Pros Pick: Jackson vs. Jardine
The UFC returns to Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday with an intriguing bout between former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and dangerous contender Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine.
Sherdog.com contacted dozens of professional fighters and trainers for their opinions on the UFC 96 main event. Some were reluctant to give a prediction, but plenty were willing to lay their reputations on the line and try to forecast what will transpire in the Octagon.
'Everyday Leading Upto The Fight Is A Bad Day For Frank Mir' - Mike Goldberg
In a in-depth interview with Mike Goldberg, he discusses Frank Mir chances in his upcoming fight with Brock Lesnar as well as who he thinks is the next big thing in the UFC, among other topics.
Also interviewed in this two part podcast are:
Marshall Zelasnik (UFC UK President) Who discusses the UFC in Germany..
Dan 'The Outlaw' Hardy
& Chael Sonnen.
Frank Shamrock: Ken Shamrock cut himself to escape fight with Kimbo Slice
I think Ken cut himself. It goes back to his giant ego and not being smart enough to understand the rest of the business. I think he got upset because Kimbo was making twice as much as he was and I don’t think his ego could take it. I know for a fact that he tried to hold the network up for more money the day before the show and unfortunately his parting words were, “Well, then you never know what will happen because anything can happen.” Then when he showed up with the cut we all thought he juiced himself. You know, he’s not to be trusted … a real fighter would have superglued it and put makeup on it and been and would have been out there fighting. Which (is something) I have done and many fighters have done many times … I have no idea what he’s doing. I just hope when he’s finished destroying himself that he has something left to live by.
-Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock comments to Sam Caplan on brother Ken’s last-minute withdrawal from his EliteXC main event fight against Kimbo Slice last October due to (a possible self-inflicted) cut sustained hours for the bout. Frank — who had not been training for a fight and competes at 185 pounds — volunteered to fight the much larger Slice on two hours notice. Unfortunately CBS executives reportedly nixed the idea and opted to go with Seth Petruzelli instead. The rest, as “they” say is history. Despite moments of civility, the adopted and quasi-estranged brothers are back on bad terms following the illness of their father Bob. Family Feud, MMA style. For the rest of the interview click here.
KING MO - King of Pancrase versus King Mo
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal - Sengoku VII
PunchDrunkGamer's Justin Bolduc sat down with rising prospect Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal to talk about his upcoming fight against King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura at Sengoku Seventh Battle, as well as his background, his training partners, and his career.
UFC Quick Quote: Dan Hardy locks eyes with Georges St. Pierre, thunder cracks
“There are so many good guys in my division but I managed to lock eyes with Georges St Pierre outside the cage and we had a moment where I was like — ‘I’m coming for you, I’m coming for you.’ But I know I’ve still got improvements to make. There are some guys I need to pick off on my way up to him. But whoever the UFC send me next, I’ll be ready.”
– Dan Hardy talks to The Sun about the moments after his sensational knockout win over Rory Markham at UFC 95: “Sanchez vs. Stevenson” at The O2 Arena in London, England, this past weekend. “The Outlaw” scored his second win inside the Octagon in impressive fashion and now has his long-term sights set on capturing the division title. He’ll need to put together a few more wins for that to happen, which he seems to understand. In fact, he expressed an interest in facing someone like Marcus Davis in his next fight. That sounds more like it … at least for now.
With St. Pierre vs. Alves likely, Mike Swick still unsure of next move
While UFC welterweight Mike Swick (13-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) had made it very clear in recent months that he was hoping for a bout with Thiago Alves in the near future, recent events have forced a change of plans.
With "Pitbull" in line for a 170-pound title shot with Georges St. Pierre, Swick is now unsure of what comes next.
As Swick today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), he's still hoping for a bout that will clear his path to title contention.
"I'll fight whoever, but I would really like to have a bout that's going to put me in the top ranking if I have a good performance and I win," Swick said. "I'm 8-1 in the UFC, and I feel like I definitely deserve a big fight.
"I want to get out there. I'm training hard. I want to prove that I belong in the contendership at 170 pounds."
Swick has now won three-straight bouts since dropping to the 170-pound class after a 5-1 run in the UFC's middleweight division. Swick last fought in December 2008 in a 33-second TKO win over Jonathan Goulet. The American Kickboxing Academy fighter now hopes to be back in action in May or June.
