Barnett: UFC champ Velasquez is good, but Strikeforce tourney winner better
Everyone and his brother has weighed in on who's the world's best MMA heavyweight, and given Strikeforce's upcoming and star-studded heavyweight grand prix, the debate won't stop anytime soon.
Josh Barnett, an entrant in the tourney, understandably thinks the world's No. 1 heavyweight will be the Strikeforce grand-prix winner.
But that's no shot at UFC champ Cain Velasquez, Barnett recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
In fact, Barnett has nothing but respect for Velasquez, who's rehabbing a shoulder he injured in an October title win over then-champ Brock Lesnar. Barnett admires how Velasquez has blended his new striking skills with his wrestling foundation during an undefeated career, and he doesn't question the champ's toughness.
The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale is June 4; door opened for Edgar-Maynard as coaches?
The upcoming 13th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" debuts March 30 on Spike TV, and a source close to the show today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale is slated for June 4.
The event takes place at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and airs live on Spike TV.
Although no coaches have been named, the date would allow for UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and top contender Gray Maynard, who could be part of UFC 131 in June, to meet in a season-ending fight.
UFC officials will announce the coaches later today during a media call, but they and other industry insiders have been tight-lipped about the names. Edgar and Maynard have emerged as possible candidates, though rumored coaches have included everyone from Dominick Cruz to Urijah Faber to Chael Sonnen to Wanderlei Silva to Brock Lesnar to Frank Mir to Jose Aldo.
Kenny Florian Targeting April Return, Says He's the Man to Fight Pettis
It's been a rough couple of months for Kenny Florian. First, he lost his No. 1 contenders fight with Gray Maynard, then he suffered a knee injury that knocked him out of a potential fight with Evan Dunham, and now, it appears the fighter he hoped to face upon his return has a bout scheduled that won't include him.
Late Monday night, Florian told MMA Fighting that he thought he should be the one to face Anthony Pettis in "Showtime's" UFC debut. Hours later, though, reports of a matchup between Pettis and Clay Guida surfaced, seemingly knocking that possibility out of the water.
Jacob Volkmann Plans to Ride Wave of Attention After Obama Comment
There's no way Jacob Volkmann could have predicted the aftermath of his tongue-in-cheek call out of President Barack Obama after UFC 125, but the Minnesota lightweight knows one thing: he's gonna roll with it.
Volkmann, whose post-fight interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani has garnered more mainstream attention than perhaps any fight interview in years, told Helwani on "The MMA Hour" Monday that he doesn't regret his criticism of the president, even though it earned him a visit from the Secret Service. Well, mostly he has no regrets.
UFC to Announce Formal Intent to Bring Event to New York
It looks like the UFC has its New Year's Resolution.
Just a few days into 2011, the Nevada-based promotion will formally announce its intent to bring mixed martial arts to New York as soon as possible during a Thursday press conference at Madison Square Garden.
The press conference, which will take place at the world-famous MSG arena, will be attended by UFC president Dana White, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, and former light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans, along with MSG executives.
Josh Barnett: What Happens In The Locker Room Stays In The Locker Room, I'm No Snitch
So he says. "I think everybody is doing whatever they can to get an edge on their opponent, no matter what, be it taking anything whether it's illegal or legal. Is it working? I don't really know. I don't think so. I wouldn't know (a percentage of fighters using PEDs) and even if I did I wouldn't say even if I did. ... I'm a big proponent of 'What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.' I'm no snitch. But I fought when there wasn't regulatory bodies, and I fought guys who were way jacked to the gills (on steroids). I never cared – I just fought them anyways. I don't care what pill you take or what shot or what new supplement or what diet you do. There's only so much of anything that can really ever help you, and the rest of it is whether you've got it or you don't." He also still cliams he's never taken steroids despite failing 3 post-fight PED tests.
Guida vs. Pettis Targeted For UFC 130 or 131
Sources close the bout informed Heavy.com of the news on Monday night.
Pettis was scheduled to receive a UFC title shot against the winner of the Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard bout from UFC 125. The fight ended in a draw, however, and Pettis was removed from the title shot in favor of a third bout between Edgar and Maynard. Pettis opted to take a fight instead of waiting on the sidelines for eight to ten months.
Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament: Possible Pay-Per-View, Canadian Debut
"The tournament is going to deliver our biggest shows yet. At some point this year, we will be in the pay-per-view business and having this tournament out there is a big step in that direction."
Dates and venues for the semifinal and finale events have not been solidified. ... Coker said Strikeforce is exploring holding one of the events in Montreal or Toronto, which would mark the promotion’s debut on Canadian soil.
