UFC boss says Dallas stadium show still possible, Silva-Sonnen II to headline?
After hosting a another successful show in the Lone Star State, the UFC could return to Texas with an even bigger event.
It fact, the state could host the UFC's next major stadium show.
And following his impressive victory over Brian Stann at Saturday's UFC 136 event at Houston's Toyota Center, Chael Sonnen could get his long-awaited rematch in the show's headliner.
White said he currently has no plans for a next stadium show; the first, of course, took back in April when a UFC and North American record 55,724 attendees packed Toronto's Rogers Centre. But should a second one be put together, Dallas' 110,000-seat Cowboys Stadium could be the venue.
"We've been talking to (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones for a while about doing a fight there," White said. "It's just got to be the right fight. We're definitely going there. It's just a matter of when."
So how does he know when the timing is right? After all, White, who made a triumphant return to Brazil back in August, greatly underestimated the demand in the country and saw 14,000 seats sell out in just 74 minutes. Next year, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said the Convention Center of Manaus (one of many "sambadromes" located throughout Brazil) – an outdoor venue that can hold up to 100,000 fans – could be the next host site.
"It's a gut (thing)," White said. "We kind of go with our gut, and we've been right. We knew Toronto was going to be big, so we went for the big stadium there. We [expletive] Brazil up last time we went there. We didn't nail that one, but we won't make that mistake twice."
As for Dallas, White said it's only a matter of time.
Florian undecided on fighting future, but UFC promises he'll remain with promotion
To the casual MMA fan, Kenny Florian's name might not immediately seem like it belongs next to those of Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes.
It might not even seem right nestled next to Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
And sure, the 35-year-old "KenFlo" will likely never find himself in the UFC Hall of Fame, but according to UFC president Dana White, Florian (14-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) is among a handful of legendary competitors who will always have a home in the world's biggest mixed-martial-arts promotion.
"I've got nothing but respect for him, and Kenny Florian will be with us no matter what," White said following Saturday night's UFC 136 post-event press conference.
It's a nice vote of confidence from Florian's longtime boss, but the eight-year pro hardly seemed consoled by the gesture. Instead, a visibly pained fighter sat quietly in his chair and politely answered – albeit in just about as few words as possible – the handful of questions that came in about his featherweight title loss to 25-year-old champion Jose Aldo.
"Not right now," Florian answered when asked if he had planned his next move. "I haven't really thought past this fight, so we'll see what happens."
But if Florian hadn't thought about his next move prior to Saturday night, it seemed as if perhaps he was considering it at that exact moment. Four weightclasses during his UFC run, three shots at the belt, zero championship wins.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Florian said. "I fought very hard. I trained extremely hard. I wasn't successful. That's it."
And with that, the questions to Florian stopped. It really was that simple. Like the two previous times Florian had climbed the ladder of his division, he failed to reach the top rung. The challenger claimed the opening round of the evening's co-feature by clinching and grinding and shooting and striking, but he dropped the next four as his pace slowed and his variety of attacks diminished, and Aldo was awarded a unanimous-decision win.
It's unclear if Florian will fight again. And if he does, it's uncertain at what weight. But if the former cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter 1" is indeed done with his competition days, White said that doesn't mean his association with the UFC will necessarily need to come to an end.
UFC 136 winner Chael Sonnen offers Anderson Silva rematch, calls Vitor Belfort a fool
Consider Chael Sonnen's silence broken.
After a pre-UFC 136 buildup largely void of any of Sonnen's famed trashtalking and epic rants, the top middleweight contender wasted little time in further alienating any Brazilian fans he may have had by proclaiming himself the UFC's true middleweight champion and offering Anderson Silva a second crack at the title.
Oh yeah, and he called Vitor Belfort a fool and ordered "The Phenom" to carry his luggage to the airport.
"I am the middleweight champion," Sonnen proclaimed at Saturday night's post-UFC 136 press conference. "I defended my championship tonight for the first time, and I am willing to give Anderson a shot at the true belt, the linear belt, the people's belt for the best damn middleweight there's ever been."
