White: Penn declined Strikeforce's Melendez but eyeing UFC return at 170 pounds
So it turns out there was something to those rumblings of Gilbert Melendez (20-2 MMA, 10-1 SF) vs. B.J. Penn (16-8-2 MMA, 12-7-2 UFC) for the Strikeforce lightweight title, after all.
Following today's pre-UFC on FOX 3 press conference in New York City, White revealed he tried to put the fight together but was rebuffed by Penn, ultimately leading to Melendez vs. Josh Thomson III on May 19.
White said Penn simply wasn't up for a fight at that time, though things have since changed. The UFC boss said Penn could be back sooner rather than later, and it will be at 170 pounds.
"I tried to do [Melendez vs. Penn], but it was at the time when B.J. was like, 'Yeah, I'm not fighting for a while,'" White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"In October, former UFC champion Penn suffered a one-sided loss to Nick Diaz, prompting "The Prodigy" to call it quits at the conclusion of the fight. Penn has yet to publicly commit to another fight, but as he did less than two weeks ago, White insists things are different behind the scenes.
"He wants to come back," White said of Penn.
While most MMA pundits believe Penn, who has held titles at both 155 pounds and 170 pounds, is best suited for the lightweight division, White said Penn will make his return at welterweight.
New Jersey approves Nick Diaz for UFC on FOX 3 second's license
A temporary suspension in Nevada has not prevented Nick Diaz from obtaining a second's license in New Jersey.
Diaz was approved this past week to corner his younger brother, Nate Diaz, in the main event of UFC on FOX 3, which takes place Saturday at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
"Had [the suspension] been finalized, we may have looked at it differently," New Jersey State Athletic Control Board legal counsel Nick Lembo today told MMAjunkie.com. "But at this point, the matter is under review."
UFC on FOX 3 dark matches now set to stream on Facebook
Saturday's UFC on FOX 3 dark matches will be available, after all.
After initially planning for the fights to be available only to those in attendance at the weekend's network-televised events, officials today announced the show's first two bouts now will stream live on Facebook.
The bouts include bantamweights Roland Delorme (7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Nick Denis (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and middleweights Karlos Vemola (8-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) vs. Mike Massenzio (13-6 MMA, 2-4 UFC).
UFC on FOX 3 takes place at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. FOX airs four main-card bouts, and the remaining six prelims air on FUEL TV.
Bobby Green To Replace Billy Evangelista At May 19 Strikeforce Grand Prix Finale
A lightweight bout scheduled for this months Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament Final has seen a change of opponents as former King of the Cage champ Bobby Green (17-5) has been tagged as a replacement for promotion vet Billy Evangelista.
Green will now face James ‘Intensity’ Terry (11-4) on the Strikeforce card and could make the main card Showtime broadcast.
Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier is expected to take place on May 19, 2012 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The main card will air on Showtime at 10pm EST/PST (tape delay on the West Coast), while the prelim card is expected to air live on Showtime Extreme.
Sergio Pettis, 18, thinks move to UFC could be just a few fights away
You may know the name, even if you don't know the fighter.
But teenage MMA prospect Sergio Pettis believes he could be just a couple away fights away from joining big brother and former WEC champion Anthony Pettis under the bright lights of the UFC.
"I'm thinking like two or three more fights maybe, but I don't want to go into the UFC not fully prepared," he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I don't want to look like a slouch. I want to look like a Jon Jones of my division.
"I want to come in confident. People are going to be amazed at what I can throw. I'm taking my time. I'm young. A have a lot of time ahead. But we'll see what Duke says."
"Duke," of course, is veteran trainer Duke Roufus. He's also a fight promoter, and on Friday, Pettis (3-0) drops from bantamweight to flyweight for his co-headliner with Chris Haney (3-3) at "NAFC: Colosseum" at Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee.
Lyoto Machida Would Have Taken Middleweight Bout To Stay Busy
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida had another shot at the title at UFC 140 against Jon Jones, but got choked out in the second round. Four months later he was still waiting for another fight and was apparently starting to get antsy. He was recently booked against TUF 9 winner Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4 on August 4th but before that, he just wanted to fight. He was relieved by the Bader booking, and told Globo he was even willing to take a middleweight bout just to stay active (translation via Tom Mendes):
I was ready to fight but the opportunity was not there. The division is lacking, it’s a bit mixed, and I didn’t know, right (who would be my next opponent)? I even had the intention of fighting at 185lbs so I wouldn’t lose the opportunity of keeping busy. I spoke to Ed Soares and (Jorge Guimarães), but they told me to be patient.
