New Heath Herring Interview
Heath Herring has made a living fighting in other fighters' backyards. This Saturday he does it again, facing Brock Lesnar in Lesnar's native Minnesota at UFC 87-which is "nothing new" to Herring, a subject he touched on among others in a new interview.
Wanderlei Silva told to prepare for December return
After a brutal destruction of Keith Jardine in May, UFC light-heavyweight Wanderlei Silva (32-8-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has been told by UFC officials to prepare for a December return.
The win was Silva's first victory in almost two years, and the famed light heavyweight shared his thoughts on his next bout while a guest co-host on a recent edition TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I'm talking with (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo (Fertitta)," said Silva, who's English continues to improve since a move to Las Vegas. "They're talking about December because it is the best event of the year. (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira is going to fight (Frank) Mir for the belt for the heavyweights.
"This is the best event. It's much more promotion. They told me to be ready to fight in December."
Silva said he doesn't yet know who he will face on the card.
"They gave me 10 (possible) names," Silva said. "My division is the best division in the world. They have so many names. I think they're going to give a good opponent to me."
While several names have been rumored, a possible third bout between Silva and ex-champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has been brought up repeatedly as of late. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in light of his two previous knockout victories over Jackson, Silva said he would be open to the match-up.
"I wanted to fight [Jackson] again," Silva said. "I think it's a very good match."
Despite recent troubles, including three straight losses to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Dan Henderson and Chuck Liddell before the victory over Jardine, Silva still has his eyes focused on the UFC's light heavyweight title.
"For me, I have time to fight for the belt in the future, no problem," Silva said. "I'm going to wait for my opportunity. I'm going to give my best on every fight. After I win my fights, I'm going to have an opportunity to fight for the belt."
And regardless of whom the UFC brings forth in December, Silva knows he'll be ready.
"For me, no problem," Silva said. "I'll fight with everybody."
Silva also discussed the advantages of his relocation to the U.S., his relationship with his old Chute Boxe teammates and the opening of his own gym in Las Vegas. To hear the full episode, which Silva co-hosted, download Wednesday's edition of TAGG Radio, available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.
Seven Fighters in Need of a Promotion
As the boom of mixed martial arts promotions and shows continues, one fact has become more and more apparent: Zuffa and the UFC are the gold standard, both in show production and fighter talent. As a result it can be sometimes painful to watch fighters of superior talent fight in promotions lacking the roster depth to fully test their abilities.
In the wake of the EliteXC show the newly crowned welterweight champion is a staunch reminder of the challenges that face a top ten fighter when fighting outside of the UFC. The talent discrepancy between the top 10 fighters in a weight class and the rest of the division can be daunting when trying to match-make. The 63 second drubbing Jake Shields laid on Nick Thompson is a repercussion of being an elite level fighter outside of the UFC.
Fighters who show elite-level ability can outgrow the competition around them very quickly in some promotions. If they want to take the next step forward as a fighter, both competitively and financially, then they need to make the move to the UFC. It’s a harsh reality of the mixed martial arts landscape for those not in the good graces of Zuffa. The step up in competition that Zuffa can provide brings legitimacy and respectability. Combined with the increased marketing and exposure the UFC can bring to the table, it results in sponsorship money that can far exceed a fighter’s purse.
After watching Shields win on Saturday evening, it got me thinking about who else in mixed martial arts would benefit from a move to the UFC or the WEC. Below is a short list of fighters, one from each major weight class, who are in dire need of a move to Zuffa:
Michael Bisping planning on going "straight through" Chris Leben
UFC middleweight Michael Bisping (16-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will get his second shot at headlining a card at October's UFC 89 event in his native England. And while Bisping's first headlining gig netted him his only career loss to date against Rashad Evans, "The Count" thinks this time will be different.
Bisping discussed his upcoming bout with Chris Leben while a guest on a special weekend edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I've got respect for [Leben]," Bisping said. "But I'm going to go straight through him. That's what I'm made to do."
The fight will be Bisping's third in the middleweight division. The Liverpool native started his career at 205 pounds, but he made the decision to move down a weight class after suffering the lone loss of his career.
Joey Villasenor slated for Sept. 20 EliteXC return; "Ninja" rematch possible
Top EliteXC middleweight contender Joey Villasenor (26-6) will return to action for the organization on Sept. 20, possibly in front of a hometown audience.
On Saturday MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the upcoming EliteXC bout with Villasenor.
"It sounds like it's going to be in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico," Villasenor said. "We’re just waiting on confirmation of who it's going to be (against)."
Villasenor said EliteXC officials have shared a few names as possible opponents -- including Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos -- but that the organization appears determined to put together a rematch with Murilo "Ninja" Rua (16-8-1).
Icon Sport: Hard Times Results
175: Phil Baroni (11-10) vs. Ron Verdadero (5-5)
R1-Verdadero faints a jab. Baroni comes out with a leg kick. Verdadero with a 1-2 counter backs up Phil. Baroni answers with an uppercut and right hook that drops Verdadero. Shimada stops it as Verdadero QUICKLY gets back up. HORRIBLE STOPPAGE. Verdadero wasn’t even hurt. Oh man.
