Liddell: 'Evans knows Jones isn't invincible'
Chuck Liddell has ridiculed the odds-makers who have made Rashad Evans a huge underdog against Jon Jones at UFC 145, insisting there is one massively important factor at play this weekend: The challenger knows the champion is not invincible.
Jones puts the UFC light-heavyweight title on the line on April 21, and only the boldest punter is rushing to back against him. The champ has never been beaten, other than a sole disqualification in the act of winning.
Evans, however, rarely makes a habit of losing either. Only Lyoto Machida has defeated him, and the No. 1 contender has the advantage of having previously trained with Jones.
Liddell, the former 205lb champion, does not buy into the suggestion that either man knows what the other will do as a result of their history together. However, he is convinced it will stop Evans taking any fear into the Octagon, as the likes of Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida may have done.
BJ Penn insists: I'm staying retired
BJ Penn appeared to confirm the end of his MMA career on Saturday, revealing he cannot see one challenge that could tempt him out of retirement.
Penn, one of only two men to win a UFC title in separate divisions, hung up his mitts after defeat to Nick Diaz. However, he has since been quoted as saying that he would return if he began to feel the fire once again.
The Hawaiian has been linked to fights with Gilbert Melendez and new UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson, but the Prodigy appears to be very happy to stay outside of the Octagon.
"I haven't made any plans to come back and fight again," Penn said on Fuel TV. "Dana White has called me a few times, but I'm staying retired.
Bitterness Aside, It’s Time for Jon Jones and Rashad Evans to Play the Game
The showdown between former friends and teammates Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, the main event at Saturday’s UFC 145 in Atlanta, has been shaping up as one of the most heated grudge matches in UFC history.
But the flames of the fire between the two aren’t reaching as high as they once did.
Both men seem to be tiring of all the talk of their fallout and friction. They just want to get in the Octagon and prove who the better fighter is.
Is Drug Testing in MMA the Gold Standard Among Pro Sports?
Alistair Overeem. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. Cris “Cyborg” Santos.
Those are just a few of the names that have been in the headlines of MMA lately and it had nothing to do with winning fights. All three fighters tested positive for a banned substance or elevated levels of testosterone, and it once again raises the question if enough is being done to curb performance enhancing drug use in mixed martial arts.
The UFC recently instituted a new drug policy that screens all incoming fighters who intend to sign a contract with the promotion, and they must test clean before the contract can be tendered. In addition, all competitors on The Ultimate Fighter must also be tested prior to their admission onto the reality show.
Outside of those screening requirements, the UFC does no other testing on their own, except when the promotion operates an event in a location where the local sanctioning body does not provide for drug testing or in global locals where there is no sanctioning body. In areas where there is a sanctioning body, the athletic commissions in each area are responsible for drug testing the athletes as they see fit. Commissions like Nevada have instituted out-of-competition drug screenings to help curb performance enhancing drug use.
UFC 145’s Stephen Thompson Believes Matt Brown Won’t Stand With Him
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (6-0) is a dynamic welterweight striker that you have to keep your eyes on.
While competing in kickboxing, Thompson earned several titles and won 30 fights by knockout. Last we saw him, Thompson shocked UFC fans with a frightening head kick knockout victory over Daniel Stittgen at UFC 143. The knockout came in his Octagon debut and while the 28-year-old is just getting warmed up, he knows that his patience is key in his next fight.
The decorated kickboxing champion meets his toughest challenge in the cage to date when he takes on veteran Matt Brown at UFC 145 in Atlanta on Saturday night.
Dan Henderson: 'I'm Not Real Keen On Fighting At 185'
It's well-known by now that Dan Henderson is waiting for a shot at a UFC belt. Whether it's at middleweight, light heavyweight, or even heavyweight, Hendo wants to get another chance at that one thing that has eluded him in his storied career. In an interview with Fight Hub TV, Hendo made it pretty clear that he doesn't need a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, and that he's more interested in the winner of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans at UFC 145 (transcribed by MMA Mania):
Delorme replaces Bedford, Dodson vs. Elliott official for UFC on FOX 3
An undisclosed injury has forced bantamweight Johnny Bedford (18-9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) to withdraw from a scheduled matchup with Nick Denis (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 3.
