Dave Doyle

  • Chris Weidman's critics are missing the boat; UFC middleweight champ is no fluke

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Sounds like the script for a Hulk Hogan vs. Iron Sheik match from the 1980s, right? And yet, this was essentially how things played out when Chris Weidman defeated Vitor Belfort to retain his UFC middleweight title Saturday night.

    Weidman’s matchup was UFC 187’s co-feature bout, behind Daniel Cormier’s light heavyweight title win over Anthony Johnson. But the MGM Grand Garden Arena rocked and rolled to the Weidman-Belfort fight and treated it like the evening’s real main event.

    Nearly two years after defeating Anderson Silva for the title in what many considered a fluke knockout, the message is clear: Weidman is on the brink of A-list stardom, and Saturday night likely marked the last time he’ll play second fiddle to anyone.

    And the undefeated champion seems to know it, too.

    "Hey, stop doubting me," Weidman said during his post-fight interview. "It's enough. Stop doubting me. You better join the team now. This is my last invitation. Join the team. I love you."

    Weidman’s last four victories have come against certified legends of mixed martial arts, future Hall of Famers and champions over two weight classes.

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  • Why Travis Browne is fine with fighting former roommate Andrei Arlovski

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – Those who aren't familiar with the culture of mixed martial arts might find this an odd dynamic: Your roommate today could be the guy you're punching in the face in front of 15,000 people somewhere down the road.

    UFC heavyweight contender Travis Browne (17-2-1) knew this was a possibility a couple years back, when he let former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (23-10, 1 no-contest) crash on his couch in Browne's Albuquerque home while Arlovski got settled into the city.

    Browne was a mainstay at New Mexico's famed Jackson's MMA gym. Arlovski, coming off a string of bad losses, was just joining up with Jackson's, looking for a fresh start on a career gone awry.

    They'd push each other in the gym as sparring partners, help each other to be their best. But with only so many top-notch heavyweights out there, chances were good that their paths would cross at some point.

    While Browne maintains his friendship with Arlovski, Saturday night will be all business.

    Johnson broke Arlovski's jaw midway through the fight, but Arlovski not only went the distance, he won the final round on the scorecards before losing via unanimous decision.

  • Jon Jones, rash of injuries leave UFC in flux ahead of marquee events

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 24 days ago

    The American Kickboxing Academy, the San Jose home to UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and a host of the sport’s top contenders, was the subject of a recent Dana White rant on UFC training-camp injuries.

    "Some of the camps are still in the stone ages and need to be brought up to date," the UFC president recently said. "AKA is one of those places. You've got Cain Velasquez, our heavyweight champion, who's always hurt. Those guys go to war every day.”

    While AKA was the specific target of White’s wrath, the gym may as well have served as a surrogate for the UFC boss’ frustrations over the ongoing battle with injuries and out-of-competition issues that wreak havoc on the company’s fight schedule.

    Yet, while the constant flow of fighters on and off cards has continued unabated, the issue no longer seems as front-and-center as it once was. Why the seeming lack of urgency?

    Werdum holds that interim belt because Velasquez had to pull out of their first fight date, on Nov. 15, which was caused by ongoing knee issues.

  • Rampage Jackson happy to be fighting in UFC again...for now

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is happy after a fresh start with a new promotion. He couldn’t be happier with his new relationship and has nothing but disdain for his old one.

    "I thought I was going to do better by leaving the UFC and I was wrong," the former UFC light heavyweight champion said Saturday night. "The UFC is the best organization on the planet.”

    It was less than two years ago when Jackson (36-11) was whispering sweet nothings into the ear of then-Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, trash-talking the UFC and claiming Bellator would be his home for the rest of his career.

    Longtime fans will recall that when Jackson’s first UFC stint began in 2007, the Memphis native had choice words for PRIDE, where he fought for several years.

    Say this for Jackson, who turns 37 in June: he’s consistent in his inconsistency. And he’s never been through quite a promotional adventure like the one that ultimately landed him at Montreal’s Bell Centre for UFC 186, where he defeated Fabio Maldonado via unanimous decision in the evening’s co-main event.

    Follow Dave Doyle on Twitter @DaveDoyleMMA

  • Paige VanZant showed she belongs in strawweight picture, but where exactly?

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    For someone whom critics claimed was only featured on network television because of her looks, Paige VanZant sure knows how to fight.

    Both the UFC and network television partner FOX were heavily criticized in the buildup to Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 15 card in Newark, N.J., for placing VanZant’s fight against Felice Herrig on the main card.

    This, the trolls bleated, was a matter of cheesecake over substance. Certainly there were more worthy fighters in the newly established strawweight division who could use the boost.

    VanZant got the bulk of the hate. Less than a month past her 21st birthday, VanZant entered the Prudential Center with just five fights to her credit. And she already had a Reebok sponsorship, something usually reserved for the likes of Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey. Though Herrig has also been criticized for taking advantage of her looks, at least she was a veteran of 15 fights.

    “I felt it [the pressure],” VanZant (5-1) admitted during Saturday’s post-fight news conference.

    UFC president Dana White, never one prone to understatement, went so far as to compare VanZant to Irish superstar Conor McGregor in an interview on FOX Sports 1.

  • Why Jose Aldo Jr. shouldn't mind taking a back seat to the Conor McGregor Show

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Or if someone tried to pull such a stunt with middleweight champion Chris Weidman.

