For Cain Velasquez, UFC Title Is the Goal, but Not Right Away
Cain Velasquez is an undefeated heavyweight who's preparing for the toughest test of his career when he faces Cheick Kongo on Saturday at UFC 99, and he says his goal is to win the UFC heavyweight title. But the 26-year-old Velasquez, who only got into MMA four years ago after his wrestling career at Arizona State ended, says he can be patient.
In an interview with FanHouse, Velasquez said that even if he beats Kongo on Saturday, he doesn't expect to get the next shot at the UFC title. He's just looking to add one more win to his fast growing resume. The full interview is below.
Randleman on Training & fans & Whitehead!
Kevin “The Monster” Randleman – Back in the USA
PDG: What advantages do you see for yourself going into the fight?
Kevin Randleman: I am faster, quicker and I believe that I am stronger than he is. I think I'm a better wrestler and I will be able to use my agility to my advantage. The bottom line is that I am not going into this fight taking him any lighter than any other opponent that I have ever faced. I thought I could beat Fedor Emelianenko, I thought I could beat Mirko Cro Cop, I think I am better than every fighter when I step in the cage and if I didn't think than way why the **** would I be fighting? I have watched a few of Whitehead’s fights and I know that he has been training with Wanderlei Silva but I don't think that his style is going to be that much different than in his previous fights. I think he is going to have a disadvantage though with his weight cut for the fight. He walks around at about 250 pounds and he is going to have to cut down to 205 pounds for this fight.
Diaz Talks Title, Smith & Japan
“El Diablo” Nick Diaz talks Strikeforce & Scott Smith
PDG: It is a pretty stacked card coming up on June 6th; are there any other fights on the card that you are looking forward to seeing?
Nick Diaz: I think that the fights are going to be very entertaining for the fans and I am sure that a lot of people are looking forward to seeing the Jake Shields and Robbie Lawler fight. But I don't really look forward to seeing any of my friends fighting whether it is my brother or Jake Shields. I am sure that they are going to have great fights but it is not something that I really look forward to watching. I don't look forward to it any more than if I was watching a death match.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza: Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller is a ‘two-faced clown’
“He offended me. I wanted to fight, he wanted to offend. He said that I hit my head on his and opened his face, but what opened his face was the first punch I gave. He has this habit, at the time of the interview he grows, but at the time of the fight he cried, apologized to his coach, then came toward my corner saying I was an idiot, and also apologized. He is proving that he isn’t a person of only one face, he is two-faced. Otherwise everything is alright, I’m not very worried about him. Dude, I already beat him once, was winning this one. For me, if I have to fight, I fight, if I don’t, whatever. The problem is his, he’s already lost once and at the second made this s**t. I don’t know what they’ll do. Honestly, I don’t know, they (FEG) didn’t say anything. I trained three months for this clown to come and do what he did, now I won’t fight in July, not for a while. I’ll take a rest and wait.”
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza provides an update following his middleweight title bout against bitter rival Jason “Mayhem” Miller at DREAM 9 last week. The second outing between the pair was halted early in the first round because of an errant blow from Miller to a downed Souza. The strike carved a deep laceration to Souza’s head, which forced ringside officials to call off the match prematurely because of its severity. The fight was ruled a no contest. Another rematch between the two to determine a more decisive ending seems to be the next logical step; however, it doesn’t appear the “Jacare” is thrilled with the idea at this moment after Mayhem’s latest in-ring shenanigans.
UFC Quick Quote: Bad coaching, not sheer awesomeness, the reason Rashad Evans lost to Lyoto Machida
“I went back and watched the Rashad fight again, and I think it comes down to bad coaching. In the prefight press conference, I heard Rashad say that he didn’t bring anybody in who would resemble Machida’s style. When I heard that, I knew that there might be some problems. That is probably a big reason why Rashad didn’t do very well in the striking area. I also think Rashad should have been coached on using his wrestling talent. He didn’t shoot one takedown that I can remember and he just made it a sparring match. If I was to coach Rashad against Machida, I would have told him to make it a fight, use his wrestling and groundwork to really dictate the match. Not just go out and spar with him. I think Rashad could have done a lot better in that fight. I’m not saying he should have won, but he’s a lot better than he showed on Saturday.”
