- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports1 hr ago
BALTIMORE – Glover Teixeira spent nearly four years, and much of his life savings, to arrive at this moment.
From the moment he was deported in 2007 for being in the U.S. illegally until the time in 2011 that he finally resolved his immigration issues, Teixeira dreamed of this day.
He gave just about everything he had to get back into the U.S. so that he could earn a job with the UFC and one day win the light heavyweight title.
"It was pretty hard," Teixeira said. "It was taking so long, and things were happening that were hard to understand. But I just had to keep working at it."
And now, 15 years after he first set foot in the U.S., Teixeira is on the verge of reaching heights that were unimaginable on that day in 1999 when he left his home in a poor section of Brazil to seek a better life.
He'll face gifted light heavyweight champ Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 172 on Saturday with the title on the line.
Neither Teixeira, nor his wife, Ingrid, gave up trying to solve the immigration issues which initially were expected to take three months but wound up taking nearly four years to iron out.
Luke Rockhold could win his next three or four fights, claim the UFC middleweight championship and become one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts, and there would still be a void.
In his mind, at least, no matter what he accomplishes in the interim, Rockhold will have unfinished business in the sport until the time he's standing in a locked cage staring across at Vitor Belfort.
Rockhold faces veteran Tim Boetsch on Saturday on the main card of UFC 172 at the Baltimore Arena in a bout where a win could set him up for the truly significant fights he seeks.
A former Strikeforce champion, Rockhold dreams of one day grabbing the UFC belt currently held by Chris Weidman.
His dreams, though, expand far beyond the UFC title. When he was in Strikeforce, he defeated both Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Tim Kennedy, both of whom are now in the UFC.
At the time, Strikeforce was struggling to earn respect in comparison to the UFC, whose middleweight division was led by the legendary champion Anderson Silva.
In a lot of ways, boxing is a lot more like a political campaign than a sporting event. Name recognition and powerful alliances are a key ingredient to success.
When he debuted on HBO in 2012 with an impressive victory over Orlando Lora, Keith Thurman called out the sport's biggest names in his post-fight interview with Max Kellerman.
Not surprisingly, his phone did not ring.
Thurman had next-to-no name recognition and he was far too dangerous for big-time opposition to seriously consider him as an opponent. It was a case of far too much risk weighed against much too little reward.
"Boxing doesn't work the way it used to," said Thurman, an unbeaten 25-year-old welterweight with an engaging personality and a mule-kick of a punch. "After my HBO debut, I called out several names. I did it knowing people didn't know who I was, but I did so trying to make a statement about where I'm going to go.
"I'm going to the top and I was making the point that I'm willing to climb the ladder and take out these individuals to prove it."
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter1 day ago
A veteran mixed martial arts fighter who lost to Evan Tanner in his only UFC bout was arrested in Glendale, Ariz., on Monday and charged with the first-degree murder of a 19-year-old. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
Homer Moore, 42, of Phoenix, was arrested by Tempe police in connection with the August 1999 murder of Karam Hussein Jabbar, 19. Jabbar went missing in late July, and his body was found in the trunk of a car on Aug. 3, 1999. According to police, Jabbar's hands and feet were bound and there was a bag over his head.
The official cause of death was listed as asphyxia.
Moore debuted on April 7, 1999, with a victory over Jason Middaugh at Rage in the Cage 4, about three months before Jabbar's death. Moore faced several notable fighters, including current UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen and UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn. HIs only UFC appearance came at UFC 34 on Nov. 2, 2001, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, where he was submitted by Tanner via arm bar at 55 seconds of the second round.
Moore, who last fought in 2007, was 25-9-2.
The record books list the beginning of Anthony Johnson's mixed martial arts career as Aug. 16, 2006, but to Johnson, it really began on May 25, 2012, when he met Dave Branch in a catchweight fight at Titan Fighting Championships 22 in Kansas City, Mo.
A day earlier, for the fourth time in his career, Johnson missed weight. He'd missed three times during an up-and-down stint in the UFC, in which he showed great promise but would be exasperating regarding his inability to make weight.
After missing weight by 11 pounds for a Jan. 14, 2012, bout in Brazil with Vitor Belfort, the UFC had enough. He was summarily cut after being submitted.
Despite the trauma of losing his job, Johnson didn't change, at least not immediately. But when he weighed in slightly more than eight pounds over the limit for his bout against Branch, he was suddenly hit with a realization: I'm blowing this.
