Long Road Back: MMAmania.com interview exclusive with Stephan Bonnar
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): How’s the knee?
Stephan Bonnar: Great. It feels good.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): You trained for a long time in Chicago under Carlson Gracie until his passing in 2006. You’ve also worked with Mark DellaGrotte and Sityodtong, and now you’re with Xtreme Couture. Now that you’ve relocated to Vegas and have access to a lot of different trainers and sparring partners, how would you compare this experience to your days back in Chicago?
Stephan Bonnar: You know, it’s just a lot easier. I still go to a couple different gyms, but it seems like everything’s at my fingertips. Every gym is like within two miles of the other one. I got great sparring partners at Couture, I got a great jiu-jitsu teacher up at Sergio Penha’s, which is a few miles from there.
In Chicago, I’d get some good sparring, at some boxing gyms or with Arlovski, but it was a lot more difficult. I was traveling a lot more, going all over. But (in Vegas) you got a lot more places, a lot of different guys. It feels like everything out here is really close and convenient, not too far out of the way.
In Chicago, I was going up to Miguel Torres’ school a couple of times a week for MMA work. I tried to make it to Duke Roufus’ like twice a week for Muay Thai — that was in Milwaukee, that was killing me. And then also with the boxing too, I had Arlovski, I had some guys that jabbed, but even then, it’d be something I’d have to set up. I’d have to make calls and ask, are you going to go to the gym today? You gonna do sparring?
Down here, I just go to Couture’s and show up there, and there’s a bunch of guys to work with.
UFC 94 Preview w/PRO PICKS!
UFC 94 ‘GSP vs. PENN II’ Preview and LIVE Coverage! w/PRO Fighter Picks!
Hermes Franca – “Both guys are A+ level fighters and it is really hard to pick a winner for this fight. In my opinion the fans are going to be the biggest winners when this fight is over. In their first fight two years ago BJ came into the fight very strong and was able to push him around at the beginning but Georges St. Pierre won the second round and the third round was very close which lead to the split decision. I am going to stick with my pick that the fans are going to be the biggest winners.”
Rob Kaman –“This is a very tough fight to call. I think that BJ is the more animalistic fighter and that Georges St. Pierre is the more athletic fighter. Georges is always ready to go the distance and BJ’s conditioning has come into question throughout his career. This fight could end up being a fast win for BJ or decision win for GSP. They are both great fighters and like I said earlier, BJ is more animalistic in the sense that he enjoys punishing his opponents. Where as Georges St. Pierre is the more technical fighter, a pure athlete with the ability to knock out his opponents. I also think that GSP is going to have an advantage with his reach and it will be interesting to see how BJ counters that. If the fight ends in the first 3 rounds then I think it will be BJ. If the fight makes it into the championship rounds then I would have to take Georges St. Pierre.”
Varner Fears Career-Ending Injury
WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner’s split decision victory over Donald Cerrone at WEC 38 last Sunday in San Diego, Calif., could become a costly title defense.
“I broke my right index metacarpal, completely fractured,” Varner said on Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Wednesday. “So I have to get pins put in it [Thursday]. Then I go next week to see my eye doctor to make sure my retina isn’t detached. And if it’s detached it could be a career-ending injury.”
Varner, who said he is still having trouble with his peripheral vision four days following the injury, has been indefinitely suspended until he can provide medical documentation that says the eye has recovered.
But it was the fight’s stoppage and the reaction it got that might have affected Varner the most.
“What hurt me the most was the crowd. They had no idea about the pain or suffering I was going through,” said Varner. “They had no idea I broke my hand in the first or second round. I don’t know exactly where. I remember one time in the fourth round that I just couldn’t hit him with it. I told my corner that I couldn’t use it anymore.
For Varner, the injuries kept on coming.
“He checked one of my kicks early in the fight and that’s where I fractured my foot,” said the Arizona Combat Sports fighter. “Then I kicked him in the head with it in the fourth and that was it. My foot was completely done. So I walked out for the fifth round with one hand and some takedowns. I had to grind out a decision… I knew the fifth round was going to be boring. I couldn’t offer anything really damaging.”
Varner (16-2) couldn’t see anything out of his right eye immediately following the illegal knee from Cerrone (9-1) that came in the final round and led the referee Josh Rosenthal to halt the bout. When a fighter can’t continue from an unintentional illegal blow, the bout goes to the scorecards. Varner was awarded the split decision...