Winner — Phil Baroni (12-10) at :51 of round 1 by TKO (strikes).
Crane Rebounds, Villa Stuns Fickett at RITC
After 112 Rage in the Cage events held in Arizona, the promotion finally ventured out of the desert to New Mexico, where a combined 22 amateur and professional bouts fight card was held at the Santa Ana Star Casino Saturday night.
In front of 2,300 fans, native Alberto Crane (Pictures) looked impressive defeating Adrian Valdez with a first-round submission at 1:35.
Crane jumped at his opponent immediately with a takedown, then transitioned from an armbar attempt to the guillotine choke, which prompted Valdez to tap out.
“It was great to get back in the win column,” said Crane. “I wanted to throw more punches and that was the plan, but when he was in position for the guillotine, I went for it and stuck it to him.”
In the co-main event, Richard Villa upset Drew Fickett (Pictures) with a second-round TKO. Villa followed a game plan that started earlier that day at weigh-ins.
Fickett came in over weight and had to run off two pounds, which may have took its toll on him. Villa and his camp figured they would take full advantage of that by letting Fickett come out strong and blow his load, then pick it up as the fight progressed.
It was all Fickett in round one as he was able to land two good right kicks to Villa’s head followed by a takedown. Fickett hunted for the submission, but to Villa’s credit he held on to finish the round.
Round two saw Villa attack and drop Fickett to his back with a hard right, where Villa continued his onslaught with rights and left hands until he coaxed out the referee stoppage and the biggest victory of his career.
”I knew he was drained from running this morning,” said Villa. “We planned on letting him come out strong and then I’d kick it into another gear in the second. People didn’t know who I was before this fight, maybe now they’ll take notice.”
MMA Adversary Removed From NYS Payroll
In a recent New York Post story discussing the firing of Ron-Scott Stevens, who had been the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, it was speculated by George Willis, the writer of that piece, that Stevens’ attitude toward MMA, which has not yet been passed in New York but inevitably will be, was a factor in the decision by Governor David Patterson to replace with with Melvina Latham.
Stevens was quoted in Willis’ story as saying, “It’s not my role to say whether I like it or not. My role is, if it’s passed by the legislature, to regulate it properly.”
That’s a tough thing to do when the whole world knows you have a pre-disposition against it. It’s the kind of thing that would leave him open to constant attack, some of it justified, over decisions that may seem controversial or unfair against an MMA operator. And that might be the kind of thing that is expected out of someone who is part of the boxing culture, as a matchmaker for so many years as Stevens was.
Minotouro asks for Affliction belt
Affliction’s first edition was great to Rogério Minotouro, that left HCF with some troubles and arrived on a new show, that promises shake MMA world. After Vitor Belfort announce to TATAME that he’ll face Matt Lindland for the middleweight belt, Rogério Minotouro asked for the belt. “I’ll fight in October 11th, but it’s not right yet against who. They’re speculating a lot of opponents, but they didn’t say anything yet”, told Rogério, that didn’t knew yet about Belfort’s fight. “Did they created a belt for him? Do you know if they’ll create a belt to light-heavyweight too?”, asked Nogueira.
After hearing a “no” as an answer, Nogueira promised win the belt – when Affliction creates one. “If they make one it’ll be great… I wanna be on top, and I’m ready. If I get this belt I can be a top 3”, said Rogério, that commented about the rumors of the fight between Renato Babalu Sobral and Tito Ortiz. “It seems like it’ll happen, they’re already negotiating it, but I don’t know if it’ll happen on the next event”, told Rogério to TATAME.com.
WEC Featherweight Micah Miller Talks Training, Weight-Cutting, And WEC 35 Predictions
Micah Miller steps into the cage tomorrow night at WEC 35 in Las Vegas against Josh Grispi in a match that will definitely put the winner in the top of the heap in Urijah Faber's featherweight division.
Miller, the 21 year-old younger brother of UFC standout Cole Miller, trains at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, FL, and has also enlisted the help of Juan Carlos Santana and his Institute of Human Performance.
He brings an impressive record of 9-2 into the fight against the Massachusetts native Josh Grispi, who is trained by South Shore Sport Fighting in Rockland, MA.
Mike Budnik Goes From The X Games To WEC
Naturally, this weekend's MMA spotlight will be focused squarely on the likes of Carlos Condit, Jamie Varner and Brian Stann as, once again, the WEC has quietly put together another solid card.
However, the fight we're most looking forward to involves Mike Budnik. The former pro skater and X games veteran recently made the jump to MMA and is currently sitting on a 6-0 pro record. On Sunday, he faces another WEC newcomer, Greg McIntyre, in a 155 lbs bout. It seems only fitting that Budnik gets this chance of a lifetime in MMA while X Games 14 kicks off.
A few months back we interviewed Budnik about his new life in MMA so we thought this would be a good time to replay that interview so you can brush up on your Budnik history and impress your buddies at your WEC party on Sunday.