"I'm healing up a foot injury that I've had," Swick said. "It should be pretty good to go pretty soon. I figure May or June should be about when I come back."
Unlike his ailing elbow which required surgery in July 2008, Swick said his foot is healing fine with a bit of rest.
"It was just a broken bone in my foot that's just been kind of lingering on," Swick said. "I've been training through it and not letting it heal, and it keeps getting agitated. I'm still training right now, but I'm just trying to heal up as fast as I can so I can get back to fighting."
David Loiseau 'The Crow Returns to the UFC' Interview
David Loiseau 'The Crow Returns to the UFC'
PunchDrunkGamer's Justin Bolduc sat down with David “The Crow” Loiseau to talk about his UFC return against Ed Herman at UFC 97 in April.
PDG: First, it is great to have you back in the UFC. How do you feel about your upcoming return?
David: I feel great, man. It feels good to be back home. [The UFC] is my home. It was a long time since I've been back – since 2006, and I'm just very happy to be back, man.
“Big” John McCarthy Hints at History of Greasing Problems
The Los Angeles Times takes a look at various cheating methods in combat sports today, from the illegal substance in Antonio Margarito’s glove to the Vaseline on Georges St. Pierre’s body. The message here is that cheating, or “gamesmanship,” as Bert Sugar charitably tags it, is nothing new.
But of interest to MMA fans are remarks from former UFC referee “Big” John McCarthy, which suggest that greasing problems have persisted for some time now, and that it’s no big secret, either:
"Guys will push the envelope in every way possible," former UFC referee "Big" John McCarthy said of mixed martial arts fighters. "Vaseline has always been an issue in MMA. It's a real problem."
McCarthy has seen MMA fighters come into the octagon after taking a bath filled with soapy water or even baby oil. "You can't notice it when they're dry, but when they get on the ground and start to sweat, it starts to come out of their pores," McCarthy said.
McCarthy also blamed the persistence of this problem on athletic commission regulators, who are accustomed to working boxing matches and don’t realize the advantage a little extra grease on the body can provide in an MMA fight.
The issue raised by the greasebath version of events – and this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that accusation – is tricky to deal with.
Troy Mandaloniz: I might take Paul Kelly's arm home with me at UFC 95
"It seems like [Kelly] is taking me really lightly," Mandaloniz said. "He's saying that he's stronger than me and that I'm no genius on the ground -- and that I gained all this weight and I'm sitting on the beach in Hawaii. He wants to talk all this [expletive] about my ground game, but at least my only submission loss is to a great jiu-jitsu practitioner. How did he lose his last fight again?"
Kelly dropped an October 2008 bout to Marcus Davis via submission, the lone loss of his career.
Mandaloniz said he was actually appreciative of his English opponent for providing him the extra bit of motivation he needed to finish training camp on a strong note before traveling to London.
"He got me real fired up in my last week of training," Mandaloniz said. "It's made me even more hungry to go over there.
"I'm taking this one with a smile. I'm a [expletive] maniac, man. I'm the guy that you punch in the face and I smile. You don't understand why the hell you just hit me with your best shot and I'm still coming forward."
As Mandaloniz considers the UFC's reasoning for arranging the bout with Kelly, the tension is evident in his words.
"I think [the UFC] put us two together and matched us up because they want to see us go in there and punch each other in the face," Mandaloniz said. "I'm a little frustrated. I'm really thinking about putting him on his back and finishing him. But we'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to this fight. It's a war. I'm hoping for that quick finish, but I'm ready to go to the end."
And as Mandaloniz looks to return to action in dramatic fashion, the Hawaiian native has a message for his opponent.
"It's going to be a great one," Mandaloniz said. "I'm hoping that we stand in front of each other and just bang it out and get that fight of the night. But it looks like he thinks I'm so easy on the ground he's going to take me down.
"He better be careful, I might take his arm home with me."
Thales Leites ready for wherever Anderson Silva takes him at UFC 97
“I can fight him standing. I will not be afraid to fight him in the standup game. I will never be afraid. I’ve been training my Muay Thai and boxing for five years and I think that I’m ready for any situation. I will be ready for anything. I know he wants to fight me standing to try and knock me out. But anything can happen. Cote was doing a good job with him closing the distance and keeping him down every time and moving forward in front of him. I’m thinking I have to do the same thing…. The most important thing is I trust in me and believe in me. He has two arms and two legs like me and like everyone else. If I believe in me and trust me and do my job I can do it. That’s it.”
