- Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White, as would be expected of a promoter in his position, waxed effusive late Saturday after Ronda Rousey scored the fastest victory of her career.
The UFC women's bantamweight champion needed just 16 seconds to rid herself of Alexis Davis at UFC 175, one second off the UFC record for the fastest knockout in a title fight.
The way White saw it, there was no particular good reason why Rousey couldn't take on anyone, anywhere.
"When you look at the NBA, women play basketball, but everybody [expletive] on it like, 'Ah, it's women's basketball; it's terrible,' " White said at the postfight news conference at Mandalay Bay. "This is a chick that could leave this building, walk down the Las Vegas Strip and wreck every guy on the Las Vegas Strip. There's never been a women in the history of the world that could do that."
Well, maybe Rousey could go out and wreck every drunken bozo wandering down the Strip on a holiday weekend night. But the real question going forward is this: Can White find another opponent who can be a credible draw against the dominant champion?
- Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
LOS ANGELES — Ronda Rousey will defend her UFC women's bantamweight title Saturday night in Las Vegas against Ontario's Alexis Davis, who is a testament to the powers of Canadian politeness. Davis can kick butt in the cage, but she isn't the one to go to if you're looking for trash talk or hype.
It was a similar story back in February, when Rousey carried the promotional workload for her UFC 170 title defense against an equally nice and well-mannered Sara McMann.
The way Rousey sees things, it's simply a part of the job.
"I think a lot of these chicks, they think it would be nice to be champion," said Rousey, who meets Davis in the co-feature bout of UFC 175. "But, once you start doing the buildup and the work that comes with being a champion, a lot of people realize that this isn't the lifestyle for them."
- Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports18 days ago
In January 2009, Jeremy Stephens got a call he had long awaited: His first shot at a main event in the UFC.
Sure, it was on short notice, but he wasn't about to say no to the opportunity. Why would he? The cocky lightweight prospect from Iowa, then 23-years-old, was the winner of three of his past four bouts and on his way to big things. A main event bout against Joe Lauzon would cement his status as a title contender.
"I thought I was ready back then," Stephens said. "I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I was untouchable. But looking back all it shows is how much I still had to learn."
Stephens lost to Lauzon in Tampa, Fla., falling prey to an armbar in the second round. And it would take him five and a half years to get another main-event look.
In the interim, Stephens has changed camps, shifted weight classes and been through a legal issue. But now, in his 19th UFC fight, Stephens is older, wiser, and back where he felt he belonged so many years ago: In the main-event spotlight.
- Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports25 days ago
If Rory MacDonald is about to fill Georges St-Pierre’s shoes as Canada’s next mixed martial arts superstar, it’s a role he’ll assume with reluctance.
“I don’t want to be a superstar,” MacDonald said Saturday night after dispatching Tyron Woodley at UFC 174 in Vancouver. “I just like to fight and hopefully I’ll be a dominant champion and represent Canada well.”
Whether or not he wants to take the baton, however, MacDonald may not have much of a choice. The 24-year old welterweight, who trains out of Montreal’s Tri Star gym with St-Pierre, went home to British Columbia and was greeted with a hero’s welcome on Saturday. While UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was the nominal headliner, it was clear MacDonald, whose unanimous decision over Woodley was the evening’s co-headline bout, was the real draw for the crowd of 13,506 at Rogers Arena.
“The response was great,” MacDonald said at the post-fight news conference. “I feel like I am falling into a groove. Something is clicking.”
One could forgive T.J. Dillashaw if he decided to gloat a little bit after deliveringhis epic upset victory over Renan Barao for the bantamweight championship at UFC 173.
Just about no one gave him a chance to defeat Barao heading into their May 24 fight in Las Vegas, fans and media alike. Even Dillashaw's own promoter, UFC president Dana White, spent the bulk of the week fixating on Barao, and his view that the fighter with the 32-fight unbeaten streak was the best pound-for-pound martial artist in the world.
Really, few would have blamed the former Cal-State Fullerton wrestler if he decided to engage in a little trash talking, or go on a victory lap around the Octagon which contained a pointed hand gesture or two.
But with more than a week to digest things after delivering a virtuoso performance en route to a fifth-round TKO victory, Dillashaw remains firm in his desire not to return fire.
The idea that a fighter can fall for his own press clippings and learn some hard lessons is as old as the fight game itself.
But owning up to it when it happens? Now that's something different.