In Bedford's place goes fellow "The Ultimate Fighter 14" cast member Roland Delorme (7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
Officials today announced that switch-up and also confirmed a previously reported flyweight bout between John Dodson (12-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Tim Elliot (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who replaces Darren Uyenoyama (7-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
UFC on FOX 3 takes place May 5 at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. The event's main card airs live on FOX while FUEL TV and Facebook carry the prelims.
Delorme returns to the octagon after successfully graduating from "TUF 14" with a third-round submission of Josh Ferguson at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale this past December. Although T.J. Dilashaw defeated him in the quarterfinals of the reality-show tournament, Delorme carries but one blemish on his eight-fight pro resume.
UFC Offers Hector Lombard A Contract, Bellator May Counter
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has told Sherdog that his Middleweight champion Hector Lombard (31-2-1, 1 NC) has been offered a contract by the UFC. Rebney has the option to match the contract and will make that decision next week.
"We've received the final proposed UFC agreement from Hector's attorney, and right now we are in the process of reviewing it to determine whether we're going to match the agreement. We've got the 60 pages of UFC contract that were forwarded to us by Hector's counsel. We've been waiting on the actual contract itself to see all of the specifics and every conceivable detail and know exactly what is being offered. Now we have something really specific to look at," Rebney told Sherdog.
As part of his Bellator contract, Lombard had to wait a couple of months after his current contract expired before he could talk to competing promotions. Now he is in a period where Bellator has the option of matching any contract offer he receives.
UFC on FUEL TV 2 medical suspensions: Two suspended, Head not disciplined
Alessio Sakara and Paulo Thiago – the only fighters who suffered knockout losses – were also the only fighters medically suspended following this past weekend's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event.
Both have been suspended 28 days, MMAjunkie.com today confirmed with George Sallfeldt, the president of the Swedish MMA Federation.
Sallfeldt also confirmed that James Head currently faces no disciplinary action following some complaints of unsportsmanlike conduct.
Rashad Evans Getting Pointers From Roy Jones, Jr. Ahead Of Jon Jones Fight
Rashad Evans is no stranger to being around other famous athletes. If it's not Victoria Azarenka, it's Tito Trinidad or Michael Irvin or Bernard Hopkins. The latest turn sees Rashad getting some boxing lessons from none other than Ring Magazine's "Fighter of the Decade" for the 1990's, Roy Jones, Jr.
Here's video of Rashad working with Roy and talking about the experience.
Chael Sonnen Comes To Alistair Overeem's Defense
"Congratulations to MMA media, right when I think you're incompetence can't get to any higher level, the Alistair Overeem story comes out. You kids on the interweb, running your little 'dot com's' from the couch in your mother's basement, you beneficiaries of Mark Cuban's tax write-off, you've gone and screwed up the Alistair Overeem case, beyond belief. Is it repairable? I doubt it."
Following Bellator release, Alexis Vila plans move to UFC's flyweight division
Unbeaten in his first 11 professional fights, Alexis Vila is now a free agent after back-to-back losses.
The 41-year-old Vila (11-2 MMA, 2-2 BFC) told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he has been released by Bellator following a loss to Luis Nogueira in the opening round of the promotion's season-six bantamweight tournament, which took place this past Friday at Bellator 65.
Now, the former Olympian plans a move to flyweight, and hopefully, to the UFC.
"I know that [bantamweight is] not my weight class, so I want to prove I'm the best flyweight in the world," Vila said.
Vila, a bronze-medalist wrestler at the 1996 Olympics representing his native Cuba, said he walks around between the 135 and 140 pounds, which may have placed him at a disadvantage against bantamweights who cut between 15-20 pounds to make the 135-pound limit.
New Bellator champ Eduardo Dantas expects teammate vs. teammate possibility
Teammates fighting teammates may soon be an issue that isn't identified solely with the UFC.
One of the sport's other top promotions may soon face that possibility.
After all, newly crowned Bellator champion bantamweight Eduardo Dantas expects friend and teammate Marcos Galvao to win the season-six bantamweight tournament and claim a title shot. And Dantas isn't sure he's ready to fight him.
UFC 144 drug tests come back clean
All eight fighters who underwent drug testing at February's UFC 144 event tested clean for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational/drugs of abuse.
UFC Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, confirmed the drug-testing results with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 144 took place Feb. 26, at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The main card aired on pay-per-view (on Feb. 25 due to the time difference), and FX and Facebook carried the prelims.
Because no regulatory body was available, the UFC acted as its own under the direction of Ratner.
