Dana White: 'I always thought Melvin Guillard was the biggest waste of talent'
"I like Melvin and I like how he’s training hard. I always thought he was the biggest waste of talent and he really turned that around and I’m happy to see it. There’s so many good guys in that 155 pound division, we’re trying to figure out who’s next. That division is so stacked and there’s so many good fights to make. I’m excited to see him in there with Lauzon. If he beats Lauzon, it’s gonna be interesting to see who we end up pitting together to fight for the title next."
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 5 (Nik "The Carny" Lentz)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
Nik Lentz is a mixed martial artist hailing from the great state of Minnesota. He's a veteran of seven fights undre the UFC banner, and is still yet to surrender a loss. He is currently 5-0-1-1, with a draw coming against Thiago Tavares and a no contest being rendered after the controversial fight with Charles Oliveira which saw him take an illegal knee while downed, breaking his eye socket. Lentz has recovered, and he took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions.
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MMAPG : Nik, first of all, thanks for taking time out of what must be a ridiculously busy schedule, to talk to us. We really appreciate it.
LENTZ : Yeah, no problem. Anytime I get a chance to reach a wider audience, I enjoy it. Thanks for interviewing me and thanks to everyone else for reading.
MMAPG : You’re a few months removed from your controversial fight with Charles Oliveira. How are you feeling physically? How’s your training going?
LENTZ : I feel normal. The eye healed quite quick, the neck is still a little sore, but it is strong and back to normal. The pain does not really matter, all that matters is that I can work out and fight properly, which I can now.
MMAPG : Do you harbor any resentment toward Oliveira for that illegal knee? How relieved were you that the PSAC overturned the decision?
LENTZ : No, I don’t really think of him as an individual. I don’t think of people I have fought really as people at all. They are more like objectives or things that I have to overcome. Once I'm done with the fight I will analyze what went right and wrong, but I don’t care or choose to look into what they are like in their everyday life. So no, I have no hard feelings, I really couldn’t care less about Oliveira until I'm scheduled to fight him again. At that point, I will just know that once he sees that I don’t get finished as easy as everyone else, be ready and watch out for his illegal tactics. I'm very glad that the decision was overturned, but I think who is allowed to be a ref should really be looked into and fixed.
Frankie Edgar Says Going for Featherweight Title "Interesting Possibility"
Edgar almost suffered a knockout loss against Maynard to begin 2011 at UFC 125. Edgar rallied back from what seemed like a definite loss and somehow salvaged a draw to retain his belt for a little while longer.
"I'm winning, man," Edgar said. "I'm very confident, especially after that last fight. I think my confidence keeps building from fight to fight. Obviously from B.J. [Penn] to the next B.J. fight. With Gray I know I had a pretty bad first round, but showing what I showed—which I didn't realize right away until I went home and saw it—in character, it gave me a lot of confidence."
After almost suffering a loss and being beaten the first time around by Maynard, Edgar wants to go home early come his title fight at UFC 136.
"That's my goal. I know I get a lot of flack for not [finishing]. I think it has to do with sometimes I am the smaller guy. But I always go into fights looking for it," Edgar said. "If I could stun a guy, I'm going to try and finish him. And if I can stun him and get him on the ground, I'm going to try and finish him there."
If Edgar were to defend his belt against Maynard and a few times after that, would a drop to featherweight be a good idea?
"That's something that a lot of my teammates talk about and stuff, and my coaches," said Edgar. "Things got to work out the right way, but I think it's definitely an interesting possibility, and an intriguing one."
Brian Stann: Sonnen 'very difficult to overcome'
Q: Chael Sonnen will be the highest-ranked opponent you've fought so far. What does it say about your development as a fighter?
Stann: I definitely take it as a compliment. It's a great challenge.
I think they were having a hard time finding anybody to fight Chael, to be quite honest with you. I think he had a lot of people he wanted to fight; nobody would fight him.
Regardless of what people want to say about him, people can't deny the guy's record, what he's been able to do. So when they called me and told me that's who I was fighting next, I looked at it as a huge opportunity.
It's not very often you get to fight somebody who's that much higher than you in the rankings. You have to take those opportunities, take advantage of them. You have to go out there and win.
I think UFC knows I'm a guy who's going to stay in the upper echelon of this weight class for years to come. I'm very happy with the match-up.
Why do you think UFC had difficulty finding an opponent for him?
At this point in his career, he's got a lot of fights. He's been doing this since 1997. He's the best at what he does.
He does a great job of putting people in the positions where he is very dominant, by using a very high-tempo striking game and world-class wrestling. It's very difficult for people to overcome.
In all honesty, I haven't seen anyone really overcome it. Even in the fights he loses, he's normally winning the bout, and if he does lose it, it's usually because he got caught with a submission while he was executing his game plan.
Much longer interview after the link.