– Top middleweight contender Thales Leites talks to Sherdog.com about how his skills match up against division champion Anderson Silva. The two Brazilians are scheduled to collide at UFC 97: “Redemption” at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 18. Leites — a talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt — feels that he can stand with the deadly striker if necessary, but feels his ground game is the one area where he is better than “The Spider.” Perhaps he can snag one of those four limbs and ride off into the sunset as the new (and unlikely) 185-pound champion? Easier said than done, but stranger things have happened inside the Octagon … like if he were able to somehow finish Silva via strikes.
Wilson Gouveia: "I Don't Need Ten Punches to Put Someone Away. I Just Need One."
CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me, Wilson. How is your preparation coming for the fight with Nate Marquardt?
The training has been very intense. I’m taking this fight very seriously. I think it’s going to be the most important fight of my career so far. Right now I feel very good. I’m in great condition, no injuries, just ready to go.
Are you doing anything specifically to prepare for him?
Not really, to tell the truth. In all my fights I try to be prepared for everything. With Nate it’s no different. He’s a pretty well-rounded fighter. He’s good at everything. I have to try and be prepared for the worst-case scenario. He’s a good wrestler. He’s got better takedowns than me. I’ve been training a lot of jiu-jitsu off my back, a lot of stand-up.
I think he’s good in everything, but I don’t think he’s great in anything. I think his jiu-jitsu is good, but it’s not amazing. His wrestling, I think, is his greatest strength. But even with that, I don’t think he’s the best wrestler in the UFC. His striking is good, but if you watch his last fight with [Martin] Kampmann, he spent like ten or more punches to put him away. I really don’t need ten punches to put someone away. I just need one.
You were on a good roll in the UFC until your loss to Goran Reljic. What do you think went wrong for you in that fight?
What happened in that fight, that not many people know because it happened behind the scenes, was an argument between my coaches and his agent. I made a huge mistake after that and treated that fight like a personal problem. And I have no problem whatsoever with any fighter. But I tried to punish the guy and put him away. When I was on the top throwing punches I gave everything that I had. So when we both stood up again I was tired. I tried to rest for a second and that’s when he threw a hook or something that caught me. When you use those small gloves, anything can hurt you.
The only thing standing between Wilson Gouveia and Anderson Silva is Nate Marquardt
“I have a lot of respect for Nate Marquardt. He is a great fighter who always trains really hard and always leaves his all inside the Octagon. After the champion, Anderson Silva, he’s the best fighter in the division. In my eyes he’s the number one contender, so a win over him would be huge. I’ve been training harder than ever for this fight. I’m focused on Marquardt and not looking past him at all. He’s a very tough fighter, but once I beat him I don’t see anybody between me and Anderson Silva. He’s next as far as I’m concerned.”
Nate Marquardt on Anderson Silva loss: "Best thing that happened for me"
The specter of Anderson Silva is, in some ways, haunting Nate Marquardt.
"People are asking more about the fight coming up," Marquardt told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) during a day of interviews leading into his main-card middleweight fight at Saturday's UFC 95 event. "But I haven't talked to anyone who hasn't asked about a title shot."
That's the line Marquardt is walking. On one side, the eight-fight UFC veteran is continuing his 10-year career that made him a Japanese champion before leading him to a successful run in the U.S. On the other side is Silva, the daunting UFC champion who gave Marquardt his most notable, most motivating and most educational UFC bout in July 2007.
The focus on the present is sometimes skewed by a strong desire for another shot at the middleweight crown.
This week, though, Marquardt won't think much about "The Spider." His attention is on Wilson Gouveia (12-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC), whom he will meet at The O2 in London, England. Gouveia, after all, is a Brazilian who is difficult to study because he is dropping to 185 pounds for the first time.
Fabricio Werdum: UFC heavyweight division is ‘weak’ besides Nogueira
“I would fight with anyone, but if I could choose, I would like to make a rematch with Arlovski. That fight wasn’t cool, it was a debut against an ex-champion. Some people said that I won, others that he won or tied, but I want a rematch with him and then fight with Fedor, which is the will of everyone, he is the best in the world. This thing of saying that (Brock) Lesnar is the best in the world doesn’t exist, I’m against that. The guy has four fights and is already the world champion? Everybody knows that Fedor is the best. In heavy, I think the best are in Affliction. Apart from Minotauro, the rest in the UFC are weak. The UFC has what he wanted, two Americans to fight the “final”. The marketing is the most important thing, they are good at it. Frank Mir also, this final among them doesn’t exist.”
