Few female MMA fighters have fought at the highest international level for as long as Roxanne Modafferi(16-11) has. And, for about a decade, the American did so as an ex-pat living in Japan.
After her TUF 18 and UFC run, however, “The Happy Warrior” decided to move back to the States – Las Vegas, specifically. Though she felt the move was necessary, Modafferi says the decision to relocate to the world’s fight capital was a difficult one.
“Yeah, it was extremely difficult,” she tells Cagewriter.
“I loved my life in Japan, but I had to tackle this opportunity while I could.”
The veteran says that her American friends had been telling her she needed to switch up her training to the U.S. for years, but she was skeptical. Fighting on The Ultimate Fighter and in the UFC, opened her eyes.
“Many of my friends had been telling me to move back to the U.S., that the training here was the best,” she remembers.
Making a Change
Getting Surpassed and Catching Up
Fight by Fight
When Jeff Meyer first joined his brother Barry Meyer in promoting amateur bouts, he wasn’t altogether convinced that fight fans would pay good money to watch anything other than pros. A couple decades of filling venues later, however, and the brothers’ Tuff-N-Uff promotion is not just a fan favorite in the Las Vegas area, it is also the top amateur MMA organization in North America.
As for how, exactly, that happened, Jeff is modest. “To be honest, I think a big part of that is because we luckily have been riding the coattails of the UFC,” he tells Cagewriter.
“For twenty five dollars, fans can come to a Tuff-N-Uff event, at a nice venue, and watch amazing fights. Let’s face it – MMA is usually a lot more expensive to watch, live. But it’s amazing to watch, live. Making a great live card, affordable, during a time when the UFC has grown so much, helps. Also, Las Vegas doesn’t have a professional sports team, and it’s historically been a big fight city. “
“My brother did a lot of scouting,” he says.
Stephan Bonnar (15-8) felt relieved. It was the spring of 2005 and the light heavyweight had just lost a razor-thin decision in the finals of the first ever Ultimate Fighter (TUF) series to Forrest Griffin.
The stakes were high for fighters like Bonnar and Griffin, all throughout the TUF season. The winner in each weight class (Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez met in the middleweight finals) was to get a UFC contract.
Sitting with Cagewriter after a lunch in his home of Las Vegas, Bonnar remembers the pressure at that time feeling great. After laying it all out in a desperate attempt to win the light heavyweight UFC contract and losing the decision, he felt a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
The feeling wouldn’t last.
Bonnar and Griffin both fought so well that, moments after the decision was rendered and announced, UFC president Dana White came into the Octagon and announced that both fighters were receiving contracts. “The whole time, we were all convinced that one winner in each division would get a contract,” Bonnar remembers.
Elias Cepeda at Boxing 1 mth ago
There are things that Bobby Hornsby (8-0-1) expected, and there are things that he did not. Getting picked to be featured in an inspiring short film produced by Gatorade was something that the confident young light welterweight did anticipate.
“I was on the internet, surfing, and I saw a listing for a casting call,” he begins.
“They were casting for an athlete who had been through a lot of things in their life, who has struggles but who continues to work hard and compete at a high level. That’s me. I go through a lot all the time, so I thought, ‘let me try to fill this out, and get in touch with them.’
“I don’t want to sound cocky, man, but I am not surprised that they chose me. I just had so many stories to tell, that I knew they’d choose me, and one of them.”
Mainly, the short film chose to tell the story of Hornsby growing up in a rough part of America, with an abusive, and criminal father, but making decisions to take him past the fate of his dad. There are other stories of perseverance in Hornsby’s life, however.
UFC bantamweight championRonda Rousey recently said that she believes the pretty fighters are the ones to watch out for– because their unmarked faces can very well be the result of their handily winning all of their fights. It was a statement against conventional wisdom and the old maxim that gnarled, ugly fighters should be feared, because they having nothing to lose.
This writer doesn’t stand firmly on either side of that light-hearted debate, but he knows that there’s no way it would have been easy for a guy like Alan Joubanwhen he first walked into a fight gym.