Dominick Cruz to have finger surgery
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz ignored the pain, clenched his right hand, and fought for 25 minutes Saturday night. The result: his fourth consecutive title defense and a badly damaged hand that requires surgery.
In the opening round of a unanimous decision against Demetrious Johnson in Washington, D.C., Cruz (19-1) dislocated his middle finger at the knuckle and tore ligaments and tendons, the UFC champion told ESPN.com.
"It just hurt and felt off," Cruz said. "My finger kept popping out of the socket."
"It's basically the exact same injury I had on my left hand," Cruz said. "Same knuckle, same everything. The tendon is completely ripped off the bone and my finger is popping out of its socket due to that. And the knuckle just dislocates when I make a fist. I have to get that tendon that ripped reattached with surgery."
Charlie Brenneman camp takes no issue with stoppage at UFC on Versus 6
Many MMA observers felt referee Mario Yamasaki prematurely stopped a fight between Charlie Brenneman (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Anthony Johnson (10-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) on the main card of UFC on Versus 6.
But Brenneman's camp does not share that view.
"Honestly, none of us have a problem with it," Brenneman trainer and manager Mike Constantino today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC on Versus 6 took place Saturday at Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center and aired on Versus.
The root of the criticism stemmed from the fact that Brenneman landed on his elbows after Johnson caught him flush with a high kick a few minutes into the fight's first round (Johnson was later awarded a $65,000 "Knockout of the Night bonus). When Yamasaki waved off the bout, the AMA Fight Club fighter's hands immediately extended in protest.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson added to December's UFC 141 event
A welterweight contest between two fighters looking to rebound from their first octagon losses has been added to UFC 141, as Dong Hyun Kim meets Sean Pierson.
UFC officials today announced the new matchup.
"Two talented welterweights on the comeback trail will face off at UFC 141 when Sean Pierson takes on the 'Stun Gun,' Dong Hyun Kim," UFC president Dana White stated.
Bisping vs. 'Mayhem' slated for five rounds at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale
As expected, Michael Bisping (21-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) and Jason "Mayhem" Miller (24-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will meet in a season-ending coaches' fight at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale.
And raising the stakes, UFC officials have booked it as a five-round non-title fight, they today announced.
The event takes place Dec. 3 at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The main card airs on Spike TV.
Bisping and Miller serve as coaches on the currently airing 14th season of "TUF." In addition to the coaches, the finale features the finals of the show's bantamweight and featherweight tournaments.
UFC champ Jon Jones suffered no serious injuries, but UFC giving him a rest
Jon Jones entered UFC 135's post-fight press conference with as many ice packs as bruises.
Despite a fourth-submission victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in his first title defense, Jones was issued a six-month medical suspension, and he needed a doctor's examination to rule out any serious injuries.
But UFC president Dana White said Jones essentially got a clean bill of health. Still, he's in no hurry to bring Jones back.
Jones, who's quickly emerged as one of the sport's biggest stars, is next slated to fight top contender Rashad Evans. December's UFC 140 event could use a headliner, but White hinted that Jones, whose medical suspension can end early with a doctor's approval, may not be back before year's end.
UFC 141 headliner Brock Lesnar not ailing, 'actually quite pleasant'
Ever since his camp began for a UFC 141 bout with Alistair Overeem, ex-UFC champ Brock Lesnar has been dogged by rumors.
Countless sources have speculated to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the once-ailing Lesnar isn't able to train and that the December heavyweight blockbuster will be canceled.
UFC president Dana White has a simple answer to that: "bull [expletive]."
"It's not true," White told MMAjunkie.com over the weekend. "And it actually can't be any further than the truth."
UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event, which takes place on a Friday to avoid Sin City's usual New Year's Eve congestion, airs on pay-per-view and marks the UFC debut of former Strikeforce champ and K-1 world champion Overeem.
For Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), the Overeem (35-11 MMA, 0-0 UFC) booking is his first fight since an October 2010 title loss to Cain Velasquez. A second bout with diverticulitis scratched a planned summer contest with fellow "The Ultimate Fighter 13" coach Junior Dos Santos. Lesnar's inactivity led some MMA pundits to speculate that a retirement announcement was in the works, but White recently branded the speculation as "ridiculous."
UFC 136's 'appreciative' Chael Sonnen willing to tip hat to Anderson Silva
Right about now, Chael Sonnen is kicking back on his couch with a couple of movies ("Road to Perdition" and "The Bounty Hunter") and a couple of magazines ("Soldier of Fortune," probably).
Usually, you hear that the week prior to fight week is the final push before tapering down for the rush of pre-event activities.
For Sonnen, that isn't the case, at least not this time around.
He's sick, and he'll be taking the weekend off prior to his fight with Brian Stann in the co-main event of UFC 136, which takes place Oct. 8 at Houston's Toyota Center. Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) are part of the pay-per-view main card.
"I think it's just a common thing when you start to wear down," he said.