UFC 136 bonuses: Edgar, Lauzon, Phan and Garcia earn $75,000 awards
Frankie Edgar, Joe Lauzon, Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia each earned $75,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 136 event.
Edgar earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Lauzon picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Phan and Garcia took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC 136's post-fight press conference.
UFC 136 took place at Houston's Toyota Center. The night's main card aired on pay-per-view, and Facebook and Spike TV carried portions of the preliminary card.
UFC 136 Results: Dana White Says Frankie Edgar Is Top 2 Pound-for-Pound, Wants Him to Face Jose Aldo
Dana White spoke to the press following Frankie Edgar's monumental comeback KO victory over Gray Maynard. He complimented the lightweight champion for his performance, and says that he thinks Edgar is the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport:
"If you really look at what pound-for-pound means, you cannot deny that Frankie Edgar is Number 2. The guy weighs 145 pounds and he's beating guys at 155 pounds. He beat a guy who had him out of it. A guy who many believed had his number. He knocked him out tonight... He's an amazing human being. He's an incredible athlete, and he's got a heart the size of this room."
He also has this to say:
"Honestly, I'd like to see him move to 145 and fight Aldo"
"Did you see the size difference between those two tonight? I've been telling him for a long time he should fight at 145. I'm not his dad or trainer. That's his decision. He's a grown man and knows what he's doing."
"All these other guys that he fights are so much bigger than him. I think that fighting out of your weight class isn't healthy. I don't think it's healthy long-term. I don't think that guys that fight a weight class above them and take damage can have the longevity that other fighters can have. I think when you fight with guys that are your own size, you don't take the punishment that you take when you fight bigger guys. The weight classes are there for a reason."
Strikeforce champ Melendez wants next crack at UFC 136's main-event winner
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (19-2 MMA, 8-1 SF) attended this weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011 representing his longtime employer, but he hopes to leave the city with a different tag: UFC title challenger.
Melendez today said he plans on pressing UFC president Dana White for the next crack at the winner of UFC 136's lightweight championship bout.
"I'm a vet in this sport," Melendez told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I've been here for a long, long time, and I'm ready to prove I'm No. 1.
"I'm ready to start taking over and holding down the weightclass, promoting the sport and representing MMA. I've been ready for that awhile."
Melendez's resume makes a strong case. Currently riding a five-fight win streak with impressive wins over Tatsuya Kawajiri, Shinya Aoki, Josh Thomson, Mitsuhiro Ishida and Rodrogo Damm, "El Nino" is generally considered one of the very few lightweights not currently in the UFC capable of competing at the top of the promotion's 155-pound division.
For years, Melendez was tied down to his longtime employers at Strikeforce, and the UFC's position against cross-promoting prevented him from facing top UFC contenders. But with those two companies now operating under the same umbrella, Melendez is ready to prove he's capable of beating either current UFC champ Frankie Edgar or his opponent at Saturday night's UFC 136 event at Houston's Toyota Center, Gray Maynard.
For UFC 136, 'Chael Sonnen Show' takes a break
For most fighters, the path from the cage to the dressing room to the press conference to the hotel to the airport, and finally, the deafening quiet of home is like a space shuttle in reentry – one-thousand miles per hour to 25 in a school zone.
Then it's back to the day job of the gym, the occasional interview, the signings, the seminar. The next fight comes around, and blastoff.
After 14 months away from fighting, it's been a bumpy ride back for Chael Sonnen. The world he's created and the world in which he finds himself day to day, well, they disagree.
In MMA, he's a onetime middleweight title challenger who jolted us to attention and then seemed to implode on the weight of his shortcomings. He's a blowhard, a pathological liar, a funny man, a talented guy who almost took the mighty Anderson Silva's title. Almost.
In West Linn, Ore., where Sonnen lives and leaves as little as he can, he says he lives a regimented and insular existence. It's easy to forget all the noise. With its Northwest green and suburban sprawl, West Linn is not a place that screams fighting, no matter what his alter-ego says.
"Every day I get up, I do the same thing," Sonnen tells MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I get up at the same time. I walk my dog, I feed him, I go to practice, I coach the kids, and I go to bed. I never felt popular. I never felt unpopular. I never felt rich. I never felt poor. I don't drive a different car; I don't use a different phone.
