Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 13 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS – From his earliest days as a mixed martial arts fighter, from the time he was a virtual unknown until the summer night two years ago when he was favored by many insiders to win the championship, Chris Weidman trained to defeat Anderson Silva.
Silva was the reigning UFC middleweight champion and gaining widespread recognition as the best fighter ever in 2009 when Weidman turned pro.
During each training camp, no matter the opponent, Weidman prepared as if he were facing Silva.
“He was the man and if I wanted to be where he was, I had to be prepared to beat him,” Weidman told Yahoo Sports.
In 2013, he did exactly that, twice. He knocked out Silva to win the UFC middleweight championship in July, then successfully defended it when Silva’s shin snapped as Weidman checked a kick.
Though the legendary Brazilian champion is now in the twilight of his career, Weidman is, in some ways, still chasing Silva.
Weidman’s new goal is to finish his career unbeaten and with the kind of recognition Silva had until they met at UFC 162 in Las Vegas on July 6, 2013.
He not only became physically larger while he was on it, he became more successful too.
More UFC 187 coverage:
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
LAS VEGAS – It's been eight years since Morris Johnson died following a valiant fight with cancer, yet he's never far from his grandson's thoughts or heart.
Morris was on Anthony Johnson's mind as much as Daniel Cormier was as he made the five-hour flight from Florida to Las Vegas, where on Saturday he'll face Cormier in the co-main event of UFC 187 for the light heavyweight championship.
Johnson was adopted by his grandparents when he was just 2 years old. He's never been fully certain of the circumstances of the adoption, but the bond he forged with his grandfather has never been broken.
His most difficult task on Saturday might just be keeping his emotions in check if he defeats Cormier to win the light heavyweight belt.
This is one of the UFC's signature divisions, a title held by legends like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, and recently stripped from Jon Jones, arguably the greatest fighter in the history of the sport.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago
LAS VEGAS – Losing to the best fighter in the game, and quite possibly the greatest fighter who ever lived, is hardly a disgrace.
It’s how Daniel Cormier lost to Jon Jones that is so troubling.
Cormier, a veteran of two Olympic Games and an elite mixed martial arts fighter for years, let his emotions get the best of him when he stepped into the Octagon to challenge Jones for the light heavyweight title on Jan. 3 at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden.
He had a long-simmering feud with Jones that boiled over during the build-up to the fight. They wound up brawling in the lobby of the MGM in a disgraceful scene for two supposed professionals, and were fined and ordered to perform community service by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Tensions remained high throughout the training camp and they nearly came to blows several times again during fight week. Whenever they saw each other, things got wild.
Cormier’s dislike for Jones overrode his common sense. More often than not, fighters who get overly emotional during a fight make mistakes that wind up costing them.
Cormier has no personal problems with Johnson, but he still has the issue of clearing the final hurdle and winning a championship.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago
LAS VEGAS – The UFC unquestionably made the right decision when it chose to indefinitely suspend Jon Jones, its talented but troubled light heavyweight champion, after he was arrested last month in the aftermath of a hit-and-run auto accident.
Jones is accused of running a red light and crashing into a car driven by a pregnant woman in Albuquerque, N.M. Police discovered a marijuana pipe when they searched the abandoned vehicle following the accident.
Jones left UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White no choice but to suspend him and pull him from Saturday’s planned title defense at UFC 187 at the MGM Grand Garden against Anthony Johnson. Daniel Cormier, whom Jones routed at UFC 182 in January in his last bout, stepped in to take his place against Johnson for the now vacant title.
And there were other incidents, White said, which didn’t become public.
Fertitta and White had to act to protect the brand, which is far bigger than an individual athlete. But they also needed to act to try to help Jones.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — If every televised card was like the one Saturday on HBO, boxing might regain the spot it held in the first half of the 20th century as one of the three major sports in the U.S. Two of the finest fighters in the world thrilled a raucous crowd of 12,372 at The Forum with a pair of spectacular knockouts.
Fans didn’t want to leave after the main event, as Gennady Golovkin gave them what they wanted by stopping Willie Monroe Jr. at 45 seconds of the sixth round in a bout for the WBA middleweight title. He had a lot to live up to, as flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez was sensational in a second-round stoppage of Edgar Sosa in the opener of the HBO doubleheader.
They are without question two of the finest fighters in the world and each went out and performed brilliantly. Combined, they’re 76-0 with 67 knockouts.
“That was a very good drama show,” said Golovkin, uttering one of his familiar and increasingly popular lines.
Indeed it was. Golovkin dumped Monroe twice in the second, and then floored him again in the sixth with a crushing left after a big flurry. Monroe barely beat the count. When referee Jack Reiss asked him if he wanted to continue, Monroe said, “I’m done.”
Kevin Iole at Boxing 5 days ago
INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Floyd Mayweather has been largely unchallenged as the world's finest fighter for more than a decade. Now, though, there may be a debate.