Former Pride FC and UFC veteran Fabricio Werdum shares his thoughts on the talent level in the current UFC heavyweight division, calling it “weak” with the exception of Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira. Werdum competed three times inside the Octagon before getting cut, losing to Andrei Arlovski, defeating Gabriel Gonzaga (again) and getting floored by Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos. The Brazilian is particularly not impressed with the two champions atop the division, Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, which is “what the UFC wanted” for marketing purposes.
TKO Leaves Hyped Velasquez Unsatisfied
TAMPA, Fla. -- Cain Velasquez hears the hype.
Viewed by some as a man who can contend for the heavyweight championship sooner rather than later, the 26-year-old American Kickboxing Academy prospect knows the UFC expects much from him. He believes his latest effort -- a second-round stoppage of pudgy newcomer Denis Stojnic in the UFC Fight Night 17 co-main event on Saturday at the Sun Dome -- left plenty of room for improvement.
“My timing was off,” Velasquez told UFC.com after he was pushed into the second round for the first time in his career. “The last two weeks of my training camp, I wasn’t able to spar. I think that had a lot to do with it. Other than that, I felt great.”
Still, he cannot argue with the results. Velasquez (5-0) battered Stojnic throughout the fight with knees, kicks and punches from the clinch. He did well in space, too, as he nearly finished the Golden Glory product with clean strikes from the outside in the first. A two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, Velasquez mauled Stojnic on the ground and forced the referee to intervene 2:34 into the second round. Even so, he was not satisfied.
“I just wasn’t relaxed out there,” Velasquez said. “I think I need more ring time. I kind of tightened up. I was just throwing two punches [at a time]. I want to be able to throw more … head movement, sit in the pocket and keep that progress going. I was throwing and backing off. That’s not what I want to do. I want to be more active.”
Anderson Silva may not retire after all
When he came out and we started representing him, I asked him what his long term goal was. He always said he imagined himself retiring at 35. That’s his goal. And my goal as his manager is to set him up financially so that he has a choice. Do I think he’s going to retire at 35? No, I don’t.”
The Weekly Wrap: Jan. 31 - Feb. 6
The Weekly Wrap walks readers through the last seven days in MMA, recapping and putting into context the week's top story, important news and notable quotes. by Jack Encarnacao (email@example.com)
Exclusive Interview: Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez is a former All-American wrestler and undefeated MMA fighter who has yet to see what the second round looks like in his pro career. This Saturday at UFC Fight Night 17 he faces Octagon newbie Denis Stojnic, and all indications are that Velasquez’s undefeated streak will still be intact on Sunday morning.
In this exclusive interview, Velasquez talks with us about the choice of opponents, his transition from wrestling to MMA, and his thoughts on AKA’s recent dust-up with the UFC over the video game licensing deal.
CagePotato.com: You’re facing a guy who’s making his UFC debut in Denis Stojnic. What do you know about him and how have you been preparing for him?
The only thing I know about him is from watching YouTube videos of him. He’s an aggressive fighter, he throws some wild punches, and he’s an extremely tough dude. I’m working on turning the corner, not really standing there and banging with him, but looking for shots from there for the takedown.
You’re 4-0 and beat a fairly established UFC fighter in Jake O’Brien your last time out. Why do you think the UFC decided to put you up against a guy stepping into the Octagon for the first time?
I’m not really sure, but they did. I’m glad they did because that’s just more ring time for me. When I get up to the big guys, the big names, I’ll be more ready.
No Apologies From Georges St. Pierre
Less than two days removed from his successful welterweight title defense, Georges St. Pierre is already in the throes of another battle. Only, this one revolves around Vaseline.
B.J. Penn's corner alleges St. Pierre's trainers greased his back in between rounds, and SI.com learned earlier today that Penn's camp plans to file a formal complaint with Nevada State Athletic Commission.
St. Pierre sat down with SI.com to tell his side of the controversy, discuss his scientific gameplan and his thoughts on B.J. Penn.