Arlovski and where he goes next
Arlovski held a video chat tonight for his fans. Some interesting stuff. Check it out. Talked about his fight with Fedor, his next fight, his boxing career, his "glass jaw", a possible return to the UFC, among other things.
Thiago Silva: I'll be the last one standing at UFC 94
Lyoto Machida (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) is elusive, that Thiago Silva (13-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) knows.
But while many MMA observers continue to debate whether Machida's defensive style is an impressive display of technical prowess or a prime example of avoiding a fight, Silva has his mind made up.
"I know a lot of fans don't like Machida's style because he's always running and winning the fights by decision," Silva recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I don't like it either."
The two undefeated Brazilian light-heavyweights will meet Saturday in the co-main event of "UFC 94: St. Pierre vs. Penn II" in Las Vegas. Silva believes the contrast between his aggressive, attacking style and Machida's defensive, elusive gameplan will make for a complete test.
"I definitely study my opponents," Silva said. "I'm a complete fighter, and I can adjust to whatever position or situation comes in the fight. I'm the kind of fighter that is always open to learn more. You will see a new Thiago Silva on Saturday night.
"But I think this fight is going to be more psychological than physical. I'm ready for that. I trained a lot, and I won't let this fight go to a decision."
Affliction Day of Reckoning post fight quotes
Here are post fight quotes from the winners of Affliction Day of Reckoning. Fedor talks about capitalizing on Arlovski's mistakes, Barnett talks about his performance, and Dan Lauzon makes mentions of the low blows by Bobby Green. Some interesting quotes in case anyone hasn't seen
UFC Quick Quote: BJ Penn surprised that Georges ‘Hamburglar’ St. Pierre isn’t using steroids
"It’s surprising that he’s in such good shape without the use of steroids or growth hormones, he’s eating cheeseburgers and all that. (GSP trainer) Firas [Zahabi], after the fight, he can go home, walk to his bedroom, take his shoes off, lie down in his bed, take about 20 or 30 minutes and go **** himself."
UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn has some very unkind words for Georges St. Pierre and trainer Firas Zahabi on Sirius Satellite’s Hardcore Sports Radio following the debacle that has become the ‘reality’ behind the Spike TV production “UFC Primetime,” which is a $1.7 million three-part promotional series for his upcoming super fight against ‘Rush’ at UFC 94 on January 31. Just when you thought these two couldn’t generate any more heat prior to next Saturday’s epic battle, Mr. Penn delivers.
Sokoudjou: "I felt like someone stole my body and gave me a girl's"
When Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (5-3) burst onto the world's MMA landscape in 2007 with knockout wins over Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, "The African Assassin" was a picture of power and strength.
But after a disappointing 1-2 stretch in the UFC, Sokoudjou's lack of fitness became a major concern for his future endeavors.
With just hours remaining before Sokoudjou's "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" bout with Renato "Babalu" Sobral (31-7) in Anaheim, Calif., the Team Quest fighter told TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he's ready to put an end to questions of his fitness.
"Usually I wake up 10 pounds over (on the day of the weigh-ins), but I did it different this time," Sokoudjou said. "[This time] I was three pounds over.
"I don't want to do a big cut anymore and get in the sauna and kill myself forever. This time I decided to get on a diet a long time ago and get my weight down to where I don't need a sauna anymore."
The chiseled Sokoudjou's strength and explosiveness have long been considered his greatest assets. But in UFC losses to Luis Cane and Lyoto Machida -- defeats that led to Sokoudjou's release from the organization -- the Cameroon native faded quickly after the opening five minutes.
Sokoudjou readily admitted his faults.
"Last time I had a big cut, and then halfway through the fight I felt like someone stole my body and gave me a girl's body to fight with," Sokoudjou said.
Barnett & Babalu Talk Affliction---
Josh Barnett & Renato 'Babalu' Sobral Leading up to Affliction 'Day of Reckoning'
PDG: So much to lose by taking this fight and not much to win. Why did you as a top 3 Heavyweight in the world take this fight? Barnett: Because it’s a fight; Plain and simple. I can wait around to fight one guy and let my career pass me by or I can get in there and do what I love to do: commit murder.