Oh, and if you're looking for a quicker way to learn a little more about Budnik just watch his 2007 knockout of the year candidate thanks in large part to Kenny Giddens' chin.
Baroni, Hose on Weight for ICON
Both Phil Baroni and former opponent Kala Kolohe Hose, who will be fighting in a non-title matchup, successfully made weight Friday afternoon after stepping on the scales to make their respective bouts official for tonight’s ICON Sport: Hard Times event, which will take place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii.
All other participants were able to make weight as well except for a trio of fighters that were dropping down to lower weight classes. World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Sidney Silva was forced to take extra time to make weight after accidentally beginning to re-hydrate since opponent Hideto Kondo showed up late to the festivities. After weighing-in two pounds over the limit, Silva was able to shed the extra pounds after less than an hour.
If Lindland vs. Belfort happens, it won’t be for WAMMA title
If a bout between Matt Lindland and Vitor Belfort is signed for Affliction’s second-ever show on Oct. 11 and it’s for a title, it won’t be for the yet-to-be institute WAMMA middleweight title belt.
After reading a report on FiveOuncesOfPain.com that cited a Belfort interview with the Brazilian website Tatame.com that quoted Belfort as saying the matchup would be for a belt, WAMMA CEO Mike Lynch contacted us to issue a statement. While WAMMA believes that the potential matchup is intriguing, it doesn’t consider it one worthy of determining an undisputed champion at 185 lbs.
“There has been a lot of speculation that an upcoming proposed match-up between Matt Lindland and Vitor Belfort will be for a WAMMA title,” said Lynch in an e-mail to Five Ounces of Pain. “To be sure, Matt and Vitor are two of the very best fighters in MMA today. Lindland is currently ranked seven in our middleweight rankings and Belfort is a former UFC champion who is bound to excite fans everywhere with his explosive style. If this fight happens, it would be an incredible match up. It certainly rises to the level of a must-see fight and would be the highlight of any fight card.
Part II of interview with ProElite Chairman Chuck Champion
On Friday, we debuted Part I of our exclusive interview with new ProElite Chairman Chuck Champion. Champion was gracious enough to sit down with Five Ounces of Pain for an extended interview.
In Part I, we asked Champion his thoughts on the resignations of Doug DeLuca and Gary Shaw; whether Shaw’s son, EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw would be remaining with the company; Champion’s business background before getting involved with MMA; whether a replacement for Shaw will be recruited outside the company; and more.
In Part II, Champion answers questions regarding what needs to happen in order for MMA to go to the next level; whether EliteXC will focus on going after established stars or up-and-coming fight prospects; whether the company’s plans for Sept. and Oct. are too ambitious; if the company can survive without pay-per-view revenue; what the future holds for ProElite.com; his thoughts on the most recent CBS show; and more.
Rolling with the Flo: Ever-talented Kenny Florian readies for UFC 87
He already may be the best television analyst in mixed martial arts. As a studio analyst, he has no peer.
As a prognosticator, he's tops in his field and his newsletter almost reads like a post-fight recap and not a prefight prediction.
He speaks six languages, is the son of a heart surgeon and grew up in a well-to-do area of suburban Boston. At first glance, Kenny Florian might seem better suited for a job behind the cameras or on the production.
But this erudite, engaging man is as ferocious inside the octagon as any man in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
And while he's one of the sport's finest ambassadors, it's the punishment he's able to deliver, as well as take, that has endeared him to UFC president Dana White. They're both from the Boston area, but the local ties play no role in White's admiration for Florian.
Stann Wants Cantwell To Regret Rematch
Never one to back down from a challenge, World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight champion Brian Stann will for the second time in his career face Steve Cantwell. The first time definitely favored Stann, who picked up the TKO win in only 41 seconds.
But this time around, Stann puts his WEC gold on the line and that makes it like the first fight never even happened.
“I really don’t care about that first fight I fought with him,” Stann said in a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio.
Beyond the significance of the title fight, the highly decorated Marine thinks that he has progressed much, much further in his own skill level since defeating Cantwell the first time.
“I was seven weeks back from Iraq to the day at that point in time. I was pulling guys off the street to come in and spar with me and grapple with me. The closest thing I had for a jiu-jitsu coach at that time was a blue belt,” Stann commented. “I can’t even imagine the difference between me the first time I fought him to now.”
WILL RANDY COUTURE FIGHT AGAIN?
LONG BEACH, Calif. – MMAWeekly.com caught up with former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture this week at a signing for his new book, “Becoming the Natural.” He was tired, bogged down from 14-hour days of back-to-back interviews and PR events. Wife Kim Couture described the book tour as a full day of being “on,” smiling and shaking hands, a constant parade of new faces.
A little over a week into the tour, Couture is getting tired of talking about himself all day.
“All the time,” he said with a smile.
Couture’s success outside the cage has blossomed since his departure from the UFC. He’s got a book, a movie debut, and a slate of film projects into next year. His fighting career, though, may be in serious jeopardy.