Sat Mar 08 05:05pm EST
Underdog Jimi Manuwa was game and had his moments against No. 1 light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 37 in London, England, but ultimately the Swede prevailed with a nasty second-round TKO stoppage. It didn't take Gustafsson long afterward to call out division champion Jon Jones, whom Gustafsson lost a controversial decision to last year in a fight most observers thought at least warranted an immediate rematch between the two.
"Jon Jones, I want my title shot again. I'm right here. Whenever you want, man. Whenever you want," Gustafsson shouted in his post-fight interview with interviewer Dan Hardy.
Gustafsson worked Manuwa to the ground in the first round, staying away from the powerful Brit's strikes. From there, Gustafsson used steady striking from on top in the full guard and half guard for most of the first round.
Early in the second round, Gustafsson accidentally poked Manuwa in the right eye, prompting the referee to step in and give the British fighter time to recover. Soon after restarting, Manuwa had his best moments of the fight, landing two big overhand rights to the head of Gustafsson.
The Swede returned fire, however, first with a clipping uppercut that gave Manuwa pause, then with a knee flush to his jaw. Manuwa was wobbled badly by the knee and two more uppercut punches from Gustafsson put him down to the mat.
Gustafsson landed two more big hammerfists to the face of the grounded Manuwa and the referee stepped in to call the fight. Gustafsson now awaits to see who will prevail in April between Jones and challenger Glover Teixeira in their light heavyweight title bout.
Sat Mar 08 10:41am EST
UFC president Dana White refuted rumors this week that former Strikeforce champion Gina Carano was booked to return to MMA and face UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey. UFC commentator Joe Rogan teased supposedly seismic additions coming to the UFC's female roster during a recent radio interview and since that time speculation has included Carano as the next opponent for Rousey.
“[Rogan] blew my whole week with that interview,” White said.
“There’s nothing done as far as [Rousey's] next opponent.”
That said, White would absolutely welcome Carano to the UFC. After all, she's a huge star and is still under contract with Zuffa, the UFC's parent company.
“If [Carano] wanted to fight in the UFC, of course,” White said.
“If Gina Carano wanted to fight in the UFC, we would definitely do it.”
When Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, Carano's was one of the contracts they obtained. When the fighter went on hiatus after her 2009 loss to Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino, her contract stayed intact should she ever return to fighting, according to White.
“When you go on a hiatus, whether you’re injured or semi-retired, you’re still under contract,” he explained.
“If you come back, you’re still under contract with us. So she is under contract with us, but I have no plans right now.”
For her part, Carano's latest film is set to hit theaters on April 4. Starring in the lead role of 'In the Blood', the mixed martial arts veteran plays a 'tough, no-nonsense' female protagonist on a mission to find her husband, who went missing on their honeymoon.
Should Carano return to fighting and compete in the UFC, one would imagine that they'd have to place her in a catchweight super fight with the likes of Rousey, or that the UFC would need to add more divisions. Currently, the UFC has a 135-pound women's division and is adding a 115-pound women's division next with a coming Ultimate Fighter season.
Carano competed in MMA at 145 pounds and often had trouble making that weight in the past. White did not comment on what weight he'd expect Carano to compete at if she ever decided to return to action.
One would imagine that the UFC would be willing to do whatever it took to bring someone with the fame of Carano into the fold, however. The UFC did not have any women's divisions just over a year ago but, because of White's interest in promoting Rousey, they now have two.
Sat Mar 08 10:15am EST
UFC President Dana White told media assembled for UFC Fight Night 37 in London this week that he hadn't previously been aware of former title challenger Nate Diaz' strange Twitter request last month to be released from his UFC contract. Once he was made aware of Diaz' informal request, however, White was quick to offer an answer.
"Really? He hasn't called me," White said.
"That's how you do these things, you tweet?...The answer would be no."
According to the president, Diaz and the UFC came to terms on a new contract for the fighter just a month ago.
"He just signed a new contract that he was happy with a month ago," White said.
Overall, White said that he was not fazed by Diaz's request on Twitter.
"That is definitely not controversial for the Diaz brothers," he said.
"That's called normal ... I have 500 guys under contract, and there's always something. Everyday when I wake up there's something."
Fri Mar 07 04:49pm EST
Conor McGregor recently addressed rumors of his fighting Cole Miller July 19, when the UFC returns to Dublin. The flashy Irish featherweight said that fighting Miller, who has called McGregor out in the past, "sounds alright."