Look, I’m a guy that usually weighs at most 96kg (211lbs), so I don’t think there would be a problem fighting (at middleweight). My objective is to fight at (205lbs), but to make a fight at middleweight would not be a problem.
UFC On Fox 3: ESPN Will Not Show Event Live In UK
Bad news for fans in the UK, as the ESPN premium subscription sports network will not be showing the UFC On Fox 3 event, headlined by Nate Diaz taking on Jim Miller in a potential Number #1 contenders bout for the Lightweight title.
At least, ESPN will not be showing the fight card live, possibly due to a program scheduling conflict. ESPN will however broadcast the event on tape delay Sunday night at 10:30 PM GMT.
Ryan Jimmo vs. Anthony Perosh added to UFC 149 in Calgary
A light heavyweight matchup between UFC newcomer Ryan Jimmo (16-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Australian veteran Anthony Perosh (13-6 MMA, 3-3 UFC) is the latest addition to the UFC's first-ever event in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Canada's Sportsnet first reported the bout, and the UFC's Canadian Twitter account subsequently confirmed the addition to the UFC 149 lineup.
UFC 149 takes place July 21 at Calgary's Scotiabank Saddledome. The main card airs on pay-per-view, and FX and Facebook are expected to carry the prelims.
Jamie Varner Replaces Evan Dunham, Faces Edson Barboza at UFC 146
Five years after his last appearance in the UFC, Jamie Varner is getting the call back as he will now face Edson Barboza at UFC 146 on May 26 in Las Vegas replacing an injured Evan Dunham.
Sources close to the match-up confirmed the new fight with MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday. UFC officials confirmed the fight as well on Tuesday evening.
Gabriel Gonzaga Out; Dave Herman In Against Roy Nelson at UFC 146
Maybe the third time will be the charm for Roy Nelson at UFC 146.
Originally set to face Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva on the card in May, Nelson lost that opponent when main event fighter Alistair Overeem was pulled from the show and reshuffling had to take place.
In his place, Gabriel Gonzaga stepped in to face Nelson. Well now Gonzaga is also out due to injury so in steps former Sengoku fighter Dave Herman who faces Nelson at UFC 146.
UFC officials announced the switch on Tuesday night.
Yuri Alcantara To Meet Hacran Dias At UFC 147
It's nice to see they're finally getting around to announcing some fights for UFC 147. In a battle of Brazilians, highly-touted featherweight prospect Hacran Dias will make his UFC debut against the surging Yuri Alcantara in Belo Horizonte on June 23rd. The fight was first reported by Tatame.
Dias (20-1-1), a Nova Uniao fighter, is the Shooto South American featherweight champion and is currently on an eight-fight winning streak. He tried out for The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, but was signed to a contract without having to appear on the show.
Alcantara (27-3) is a former Jungle Fight lightweight champion that decided to drop to featherweight when he entered the UFC. It has worked out well, with Alcantara picking up decision wins in both his UFC fights to date, over Felipe Arantes at UFC 134 and Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 142. He also knocked out Ricardo Lamas in a WEC bout.
Ben Rothwell wants to be Alistair Overeem's first fight back in the UFC and 'beat his (expletive) ass'
Ben Rothwell got back on the winning track by knocking out Brendan Schaub in the very first round at UFC 145 on Apr., 21, 2012. After getting staggered by a spinning elbow from "The Hybrid" which had him reeling, "Big Ben" got the better of an exchange and sent Schaub crashing to the canvas.
A few follow up shots for good measure and Rothwell was standing the victor.
After alternating wins and losses in his last seven bouts, Ben has at least been on a consistent path. However, Rothwell is looking to break his recent cycle and start a win streak and become a legitimate contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight division.
Stepping into the Octagon in Atlanta, visibly slimmer, Rothwell says the new and improved "Big Ben" is all about the recent changes he's made in his life and how they could equate to bigger and better things moving forward.
Appearing on Sherdog Radio, Rothwell talks about his lifestyle change and the goals he has set for himself in the UFC, including a showdown with none other than recently suspended Alistair Overeem on the UFC's New Year's Eve card.
UFC Featherweight Ross Pearson Arrested On Suspicion Of DUI
English featherweight Ross Pearson was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of DUI according to news site TMZ. The Alliance MMA fighter has been in Las Vegas helping out teammate Dominick Cruz with The Ultimate Fighter Live. Here's what they had to say.
