Who Could Be the Next Tito Ortiz for the UFC?
In the realm of UFC history, Tito Ortiz certainly was original.
No he wasn’t around during the time of the first UFC events that Royce Gracie ruled with an iron grip, but Ortiz was without question the first “rock star” of the Octagon.
A fighter who knew how to combine his aggressive and attacking style in the cage with persona and charisma outside of it, Ortiz was the original star of mixed martial arts long before pay-per-views reached one million buys.
But now just days away from his final fight at UFC 148, Ortiz is about to step into the UFC Hall of Fame, retire and pass the torch he helped light on to the next generation of competitors.
After setbacks, UFC 148's Rafaello Oliveira plans to make good on second UFC stint
Rafaello Oliveira's record outside the UFC is good. Great, in fact. But in the UFC, he's staggered.
Although he's 0-2 in his second octagon stint and faces a likely pink slip with a loss to Yoislandy Izquierdo (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at Saturday's UFC 148 event, Oliveira (14-5 MMA, 1-4 UFC) doesn't seem the least bit worried.
"I'm really grateful to be back in the UFC, and I plan to stay here," Oliveira told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I want to be champion in the UFC one day. That's my dream."
Oliveira vs. Izquierdo is part of the FX-televised prelims of UFC 148, which takes place Saturday at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Main-card fights air on pay-per-view.
Oliveira's back has already been against the wall. He left the UFC with a lackluster 1-2 record that was capped by a unanimous-decision loss to Andre Winner at UFC Fight Night 21. But when he went back to the drawing board, he said he didn't panic about getting re-signed by the promotion.
Stephan Bonnar wants big-money Forrest Griffin trilogy regardless of UFC 148
Win or lose Saturday night at UFC 148 versus Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin is Stephan Bonnar's next opponent if "The American Psycho" gets his wish of a trilogy fight with the former UFC light-heavyweight champion.
The Las Vegas-based Bonnar understands UFC president Dana White recently shot down a recent Twitter campaign to have "The Ultimate Fighter 1" finalists coach prospective UFC fighters on the upcoming 16th season.
Still, the 35-year-old wants to meet again the man he battled for 15 minutes in April 2005. The instant classic earned the "greatest fight in UFC history" tag because – as White often points out – it's the most important. Those three rounds became the Bonnar-Griffin Boom, which ushered in the UFC's defining six years on Spike TV and pay-per-view leading to the octagon's arrival on FOX in November.
UFC 148's Patrick Cote back in UFC to go after another shot at middleweight belt
Patrick Cote was released from the UFC after three consecutive losses from 2008 to 2010.
But he never left the octagon, at least mentally.
"It wasn't like they fired me because they didn't like me or something," Cote (17-7 MMA, 4-7 UFC) said in advance of his bout with Cung Le (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC 148. "They fired me because they had a business to run and I lost three in a row. That's all.
"But I had to prove it – my place in the UFC – and that's what I did in my last four fights."
After racking up a five-fight win streak, the heavy-handed Cote fought champ Anderson Silva for the title at UFC 90 and lost when he blew his knee out in the third round. A submission loss to Alan Belcher at UFC 113 and decision loss to Tom Lawlor at UFC 121 preceded his pink slip.
Cote actually still had a job with the promotion after he was released from his fight contract. He served as a commentator for the French-language broadcast team. But as good as it was to be near the action, he couldn't be in it.
Retire from life? Maybe, but UFC 148's Griffin won't retire from fighting after Ortiz
If Forrest Griffin (18-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is anything, he's a creature of habit, whether that habit is self-loathing, sarcasm or training.
The former two have endeared the former light heavyweight champ to fans since his win on "The Ultimate Fighter 1." The latter has kept him going after setbacks, and will keep him going after he fights former champ Tito Ortiz (16-10-1 MMA, 15-10-1 UFC) at UFC 148.
"I like training camps," Griffin said today. "You've got to get out of bed and do something, and wrestling around with dudes is what I want to do."
The subject of retirement was in the air today during a Q&A session in support of UFC 148, which takes place Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (main-card fights air on pay-per-view while prelims air on FX). The co-main event between Griffin and Ortiz serves not only as a rubber match but also as Ortiz's retirement fight.
UFC 148's Cung Le not thinking retirement without first getting a UFC victory
After turning 40 this past May, Cung Le feels the toll a long fighting career has taken on his body.
Does he feel them enough to think about hanging up the gloves to focus 100 percent on his other passion, movies? Le isn't sure – but he does know he sure would like his first UFC win before retirement.
"We'll see (about retirement)," Le told MMAjunkie.com. "I never look ahead. I'm one of those guys, I'm in the moment. Every day I wake up is a blessing. I have this day, and I'm going to live in this day. I can't look toward tomorrow because tomorrow's not promised."