Jon Jones' manager says sponsorship doesn't show UFC bias, major deal looming
UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones has quickly become one of the biggest superstars in the world's largest MMA promotion, and the UFC is going to capitalize on that popularity by branding its logo all over Jones and his team during UFC 145 fight-week events.
Some MMA pundits have been critical of the decision, suggesting the UFC is showing favoritism toward Jones with the move.
Jones' manager, Malki Kawa, insists that's simply not true. In fact, he believes Jones' opponent, Rashad Evans, likely could have earned the same deal should he have wanted.
Ahead of UFC 146, Valentijn Overeem unaware of any testosterone need for brother Alistair
Valentijn Overeem doesn't know why his brother, Alistair Overeem (36-11 MMA, 1-0 UFC), tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone prior a fight against champ Junior Dos Santos.
But he said it would be news to him if Alistair needed the hormone for medical reasons, as recent speculation would indicate.
"Because I know him so well that I think I should be aware of something like that," Valentijn Overeem today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "If that was the case, I think I would know. I would be surprised."
Valentijn Overeem, a longtime MMA fighter and former Strikeforce fighter, is in Holland with an expectant girlfriend and said he hasn't trained with his younger brother since he left for the U.S. in March but said he never received any indication that Alistair was suffering from a condition that would necessitate the use of testosterone. He is unsure why the pre-fight drug test came back high for a high T/E ratio.
"There are different reasons why someone could have high testosterone," Valentijn Overeem said. "Taking steroids is one of them. Some people have natural testosterone at a high level anyway. I'm not saying my brother is one of those people, but there's more possibilities. If the [athletic commission] tests the sample again, just to make sure there were no mistakes, I think that would be a good start."
Tim Elliott replaces Darren Uyenoyama, meets John Dodson at UFC on FOX 3
Newcomer Tim Elliott (8-2-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has replaced Darren Uyenoyama (7-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 3 and now meets fellow flyweight and "The Ultimate Fighter 14" winner John Dodson (12-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
Although a reason for Uyenoyama's removal hasn't been announced by UFC officials, the event's official card on UFC.com now shows Elliott fighting Dodson at the May event.
UFC 146: Alistair Overeem's Manager Says He Has 'Reasonable Explanation' For Failed Drug Test
"I spoke with Glenn Robinson, manager of Overeem and he says he is very respectful and is hopeful that he will be granted his license and the entire team is very confident that he will be facing Junior dos Santos come May 26th" said [Kenny] Rice. "Now Robinson wanted to make it very clear that despite other reports, Overeem did not test high for testosterone, but rather his testosterone to epitestosterone was off and he has a reasonable explanation to why that is, which he will present to the commission next Tuesday."
Champ Gilbert Melendez making the best of his remaining time in Strikeforce
A week and a half into the realization that he won't be going to the UFC, Gilbert Melendez (20-2 MMA, 10-1 SF) is getting used to the idea of fighting Josh Thomson (19-4 MMA, 10-2 SF) a third time.
"I guess it was inevitable," he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) with a laugh.
But the Strikeforce lightweight champ would be lying if he said he isn't disappointed.
"I was hoping for something better, for some top talent, and it didn't work out," Melendez said. "Something to raise my stock."
Nothing could do that better than a UFC import. Melendez heard the same names everyone else did when a crossover fight was first rumored. The most heavily rumored names included B.J. Penn and Anthony Pettis. They just never materialized.
Thomson did, and now he and Melendez meet in a rubber match at "Strikeforce: Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale," which takes place May 19 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Melendez vs. Thomson serves as the main card's co-main draw, which airs live on Showtime. Preliminary-card fights air on Showtime Extreme.
New TV deal could bring more UFC events to U.K.
The UFC doesn't care about the U.K., or so say fans across the Pond who've seen events in Europe slow to a trickle in the past two years.
"Every time I get on Twitter or whatever, I see the U.K. fans, 'They don't care about us. They don't care about this market,'" UFC president Dana White said. "Same thing with Ireland. Of course we do."
But until the current TV situation changes, White can't promise anything before the promotion's current deal expires in August.
That's when a contract between the UFC and ESPN's U.K. branch expires, and as UFC managing director of international development Marshall Zelaznik previously indicated to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), more events could be on the way with a new TV partner.
Or a new deal could be struck with ESPN, which has broadcast UFC events since 2009. A U.K. event targeted for the third quarter of this year falls within the timeframe when a new deal could be struck with either network...