UFC 136's Jeremy Stephens on Anthony Pettis: 'I'm going to destroy him'
Here at MMAjunkie.com, we largely avoid the typical pre-fight banter and promises of destruction when it comes to headlines and story intros.
But with Jeremy Stephens, an ultra-confident lightweight who meets Anthony Pettis at Saturday's UFC 136 event, it's not so much trash-talk as statements of fact.
As far as Stephens is concerned, he's not threatening anything. He's just telling you how Saturday plays out: He's going to hunt down Pettis, work the body, hit the chin, and "destroy him."
Stephens (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC), of course, meets Pettis (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a featured UFC 136 preliminary-card bout. The event takes place at Houston's Toyota Center, and Stephens vs. Pettis is one of two bouts airing on Spike TV prior to the night's pay-per-view main card.
Since its announcement, Stephens vs. Pettis has been pegged as an early "Fight of the Night" candidate. Stephens, though, thinks it's going to be a lot more one-sided than most predict.
"I thought stylistically this was a great matchup for me," he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I don't think he's really going to stand in front of me. I don't think he likes to get hit. I think he's going to be on his horse a little bit."
UFC Targeting Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans for UFC 140 Main Event
HOUSTON -- Get ready for the grudge match.
The UFC is targeting December's UFC 140 for the long-awaited Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans light-heavyweight title bout, MMA Fighting has learned from sources with knowledge of the situation.
The fight is not yet official, but appears likely to be announced within the next 24-48 hours. UFC president Dana White told MMA Fighting that he could not yet announce a UFC 140 main event, but might possibly be able to do so by the end of the day.
Before that can happen, at least one hurdle must be overcome. Evans has to be cleared from a hand injury suffered in his recent UFC 133 win over Tito Ortiz. That injury required pins to be inserted into his hands, but Evans' coach Mike Van Arsdale told MMA Fighting that he was scheduled to visit the doctor on Wednesday and expected Evans to be cleared.
Van Arsdale told MMA Fighting he had no knowledge of the rumored December date, but said a clean bill of health would make Evans' participation in a Dec. 10 fight feasible.
Sonnen-Stann winner not guaranteed UFC title shot, Henderson could make bid with win
While this weekend's UFC 136 event is headlined by a pair of title fights, the middleweight contest between Chael Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Brian Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is also rife with championship implications.
However, the winner won't necessarily book a future date with 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC).
Recent Strikeforce import Dan Henderson (28-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) meets Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (20-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) in November, and UFC president Dana White said a win could rush him to the front of the line.
"Should Dan win, he's definitely one of the guys that could go take that fight," White said today following a UFC 136 pre-event press conference.
The move would seem a slight departure from White's August claims that the winner of the Sonnen-Stann matchup "should be" in line to meet Silva. But White said that his position hasn't necessarily changed. There are just more options available with Henderson's arrival.
"I'm not even thinking about [Silva's next opponent] yet," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "We'll figure it out after. But I still feel that way."
UFC prez on Strikeforce champ Melendez: "If I have to yank him over here, I'll do it"
There have been strong indications that Gilbert Melendez's run in Strikeforce is over and that his UFC run is just beginning.
Following Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event, UFC president Dana White said he wanted the lightweight champ in the UFC "ASAP," which prompted speculation that Melendez's headliner with Jorge Masvidal at a December Strikeforce event had been dissolved pending his imminent departure for the octagon.
Masvidal and his representatives say the bout – which is set for Dec. 17 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego – is still a go, and while White said today that he isn't sure when Melendez will make the jump.
It could happen at any time, he said.
"I've got to run my business, so if I have to yank him over here, I'll do it," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) following a press conference for UFC 136, which takes place Saturday at Houston's Toyota Center.
Of course, UFC 136's headliner – a highly anticipated rematch between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard – is set to clear the way for the next lightweight contender, and Melendez is on a long list of possibilities, according to White.
UFC boss says no to Edgar vs. Maynard IV regardless of UFC 136 outcome
If champ Frankie Edgar (13-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) beats challenger Gray Maynard (10-0-1 MMA, 8-0-1 UFC) at Saturday's UFC 136 event, that will give each a win to accompany a frustrating draw in their second bout back at UFC 125.