– Matt Hughes shares his thoughts via his personal blog about the main event fight between Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 on May 23. “The Dragon” looked phenomenal, taking out “Sugar” in the second round with a lethal explosion of strikes that separated the champion from consciousness for the first time ever in his previously unbeaten career. Hughes chalks the loss up to bad coaching and a poor strategy going into the fight. And he’s not the only one — Shawn Tompkins, the head trainer at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, told CageWriter.com that Machida is “far from unbeatable” and Rashad “gave Lyoto everything he needed to make himself look invincible” by failing to close the distance and use his strong wrestling skills. So is Machida really as good as he looked last weekend or does Evans’ head trainer, Greg Jackson, deserve some of the credit?
Brett Rogers Talks Arlovski
PDG: Are there any fights on the card that you are looking forward to seeing?
Brett Rogers: Definitely the Kevin Randleman fight and Scott Smith versus Nick Diaz fight. I like both Smith and Diaz but I am very interested to see how Smith is going to handle Diaz’s striking. Diaz always changes things up and both of them love to stand and bang but Scott usually is the counter-puncher so it is going to be interesting to see how both fighters approach the fight. Then you have Randleman who goes full bore all the time and doesn't care where the fight ends up; he may just end up pumping me up for my fight. I can't wait to see his fight.
Fedor Emelianenko vs Josh Barnett can be one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history
“I consider Josh as one of the truly best in MMA, I think he is really in his prime right now. Just like when I fought Cro Cop, he was in his prime as well. At that time it was one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history (and) my fight with Josh can be that as well…. Every opponent is a danger for me and Barnett has a great ground game. He is capable of adjusting his gameplan any minute in the fight.”
The last man to hold the Pride FC heavyweight title and current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (29-1) hypes his long-awaited fight against “The Babyface Assassin” at Affliction’s third venture, which is set to go down from the Honda Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 1, 2009. There has been a lot of talk over the years that both Emelianenko and Barnett were avoiding meeting in the center of the ring because of the friendship they forged during their years under the Pride FC banner. It appears, however, that the showdown was inevitable — they are the last two men standing under the Affliction banner atop their respective division.
UFC Quick Quote: Tito Ortiz is ’still a force to be reckon with’ based on UFC 98 main event
“Well, to start it off, I think Machida will win by what Joe Rogan calls, ‘elusiveness!’ or in my words ‘hit and run.’ This will be a great test for Evans to find the range to get the takedown. Machida is the favorite in my experience with both fighters. Never mind there’s only one of the fighters that are undefeated truthfully. That mark one on Rashad’s record isn’t a draw. It’s nice to see that one guy I almost submitted will be the champ and the other that I beat is the champ. I’m still a force to be reckon with.”
– Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz tells PunchDrunkGamer.com that he’s still got game because he’s given the UFC 98: “Evans vs. Machida” main event participants all they could handle. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” battled current 205-pound champ, “Sugar” Rashad” to a draw at UFC 73: “Stacked” back in July 2007, but more than likely would have won the bout if he didn’t get docked a point for grabbing the fence in the second round. He then had Machida in big trouble courtesy of a triangle/armbar submission attempt late in the third round of their bout at UFC 84: “Ill Will” in May 2008. He eventually dropped the contest to “The Dragon” via clear-cut unanimous decision. So what say you … is Tito Ortiz still a major player at 205 pounds or can he still compete (and beat) the best in the world?
UFC 98 Preview w/Monster, Ortiz, Miletich, Thomson & More!