We checked in with Miller, who is on a two-fight winning streak and last fought in January, what he thought about all this. Miller reminded us that he broke a hand in his Jan. 15 fight against Sam Sicilia and that right now, he isn't cleared to even hit pads, but that he still wants to fight McGregor.
"I haven't heard anything about that until now," Miller said.
"The last I heard, he didn't want to fight me. Now, I have one more win than the last time he said that and he wants to fight me? Ok, whatever. I don't give a [expletive].
"Sure. I'll fight him," he went on.
"Right now I'm not cleared to use my hand in training and the UFC has not come to me or my manager with this fight, though. I'm not saying it won't happen or that I definitely can't be ready by July but I wasn't even thinking about it until you asked because of my hand and the fact that no one has offered the fight to me."
If Miller's hand injury ends up being the one last road block to this grudge match happening, we wish "Magrinho" an especially quick recovery. Do you want to see this match up?
Let us know in the comments section.
Fri Mar 07 03:40pm EST
Irish UFC featherweight Conor McGregor has been out of commission for some time with a knee injury but was exuberant upon hearing this week that the UFC would return to Dublin July 19th to put on an event.
"I've literally just heard the news and I'm definitely on that card," McGregor told Irish outlet Severe MMA.
"July 19th gives me plenty of time, that's nearly too much time."
McGregor said that he has been fully healed and training hard for some time. He had hoped to get back into the Octagon sooner, but fighting at home in Dublin more than makes up for the wait.
"I wanted to fight on the Independence Day weekend card in Las Vegas, that's something that I really wanted, but fighting on UFC card in Dublin is a dream come true and I don't give a shit who they put in front of me, I will run through anyone," he said.
"My knee has healed perfectly and I've already been working really hard in the gym, I've kept myself in good shape. Whoever it is, I'll be ready."
The "who" may very well end up being Cole Miller, if the American Top Team submission artist has his way. Miller has recently and quite publicly called out McGregor for a fight.
"They're saying Cole Miller are they? It probably is him," McGregor said.
"I haven't heard anything, I'm sure I'll know as soon as I check my emails, but that sounds alright to me."
Related: Cole Miller responds to McGregor
Fri Mar 07 03:31pm EST
All fighters on tomorrow's UFC Fight Night 37 card, including main eventers Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa, weighed in Friday in London. Check out video of the weigh ins below to see all the face-offs and get amped for tomorrow's big event, available in the U.S. on UFC Fight Pass.
Fri Mar 07 11:17am EST
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is about twenty-four hours away from fighting in his hometown of Zagreb, Croatia, and his schedule until then will be basic. “Tonight, I will weigh in, eat, then nap and then go train,” he tells Yahoo! Sports Friday, shortly before weighing in to fight fellow legendary kick boxer Remy Bonjasky tomorrow at Glory 14.
“I always train the day before a fight. I will do three, three-minute rounds of fighting and then three, three minute rounds of pads.”
A decade ago, “Cro Cop” was at the height of his kick boxing career, having beaten multiple K-1 Grand Prix Tournament winners and achieving massive fame in Japan. Then, he gave it up to try MMA.
His fearsome combination of punching and kicking power led to great success in the Pride organization, coming just short of the organization’s heavyweight title twice. Even before he left Pride for the UFC, the Croation fighter had become the most successful top kick boxer to transition to MMA.
Now, at 39 years of age, “Cro Cop” is back in kickboxing, fighting for the organization that has replaced K-1 as the top promotion in the sport – Glory. Bonjasky says he will retire after this rematch with Mirko (the two fought before in 2002 and “Cro Cop” took the decision win) but it is the former Croatian military special forces soldier that is getting most of the attention on account of being the home town kid.
Most fighters fight near home often on their way up the ladder but because of his meteoric rise, fighting at home is still a pretty novel event for “Cro Cop.”
“Unfortunately, [fighting at home] is something I missed in my career,” he says.
Mirko fought in a teen boxing championship, then once more in a fight he calls, “open sparring,” both in Croatia, and then was thrown to the sharks abroad in his third fight.
“After two fights, one and a half, really, I fought Jerome LeBanner,” he remembers, perhaps still in disbelief.
The French LeBanner is recognized as one of the very best heavyweights in kickboxing history. That “Cro Cop” would fight LeBanner, already a star at that point in 1996, in just his third fight, is astounding.
