Ben Askren: 'My wrestling and my grappling are good enough to beat anybody'
"I chose Bellator for a number of reasons. They offered me the best contract, I can get three fights done in three months, and on top of that I really think that they will do a good job of promoting me. I feel good about facing (Ryan) Thomas. I hear that he’s a good wrestler, and if that’s his strongest suit, obviously he’s not going to beat me there. I also hear that submissions are strong for him, but he’s not going to beat me there either. So for me this is a really good match-up."
Kiuma Kunioku Ready For Rebirth At 155 Pounds
With wins over Nate Marquardt, Frank Shamrock, Genki Sudo, and Yuki Kondo, you'd think that Kiuma Kunioku would be a household name to hardcore MMA fans, but truth be told the Japanese fighter has slipped under everybody's radar for far too long.
Couture, Kimbo, Forrest? Who's First For Toney?
Who gets the first shot at James Toney?
That is the million-dollar question... or likely somewhere near the million-dollar mark considering that Toney signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC.
It’s unclear how soon we’ll find out just who the former world champion boxer will draw in his Octagon debut, even UFC president Dana White told MMAWeekly.com content partner Yahoo! Sports that he wasn’t sure yet what he’d do with Toney.
Interview: Clay Guida on His Renewed Motivation, RV Living, and More
Clay Guida has twice been on the cusp of getting a title shot in the UFC’s ultra-competitive lightweight division, only to come up a little short. On the heels of back-to-back losses against Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian, “The Carpenter” has a chance to get things rolling again on March 21st, when he faces Shannon Gugerty. Clay sat down with CagePotato to discuss training with Greg Jackson, why he's living in an RV in the desert, and much more.
Arona "hibernating to come back hunting"
Ricardo Arona was considered one of the best light heavyweight fighters of the world. But, when Pride ended, in 2007, Arona decided to stop competing for a while. Since then, the “Brazilian Tiger” kapt saying that this time off was helping him to think about everything he had done in his career.
‘Morango’ controls the mind to fight ‘Batman’
Fabrício “Morango” Camões debuted in the UFC with a draw against Caol Uno. Scheduled to return against Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino at UFC 111, the black belt under Royler Gracie is excited to win his first fight in the UFC octagon.
Tim Sylvia Off DREAM.13 Card, Looking at Pudzianowski, Sims Fights
With a fight falling through for the DREAM.13 event on March 22, former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia is next looking to fight against Mariusz Pudzianowski on April 23 and Wes Sims on June 5, his manager confirmed to MMA Fighting.
Although not officially announced, Sylvia has been training to fight at DREAM.13, but it appears his Japan debut will have to wait. He was first offered Josh Barnett and declined. He agreed on an opponent, but bowed out Thursday when offered a different opponent.
Coker declines comment on title talk, says Overeem vs. Rogers news might provide surprise
While the California-based Strikeforce organization has spent the past year building its roster of athletes, one of the most burning questions on MMA fans' minds regarding the promotion has been, "When will heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem return?"
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed on Thursday's edition of ESPN.com's "MMA Live" that Overeem's (32-11 MMA, 2-0 SF) return will indeed be on the promotion's as-yet-unannounced May event (believed to take place in St. Louis) in a fight with power-puncher Brett Rogers (10-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) as had been previously reported, but one simple question remains: Will the "Demolition Man's" title be on the line?
Coker refused to answer that question when he recently spoke with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), but he did say that fans could expect some surprises in forthcoming news.
"We're going to make an announcement next week, so I don't want to say anything about [the title implications of the fight], but it might be something that people are not expecting," Coker said.
SF: 4/17 Event Has "Some Fluidity", Though Future UFC Conflicts Unavoidable
New fans of MMA are tasked with learning a daunting list of jargon when first approaching the sport, but in recent years, a new term has made its way to the fighting lexicon: counter-programming. With UFC now reportedly set to go head-to-head with "Strikeforce: Nashville" on April 17 according to report from The Wrestling Observer, Strikeforce executives may be looking at a little retaliation of their own. The recently announced "Strikeforce: Nashville" show may end up going head-to-head with the UFC's sister promotion, the WEC, on that company's first-ever pay-per-view event, "WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber," on April 24. SI.com's Josh Gross recently posted a report on his Twitter account that Strikeforce "had the option" of changing dates, and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed an adjustment was a possibility. UFC hasn't officially announced that it would be adding an April 17 card to its already loaded Spring schedule, but Coker said Strikeforce and its broadcast partner, CBS, are currently considering a date change. "It hasn't been decided yet," Coker said. "I think we're meeting probably Monday. But for now, everything is going to be locked and loaded for the 17th."
Zack Micklewright Off WEC 48
The curse has arrived in WEC. For the second time in less than 2 days a fighter has been forced off an upcoming card, this time it's Zack Micklewright, who is off WEC 48 due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training. He was to have faced Alex Karalexis. No word on if WEC will try to find a replacement foe for Karalexis.
