Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 7 days 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.
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Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 14 days 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.
Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 27 days 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."
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.
Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 1 mth 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.
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.
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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.
LOS ANGELES — Everywhere Alexander Gustafsson turns, it seems, someone asks him about Jon Jones.
"That's all anyone wants to talk about," the top light heavyweight contender said. "Everywhere I go, reporters, fans, they all ask me about him."
He doesn't want it to be this way, mind you. The fighter from Sweden, who trains at San Diego's Alliance MMA, has a major challenge on his hands next week. He'll return home to Stockholm to meet dangerous striker Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in front of an expected crowd of 30,000 on Jan. 24.
But all anyone wants to discuss is the UFC light heavyweight champion, the man whom Gustafsson nearly defeated in 2013. The man he'll likely rematch if he defeats Johnson. The man who can't keep himself out of the news.
Gustafsson and Alliance teammate and fellow light heavyweight Phil Davis, who also fights on the Stockholm card, had lunch with reporters Tuesday following a training session at Freddie Roach's famed Wild Card boxing gym in Hollywood, and the topic du jour was the controversial champ.
Davis, likewise, is incredulous that Jones hasn't been punished for the transgression.
LAS VEGAS — As he sat in his place Saturday at the UFC 182 postfight news conference, Daniel Cormier nearly lost control.
He was asked his feelings on one of the most disappointing moments of his professional career — his loss to bitter rival Jon Jones in the evening’s main event at the MGM Grand — and all the other heartbreaks came rushing forward.
Cormier has experienced everything from athletic letdowns in his career — he finished fourth in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Olympics — to unimaginable personal anguish when he lost his infant daughter in an auto accident.
"I've had to rebuild myself a number of times like people can't even imagine," Cormier said in a cracking voice. ”And, this is no different. This is not going to ruin me.”
The fighter known as “DC” then paused to regain his composure and vowed to pick himself back off the mat yet again.
“One way or the other, I’m going to stand across the cage from [Jones] again,” Cormier said. “And I believe, just as I did tonight, I’ll take the fight to him again.”
In the height of his disappointment, Cormier proved to be every bit the astute analyst fans have come to expect, even when he was his own subject.
Dave Doyle at Yahoo Sports 4 mths ago
Mixed martial arts news often seemed more bad than good in 2014. From drug test failures to fights canceled by injury to complaints about oversaturation to legal issues, the sport was shrouded in negativity.
But that didn’t stop truly memorable highlights from happening. From transcendent fighters to thrilling fights that will be remembered for years to come, 2014 also had a fair share of standouts. So let’s take a look at the best the year had to offer.
Fighter of the Year: Robbie Lawler. It’s rare that a fighter claims this award if he or she lost a fight over the course of the year. But then, 2014 wasn’t an ordinary 12-month period and Lawler isn’t an ordinary fighter. Lawler dropped a razor-thin decision to Johny Hendricks at UFC 171 in March. Then he returned two months later to finish Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173. In July, he bested Matt Brown in a grueling five-round bout in San Jose. On Dec. 6, Lawler capped his year by avenging his loss to Hendricks and claiming the UFC welterweight title. In a year in which so many of the sport’s biggest names fought only once or twice, Lawler’s accomplishments truly stood out.
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