Cleveland-area heavyweight Stipe Miocic took a 9-0 record with seven knockouts into his first UFC main event on Sept. 29, 2012, when he met Stefan Struve in London.
"I fell for my own hype," the 31-year-old from the Cleveland area told Yahoo Sports. "I had too many people saying I couldn't be beat, and I actually fell for it."
The results that night at the O2 Arena reflect Miocic's statement. Before the second round was out, Miocic found himself dazed on the mat, staring up at the arena lights, and wondering what hit him. A Fight of the Night bonus was only a small consolation for a major tail-kicking.
"It sucked," said Miocic (11-1), who meets Fabio Maldonado (21-6) in Brazil on Saturday. "I make no excuses. Stefan Struve was the man that night. He earned his win fair and square."
LAS VEGAS -- The most impressive flight coming out of Sin City on Saturday night didn't originate at McCarran International Airport.
Rather, it occurred in the Octagon at the MGM Grand Garden, early in the third round of Daniel Cormier's light heavyweight UFC 173 co-main event bout against Dan Henderson.
In a battle of former Olympic wrestlers, Cormier shot for a single-leg takedown. Henderson resisted, but before he knew what hit him, he was launched halfway back home to Temecula.
After Henderson hit the mat, Cormier followed him up and nearly got in a rear-naked choke. He didn't succeed there, but he finished the job later in the round, getting the victory at 3:53 of the third.
Henderson wasn't the only thing soaring Saturday night. So did Cormier's career.
This list of credentials the 35-year old native of Louisiana and resident of San Jose has accumulated in a relatively short period of time is mind-boggling. The American Kickboxing Academy fighter:
LOS ANGELES – When Dan Henderson signed his new UFC contract in January, he thought he was going to get a chance to ease his way back into competition.
The decorated future Hall of Famer was coming off a three-fight losing streak, two of which were highly debatable split decisions.
"When I was working out my last deal, you know, they wanted to give me a couple easier fights to get back into the swing of things and get back on top," Henderson said. "You know, a week after I signed the deal, they say, "I want you to fight Shogun [Rua] again.' So, OK, he’s not an easier opponent."
So much for easing his way back into things. The 43-year-old Henderson is looking for one last big run in the sport. Not only did he defeat Rua by knockout on the Brazilian’s home turf, but a mere eight weeks later, he’s fighting undefeated Daniel Cormier in the co-main event bout at UFC 173 on Saturday night. The winner is expected to get a shot at the UFC light heavyweight championship currently held by Jon Jones.
When push comes to shove, even if he was expecting easier fare, the fighter affectionately called Hendo wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports2 mths ago
No one ever said the fight-promotion business was easy. Just ask Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.
"I don't think the gods of MMA are against us," Rebney said Saturday, after his second pay-per-view main event in as many tries fell apart. "Sometimes these things just happen."
There have been many attempts at unseating the mixed martial arts industry leader, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, in the pay-per-view market. Unlike most upstarts over the years who threw around a lot of money and then promptly went out of business, Rebney's company underwent a smart, disciplined five-year build toward MMA's holy grail.
Things still fell apart.
Last fall, Bellator had planned to match up two fighters with lasting names, former UFC light heavyweight champions Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Tito Ortiz, as a lure to draw in fans and check out his current crop of fighters on the rest of the card. But Ortiz, as is his wont, pulled out of the bout with an injury.
- Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports2 mths ago
Maybe Wanderlei Silva should have called it a career after his last fight.
For one magical March night last year, one of the most beloved fighters who ever stepped into a cage turned back the clock.
Wanderlei Silva, whose five-year reign as the PRIDE 205-pound champion remains the third-longest in major mixed martial arts history, had a classic evening against Brian Stann. The two engaged in a nine-minute brawl at Japan's Saitama Super Arena, the scene of so many of his greatest battles, before Silva emerged with a TKO victory.
It would have made a storybook ending, a final night of glory for a fading legend in a business that provides so few of them.
But "The Axe Murderer" didn't walk away at that point. Instead, improbably, just over a year later, a future Hall of Famer with a worldwide following is suffering through a precipitous drop in popularity, all while his rival picks up steam.
Silva and notorious motormouth Chael Sonnen are opposing coaches on the current season of "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil," which airs on Brazil's Globo television network. The show can be viewed with subtitles on the UFC's online Fight Pass service.