For the rest:
Andrei Arlovski's opportunity of a lifetime
Saturday will mark the culmination of eight years worth of challenges for Andrei Arlovski. Facing him at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” is the man generally considered to be the scariest, most talented, ruthless fighter to set foot on MMA’s canvas: Fedor Emelianenko.
For three months, this phrase has almost become a mantra: He’s only human.
A necessary reminder, of course, for a man many believe to be unbeatable.
“I thought nobody can beat me, but everybody knows that Tim Sylvia beat me twice,” counters Arlovski. “He’s a human. I guess he was prepared for all the fights very good.”
Arlovski wants the world to know he prepared for the fight of his life like no other. For three months, his web series, “Arlovski 360,” has chronicled the sweat shed for Emelianenko, along with his thoughts on facing the champion. It’s a record for him, too. Whatever happens on Jan. 24, he can look at the tape and know he did his best.
But to beat the unbeatable, the journey really begins and ends in his mind.
“I have to be mentally prepared for this fight I think the most,” he said. “I want to be the first in MMA to beat Fedor.”
Another mantra follows this wish: I will do everything possible to beat him.
Arlovski says the addition of Freddie Roach made his camp more experimental, a welcome change from the usual orbit of boxing/wrestling/jiu-jitsu, that, while necessary, gets old. Roach’s inexperience in the world of MMA shook up the well-defined play between steady coaches Mike Garcia, Dino Costeas, and Sean Bormet.
“I was really surprised, and at the same time excited, because Freddie asked me…'what can you do for example, can you kick here or punch there?' says Arlovski. "And all my trainers are here. Everybody asks each other, ‘what do you think about this?’ Everybody is on the same page, and it’s great. Freddie asks ‘what if you kick him low here or front kick here, can you punch here?’ I think so, let’s try it.”
MMA Quick Quote: Fedor Emelianenko and Kirill Sidelnikov beat each other with branches
“The sauna helps with rejuvenation between practices. We boil the water, then we get the steam. We get massages and beat each other with branches. It helps get rid of all the lactic acid. It helps with restoration so you can start the week full of energy.”
– The last man to hold the Pride FC heavyweight title, Fedor Emelianenko, reveals a bizarre (and perhaps antiquated) recuperative practice that he and his primary training partner, Kirill Sidelnikov, often rely on to stay fresh after training sessions. The sauna is located in a rundown house in Emelianenko’s hometown of Stary Oskol, Russia. The odd-looking procedure was demonstrated through fogged glass during the 60-minute “Baddest Man on the Planet” special, which aired on FOX Sports Net (FSN) this evening. If you missed the show, go watch it. Fedor is unlike any other major mixed martial arts fighter in the world on so many different levels. It’s remarkable, really.
Live Video Chat with Fedor Today!
Fightline.com will be hosting a live video chat with Affliction superstar Fedor Emelianenko today starting at 8:00p EST. This will be followed directly by the premier of the Affliction "Day of Reckoning" countdown show.
Emelianenko will be squaring off against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski for the cards main event.
UFC Quick Quote: Mark Coleman didn’t have enough money to train right for UFC 93 fight
“I didn’t have any money for a training camp before this fight. Those things cost money man and I just couldn’t afford it.”
– Former heavyweight champion Mark Coleman had an “explosive” reaction in the dressing room after his third round technical knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 93: “Franklin vs. Henderson” at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland, on January 17. He was upset, according to The Telegraph, about the referee’s decision to stop the bout with just seconds on the clock, as well his lack of funds to train properly for the match. Perhaps he will not have similar complaints in the future now that UFC President Dana White curiously awarded Coleman and the Brazilian $40,000 each for putting on a “Fight of the Night”-caliber performance … in his eyes. Check out a video of Coleman’s post-fight reaction in the locker room after the jump.
Andrei Arlovski's boxing passion not distracting from "Day of Reckoning" prep
As former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (14-5) nears his Jan. 24 bout with current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (28-1), much attention has been given to the Belarusian's legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach.
And while Roach joined Arlovski on a recent media call in anticipation of Saturday's "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" in Anaheim, Calif., Arlovski was quick to point out that he hasn't abandoned the rest of his normal routines.
"Of course I like boxing right now," Arlovski said. "I spent a lot of time in a boxing gym, but I concentrate on everything -- wrestling, jiu-jitsu and everything else -- so I practice every night. I'm ready for standing or if the fight is going to be on the ground. I'm ready in both ways."