Law enforcement sources tell us, Ross was pulled over around 4AM early Sunday morning when police noticed his car swerving on the road.
When police approached the vehicle, we're told they observed signs Ross had been drinking and asked him to get out of the car -- where they administered a field sobriety test.
According to law enforcement, Ross performed miserably on the test and was placed under arrest on suspicion of DUI.
He has since been released. Calls to Ross were not returned.
Video: Lithuanian Strongman Robert Burneika Makes His MMA Debut
For those Polish MMA fans whose jones to see muscle-bound power-lifting body-builder types floundering around inside a mixed martial arts cage wasn't satisfied by World's Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski, we have a new hero to pin our hopes on: Lithuanian power-lifter Robert Burneika who made his MMA debut in the main event of MMA Attack 2, April 27th in Spodek, Poland against Marcin "El Testosteron" Najman (0-3)
Fans may recall that Pudzianowksi made his pro MMA debut against Najman before moving on to stellar competition such as Eric "Butterbean" Esch, Tim Sylvia and James Thompson. The sky is truly the limit for Burneika as he's got a very comparable skill-set to Pudz: lots of beefy lumbering, awkward kicks and punches and some really impressive moves in the flex off.
Bellator signs British heavyweight prospect Mark Godbeer
Bellator Fighting Championships latest foreign import is coming from England.
Mark "The Hand of" Godbeer (8-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) has inked a multi-fight deal with Bellator and is expected to debut sometime during the promotion's upcoming "Summer Series" event series.
The signing was first reported by several British news outlets, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the deal with sources close to the promotion.
Godbeer made his professional debut in August 2009 and quickly racked up seven-straight stoppage wins.
This past November, he suffered his first career defeat in a TKO loss to undefeated Englishman Anthony Taylor. However, Godbeer bounced back in March with a TKO victory over Catalin Zmarandescu, who was unable to answer the bell for the second round in the pair's BAMMA 9 matchup.
Godbeer, a Trojan Freefighters athlete, has earned all eight of his career wins via stoppage, including six by knockout. He has yet to fight beyond the second round.
Fan vote sends Scott Jorgensen vs. Eddie Wineland to UFC on FX 3's main card
An intriguing bantamweight matchup between Scott Jorgensen (13-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Eddie Wineland (18-8-1 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has been added to UFC on FX 3's main card.
Heavy.com first reported the results of the Harley-Davidson Hometown Throwdown contest, which allowed fans to choose one of three bouts to appear on the UFC on FX 3 main card.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) subsequently confirmed with sources close to the contest that Jorgensen vs. Wineland was the bout selected, beating out Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha and Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist for the honor.
UFC officials have yet to make a formal announcement.
UFC on FX 3 takes place June 8 at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The location of the card was also determined through fan voting.
Francisco Rivera replaces Azamat Gashimov, faces Alex Soto at UFC on FUEL TV 3
Onetime UFC vet Francisco Rivera (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has been given a second life in the octagon.
Rivera replaces Azamat Gashimov and now faces Alex Soto (6-1-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at this month's UFC on FUEL TV 3 event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the switch, which was first reported by Sherdog.com.
The reason for Gashimov's removal wasn't immediately clear, and UFC officials have yet to make an official announcement.
Despite UFC 149 Rumors, Jon Jones' Return Unlikely Until August or September
In the immediate aftermath of Jon Jones' recent win over Rashad Evans, we quickly learned that his next title defense would come against decorated veteran Dan Henderson. While no timetable was cemented for the bout, UFC president Dana White said that the upcoming UFC 149 event in Calgary could be a possibility.
One week later, though, we can rule out the July 21 event.
Jones' manager Malki Kawa told MMA Fighting on Monday that the UFC light-heavyweight champion would not be available for the show, which is scheduled exactly three months to the day after Jones' five-round unanimous decision win over Rashad Evans at UFC 145.
"He will not be fighting in July," Kawa said. "It's just probably a little too soon. There's been no timetable yet but July probably isn't going to happen."
Bellator Champ Eduardo Dantas Says Promotion Coming To Brazil In 2013
Brazilian bantamweight Eduardo Dantas (14-2) realized a dream last month by capturing his first major title by choking out Zach Makovsky to win the Bellator 135-lbs title in Atlantic City.
Since then Dantas has seen his life change significantly, from being recognized on the streets, to English classes in order to connect better with fans in North America.
Talking to Tatame.com, Dantas plans on keeping that title for awhile and would love to defend it in front of his countrymen when Bellator goes to Brazil in 2013.