"I fought Anderson. I didn't buy myself so much as a new T-shirt. My life has never changed. I just hear it from other people. I hear other people say, 'It must have been hard for you.' Or, 'this must have been exciting' or 'you must be happy.' And sometimes they're right. You do have the right emotion. Sometimes, I'm thinking, 'I don't know what for.'"
Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) knows what his audience wants, though, and it's the devil on his shoulder. They want a show, and not just his fight Saturday with Brian Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at UFC 136, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. Whether it be the handful of reporters who follow the UFC's traveling circus or the throngs of fans who live and breathe the sport, they're waiting for him to put his opponent on blast. They're waiting for the guy you love to hate, and hate to love.
Middleweight champ Anderson Silva named cover athlete of 'UFC Undisputed 3'
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will grace the cover of "UFC Undisputed 3."
On the main stage of UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011, UFC president Dana White today revealed the winner of a fan-driven vote that ran from Aug. 26 to Sept 30.
"I'm very happy," Silva said after the announcement. "Thank you to my fans and my family. For me this is a great, great, great dream."
Silva emerged from a pool of five UFC champions that also included Frankie Edgar, Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre and Cain Velasquez.
The third installment of the critically acclaimed and bestselling "UFC Undisputed" videogame franchise is set for a January 2012 debut.
Notable additions to the upcoming edition include the inclusion of the UFC's bantamweight and featherweight divisions, a "PRIDE rules" game-play option and fighter walkouts, as well as a roster of more than 150 fighters. THQ is also making additional tweaks to gameplay.
Jiu-jitsu instructor at heart, Gabriel Gonzaga still happy to fight again
Onetime UFC heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga (11-6) admits he wasn't really sure what he wanted to do.
An October 2010 loss to Brendan Schaub dropped Gonzaga to just 1-3 in his previous four outings, and the former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champ strongly considered forever hanging up his gloves.
But Gonzaga returns tonight for a heavyweight title fight against Parker Porter (5-2) at the aptly named "Reality Fighting: Gonzaga vs. Porter" event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. "Napao" admits he doesn't know what comes after that, but he's touched by those that encouraged him to return.
"There were a lot of fans and students of mine asking me to return," Gonzaga recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in his native Portuguese. "There were some e-mails that touched me – from people I've never met – talking about how I helped them in life. That was very gratifying."
And so the 32-year-old, who studied under Wander Braga from his grappling beginnings until he was awarded his black belt, turned to Marco Alvan, Alexandre Moreno and the rest of the crew at Massachusetts' Team Link and sought their advice.
"Fight," came the answer.
Grishin replaces champ Gugenishvili in Showtime's M-1 Challenge 27 headliner
An injury has forced heavyweight champion Guram Gugenishvili (11-0) out of next week's M-1 Challenge 27 headliner.
In his place steps Maxim Grishin (9-5), who now meets Kenny Garner (7-3) for an interim title.
M-1 Challenge 27 takes place Oct. 14 at Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, and the main card airs on Showtime.
According to M-1 officials, Gugenishvili, who was wrapping up his camp at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, suffered an elbow injury during a Wednesday training session. After meeting with a physician, he wasn't cleared to fight and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks.
"This is tremendously unfortunate as it is now the second time this has happened," M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan stated. "No one is more disappointed about the change in circumstances than Guram himself. He was absolutely gutted when breaking the news to us. We hope Guram makes a swift recovery so he can return to action as soon as possible."
Garner was supposed to rematch Gugenishvili, who earned a submission win a year ago in their first meeting. Since the loss, Garner has picked up a pair of knockout victories (and owns five KOs in his seven career victories).
UFC 140 tickets on sale next week, fans invited to Wednesday presser in Toronto
Tickets for December's UFC 140 event go on sale next week, and fans are invited to a Wednesday press conference in Toronto to promote the event.
As UFC president Dana White announced this past week, UFC 140 takes place Dec. 10 and features a championship headliner between UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida.