Flyweight Roman Gonzalez made his HBO debut on Saturday a spectacular one, dumping Edgar Sosa three times en route to a successful WBC title defense at The Forum, forcing referee Raul Caiz Sr. to stop it at 2:37 of the second. It raised Gonzalez's record to 43-0 with his 37th knockout and burnished his reputation as an elite champion.
He may not be the best in the world yet, but there aren't but a very few fighters who are better than he is at this stage.
Gonzalez, 28, started slowly in the first round, getting the measure of Sosa, who was moving away.
It was for good reason. Once Gonzalez got his sense of timing and distance, he was blistering Sosa with near-perfect three- and four-punch combinations. He was working the body and the head and showing the complete arsenal of speed, power, boxing ability and defense.
Gonzalez has been one of the world's elite for a while, but because American television has had a bias against smaller fighters, he didnt' get an opporunity to fight on the big stage before Saturday.
In the early-to-mid 1970s, there were a lot of very good, very tough middleweights fighting out of Philadelphia.
Men such as Willie "The Worm" Monroe, Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts, Eugene "Cyclone" Hart and "Bad" Bennie Briscoe were among a long list of fighters who had the ability to beat anyone they stepped into the ring against.
The legendary middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler cut his teeth and proved his greatness, in part, by battling all of those men.
One of those who got the best of him was Monroe, a slick boxer who handed Hagler only his second defeat on March 9, 1976, in the Spectrum in Philadelphia.
After that loss, Hagler went on to win 20 in a row and go 36-0-1 until a hotly disputed career-ending defeat to archrival Sugar Ray Leonard.
Monroe's great nephew, Willie "El Mongoose" Monroe Jr. was born 10 years after that epic win by his great uncle. And though it wasn't something that was a constant conversation around the dinner table, Monroe Jr. certainly was aware of what "The Worm" had accomplished.
More Monroe Jr.-Golovkin coverage:
Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 7 days ago
The wife of ex-UFC fighter Corey Hill on Thursday denied a UFC statement that Hill had died earlier in the day.
Late Thursday afternoon Pacific time, the Las Vegas-based UFC announced on its website that Hill had died at 36 years old. Several of HIll's friends and family members had earlier said publicly that he'd died. A number of news sites, including Yahoo Sports, reported that Hill was dead shortly after the UFC release.
But Hill's wife, Lauren, speaking to TMZ, denied he'd died. She told the site her husband "was resting and still alive."
Hill fought on Season 5 of the reality series, 'The Ultimate Fighter,' and competed three times in the organization, going 1-2 in 2008.
Pat Miletich, a former UFC champion and member of its Hall of Fame, spoke to Yahoo Sports about Hill's reported death. Miletich coached Hill and the two had become close. Miletich told Yahoo Sports he thought that Hill, who was 6-9 in his mixed martial arts career, was talented enough to win the lightweight title. He said Hill had died as a result of complications from pneumonia.
Urijah Faber turned professional during the dark era of mixed martial arts. The former collegiate wrestling standout earned $200 to show up, another $200 for winning and an additional $50 bonus for selling tickets to his fight with Jay Valencia on Nov. 12, 2003.
At the time, Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White were less than three years into their ownership of the UFC and were hemorrhaging money, en route to dropping more than $40 million in the hole.
Faber fought for the sheer love of the game, and did so with a smile on his face.
Now, 12 years and millions of dollars later, he's done just about everything there is to do in the sport.
But he hasn't become jaded and still gets himself motivated for a big fight. The more significance and more interest, the better as far as Faber is concerned.
He's had so many cracks at a UFC title that it will probably be awhile before he gets another one, but Faber isn't one to give up easily.
And while he awaits another opportunity, he said he's seeking fights that will bring people out of their seats.
The 21-year-old VanZant is suddenly one of the UFC's hottest commodities based upon her talent, looks and charisma.
Andre Ward wanted a tuneup fight. Canelo Alvarez says he's not yet a middleweight. Miguel Cotto had zero interest. Floyd Mayweather Sr. says he's way too big for his son. Carl Froch is retiring. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is imploding.
And merrily, Gennady Golovkin just fights on, scoring brutal knockouts each time out and adding fans by the day.
On Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Golovkin will defend his middleweight belts against virtual unknown Willie Monroe Jr. in the main event of an HBO broadcast.
Golovkin has run roughshod over the competition, such as it has been, since bursting onto the scene with a highly impressive victory over Grzegorz Proksa on Sept. 1, 2012. He's won all nine of his fights since then by stoppage and is now 32-0 with 29 knockouts as a pro.
He'd be widely acclaimed as one of the world's great fighters, except it's kind of hard to judge him because he's never stood across the ring from another A-level opponent.
He'd get that with Ward. Or Alvarez. Or Cotto. Or one of any of a handful of fighters, none of whom seems too interested in getting into the ring with him.