- Andreas Hale at Cagewriter8 hrs ago
CM Punk didn't particularly enjoy the questions he was being asked by reporter Kevin Wong in an interview that was being conducted last month for a piece in Complex Magainze. Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, left the WWE and signed with the UFC in 2014, and has been training ever since to prepare for his Octagon debut.
Punk will fight Mickey Gall in the summer, likely at UFC 200, if Gall beats Mike Jackson Saturday at the MGM Grand.
- Andreas Hale at Cagewriter9 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS -- Love was in the air at the UFC Fight Night: Hendricks vs. Thompson weigh-in Friday when a fighter decided to take the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend before he hit the scales.
Alex Nicholson, who will make his UFC debut Saturday at the MGM Grand against Misha Cirkunov in a light heavyweight bout –made the stroll to the stage with his girlfriend, Hannah Goldy, in tow.
For most fighters, the weigh-in is a time of stress as they work extremely hard to shave off those last few pounds in order to come in under the weight limit. But Nicholson looked relaxed and was clearly up to something. Before disrobing, the 25-year-old paused and pulled a small box out of his pocket. With Goldy not quite sure what was going on, Nicholson got down on one knee and proposed.
Goldy accepted and the two shared a kiss before Nicholson took care of business and made weight.
Nicholson is on a five fight-winning streak, with all of his victories coming by way of stoppage. He’s a massive underdog in his Octagon debut with Cirkunov being an 11-1 favorite. Regardless of what happens in the cage Saturday, it looks like Nicholson may already have his biggest victory.
- Ryan McKinnell at Cagewriter18 hrs ago
There are plenty of people thinking Conor McGregor has little chance against UFC lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 next month.
Apparently, you can now add UFC president Dana White to that group.
“I don’t see how he wins this fight,” White admitted to Fox Sports.
The UFC boss man, like many critics, is applauding “Mystic Mac” for his desire to keep challenging himself after his stunning 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo just eight weeks ago. White is also remaining realistic, however, and believes the size difference will be too much for the Irishman to overcome.
Well, that, and the fact dos Anjos makes even the best fighters look like timid amateurs.
“[McGregor’s] the 145-pound champion, he can stay in his own lane, [but] this guy’s moving up to 155 to take on an animal who destroyed Cowboy Cerrone, destroyed Anthony Pettis.”
He continued, “And this isn’t like boxing, where you move up two or three pounds, you move up 15 pounds.”
- Ryan McKinnell at Cagewriter1 day ago
LAS VEGAS — UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez is stuck in a holding pattern.
At 31, Benavidez is atop the flyweight pecking order. With 27 career bouts to his credit, Benavidez is a true veteran of the sport. Unfortunately four of those 27 fights resulted in losses against Dominick Cruz and Demetrious Johnson.
Benavidez sits as one of the best fighters in the world who cannot seem to beat two of the greatest champions to ever fight.
“I love the purgatory of MMA,” Benavidez said in a sarcastic tone Wednesday from inside the MGM Grand, “it’s the best.”
He is on a four-fight win streak, and a victory over Zach Makovsky at UFC Fight Night on Saturday should theoretically put him in line for a third fight with Johnson and the UFC flyweight title. Given the circumstances, however, it’s anyone’s guess.
The scene is a familiar one for Benavidez, a veteran of 19 UFC/WEC fights, but lately, things have been anything but recognizable.
- Andreas Hale at Cagewriter1 day ago
Although Ronda Rousey has remained relatively silent about when she will return to the Octagon, the speculation continues regarding exactly when we’ll see the “Rowdy” one back in the UFC.
It looks like UFC president Dana White may have a timeframe on her return.
While appearing on “Big Boy’s Neighborhood” radio show, White revealed that we are likely to see Rousey back in competition toward the end of 2016 against the winner of the UFC 196 bout between Holly Holm and Miesha Tate.
“The winner of that fight will fight Ronda probably in November,” White said.