Stephan Bonnar steps in for Frank Mir in WEC 47 commentator role
Cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter" and 11-time UFC veteran Stephan Bonnar will take over for former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the the "WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz" commentating booth this weekend.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the change to the Versus broadcast team with WEC officials.
Mir is understandably busy as he prepares for a UFC 111 interim title fight with Shane Carwin, which led to the change. WEC officials insisted that Mir's recent controversial statements regarding Brock Lesnar – and subsequent apology – had nothing to do with the change.
"Kimbo Slice" manager welcomes James Toney fight but says nothing currently in works
Hold your horses.
Amid rabid speculation this morning that Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (5-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) may be James Toney's first octagon opponent, his manager told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Thursday afternoon that it's business as usual for the bearded brawler.
Slice, who is expected to face Matt Mitrione at UFC 113 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is absent from the promotion's official event page. But Mike Imber, Slice's longtime manager otherwise known as "Icy Mike," said his client was never on the page to begin with.
And Slice's absence does not mean he has other plans.
"I really don't think that's got anything to do with us," Imber said.
Vadim Finkelstein clears the air on Mousasi leaving M1 and Fedor's contract negotiations
If you can sit there and pretend like the name 'Vadim Finkelstein' doesn't sound like some end boss on Castlevania, then you need to reevaluate your childhood. A few weeks ago, Gegard Mousasi left M-1 Global due to reasons that are still unknown (or entirely too complicated to comprehend). Fedor's recent contract negations has led conspiracy theorists to develop complex scenarios in which M-1 Global would take over the Strikeforce brand in international markets. In a recent interview, Vadim Finkelstein of M-1 Global clears the air on what exactly is going on with Fedor, Mousasi and M-1 Global.
"The problem isn't there. The fight will take place. We're planning on showing the bout in over 100 countries. For all of that to go smoothly we had to postpone the event. Unfortunately I do not know the date yet. It's most likely going to be in early May. The bout is also postponed because of some other contract issues. Obviously there are always disagreements and technical questions, but everybody deals with those."
Fedor's a professional; he needs to know the specific date in order to come out in perfect condition. When he finds out that exact date he will start gathering the camp so that he may come out at his peak. He never stops training though, he always stays in shape.
Mousasi has never had a contract with M-1. If that was the case, he would not have been able to simply leave the organization. Where did he go? He still has his contracts with Strikeforce and Dream. M-1 was helping him grow. Mousasi has always been friends with us and Fedor and in return we were helping him go forward. His action was a surprise to me. I plan on meeting with him next week and finding out what's wrong. We used to say that Mousasi is an M-1 fighter, because he was starting in our organization. I'm sure that on our M-1 Challenge and M-1 Selection tournament he will not be the only fighter of that level.
James Toney's Coach, Juanito Ibarra: "He says he wanted Kimbo Slice"
The MMA world was rocked yesterday with the announcement of a former world champion boxer, James Toney , being signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
With a professional boxing record of 72-6-3, Toney is one of the most accomplished boxers of this, and any, generation. Titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, cruiserweight, and heavyweight divisions have all been claimed by “Lights Out” Toney.
Although boxers have made their way into MMA prior to this, none of them have had a resume the likes of Toney.
Just a few hours after the signing was announced, word got out that the champion boxer hired world famous boxing and MMA Coach Juanito Ibarra to help prepare him for his MMA debut
Bleacher Report spoke to Ibarra and he weighed in on his and Toney’s business partnership and what they intend to do.
“We get along real well. He’s a great student. He considers me a teacher. Hopefully this chemistry that we have can carry us to a title in MMA.”
Yes, an MMA title.
According to Ibarra, Toney is taking this transition as serious as anyone can take it and plans to, one day, contend for a championship strap. Some of the toughest competition in MMA wanders around the UFC’s heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions, so a climb to the title will be no easy road for the boxing great.
When asked of what he expects of Toney’s MMA career accomplishments, Juanito knows that his fighter‘s mind frame is one that will serve him well against the UFC competition.
“James Toney is a born fighter …I’d hate to be in an alley with a born fighter.”
With his obvious strength being his stand-up, some question what will become of a fight when Toney is asked to do something out his element. Ibarra feels that Toney will be able to hold his own when he says, “James knows some martial arts because his manager [John Arthur] was a master in martial arts.”
Now comes the time where rumor mills spin and speculation over Toney’s first opponent consumes the collective minds of everyone close to the sport.
No announcements have been made, as of yet, but names like Couture and Kimbo have been tossed around as possibilities. Juanito opened up about who he thinks would be a good match-up for his boxing turned MMA fighter.
“James Toney will fight anybody. It’s up to us to help him figure things out. What I would like to see and what his manager would like to see…Kimbo Slice.