UFC inks light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa for UFC on FUEL TV 5
Undefeated light-heavyweight prospect Jimi Manuwa (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC.
UFC officials and Manuwa today announced the signing, though exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Nigerian-English fighter is expected to make his promotional debut at UFC on FUEL TV 5, which takes place in England in September.
UFC on FUEL TV 5 is set for Sept. 29 at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. The main card airs live on FUEL TV (Saturday afternoon in the U.S.) following prelims on Facebook. It's not clear where Manuwa, who awaits an opponent, will end up on the lineup.
Manuwa launched his pro career in 2008 with just three weeks of training. However, he's breezed through competition with 11 stoppages victories (nine in the first round) in 11 career fights. All of the wins but one have come via knockout/TKO.
UFC on FUEL TV 5 adds Tom Watson-Brad Tavares, John Maguire-John Hathaway
The UFC has added two fights and three English fighters to September's UFC on FUEL TV 5 event.
Middleweight notable Tom Watson (15-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal and rides an 11-1 streak into his promotional debut against Brad Tavares (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).
Additionally, welterweight John Maguire (18-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) meets fellow English fighter John Hathaway (16-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) at the event, officials today announced.
BAMMA Champion Tom Watson Joins UFC
BAMMA champion Tom Watson has joined the UFC.
The British middleweight was released from his BAMMA contract and allowed to answer the UFC call-up, with his debut likely to take place on the card in Nottingham this September.
Watson rides a three-fight win streak into the UFC with victories over Alex Reid, Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua and Jack Marshman.
Another UFC 149 Matchup Change - Claude Patrick out, Brian Ebersole in vs James Head
Why can't I go to Calgary
UFC 149, schedule for July 21, 2012 in Calgary, has yet another change on the fight card due to injury. The UFC has announced Claude Patrick has suffered a knee injury and will not be competing against James Head in the welterweight division. Instead, Brian Ebersole and his “Hairrow” will be filling in.
For Ebersole, this will be only a month out from a hard fought unanimous decision win over TJ Waldburger on the UFC on FX 4 card that took place on June 22. He is now riding an 11 fight win streak, 4 of which are wins in the UFC.
Claude Patrick will be added to the long list of UFC 149 casualties. Jose Aldo, Thiago Alves, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Michael Bisping, Siyar Bahadurzada, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira all were scheduled for the card but are unable to compete due to injuries.
Massive fan of James, huge fan of Ebersole, painful match for me to watch
But a lot more of a winnable fight for James but still a massive step up in competition. I don't want to see a loser
UFC Quick Quote: Tito Ortiz says he could have beat Jon Jones in his prime, would be like Ali-Tyson
"Jon Jones is a great champion, but me in my prime, I was devastating. I was vicious. Nobody could stop me. Of course I could beat him in my prime Jon Jones is in his prime now, so you compare it to something like Ali v Tyson in boxing. You'll never know because it's two different generations. I don't ever want to talk smack about Jones because he's a great role model of the sport but in my prime, I wouldn't count myself out - that's for sure. I would never disrespect him. It'd be a very close fight, a decision. But in my prime I was the best in the world."
‘It’s Now or Never’ – Anthony Johnson Decides to Move to Light Heavyweight
Anthony Johnson is making some long overdue changes to his life and career starting with his next fight in 2012.
For years the former UFC fighter had been struggling and fighting to make weight, originally cutting down to 170 pounds, but missing the limit on several occasions.
Even a move to 185 pounds didn’t help, as he struggled mightily once again before exiting the UFC, and then again when he debuted for Titan Fighting Championships earlier this year.
The battle to cut the weight has done massive damage to Johnson’s image in the fight world, but maybe the biggest war he’s been losing this whole time is the toll its taken on his body.
“I was trying to cut the weight the day before the fight, water was coming out and everything was working, then the day of the fight stuff just stopped working. My body just pretty much shut down again,” Johnson explained to MMAWeekly.com when speaking about cutting weight for his last fight against David Branch.
Michael Bisping: ‘Alan Belcher If Your Balls Are Big Enough Call Joe Silva and Let’s Do It’
There are a lot of fighters when you ask them who they want to fight next, they answer with the standard ‘whoever the UFC puts in front of me’.
Now that might sound generic or somewhat manufactured, but for the most part it’s true.
Matchmaker Joe Silva calls and offers a fight and more often times than not a fighter accepts, but when two fighters both seem to ask for the same fight that can help speed along the process.
Well, Michael Bisping is hoping to make Joe Silva’s job a lot easier as he comes back after his recent knee surgery.
Bisping appeared as an analyst on Tuesday night’s edition of UFC Tonight where he first revealed his timeline for a return.