UFC Champ Cruz to Undergo Sidelining Surgery
Dominick Cruz will undergo long-delayed surgery on his left index finger this week in Chicago, the UFC bantamweight champion told ESPN.com Monday.
The top-ranked 135 pounder joins the list of sidelined UFC champions which includes featherweight ace Jose Aldo (neck injury) and top heavyweight Cain Velasquez (shoulder injury). Cruz outlined a time frame of 8-12 weeks before he is likely to return to training, with the possibility of a six month hiatus from competition.
“It could be six months, but I’m not planning on six months,” Cruz said.
The 25-year-old Alliance MMA product first sustained the injury last summer in training for his Aug. 18 rematch with Joseph Benavidez at WEC 50. Nonetheless, Cruz defended his WEC bantamweight title against the Urijah Faber pupil, earning a split decision after five rounds. Following the bout, Cruz was issued a 180-day medical suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to a potential fracture of his right hand.
Rep: UFC's Anthony Pettis not waiting for title shot, returns May or June
It's certainly a gamble putting Anthony Pettis' lightweight title shot at risk. But the alternative is far worse.
Officials from Pettis' support team today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that keeping the WEC-champion-turned UFC-contender on the shelf while UFC champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard collide a third time could would bring cage rust as detrimental as a possible loss.
That's why they're targeting Pettis (13-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) for a May or June fight, presumably UFC 130 or UFC 131, against an opponent to be announced shortly.
Mike Roberts, Pettis' manager, today said verbal agreements are in place for the bout, though he declined to reveal the matchup.
Shane Carwin Plans Return at UFC 131 in Vancouver
UFC 131 is expected to take place June 11 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. ... UFC 131 is in the final planning stages and UFC officials are working this week to finalize the show and venue.
No bouts are rumored for UFC 131, but a source told MMAjunkie.com that former heavyweight title-challenger Shane Carwin could be featured prominently on the card, which would mark his first fight since back surgery.
UFC 130 Likely For Vegas, 131 For Vancouver
While neither event has been officially announced, UFC 130 & 131 are both taking shape and could be announced soon. 130 appears set for Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, while 131 will likely be held in Vancouver. The dates are to be May 28 and June 11, respectively.
Bellator signs veteran middleweight Joe Riggs
Bellator Fighting Championships' recent signing spree has netted veteran fighter Joe Riggs (34-12 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Officials today announced they've signed the former WEC champion and UFC/Strikeforce veteran to its middleweight division.
Riggs enters the organization with six wins in his past seven fights, which have taken place between 170 and 185 pounds.
Officials did not announce if the 28-year-old fighter will be part of an expected season-four middleweight tournament, which kicks off in March on MTV2.
"The Ultimate Fighter 13" cast shifts to all welterweights, coaches named this week
While initially intended to feature welterweights and middleweights, the upcoming 13th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" instead now will be a welterweights-only season.
A source close to the long-running competition/reality series today confirmed the plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The show begins taping this month, and it debuts March 30 on Spike TV. Coaches are expected to be announced this week, a source said.
With the single weight class, "TUF 13" is expected to use the same 28-man, 32-slot tournament that has been employed in recent seasons. The initial 28 elimination-round fights, which air over the first episode or two of the show, will determine the initial cast of 14. The fighters then enter a 16-slot bracket, and two opening-round losers will get a second shot as "wild card" picks. ("TUF 11" wild-card pick Kris McCray eventually became the show's runner-up.)
White Out: UFC President Dana White Silent on Strikeforce Tourney
It's been more than a week and we haven't heard a peep. No statements have been issued through media favorites like Kevin Iole or Ariel Helwani. There have been no mean spirited video blogs. Strikeforce has announced the biggest tournament in the history of American MMA and the UFC has maintained complete silence. For MMA fans, that has to be a little disconcerting.
Traditionally when UFC President Dana White sees a competitor on the horizon he strikes quickly. White isn't one to work the jab and bide his time for an opening either. He comes in windmilling, much like his favored brand of toughman style MMA, with both hands tossing wild and crazy winging blows. Usually the other guy falls down.
Pat Barry: I don't know how anyone is going to stop Alistair 'The Monster' Overeem
"The dude is a monster. That’s what I think. Not only is he humongous, (but) he’s extremely experienced. That’s what makes him the most dangerous. Not just the size, but he has so much experience in MMA and in kickboxing, and he’s a Dutch trained kickboxer. I was in Amsterdam for five years. I know what the Dutch train like out there... He doesn’t seem to get tired. All he needs to do is hit you one time. He’s fast, he’s athletic, and he’s strong as hell. He’s everything you need all in one body... The dude is a monster. I don’t know how anyone is going to stop him any time soon."