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 2,” was on a four-fight winning streak at lightweight that included victories over the likes of Edwards, Melvin Guillard and Kurt Pelligrino.

The two men met for a vacant lightweight title fight at UFC 80 in Newcastle, England – a country that wouldn’t see another UFC title fight until UFC 204 in 2016.

B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson

Both fighters were Americans fighting in front of a Newcastle audience, but you would have thought Penn was an Englishman with the hero’s welcome that he received from the crowd, who chanted, “B.J.! B.J.!”

A division that seemingly had no legs suddenly started showing signs of the cross-pollination that the UFC would thrive on for years to come.

Penn, whose physique was in top form at this time, came storming out of the gates, dropping Stevenson in the first exchange with a pinpoint uppercut. Penn settled in on top immediately after and got after Stevenson with strikes and positional advances.

Stevenson fought valiantly from the bottom and was able to stifle a decent amount of Penn’s passes. However, as the first round came to a close, Penn hit a picturesque elbow over the top of the guard that split Stevenson wide open, causing him to spray blood like a fire hydrant. The cutmen did their best to stop the bleeding, but it was apparent that this fight now had a new time limit.

Stevenson came out determined to work through the adversity, landing an elbow of his own early in the second round. Still, it didn’t take long for Penn to land clean with another uppercut, forcing Stevenson down to the mat once again. By that time, the two fighters looked like there were grappling in Stevenson’s blood as Penn mercifully locked in his patented rear-naked-choke finish, trapping the arm in transit.

After getting Stevenson to tap, Penn – who then celebrated on his cornermen’s shoulders while licking the blood off of his gloves – became just the second person in UFC history to earn titles in two different weight classes, a prestige that only Randy Couture had at the time.

In his post-fight speech with Rogan, Penn cut a memorable promo to Sherk, who was invited to commentate cageside due to his ties to the evening’s winner.

“Sean Sherk, you’re dead!” Penn exclaimed.

And in an instant, Sherk was up and out of his seat, heading straight into the cage like it was a Monday night professional wrestling event. Sherk, who never lost his belt in competition, then took the mic from Rogan to respond to Penn.

“That belt still belongs to me,” he said. “You got one more fight before you are UFC champion.”

The two men then acknowledged their upcoming battle ahead with a handshake, and like that, the UFC lightweight division was back.

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Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2652 with Bobby Green, Marlon Moraes, Kevin Nowaczyk

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Bobby Green, Marlon Moraes and Kevin Nowaczyk.

UFC lightweight Green co-hosted the show in the studio and shared stories from his MMA career and his interactions with Floyd Mayweather. UFC bantamweight Moraes will headline UFC Fight Night 131 against Jimmie Rivera on June 1 in Utica, N.Y. He called in to talk about his fight. Nowaczyk will headline Victory FC 60 against Andrew Kapel on June 1 and talked about that fight and more.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom. You can watch a replay of the episode below, as well.

UFC on FOX 29's Justin Gaethje will ask for Eddie Alvarez rematch or title shot

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If you think a knockout loss is enough to give Justin Gaethje pause, think again.

The UFC lightweight brawler won’t change the ferocity that fans love, and he won’t concede that his style could be a liability.

Despite a knockout loss to Eddie Alvarez in a “Fight of the Year” candidate at UFC 207, Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) insists he’s still the same force in the octagon in advance of a meeting with Dustin Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC).

“Before Eddie landed that knee, I was never in serious trouble,” Gaethje told MMAjunkie Radio. “He did land some good body shots that did hurt my body for five, 10 seconds, but I was able to recover fast. Dustin is going to have a hell of a time putting me away.”

The two meet in the FOX-televised headliner of UFC on FOX 28, which takes place April 14 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.

From the moment the fight was announced, observers were unanimously gaga over the matchup on social media. Gaethje plans to give fans all they paid for while getting back in the win column.

“It’s going to be a great fight for the fans, and Dustin has just as good a chance as me to get my hand raised,” he said.

And Gaethje has a plan for victory.

“If I go out and finishes the other, then there’s not a lot of arguement,” he said. “If I go out and win, I’m fighting Eddie Alvarez, or I’m getting a shot at the title. That’s what I’m going to call for.”

Poirier has pined for a shot at the belt since he moved up to the lightweight division. A controversial no contest against Alvarez halted his momentum in the division, but a win over ex-champ Anthony Pettis boosted his stock.

Poirier recently signed a lucrative new UFC deal with championship language, but first he’s got to get past Gaethje.

“He probably has better kickboxing and striking technique at range, and I have nothing but respect for the guy,” Gaethje said of his foe. “But I will not give him any range. I’m not going to change a lot, and we’re going to see if he can handle my pressure at the end of the day.”

For more on UFC on FOX 29, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) reacts to fight against Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Dec 2, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) fights Justin Gaethje (blue gloves) during UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s0.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/bztMVh3EivYNV82eRoMDWT/311308", customAnalytics: true, title: "Alvarez def. Gaethje", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

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