“Hopefully, pretty soon. The knee is healing nicely and it has been three weeks since the operation and I just started training. I just spoke to Joe Silva not too long ago and I am hoping to fight at UFC 152 in Toronto,” Bisping revealed.
Brian Stann – ‘I Want to Fight Michael Bisping’
On Tuesday night, Michael Bisping offered up two names of fighters that he would like to face for his next fight.
Ironically on the 4th of July, American hero turned top ten middleweight Brian Stann has formally accepted the challenge and now it’s up to matchmaker Joe Silva to put the fight together.
Stann, who is currently recovering from a shoulder injury, heard Bisping mention his name on Tuesday night’s edition of UFC Tonight and immediately he was excited about the prospects of the fight.
“I think that’s a fight that I need to jump at because he’s obviously ranked higher than I am. He’s a guy that’s right up there in the mix for a title shot, which is what we all want. Of course I want to fight Michael Bisping,” Stann told MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday.
“He’s a star in the UFC, he makes big time money, he’s got everything that everybody else wants, and he’s earned it so I want to take that. I saw the interview and I know my shoulder will be ready for Sept 22 in Toronto and that would be a great honor to put that fight on for the fans.”
Dan Hardy: Pay Structure May Affect Fighters’ Strategy
Clay Guida caught plenty of criticism from fans for using an evasive strategy against Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4. One of his biggest critics, however, was fellow fighter Dan Hardy.
Hardy recently joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” to discuss Guida, fighting as entertainment, his own place in the UFC and more.
Hardy on Guida’s performance against Maynard: “The thing is, Clay went in there to do a job and he did his job. Greg Jackson’s also got a job to do, which is to -- I think Kenny Florian stated it quite well -- it’s to make sure his fighter gets in there and wins. I agree with that, but on the flip side, it really comes down to the definition of what fighting is, and running away from somebody and playing tag and scoring points is not a fight to me, not really. It changes the face of the sport.
On why fans watch MMA: People tune in, first and foremost, to be entertained. There’s only a small percentage of MMA fans that are really interested in where people fall in the rankings. They just want to see a tear-up. They want to see somebody get punched in the face and fall over. You can hear it when the fight’s going on, that the crowd are booing. People don’t want to see one person running away. You can’t have a fight unless two fighters show up. Unfortunately on that show, on that fight, Gray Maynard was the only one who came ready for a fight.”
Anderson Silva Has No Plans of Retiring Any Time Soon
Fedor Emelianenko may have recently announced his retirement from MMA, but don’t worry, Anderson Silva isn’t going anywhere.
The UFC’s reigning and defending middleweight champion, who surpassed Emelianenko in most people’s minds as the greatest mixed martial artist ever, squashed any retirement rumors on Tuesday with a simple one word answer.
When asked about rumors that he might retire after his UFC 148 main event fight against Chael Sonnen – win, lose or draw – Silva was happy to put those to rumors to rest.
“Nope,” Silva answered with a sly look on his face.
Dana White: Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rivalry could be biggest in UFC history
The UFC has seen its fair share of rivalries over the years.
Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson. And, of course, Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen.
But Saturday's Silva-Sonnen rematch at UFC 148 and the buildup behind it may have pushed it to the head of the pack in the eyes of Dana White.
The UFC president on Monday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the rivalry between Silva, his longtime middleweight champion, and Sonnen, the challenger who took him into the fifth round at UFC 117 nearly two years ago, has taken on a new life in part thanks to Silva believing Sonnen doesn't deserve a rematch.
"If not No. 1, it's up there," White said. "I've never been in a situation where a guy says, 'This guy's such a disrespectful punk, he doesn't deserve this shot – and I'm not gonna fight him.'"
Dana White's one Fedor Emelianenko regret? No UFC fight with Brock Lesnar
UFC president Dana White has nothing bad to say about Fedor Emelianenko. Still.
While the fighter's management team has drawn the scorn of White numerous times in recent years, he maintains he has no problem with the recently retired Emelianenko.
Still, White regrets he could never get Emelianenko booked for a fight with a certain ex-champion under the UFC banner.
Emelianenko, who retired with a 34-4 record (and three-fight win streak) following a June 21 knockout of Pedro Rizzo, began serious negotiations with the UFC in 2009. But they famously flopped, and Emelianenko later signed with Strikeforce (which the UFC acquired a little more than a year later).
At the time, White desperately wanted to book his reigning heavyweight champion – WWE crossover star Brock Lesnar – against Emelianenko for a pay-per-view blockbuster. White went as far as to say the Emelianenko signing and immediate title shot were "imminent" just prior to Lesnar's win over Frank Mir at UFC 100.
But it never happened. Emelianenko eventually flamed out of Strikeforce with three straight losses and returned to fight overseas this past year.
"Obviously, I would have loved to make that fight with him and Brock at that point in time," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It would have been awesome. But it obviously didn't happen."