Rousey has been on the sidelines since suffering a devastating knockout loss to Holm last November. Since then, the 29-year-old has, for the most part, been virtually invisible. Aside from a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, Rousey hasn’t done much by way of public appearances. She participated in a pair of photo shoots with Sports Illustrated wearing only body paint, has a pair of films in the works and occasionally posts on Instagram. But when it comes to fighting, she’s remained mum on the subject.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter2 days ago
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velaquez, who pulled out of a title fight with champion Fabricio Werdum that was scheduled for Saturday at the MGM Grand, reported on his Facebook page Wednesday that his back surgery went well and that he's already doing light training.
Velasquez said he's been told he'll be able to train at 100 percent in about four to five weeks. If that's the case, given an eight-week training camp, that would put his return to competition somewhere in the late April, early May time frame.
Velasquez announced on Jan. 24 that he would have to pull out of UFC 196, which was scheduled for Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden. The UFC immediately named Stipe Miocic to replace him, but the next day, Werdum pulled out, citing injuries as well.
- Andreas Hale at Cagewriter3 days ago
Everybody wants a piece of Conor McGregor these days. Whether it is Jose Aldo wanting to avenge his 13-second knockout loss, Frankie Edgar seeking to shut the Irishman’s mouth or even Floyd Mayweather adding his two cents on McGregor’s rise, it seems like a day doesn’t go by that "The Notorious One" isn’t making a new enemy.
Now, you can add a Texas Baptist preacher to the list.
Donnie Romero of Steadfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, took to the pulpit to air his grievances with McGregor. On a sermon posted on YouTube, Romero took the UFC featherweight champion to task for his comments at the UFC 196 press conference in Las Vegas. During the press conference, which was held to promote McGregor challenging Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC lightweight title on March 5, McGregor suggested that he was “cool” with Jesus and “gods recognize gods.” Both comments rubbed Romero the wrong way and resulted in the preacher hoping that McGregor – who he labeled as a “wicked person” – gets struck by lightning for his wayward words.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter6 days ago
Ryan Bader knew that his best chance to defeat Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in their light heavyweight bout on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., was to get the heavy-handed Johnson off of his feet.
Bader did that almost instantly.
And yet, Johnson still finished him less than 90 seconds into the fight. Bader shot early on Johnson, who sprawled and got Bader's back. Bader tried for a Kimura, but when he held onto it too long, he was exposed against the cage.
That's a bad place to be with a powerful fighter like Johnson. He threw several hammerfists that connected cleanly, knocking the one-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State out cold, forcing referee Keith Peterson to stop it. The official time was 1:26.
Johnson is now expected to fight the winner of the title fight between champion Daniel Cormier and ex-champion Jon Jones. They are expected to fight in April in Anaheim, Calif.
"I'll be waiting for whoever has that belt," said Johnson, who was submitted in the third round by Cormier at UFC 187 in Las Vegas in a bout for the vacant title that had been stripped from Jones.
- Ryan McKinnell at Cagewriter8 days ago
Despite being suspended for two years by the Nevada Athletic Commission, retired MMA fighter Chael Sonnen certainly isn’t short on work.
The sometimes ESPN analyst and podcast host is one of the most charismatic combatants in the history of mixed martial arts. Recently, Sonnen has begun to open up about his cheating ways, calling himself a hypocrite in interviews and apologizing to former opponents for his rampant PED use during his career.
Now, on the tail end of a 24-month ban, Sonnen has not competed professionally since 2013, and by all accounts, his forced retirement will stay intact. In the meantime, however, “The American Gangster” will be staying busy by joining the upcoming season of NBC’s "Celebrity Apprentice."
The new season, hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the 8th installment of the successful series. GOP front runner Donald Trump used to be the host, but ‘The Donald” was given his walking papers by NBC after making inflammatory comments about immigrants, and now “Ahnold” is stepping up to the plate.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter9 days ago
It's going to be a long time before fans see Jose Aldo competing in the UFC again. The longtime featherweight champion, who lost his belt on Dec. 12 when he was knocked out by Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds at UFC 194, took to social media on Wednesday to say he wouldn't fight again unless he got either a title fight or a rematch with McGregor.
Since McGregor is fighting Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title at UFC 197 on March 5, neither of them will soon be available.
McGregor is expected to fight again on July 9 at UFC 200, and that could be the date for a rematch with Aldo. But the UFC has already promised the next featherweight title shot to Frankie Edgar after Edgar knocked out Chad Mendes in December.
But Aldo made no bones about his intention.