February's simultaneous Japan and Las Vegas shows both will air live on TV
WASHINGTON, D.C. – MMA fans should get ready for a double dose of the UFC in February.
As expected, the UFC will, in fact, hold shows in Japan and Las Vegas on the same day in February.
So how would it work logistically, specifically with TV viewers in mind? It won't be an issue, according to UFC president Dana White, who said viewers can expect an event doubleheader.
UFC boss denies pay-per-view plans for Kurt Angle, offered him 'TUF 10' slot
WASHINGTON, D.C. – UFC president Dana White was willing to give Kurt Angle an opportunity in the UFC.
However, the 1996 Olympic gold-medal wrestler and WWE/TNA wrestling performer wasn't being targeted for a pay-per-view fight with Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.
According to UFC president Dana White, Angle simply was offered a slot on the heavyweights-only 10th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" a few years back.
Flyweights are coming, but UFC on Versus 6's Demetrious Johnson not ready to drop
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The flyweights are coming. Demetrious Johnson, though, isn't quite ready to join the pack.
Johnson failed in his attempt to take UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz's title in the main event of Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center.
But if you think the loss is going to prompt the UFC's shortest fighter to drop a weight class, think again.
Johnson (9-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) matched the usual speed and swift footwork of Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC). But with the champ's takedowns and controlling top game, Johnson just couldn't muster any sustained attacks, and he won a single round on just one judge's card.
Anthony Johnson, Dana White have no problem with UFC on Versus 6 stoppage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – It was a dominant performance for Anthony Johnson – one that moves him a big step toward a potential title fight with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
But it also came with a bit of controversy.
However, following Johnson's first-round destruction of Charlie Brenneman at Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event, both Johnson and UFC president Dana White downplayed the supposedly controversial stoppage.
Johnson (10-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) and Brenneman (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) met in a main-card bout at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center. The Versus-televised bout proved a lopsided affair; Johnson stuffed an early takedown and then punished a kneeling Brenneman with punches and knees. By the time Brenneman got back to his feet, he was wobbly, and he grabbed the fence to keep his balance. But that's also when Johnson blasted him with a shin to the face.
Champ Dominick Cruz suffers broken hand, Faber-Bowles winner likely on deck
WASHINGTON, D.C. – UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz may have a next opponent on deck, but his timetable for a return remains a question mark.
Following a decisive decision victory over Demetrious Johnson in the headliner of Saturday's UFC on versus 6 event, UFC president Dana White shared some disappointing news.
Cruz suffered a broken hand in the fight, and he's set to undergo surgery.
Cruz made his second successful UFC title defense (and fourth straight defense overall when including WEC fights). His quick feet and smothering top game led him to a lopsided decision victory over a game Johnson. The fight took place at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center and aired live on Versus.
Dana White: Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez is headed to the UFC, ASAP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez's days in the organization appear over.
The standout lightweight will join the UFC's roster "ASAP," according to UFC president Dana White.
A debut date and opponent haven't been determined, but White said it'll happen sooner rather than later. And if the timing is right, it could lead to an immediate UFC title shot.
"Yeah, we do want to bring Gilbert Melendez over, and we're looking at it right now," White said following Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center. "We're looking to bring Gilbert Melendez over ASAP."
White, who also said Strikeforce heavyweight Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) is likely to return to the organization, spoke definitively about the Melendez (19-2 MMA, 9-1 SF) move for the first time ever. After the UFC purchased Strikeforce earlier this year, he hinted at the possibility but stopped short of saying there was a concrete plan.
However, Melendez, who recently cracked the top 10 in the media-voted Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound rankings, now is making the move.
UFC on Versus 6 bonuses: Johnson, Struve, Wiman and Danzig earn $65K awards
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Anthony Johnson, Stefan Struve, Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig each earned $65,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event.
Johnson earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Struve picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Wiman and Danzig took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC on Versus 6's post-fight press conference.
T.J. Waldburger vs. Marc Stevens grappling superfight added to UFC 136 Fan Expo
Two UFC notables have been booked for a grappling superfight at next weekend's UFC Fan Expo event in Houston.
Recent UFC Fight Night 25 winner and Texas native T.J. Waldburger will meet "The Ultimate Fighter 12" cast member Marc Stevens in one of the expo's two grappling superfights.
Event officials confirmed the exhibition, which the UFC and Grapplers Quest have organized, with MMAjunkie.com.
Tim Credeur out, Dustin Jacoby in against Brad Tavares at UFC 137
Tim Credeur (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has been forced out of this month's UFC 137 event, and promotional newcomer Dustin Jacoby (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has stepped in as a replacement against middleweight Brad Tavares (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC).
The fighter's reps alerted MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the switch overnight. Jacoby and his trainer, Marc Fiore, subsequently announced it via Twitter and Facebook.
UFC 137 takes place Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
UFC officials haven't formally announced the change, and the reason for Credeur's removal wasn't immediately clear.