Both the event and presser take place at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
The latest UFC 140 card includes:
Champ Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida (for light-heavyweight title)
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Tito Ortiz
Brian Ebersole vs. Rory MacDonald
Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung
Mark Bocek vs. Nik Lentz
Igor Pokrajac vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Rich Attonito vs. Claude Patrick
Dennis Hallman vs. John Makdessi
John Cholish vs. Mitch Clarke
After fearing for career, Josh Koscheck moving to UFC's 'moneyweight' division
After returning from a nine-month layoff on short notice to defeat Matt Hughes at this past month's UFC 135 event, perennial welterweight contender Josh Koscheck (16-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) is currently awaiting his next assignment.
And while UFC president Dana White has made it clear a coveted spot on November's UFC 139 card isn't going to happen, Koscheck says he'd like to return near the end of the year.
But whether or not that appearance comes at 170 or 185 pounds remains to be seen. Koscheck, a 19-time UFC veteran, said he's got a new perspective on fighting.
"I'm a money fighter," Koscheck told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) during this weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011. "I want big fights.
"I'm 33 (years old). I've been fighting for a long time now. I just want big fights. I'll fight anybody at 185 or 170. I don't care. I just want big fights, big names."
Undefeated Mendes predicts Aldo win at UFC 136, wants next crack at champ
Chad Mendes (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is excited to watch UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo defend his title against challenger Kenny Florian at Saturday night's UFC 136 event in Houston.
That said, he's not exactly happy about it.
"It's definitely a little frustrating," Mendes admitted to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) at this weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011.
You see, Mendes was expected to be next in line to face Aldo. After defeating Michihiro Omigawa at this past February's UFC 126 event, Mendes was believed to be the top contender in the division.
It made sense, what with his undefeated record and 5-0 mark in Zuffa-owned promotions. Mendes and Aldo were even penciled in for a contest at this past August's UFC 133 event, but the champ couldn't be ready in time. Mendes elected to stay busy and earned a decision over Rani Yahya, but he was largely panned for the effort.
Mendes admits the criticism was frustrating but thinks much of it was largely undeserved.
"Obviously, I would love to get a finish," Mendes said. "Who wouldn't want to get a finish? To me, that's like the easiest way out. You get in there, you go through whole camp, and then you finish the guy in 30 seconds. You're done. Of course I want to get in there and make it as quick as possible, but we're facing tough guys.
UFC Calendar to Grow to 34 Events in 2012
HOUSTON -- Saturday night's UFC 136 marks the fourth event in four weeks for the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Get used to it.
The schedule continues to grow at an exponential rate, according to UFC president Dana White, who said that the organization has already penciled in dates on its 2012 calendar.
The final tally? Thirty-four events. That's a serious increase from 2011, which will see 27 live events by the time Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem close out the UFC's year in Las Vegas on December 30.
Jon Jones Says Rashad Evans Ducked UFC 140 Fight
Did you tell the UFC that since Evans wasn't ready to fight in December that you would rather wait a month or two to fight him so you can finally put this beef behind you?
Well, Dana White basically needed someone to save 140. I didn't necessarily want to fight at 140, but because it was Rashad, I said, 'You know what? I would take the fight in nine weeks.' I'm already in shape. I already know what I want to do. Rashad, predicting that I would say no, he kind of kicked himself in the butt because I said yes, he turns around and says, 'Oh, I didn't expect Jon to say yes. I don't want to fight him that soon.' So in reality, he's kind of the one who's ducking the fight. I feel like he's ducking the fight.
- Jon Jones in an interview
UFC 136's Melvin Guillard promises knockout on undersized Joe Lauzon
Melvin Guillard (29-8-2 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is grateful to Joe Lauzon (20-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) for fighting him at UFC 136 because, apparently, the line of willing opponents was pretty short.
"A lot of guys turned down the fight, so I respect Joe," Guillard said. "He's a very dangerous guy, and he's very talented. Does he present any problems for me? Yes, if I allow him to."
The thing is, Guillard is not planning on that. Just like other grappling specialists on his recent resume, he's planning to blast Lauzon into orbit.
About the only way Lauzon is favored in the fight, which takes place Saturday at Houston's Toyota Center and airs live on pay-per-view, is on the mat, where his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills have earned him five wins in the UFC.