Usually, rubber matches are booked when a series is tied. But UFC president Dana White today said that he'd rather just move on.
"(Let's) put it behind us," White today said at a pre-event press conference in support of Saturday's fight, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. "This division is stacked with tons of talent, and there's a lot of good fights to make at 155."
For the past 10 months, the UFC has been unable to make a lot of those fights given the inconclusive result of UFC 125. White often refers to the situation as a logjam, and for good reason. Contenders such as Clay Guida, Ben Henderson and Melvin Guillard have made strong cases for No. 1 contender's status, to say nothing of the long-rumored arrival of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in the UFC.
When a winner does emerge on Saturday, he'll have a long list of potential future bookings.
Chael Sonnen: I don’t talk trash
Chael Sonnen was recently interviewed on Mauro Ranallo's The MMA Show.
Mauro Ranallo: Why has there been so little trash talk for the Brain Stann fight?
Chael Sonnen: “Look, I don’t try to get under someone’s skin. I don’t talk trash. I hear that said about myself but I don’t do that. I’m the most respectful guy in the sport. The difference is I’ve got a different opinion of what respect is. A lot of guys think it’s to be fake. A lot of guys think it’s respectful to bow to your face and stick a knife in your back when you turn around. I will tell you to your face that when you turn I’m going to put a knife in your back and then I’ll do it.
MR: What kind of game plan will you implement against Stann?
CS: “What’s a game plan? What does that mean? You got a bunch of guys with their 8th grade educations and their gold teeth sitting around trying to break down a fight. Listen, it’s a fist fight in a steel cage in Texas on Saturday night. There is nothing more simplistic in life than that. I don’t exactly need a plan. I walk out there when the guy in the shark suit gets out of my way and the referee with the dreadlocks says ‘get it on,’ I get it on.”
MR asked him about the suspension and if he would fight in California again after issues relating to ‘elevated testosterone’ levels.
CS: “First off, shame on you for putting out a false report. Not only did I not have elevated testosterone (levels), I was never even accused of that. The state of California never even accused me of that. Josh Gross went on ESPN and falsely reported that. I was never even up against those charges. I took testosterone and testosterone is 100% legal and shame on you as a member of the media for not coming out and not blasting the commission for that. I took testosterone, I offer no apology. Testosterone is not a banned substance in any of the 46 states that govern MMA or the two provinces in Canada. It is completely legal. They banned me for taking a legal substance and I never took an elevated amount, ever. I was never even accused of that other than by Josh Gross who got it on ESPN and by then it was all over the wire.
Lyoto Machida Will Likely Not Return Until 2012, Doesn't Know If He Is Being Punished
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida hasn't competed since UFC 129 when he knocked out Randy Couture in spectacular fashion, and people have been wondering when he's going to fight next. He was asked to step in at UFC 133 and replace an injured Phil Davis to face Rashad Evans, but his monetary demands weren't to Dana White's liking (he wanted "Anderson Silva money") so the bout went to Tito Ortiz instead. Machida was asked a couple of weeks ago whether he felt he was being punished for his demands
Clay Harvison vs. DaMarques Johnson targeted for UFC on FOX 1
After bowing out of a fight with Clay Harvison (9-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) due to injury, DaMarques Johnson's next opponent will be: Clay Harvison.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Harvison and Johnson (12-9 MMA, 3-3 UFC) have each verbally agreed to meet at UFC on FOX 1, and bout agreements are expected to be distributed shortly.
The two were first expected to fight at this past month's UFC Fight Night 25 event, but Johnson was forced to withdraw. Harvison instead faced Seth Baczynski and lost via submission.
Peralta vs. Semerzier, Bradley vs. Pierce, Lucas vs. Rosa added to UFC on FOX 1
A trio of new bouts has been added to UFC on FOX 1.
UFC brass today announced that Robert Peralta vs. Mackens Semerzier, Paul Bradley vs. Mike Pierce and Matt Lucas vs. Aaron Rosa will all take place at the Nov. 12 event in Anaheim, Calif.
UFC on FOX 1 features a heavyweight title fight between current champ Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior Dos Santos. The main event airs on FOX, but broadcast plans for the remainder of the contests have yet to be announced.
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.
* * * * *
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."