Nate Quarry – “Serra/Hughes is the fight I'm personally tuning in to see. Ever been to a UFC and seen a fight break out in the stands? Everyone turns to watch it. Why would they want to see two drunken brawlers instead of two well conditioned athletes? Because of the passion the drunken idiots have. We're addicted to seeing this personal part of people's lives. It's what makes us tune in to reality shows. We want to see those raw emotions on display. It's one of the few taboos left in the world. Well, guess what? That's what we get to see with Hughes and Serra. Two guys who don't like each other. One farm boy and one New Yorker. Hughes plan is going to be the same as always. Take him down and ground and pound. But Serra is going to be very tough to do that to. He's got very fast hips and is built well for reversals and submissions. And Serra has proven he has knock out power in his hands. I don't generally give predictions because I usually get them wrong but... I've got to go with Serra on this one.”
Dana White's UFC 98 Video Blog - Episodes 1 and 2
Check out Dana White's video blogs as he meets up with fans during the midnight release of UFC 2009: Undisputed, and gets left an interesting message on the sidewalk.
In the second video, Dana makes an appearance on the Opie and Anthony show, hangs out with Jimmy Fallon, and more.
Dana White to CNBC: UFC First Quarter up 20%
UFC President spoke with CNBC’s Darren Rovell and touted the UFC”s First Quarter results for 2009:
White gave us a never before released number to prove it, saying that business was up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008.
Much of the increase in quarter over quarter results can be traced back to the PPV success of UFC 94: Penn vs GSP 2, which generated nearly a million buys on PPV. This was a net increase of around 300k buys over the highest selling PPV in the First Quarter of 08 (Lesnar vs Mir). The UFC also benefited from higher than normal numbers for their Franklin Henderson card from their UK Division. Other items, like their deal with Topps also came to fruition during this time period, opening up additional revenue streams. The UFC can also look forward to a higher than normal result for the second or third quarter of 2009, depending on when revenue from the UFC Undisputed 2009 video game is booked.
White also hinted at his strategy when enticing sponsors on the corporate level for the UFC:
“Look our ratings in the 18-34’s,” White said. “We outrated Monday Night Football in that demo four times last year.” White also said he thinks that even in this environment the UFC….. can land another big sponsor. “Especially now we can do it,” White said. “The price of an NFL sponsorship is so high and we hit the same market at a lower price.”
The UFC can sell itself as a value play, giving more bang for the buck. The UFC make a very attractive option, especially now when the ad/sponsorship market is in something of a free fall. The value play doesn’t come without some risk for the sponsors, as evidenced by the videoblog brouhaha that erupted recently.
Chuck Liddell: War on retirement ‘blown way out of proportion’
“It’s like if you’re a kid and your parents don’t get along. They both called me up and talked to me, and they both love me and have my best interests at heart. I love both guys, and I’m not going to take sides. They’ve never liked each other. But they’ve always kept it quiet out of respect for me. Now that it’s going back and forth, it’s been blown way out of proportion.”
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is uncomfortable with the public feud that he erupted between his longtime trainer, John Hackleman, and his boss and good friend, UFC President Dana White, over his retirement. White feels the “Iceman” — who has suffered three knockouts in his past five fights — “is past his prime, doesn’t need the money, and there is no purpose in risking permanent injuries.” Hackleman feels Liddell should be able to make up his own mind. Perhaps the only thing that will end this saga is a decision from Liddell, which is apparently still in the works.
Following back surgery, Goran Reljic takes up light training for UFC return
Goran Reljic's UFC debut couldn't have gone much better.
Pushing his professional career record to 8-0, the 25-year-old Croatian defeated Wilson Gouveia via second-round TKO and earned a $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts.
Reljic (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) hasn't fought since that UFC 84 main-card bout a year ago, but his manager told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the middleweight recently recommenced light training and hopes to return to the UFC later this year.
Reljic had been slated to make his second UFC appearance in October at UFC 90. However, a back injury forced him out of his scheduled bout with Thales Leites just two weeks before the Chicago event.
"Since then we had been trying different (forms of) rehabilitation to solve his back problems," Relic's manager, Zoran Saric, said. "Three months ago, doctors in Croatia decided to do lower back/disc surgery. Everything went well, and Goran started light training for a month."