Trainer Cesar Gracie expects Nate Diaz to be his first UFC champ
If Nate Diaz emerges victorious against UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Saturday's UFC on FOX 5 event at Seattle's KeyArena, the 27-year-old will become the first Cesar Gracie fighter to hold gold in the UFC.
Gracie's Pleasant Hill, Calif. academy has groomed other talent to UFC title shots, including Gil Castillo, who suffered a loss to then-welterweight champ Matt Hughes at UFC 40 back in 2002. Additionally, prominent jiu-jitsu black belts who now represent the camp – Dave Terrell, Jake Shields and Nick Diaz – also have come up short in recent title fights. Nate's older brother, Nick, is the most recent to walk away without the grand prize after he dropped a unanimous decision to Carlos Condit in an interim welterweight title bout at UFC 143 in February.
So what makes Gracie's latest title challenger likely to bring home the goods?
"If I've learned something," Gracie told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about his decade-plus prepping fighters to become UFC champions, "it's don't let the hype get to you."
Dan Hardy rules out potential appearance at UFC on FUEL TV 7 in London
When the UFC returns to London for a February event, it'll do so without one of the area's top fighters.
Veteran welterweight Dan Hardy recently ruled out the possibility of competing at UFC on FUEL TV 7.
The event, which airs live on FUEL TV, takes place Feb. 16 at Wembley Arena.
Hardy (25-10 MMA, 6-4 UFC), a veteran of the U.K. fight scene who's also fought six times in England for the UFC, tweeted his unavailability for the card while responding to fellow welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada, who had been campaigning for a fight with the Brit.
"Sorry mate, I won't be ready to fight in February," Hardy wrote. "Enjoy fighting in London though, the UK fans are always great."
Hardy, who's recovering from injuries, is expected to return in the spring.
Josh Grispi vs. Andy Ogle added to UFC on FUEL 7 in London
certain "loser leaves town" matchup has been booked for UFC on FUEL TV 7 in London, as featherweights Josh Grispi and Andy Ogle face off in February.
It's a must-win situation for two young featherweights, as Josh Grispi fights Andy Ogle at UFC on FUEL 7 at Wembley Arena in London, England. Fighters Only magazine confirms:
Josh Grispi will be fighting for his UFC career in February.
Grispi (14-4) has been matched with Andy Ogle (8-2) for the UFC’s visit to London, England on Saturday February 16, 2013, sources close to the situation have revealed to Fighters Only.
Bellator's Mo Lawal has recovery advice for injured UFC champ Dominick Cruz
Bellator light heavyweight and TNA wrestler Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal can relate to UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz; his body also rejected a cadaver's ACL following knee surgery.
"But the thing was, I was too afraid to go back," Lawal today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I didn't care. I just kept fighting on it, and Dominick is doing the right thing by going to get it fixed."
Cruz could also do well to mentally prepare himself for a full recovery.
"To me, coming from a high level of wrestling, you see guys have surgery all the time," said the 31-year-old Lawal (8-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC), who gave a soft confirmation of his Jan. 17 Bellator debut in Irvine, Calif. "Being at the Olympic Training Center, there are guys that live in the training room. You see guys bounce back.
Unable to unify belts, UFC interim champ Barao says McDonald fight 'makes sense'
UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao had a single goal in mind, but in a flash, that was all taken away.
After winning the interim belt at July's UFC 149 event, Barao (29-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) had hoped to book a fight with division champion Dominick Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in an effort to unify the two belts.
Now that Cruz is back on the shelf, Barao said he's happy to take on any of the bantamweight division's top contenders, including the name that seems to be mentioned the most: Michael McDonald (15-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
"I was OK with the news because a lot of people were already speculating that I wasn't going to face Cruz," Barao told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) through a translator. "I wasn't that focused on him. I'll be prepared for whoever they put against me."
No longer a 'kid,' Anthony Pettis eyes big return at UFC on FOX 6
To hear Anthony Pettis talk about not being a kid anymore, at the staggering "old" age of 25, almost is reason to cut him off – to tell him a thing or two about being old.
"What I wouldn't give to be 25 again ..." is the temptation. But he goes on, uninterrupted, until he hits his point, which is a good one.
But the time off has taught the old man, who will turn 26 on Jan. 27, the day after he fights Cerrone, a few lessons.
"One of them is, I'm not just a kid and can jump right back from injuries," Pettis told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I've had injuries when I was younger and I'd jump right back and be ready to go. Now I have to worry about my body long-term and do it the right way. I can't cut any corners, I can't take any shortcuts. This has to be done and healed up 100 percent, or my career is at stake. That's a big lesson I learned."
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall Verbally Agreed for UFC 156 Super Bowl Weekend
Two of the top flyweights in the world will finally meet at UFC 156 as Joseph Benavidez squares off against Ian McCall on Super Bowl weekend 2013.
Sources close to the fight confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that verbal agreements are in place for the Feb 2 showdown.