Here’s the connection – long before Jouban became a UFC welterweight, he modeled for a living. The Lafayette native was discovered for his looks in Louisiana, and soon moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his new work of professional modeling.
“I fell in love with fighting right away,” he tells Cagewriter.
Despite defending her World Series of Fighting (WSOF) title on Nov. 15 against a hungry, young challenger who is on an eleven fight win streak and coming off a dominant decision win, Jessica Aguilar(18-4) is confident that she’ll come out on top. “I’m going to be ready for anything,” she tells Cagewriter.
“I’ve got these last [couple] weeks to go, and I want them to go quick so I can get in there and have fun.”
Aguilar’s confidence against such a big challenge has to come from the fact that she herself is also coming off of a dominant win, and that she hasn’t lost a single fight in over four years. That, and a great training camp have the champ raring to get her 115 pound title defense against Kalindra Faria (15-3-1) in Tampa
“Oh, for sure. I’ve had a great experience this camp with everything,” she says.
“I’ve got a great team and great coaches, so I can’t complain. Training is the hard part, though. The fight is just like another sparring session. “
It's fair to say thatConor McGregor isn't most Brazilian MMA fans' favorite fighter. The Irishman has insulted Brazilian and featherweight world champion Jose Aldo, as well as antagonized fans themselves during a recent Q & A session in Brazil (above).
There is at least one Brazilian UFC star that doesn't mind McGregor's hype and trash talk, however - Lyoto Machida. The former light heavyweight champ and current middleweight contender said in a recent interview that he understands why McGregor behaves the way he does.
"He’s right, he’s promoting himself this way, and we have to respect him."
Elias Cepeda at Boxing 1 mth ago
After a rough-and-tumble journeyman's career, Mexico City's Alejandro Hernandez (28-10) has won three straight bouts and worked his way up to becoming the mandatory challenger to Tomoki Kameda's WBO bantamweight title. The two face off for Kameda's 118-pound title tonight in Chicago, at the UIC Pavilion.
Like most challengers, Hernandez believes that the crown currently sits atop a head unworthy, and that he'll show himself the rightful champion tonight. "I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity to become a world champion," he said this week at the Showtime event's final news conference.
"I'm ready to show that I'm the champion, not him."
Perhaps more than that, however, Hernandez is agitated by the champion's claim to his own home country of Mexico, and says he's out to prove that he's the "real" Mexican. Ordinarily, you wouldn't get much of an argument from anyone on a trivial issue like that in an instance like this, between the Osaka native Kameda and the D.F. son Hernandez.
"I'm Japanese, but I live in Mexico," he explained.
"I have my game plan ready," he said.
Retired UFC star Chael Sonnen continues to make headlines with his new podcast, You're Welcome. First, he got Georges St. Pierre to open up about UFO encounters, and then The American Gangster claimed that he was offered millions of dollars by pro-wrestling outfit WWE to leave the UFC and become a wrassler.
"Here's the nuts and bolts of it," Sonnen began.
"I was offered $5 million [WWE head] Vince McMahon... Now, I was still under contract with the UFC and I never took this to Dana. I handled it on my own. I told them 'No' and that was the end of that. I never told Dana White this story, but here's why I didn't tell him. I knew if I called Dana and said, 'I've got a $5 million offer from Vince McMahon,' Dana would have matched it." (listen to the full podcast episode below)
Let us know in the comments section!
In a great interview with Fox Sports, long-time UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (above) talks about his emotional reaction to fans welcoming him back. "The Spider" says that "it's the same [as] my first time when I walking to [the] Octagon. I'm very happy."
He sure looks it. Silva goes on to talk about his Black House middleweight teammates like "Jacare" Souza who he says have first dibs on any new title shots, a possible super fight with Georges St. Pierre, should the welterweight return, and how Brazilian fighters need to work to evolve their games, and much more.
Check it out above, and let us know if you're looking forward to Silva returning to the cage next year against Nick Diaz!