But he's got to get there first, and Guillard has enlisted several parties to make sure that doesn't happen. He's worked with Mike Van Arsdale and Rashad Evans, among others, at Imperial Athletics in Florida. He's worked with "Henry," a Dutch kickboxing specialist brought in by his agent. Then there's the supercamp at Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn's in Albuquerque, N.M. And don't forget his own style of MMA, which currently has no name but counts concussions as its chief technique.
With five consecutive wins on his resume – three of them by KO or TKO – it's hard to find a more intimidating lightweight.
Despite hectic turn, UFC champ Jones insists Evans no distraction for Machida bout
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been on quite the whirlwind adventure in the past 14 days.
After defeating Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Jones was planning to take a little vacation. Then came a challenge from Rashad Evans, which Jones answered. Now, it's Lyoto Machida. No sweat, says "Bones."
"Obviously taking Lyoto on nine weeks has sped up a lot of things, but I feel between every great challenge lies great reward," Jones today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I think I'm on the verge of something amazing happening by beating three champions in one year. I'm honored."
Following his UFC 135 win over Jackson, Jones told anyone who would listen that he was ready for a little time away from the sport after fighting three times in just seven months, as well as both capturing and defending the UFC's light heavyweight title.
Champ Edgar seeks definitive UFC 136 win, ready to put Maynard rivalry behind
When Saturday night's UFC 136 event hits Houston's Toyota Center, it will have been three-and-a-half years since UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (13-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) and his nemesis, Gray Maynard (10-0-1 MMA, 8-0-1 UFC), first locked horns.
In other words, a little too long thinking about one man, according to Edgar.
"I'm sick of talking about how sick I am of talking about him," Edgar told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I have a loss to him and a draw to him. I want something definitive. I want a definitive win."
The pair's history began innocently enough. Just budding prospects with only 12 fights between them at the time, the two met in April 2008 at "UFC Fight Night 13: Florian vs. Lauzon." Maynard outmuscled Edgar en route to a unanimous-decision win, and the lightweight division simply rolled on, ostensibly taking little notice of the result.
UFC 136's Brian Stann: In 2012, 'I want to fight for a title or be ready for a title'
As in his former life, Brian Stann is always looking for objectives – and how to trample them.
Next, he'd like to put his boot on a middleweight title shot, and Chael Sonnen is the obstacle he must surmount.
"My goal this year was to get into the top 10 (and) solidify myself on the UFC roster," Stann today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "No more being on the bubble or the guy who could be cut. My next goal, now, is to fight for a title."
That's an entirely reachable goal for the former Marine Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who on Saturday meets Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) on the main card of UFC 136, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. The middleweight fight airs live on pay-per-view while preliminary action airs on Spike TV and streams live on Facebook.
UFC 136's Lauzon wary of foe's striking but thinks he's bad matchup for Guillard
Gone are the days of true "striker vs. grappler" affairs at the UFC level, and UFC 136's Joe Lauzon (20-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is quite aware of that fact.
But his main-card matchup with Melvin Guillard (29-8-2 MMA, 10-4 UFC) appears about close as one can get – see Lauzon's three "Submission of the Night" victories in his past five fights vs. Guillard's seven (out of eight total) career losses via tapout.
So Lauzon's strategy for Saturday night's event at Houston's Toyota Center should be no shocker. The 27-year-old jiu-jitsu specialist said he knows the task won't be easy, but he's willing to go out on his shield making an effort.
"If I can't get the fight down, I'm going out on my shield," Lauzon said. "I'm going to do my best to get the fight to the ground. If I find that I can't get it, I'm going to keep working at it, but I'm going to have to throw punches the entire time.
"The days are gone when you could just shoot on a guy from way out and take him down. Melvin's a great wrestler. He's not going to give up any takedowns. I'm going to have to fight for every single one."
It's not that Lauzon has never faced a striking stud before. In fact, he boasts career contests with Jeremy Stephens, Sam Stout, Jens Pulver and Jorge Masvidal to name but a few. But Guillard represents a special kind of beast, a rare blend of speed and power, and Lauzon knows it will prove a tall order.