    You don't have to stretch too far to know how UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would react. It took much less provocation, after all, for Jones and Daniel Cormier to engage in an all-out brawl in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel during a press conference last summer.

    So how was Conor McGregor able to get away with a flagrant show of disrespect against longtime featherweight champion Jose Aldo Jr.?

    In the final event of a near-two-week media tour promoting their July 11 fight at UFC 189 in Las Vegas, McGregor snuck over to the other side of the stage and took Aldo's belt. UFC president Dana White stepped between McGregor and an angered Aldo before things could get physical, but not before McGregor held the belt aloft to the delight of his hometown Dublin fans.

    "He can say whatever he wants," Aldo told a gathering of Brazilian reporters upon returning home from the tour. "He can do whatever he wants. I don't care. I will always fight for me. I don't give a damn what he says. I'm focused on myself, on my gym and on my friends."


  • McGregor-Aldo promo tour reaches fever pitch with possible slap

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Did Conor McGregor slap Jose Aldo prior to a recent television appearance, or didn’t he?

    It’s one of the few mysteries coming out of an in-your-face, two-week press junket dubbed the “UFC 189 World Championship Tour,” which promotes the featherweight title fight between longtime champion Aldo and bombastic challenger McGregor on July 11 in Las Vegas.

    According to UFC president Dana White, McGregor delivered a slap to the back of the champion Friday morning as they prepared to make a Toronto television appearance, a full week into the tour.

    “Jose Aldo does not like Conor McGregor, and Conor McGregor is good at pushing his buttons,” White said.

    Aldo, meanwhile, disputed his boss’ version of the events. “There was no slap,” Aldo told MMAFighting.com on Sunday. “He pulled my jacket. That’s what happened.”

    Regardless of who you believe, there’s little dispute after last week that by the time they make their Octagon walkouts, McGregor vs. Aldo will be one of the biggest events in the UFC’s 21-year history.

    For Aldo, the McGregor fight will mean both the recognition and the payday that has long eluded him, despite his status as one of MMA’s all-time great champions.


  • After years of disappointment, Alistair Overeem back in heavyweight title hunt

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    UFC president Dana White had his opinion on which direction he'd like to see veteran heavyweight Alistair Overeem go toward after "The Reem" delivered a beatdown to fellow vet Roy Nelson on Saturday night.

    It was suggested that Overeem, the former Strikeforce and Dream champion, should meet up with former UFC champion Junior dos Santos, a bout that was originally slated as a title fight in 2012 before it fell out.

    "I like it," White said at the UFC 185 post-fight news conference. "Does Overeem like it?"

    Overeem, for his part, seems to be setting his sights a little higher, as he called out the fighters who will meet for the UFC heavyweight title in June, champion Cain Velasquez and interim champ Fabricio Werdum.

    "I'm not done yet," said Overeem (39-14, 1 NC). "I'm 34 years old and I'm coming for that belt. Cain or Werdum, I'm coming for you bros."

    Whether you believe the long-awaited grudge match with dos Santos is Overeem's best bet, or whether you think he's ready for Velasquez or Werdum, the fact that Overeem is again being mentioned for potential pairings with the division's elite is remarkable.


  • For better or worse, fan favorite Dan Henderson is going down swinging

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 4 mths ago

    In the pre-dawn hours Sunday morning in Stockholm, Dan Henderson made his future intentions clear.

    “I want to fight right now,” Henderson said.

    Of course that’s what Henderson would say. That’s what Henderson does. This is a guy who has been around so long, he actually won an old-school, one-night UFC tournament, winning what was called the middleweight tournament at UFC 17.

    The former Olympic wrestler from Southern California is one of mixed martial arts’ most decorated fighters. He remains the only fighter ever to simultaneously hold world titles in two weight classes, winning PRIDE’s 205- and 183-pound titles. He was also the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion.

    Fans love Henderson because he represents so much of what they love about the sport. He’s a hard-nosed, no-nonsense, humble competitor who has never backed down from a fight, conducts himself with dignity, and gives the fans his best every time out.

    The problem is, time is finally catching up to the legend of the sport. Henderson is 44 years old, turns 45 in August, and has been fighting as a professional since 1997.

    Follow Dave Doyle on Twitter: @DaveDoyleMMA


  • Why Donald Cerrone's second win in 15 days was bittersweet

    Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 4 mths ago

    Donald Cerrone pulled off a pretty mean feat Sunday night.

    Not only did the popular UFC lightweight nicknamed "Cowboy" win for the seventh time in 14 months, but this time around, he was victorious a mere 15 days after his most recent fight.

    But the rowdy, beer-swilling post-fight celebration fans have come to expect from Cerrone was missing Sunday at UFC Fight Night 59 at Boston's TD Garden.

    And why was that?

    Well, this time around, Cerrone had defeated his longtime friend, Benson Henderson.

    And while the "Cowboy" is usually the rambunctious sort, he wasn't about to go disrespect a friendly foe after getting the better end of a tight, across-the-board 29-28 decision in the evening's co-feature bout.

    "This was a hard victory for me to celebrate," Cerrone said after the fight. "This is tough. I could tell he was timid in there. I love the dude. We grew up together."

    Eventually, one of the calls wasn't going to go his way, and it finally happened. Henderson, who has now lost consecutive fights for the first time in his career, appeared genuinely stunned when the scores were read against him.