His career was suddenly in jeopardy. If a promoter couldn't rely on Johnson to make weight, it was going to be harder and harder to use him.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
LAS VEGAS – Bright orange traffic cones blocked the parking spaces immediately in front of the Mayweather Boxing Club on Tuesday, awaiting the arrival of the proprietor who was, predictably, fashionably late.
A group of men the size of the San Francisco 49ers' offensive line kept watch in case anyone was bold enough to try to move the cones and slip into the prime parking spots by the door.
It was a scene that has played out dozens of times over the years – the big top comes to the boxing gym with the lure of hearing a few words from the world's greatest fighter and the opportunity to watch him go through his paces.
As familiar as the surroundings appeared, however, this was a very different Floyd Mayweather who spoke with the media Tuesday.
As with every public figure, the real man is far different from the one the public sees on television and reads about online.
And Mayweather, who is preparing for a pay-per-view bout against Marcos Maidana on May 3 at the MGM Grand, is decidedly different in real life from the character "Money May" that he shows to the public.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
Sports fans tend to expect the most out of the most gifted. When a star is on the rise, he or she can do no wrong.
But once that athlete has reached the top of the heap, the critics come out in full force and pick apart everything the star does.
Jon Jones, the UFC's extraordinarily gifted light heavyweight champion, now finds himself in the crosshairs of critics in the media, in the fan base and, startlingly, among his fellow fighters.
There likely has never been a fighter in mixed martial arts history with the physical gifts Jones possesses. He's 6-feet, 4-inches tall with an 84-inch reach and the ability to make moves in the cage that men significantly smaller can't pull off.
He'll face Glover Teixeira, who has won 20 consecutive fights and hasn't lost since 2005, on Saturday at Baltimore Arena in the main event of UFC 172.
Yet, Jones came under heavy criticism in many quarters, including from Gustafsson, for choosing to fight Teixeira and not doing an immediate rematch. Others have blasted him for not pursuing Daniel Cormier.
But this is putting an apparent dislike for Jones in front of the facts.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
Ronda Rousey has a July 5 title defense against Alexis Davis in Las Vegas, though she spent much of her time Friday discussing three potential opponents who aren't even in the UFC.
The bantamweight champion blistered Cris "Cyborg" Justino for steroid usage, calling it "criminal," and called for fighters to be banned from competition after one failed test.
She once again said it would be a dream to fight Gina Carano and praised former boxing champion Holly Holm's skill.
Rousey raved about Davis' jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing skills, but said Davis was far less known than other fighters because of her quiet, unassuming nature.
"I think the reason why people don't know her so well has nothing to do with her actual talent and more to do with the way she has chosen to promote her fights," Rousey said of Davis' low-key style.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
Though he did not knock out Timothy Bradley last week, Manny Pacquiao accomplished just about everything he set out to do when he faced Bradley in a rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
He reclaimed the WBO welterweight title he'd lost to Bradley via dubious split decision on June 9, 2012.
He proved he remains an elite boxer, using his angles, his footwork and his quick hands to win 10 of 12 rounds on one judge's scorecard and eight of 12 on the other two.
He rediscovered his lost aggressiveness, repeatedly going hard after Bradley and putting an end, at least temporarily, to the talk that his compassion was making him less of a fighter.
While Pacquiao regained much of his mojo, it didn't translate into pay-per-view dominance. Pacquiao set an incredibly high standard as a pay-per-view draw from Dec. 6, 2008, when he met Oscar De La Hoya, through Nov. 12, 2011, when he faced Juan Manuel Marquez for the third time.
In the seven fights in that period, Pacquiao sold a minimum of 1.15 million pay-per-views in five of them. He averaged 1.079 million buys in those seven matches.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
The UFC's women's bantamweight division is pretty much in the same state the PGA Tour was in around 2000, when Tiger Woods won just about everything he set his mind to winning.
Woods dominated the Tour in his early years like no one before, or since. He was a longer hitter, had a defter touch and was much more physically fit than his rivals.
He made scores of great players look like contenders in the third flight of the local club championship.
In the women's bantamweight division, champion Ronda Rousey is so far ahead of the rest of the field that it seems ludicrous to suggest she might lose at this stage.
It was a noteworthy achievement when Miesha Tate pushed Rousey into the third round of their title match at UFC 168 in December. Rousey's arm bar remains her most dynamic move, but she is such an elite athlete that she is rapidly improving in all areas of the game. She's by far the best female athlete in the UFC and is clearly one of its top in terms of athletic ability regardless of gender.