That “Cro Cop” proved worthy of that challenge so soon, was even more amazing.
“I fought LeBanner in my third fight and the rest of the story just went like that,” he continues, humbly.
That story was one of a career made up, almost exclusively of international competition, for Mirko. With Glory 14 taking place in his home of Zagreb, “Cro Cop” is now the center of attention.
And, while that’s certainly a good thing for a professional fighter, it isn’t without it’s own particular challenges.
“The good part of fighting at home is that you don’t have to travel around, you get to sleep in your own bed, eat your normal food,” Mirko says when asked to discuss the positives and negatives, both, of fighting at home.
“At home, I’m used to sleeping on a very, very hard surface. In hotels, the beds are always terribly hard. So, I wake up with a stiff back. It’s great to sleep at home before a fight.
“The bad parts are that you have so many people asking you for tickets. Everyone expects tickets and everyone expects front row tickets. The way the stadium is set up, not every ticket can be front row but that’s what people want. So, I’m running around trying to get tickets for everyone now. And you always forget someone, you always forget someone. Just today, I got calls asking me about their tickets, and I had forgotten. So now, I’m running around, trying to find them tickets.”
The mental image of the former special forces soldier, national parliament member and fearsome professional fighter harried and stressed about pleasing friends and family in the days and hours before he squares up against a lethal opponent is so incongruous and endearing that it’s almost comical. Of course, the rush to please people when fighting at home is one that all fighters know quite well.
There is something that makes all the distraction and stress worth the while, however.
“The good part is when you step out into the arena to walk to the ring, and the crowd roars. It’s a great feeling,” Mirko explains.
That thrill, and others like it, might explain a great deal of why “Cro Cop” is still fighting at all. With all his accomplishment and fame, he certainly doesn’t have much to add to his legacy as a professional fighter.
Additionally, he’s already shown that he can do other things with his life, notably political and government work. Furthermore, 39 is young in mortal years, but borders on ancient in the world of professional fighting.
“Cro Cop” has taken his bumps and lumps over the years in training and fights, to be sure, yet he insists on continuing that rough journey with no particular end in sight. What is it, specifically, about fighting that Mirko loves so much and keeps him coming back for more?
“I don’t know,” he begins, thoughtfully.
“This is something that I’ve chosen as my career, and I love it. I mean, days like today and tomorrow are bad because you’re stressed. There are lots of things, like media, weigh-ins and waiting to fight that are hard but I love training and I love the fight itself.
“People keep asking me when I will stop, because I’m 39, but I don’t know. It could be that after this fight I will stop or it could be I could fight three, four, or twenty times more.”
“Cro Cop” loves being a fighter, and he’s still in-demand. When he puts it like that, it’s easy to see the appeal.
“So, I love what I do, and if I’m honest, I’m also well-paid,” he admits.
“Lots of people work hard so that isn’t a big deal, but I’m fortunate enough to be paid well for working. People, of course, like to get paid well for what they have chosen as their career."
As of now, the Croation fighting legend still enjoys the process of preparing for battle and relishes the battles themselves. If and when the whole process begins to feel like a grind, he says that’s when he’ll know it’s time to stop competing.
He is quick to point out, however, that his disciplined fighter lifestyle will endure long after he stops getting paid to live it.
“When it gets to the point that I don’t enjoy training for fights, then it will be time to stop. But, as long as I enjoy training and I’m sharp, why stop,” he asks rhetorically.
“People think I am torturing myself but I am not. I love training and I love fighting. Even when I do stop fighting, training is something that I will do every day. Every day. I will never stop training. Perhaps it will be with less intensity but training is my life. “
Thu Mar 06 04:27pm EST
Back when Robbie Lawler first burst onto the UFC scene as the organization's youngest fighter ever, there was perhaps more hype surrounding the welterweight than he could handle. After losing two straight, Lawler was out of the UFC.
Despite looking in from the outside for nearly a decade afterwards, Lawler stayed on his grind and has made the most of his second chance - winning three straight fights and earning a title shot March 15 against Johny Hendricks at UFC 171.
Back in his first UFC stint, Lawler may not have been able to handle all the attention the quiet fighter is as he heads into a world title fight. "Outside the ring, I never really wanted to do the PR, I never wanted to be in the light," Lawler remembers of his younger days during a recent media conference call.