Arlovski had been in discussion to make his professional boxing debut in Sept. 2008. That fight didn't pan out, but speculation has since run rampant that the former UFC champ would reschedule that fight shortly after the bout with Emelianenko. Arlovski was less certain.
"I don't know," Arlovski said. "Right now, I'm focused on the fight against Fedor on Jan. 24, and we'll see what's scheduled after. But it's just what I have to do on Jan. 24. And I'm focused on this fight and I'm ready."
Some had speculated that Arlovski's 2008 departure from the organization that helped make his trademark fanged mouthpiece famous was due to the 29-year-old's desire to pursue a boxing career. Arlovski immediately dispelled that theory.
"I love boxing, [but] I am not just in UFC because of that," Arlovski said. "I am not in UFC for some other reason.
"But like I said, I'm focused right now on my MMA career and my fight against Fedor on Jan. 24. And I told you we'll see what happens after. Maybe one day it will be boxing. I cannot focus only on boxing, [but] I still have a lot to learn in boxing and that is why I train with Freddie."
UFC Quick Quote: Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua before and after UFC 93
Coming into UFC 93 talking to Five Ounces of Pain:
“[Coleman] is a great wrestler but I think I’m better at jiu-jitsu and striking. Plus, I have better cardio. I think it’s a good match up for me in theory. I feel great. I’m well-trained, in good shape and have little weight to cut for the fight. I’m feeling fast, my cardio is good and I have been working a lot on my power.”
Following UFC 93 at the post-fight press conference:
“I stayed sidelined for one year and a half. I went through surgeries. That is not easy, and that took a lot of my conditioning. It’s one thing to train and another thing to fight. When you get back to fighting, you have to get back your rhythm. I paid a price for that, but I’m sure that by my next fight, I’ll be more prepared and in better shape, with better conditioning, to give my fans a great show.”
-Former PRIDE light heavyweight standout Mauricio Rua talks about his rematch against Mark Coleman at UFC 93 at The O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland, on January 17. “The Hammer” defeated Rua in controversial fashion at PRIDE 31 back in 2006 when an awkward landing broke the Brazilian’s arm less than a minute into the fight. Shogun’s quest for vengeance fell a bit short at Saturday’s pay-per-view despite a TKO win after a dreadful performance made it nearly impossible for any fan in attendance to believe this was at one time a consensus top 5 light heavyweight and winner of the 2005 Pride FC Grand Prix Champion.
Simple toughness serves Henderson well
"I feel like I'm the same Dan Henderson [despite my age]," he said. "Obviously, those first two [UFC] fights were two [scheduled] five-round fights. I think I almost prepared for those. I was real ready, conditioning-wise. For whatever reason, I got a little tired this fight in that third round.
"I don't know if it was from getting nailed in the ribs or just getting tired. Either way, I'm the same fighter. I had a good day today."
Henderson is a perfectionist who wasn't ebullient despite beating one of the UFC's top fighters. Franklin left the middleweight division while still widely regarded as the second-best fighter in the class. He also became an instant contender at 205 pounds, almost certainly the UFC's best class.
Henderson wasn't pleased that he tired in the third and allowed Franklin to take that round. Most 38-year-old fighters -- heck, most fighters, period -- would have been happy to walk away with a win over Franklin.
Henderson's victory puts him in an elite group, joining Silva (twice) and undefeated Lyoto Machida as the only men to defeat Franklin.
"I could have done more in that third round," Henderson said solemnly while sipping from a bottle of water. "That's what I'm disappointed about."
Meet Jon Jones - 'Bones'
Meet Jon Jones a.k.a. ‘Bones’
At the young age of 21, Jon Jones has made the most of his opportunities so far in the mixed martial arts world. Compiling a 7 – 0 record, he will be making his second appearance in the UFC on January 31st, 2009 against Stephan Bonnar. Jon took some time recently to talk with PDG about his rise to the UFC, his background and what drives him to be the best.
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411 MMA Interview: A Conversation With Jason High
411’s Todd Bergman recently had the opportunity to talk with Affliction’s Jason High, who is busy training for his upcoming showdown at Affliction’s “Road To Reckoning” with Jay Hieron. High discusses his previous fights, his experience with the Ultimate Fighter and more!