Benavidez and McCall have been long attached to one another even before either of them were fighting at 125lbs in the UFC.
'UFC 360' ad declares 'The Ultimate Fighter 17' debuts Tuesday, Jan. 22
"The Ultimate Fighter" is apparently moving to Tuesday.
An advertisement in the new issue of "UFC 360," formerly known as "UFC Magazine," declares the upcoming 17th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" debuts on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m. ET.
UFC and FX officials have yet to make an official announcement, and representatives from both companies weren't immediately available for comment when contacted by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). However, additional sources close to the promotion confirmed current plans do call for the series to move to Tuesday night.
BADER VS. MATYUSHENKO, MITCHELL VS. THORESEN ADDED TO UFC ON FOX 6 IN CHICAGO
A new pair of matchups are official for January's UFC on FOX 6 event as Ryan Bader (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) meets Vladimir Matyushenko (26-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and David Mitchell (11-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) faces Simeon Thoresen (17-3-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
UFC officials today announced the new bookings. Verbal agreements are in for both matchups, and bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
Chris Weidman reports successful surgery, gives targeted return date
Top middleweight contender Chris Weidman finally received some good news after weeks of misfortune, as he reports a successful surgery for a shoulder injury. Weidman’s bad luck took a turn for the worse when Hurricane Sandy washed away years of memories from his Long Island house. Then his shoulder injury took him out of a supposed number one contenders bout with Tim Boestch at UFC 155. The injury has most likely hindered his rebuilding of his house along with the income he will lose from not fighting this December.
Hopefully this successful operation has turned Weidman’s luck for the better, and if the prognosis is as good as he says then he probably has something to be happy about. Doctor’s have told Weidman that he should be back to 90% in three months, and back up to 100% in four months. He hopes to be back in the octagon better than ever in early 2013. While that may be a bit optimistic Weidman should not have to do too much work proving himself as a top contender again.
Urijah Faber set to face Ivan Menjivar at UFC 156
The already stacked UFC 156 looks to pick up another big fight. Former Featherweight champ and Bantamweight contender Urijah Faber will face ivan Menjivar.
A little over a week ago reports started surfacing that perennial contender Urijah Faber would return to action at UFC 156 against Vaughan Lee. The decision was widely criticized for being an extreme mismatch. With Lee struggling with a UFC record of 1-2 and his only win coming over a faded Kid Yamamoto, it's hard to argue that logic.
Rumour: Hardy vs Siyar for UFC on FUEL 7, Siyar says Hardy wouldn't survive the first round
A welterweight bout between Dan Hardy and Siyar Bahadurzada could be coming to UFC on Fuel 7 in London in February, though the bout is not yet signed.
In comments made to Tatame.com, Bahadurzada said he's waiting for Hardy to accept the fight, but it's one he's definitely interested in.
"It's just rumor, but if Hardy accepts, I'd love to fight him in his yard," Bahadurzada said. "It would be an interesting fight, though I think I am a terrible struggle for him. He [would] not survive the first round."
UFC champ Dominick Cruz's return pushed back by second ACL surgery
Dominick Cruz underwent another major knee surgery this past week, and it'll likely further delay his return to the octagon.
Trainer Eric Del Fierro today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Cruz's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was replaced after his body rejected one from a cadaver.
The UFC bantamweight champion is in Los Angeles today to meet with a doctor who will give him a timeline for his return, DelFierro said, though he estimated it could set the fighter back another six to nine months.
Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) underwent corrective surgery in June after tearing his ACL in preparation for a rematch with Urijah Faber, who coached opposite him on "The Ultimate Fighter 15." The two were scheduled to meet at UFC 148 on July 2, but Cruz was forced out of the fight, and Renan Barao went on to beat Faber to claim an interim title at UFC 149.
Michael Chiesa ill, unable to compete at UFC on FOX 5 vs. Marcus LeVesseur
The injuries and illnesses continue to wreak havoc on UFC on FOX 5's preliminary card. After Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson was scrapped as the leading prelim fight on FX, Michael Chiesa vs. Marcus LeVesseur became the new "feature fight". As of today that is no longer the case, as Chiesa has been forced off the card according to the UFC's official twitter account.
TUF Live winner Michael Chiesa forced off Saturday's Seattle card due to illness - get well soon, @mikemav22
— UFC (@ufc) December 3, 2012
Here's a side note not in the article. Max Holloway wants to fill in.
@danawhite if you need a replacement for @mikemav22 Lmk!
— Jerome-Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) December 3, 2012
Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez break down their UFC 155 main event
December is here, and Santa Claus announced his presence early for fans with a whopping four UFC events on the schedule.
The biggest, literally, takes place at the promotion's annual year-end card – UFC 155, which features a heavyweight title rematch between champion Junior Dos Santos and the man he took the title from a little more than a year ago, Cain Velasquez.
You can now check out video interviews with the two big men in advance of their title fight rematch.