"I wasn’t ready to be in the light. I’m just a quiet guy who just loved to fight. I think, as I matured, I’m ready to take that step and I’m embracing everything that has to do with the UFC. I’m ready to be out there in front of everyone and do what it takes to be a champion."
Lawler is one fight away from being just that - a champion. It is a rare young prodigy that can flame out but still stay focused and earn a second act in the spotlight.
Lawler says that the key to not just climbing back to the UFC, but getting further than he ever did before in his twenties, is in the hard, detailed work he's committed to daily.
"Just persevering," Lawler says of his key to success.
"I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs..Just being willing to get back up and grind every day to try and get better. Moving down to [American] Top Team, they really strengthened my game. All the coaches down there really pushed me and...all the training partners. So, everything’s clicking at the right time and I’m going to be ready March 15th."
Lawler may have surprised observers by reaching title contender status so quickly since returning to the UFC in 2013, but the fighter himself never doubted that his potential was world class. "The thing is, I've always believed in myself," Lawler explains.
"I always believed that I was going to be the best in the world. I'm glad that in the sport, in the UFC and MMA you can write your own stories and you don't have to worry about what other people expect out of you. I expect greatness out of myself, so I pushed myself. I just always believed in myself no matter what anyone said and I was willing to grind for the fourteen years I've been doing this and I'm not going to stop."
Thu Mar 06 03:43pm EST
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) recently banned the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in all cases, changing course from its previous allowance of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) in certain cases. Now, California's athletic commission is heading in the same direction as Nevada.
A written press release from the CSAC executive director Andy Foster says that the state has begun a rule making process to eventually require a much higher threshold for allowing TUE for TRT and that, untl those rules are set up, there is a total ban on TRT.
"The California State Athletic Commission fully supports the Nevada State Athletic Commission's decision to eliminate Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in boxing and Mixed Martial Arts," Foster wrote.
"California is a strong supporter of anti-doping efforts. As part of California's anti-doping efforts, the Commission recently began the rulemaking process to require meeting World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards as the only way to obtain a TUE for TRT.
"This standard is so high that it is an effective ban except under the most extreme circumstances," Foster went on.
"Until the rule making process is complete and the regulations are fully adopted, the Commission has a total ban on TRT. California remains committed to protecting the health and safety of athletes and having strict anti-doping standards is one of the ways this is accomplished."
Thu Mar 06 03:13pm EST
Chael Sonnen once said, after failing a drug test, that he would die without using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Sonnen was suspended but eventually given a therapeutic use exemption to receive TRT.
Now that the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has decided to stop giving exemptions for the use of TRT in any cases, fighters like Sonnen and Vitor Belfort - who also once failed a NSAC administered post-fight drug test - have some decisions to make. Belfort pulled out of a title fight because he wouldn't be able to use TRT and his representatives have said that he is working with doctors to see how he can adjust to life without TRT and fight again.
Belfort had, as recently as last fall, said that it would be "no problem" for him to compete without TRT. It is a problem after all, for Belfort.
As for Sonnen, he was recently asked what the future held for him on his UFC Tonight show. Currently, he is set to face rival Wanderlei Silva (who has already spoken at length about Sonnen's TRT use) in the spring.
However, Sonnen admitted that, without TRT, he may never actually fight again. "There's a lot of moving parts. I don't have all the answers," Sonnen said.
"The bottom line is testosterone is out. Now, as it relates to Vitor, I think this was a very genuine and sincere thing for him. Here's the problem that I have: a fighter that said seven days ago, ‘I need TRT or I can't do this,' and then all of a sudden goes, ‘Well, I'll just stop TRT.' I find that very disingenuous. "I am potentially in that same field. If this retires guys, then it retires guys. The rules are the rules, and the rules need to be followed. Personally, sorry to be long winded about this, but I'm going through this myself, where I've had to stop testosterone with the hope that we can find a new way to gain the results of upping testosterone to stay at a healthy level. If it doesn't work, I may have to stop the sport. And it's as simple as that."
Silva, always eager to trash Sonnen after all of the racist things "The American Gangster" has said about Brazil and Brazilian fighters over the years, said that Sonnen should be allowed to use whatever he wants leading into their scheduled bout, as far as he is concerned.
"Sonnen can use whatever he wants. If you want to use TRT, use TNT," Wand said in a recent interview.
"I'll beat him anyway."
Posted Jun 28 2012
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Posted Jun 25 2012