"It makes sense. The weight factor makes sense. Maybe a 220 [lbs.] fight somewhere in there. Two guys who have great names. I would love to see that fight …I think that’s a great opponent …hopefully the UFC would consider something like that.”
The slice is right!
Ibarra made it clear who he thinks his fighter wants to test his MMA waters with.
“He’s said it all over the Internet. He calls him Simba. He says he wanted Simba Slice.”
Apparently, Toney looks at Kimbo as nothing but a cuddly Disney character.
Another topic circulating about Toney and the UFC is at what weight class the world champion boxer would fight at. Heavyweights can be close to 265 lbs. so that may seem a bit too big, even for the solid hands of Toney.
A fighting weight of 205 lbs. seems like the suitable destination for Ibarra’s fighter and he agrees.
“I like it. I think that’s in the plan.”
After a fight with Kimbo, the boxing coach looks ahead and sees what could be a great set up for his fighter’s next bout.
“I’d like to get him down to 205 and fight the winner of a Chuck and Tito. Fights with Kimbo Slice and he goes on to fight the winner of a Chuck and Tito fight …I think it would sell and I think it would be a hell of a fight.”
There has been no word on when and where Toney will have his first fight in the UFC, however, Juanito Ibarra is working hard with his fighter and optimistically sees big things happening in 2010.
“Hopefully they’ll see us fight somewhere, maybe in June. Believe me, as his teacher I’m not going to let him step into the octagon without him being ready …I think we’re gonna shock the world, dude. I believe that.”
Randy Couture Wants James Toney First
While we still don't know who James Toney will face in his Octagon debut, UFC legend Randy Couture has let it be known that he wants to be the one to introduce the former boxing champion to the world of mixed martial arts.
"The Natural" took to Twitter just a couple of hours after the news of Toney's signing was made official by the organization, and wrote: "I hope I'm the first guy they call to fight tony! [sic] :)"
Apparently Couture really wants a shot at Toney, because moments later he tweeted about him again: "I hope they set me up with tony! [sic]."
Message received, Randy. Here's hoping the UFC was reading your Twitter feed last night too.
A fight between Toney and Couture, who has no scheduled fights on the horizon, makes a lot more sense than, say, Toney vs. Kimbo Slice, as some have suggested. Couture is a UFC legend, and in many ways represents what MMA is all about. If we really want to find out how Toney will hang in the Octagon, put him up against one the best MMA fighters of all-time, not someone who will try to outbox him. And forget the fact that Toney has an 0-0 MMA record, while Couture is 18-10. If "Lights Out" wants the best, he should fight the best.
Kamal Shalorus not cleared for WEC 48 fight, Jamie Varner likely off pay-per-view event
A proposed WEC 48 lightweight matchup between former champion Jamie Varner (16-3 MMA, 4-1 WEC) and intriguing prospect Kamal Shalorus (6-0-1 MMA, 2-0 WEC) has been nixed.
Varner first posted news of the dissolution of the potential matchup on his Twitter account Wednesday night, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed that Shalorus was forced to withdraw from the event after failing to receive medical clearance for a few lingering, yet not serious, injuries from his hard-fought January win over Dave Jansen.
Bout agreements were never distributed for the contest, and it now appears likely that Varner will re-booked on another card at a later date.
"WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber" takes place on April 24 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif., and features two title fights: featherweight champion Jose Aldo vs. ex-champ Urijah Faber and newly crowned lightweight title-holder Benson Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone.
Shalorus, an Iranian who wrestled for England in the 2004 Summer Olympics, made his WEC debut in late 2009 and replaced Alex Karalexis on short notice at WEC 42. There, he scored a quick, 86-second knockout of Will Kerr. He then followed up the successful debut with a unanimous-decision victory over then-unbeaten Jansen (14-0 at the time) at WEC 46.
A powerful wrestler with potent striking, Shalorus is considered among the WEC's top prospects. An exact timetable for his return has not yet been established.
Varner, who held the WEC's 155-pound title from February 2008 to January 2010, lost the belt to then-interim champ Benson Henderson at WEC 46. The loss snapped Varner's five-fight win streak, which began after a submission loss to Hermes Franca at UFC 62.
Varner returned from a year-long layoff due to hand and foot injuries when he fought Henderson.
Marcus Davis Needs To Chill Out
That's the response from Davis's (and maybe every UFC Welterweight's) latest trash talk target, Dan Hardy. "Yeah I saw [the AIDS tweet]. I laughed. I think he needs to chill out a bit. I think more than anything it is Davis getting to Davis now. I think he needs to see it for what it was and just chill out a bit. It was all meant in good humor, I didn’t say anything malicious or do anything malicious. It was all funny stuff, like the photoshops and the plastic paddy thing. It was just like a back and forward you’d get between mates in our gym any day of the week."