All posts by Steven Marrocco

Why the UFC? Why not kickboxing? UFC-Japan's Gokhan Saki says fans are 'going to be in shock'

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_V4hgsHip_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/V4hgsHip.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Why now?

That’s the most obvious question facing Gokhan Saki, who slugged it out for 15 years in the kickboxing ring against some of the world’s most decorated strikers. But now he make his UFC debut on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 117.

Saki, 33, built a reputation as a brick-tough competitor in K-1, and he once fought Overeem with a broken arm in the tournament final of the 2010 Grand Prix.

But it’s been two years since he’s stepped into the ring. The one time he stepped into an MMA cage, 13 years ago at an easily forgotten event in Liverpool, England, he was stopped in the first round.

Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) could return to kickboxing. So why give MMA another shot, much less in the biggest and toughest promotion in the world?

The easiest answer, of course, would be money. Kickboxing is no longer the powerhouse it was in the ’80s and ’90s. MMA is where the real money can be made. But to Saki, it’s a story about age and fulfillment.

“If you asked me 10 years ago why not MMA, it wasn’t the time,” Saki, who faces light heavyweight Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) on the FXX-televised main card of Friday’s event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, told MMAjunkie. “I was still hungry to beat people up in kickboxing. That time, there were still big challenges in kickboxing, which I didn’t have for two years. I decided to stop kickboxing because I wasn’t hungry any more to train and to fight, because there was nobody like in the old times with K-1. So I stopped for two-and-a-half years.”

Stripped of the Glory light-heavyweight title for inactivity, Saki said he tried to reboot his life by focusing on other activities. But eventually, the tug to fight became to great to ignore.

“One year ago, there was an empty place in my heart; like, I fought for 20 years and I won the title, and I stopped,” he said. “(It was) in my prime. It was not the right time to stop, because I was 30 years old, and I won the title, but didn’t defend it, and also because of a couple of issues with the organization.

“I stopped for two years, and I felt an emptiness (in my heart), and I came back on a bigger stage, the biggest martial arts organization in the world, the UFC, with a lot of challenge for me. I am hungry again, and it’s time to open a new book and finish my career in the right way.”

How long will this chapter last? Saki can only speculate. A run at the title might satisfy his desire to compete at the highest level. Or it could teach him that his desire isn’t enough to match the demands of learning an entirely new set of skills. Most fighters at Saki’s age are thinking more about the end of their careers than the beginning.

But Saki has always been a fighter with a terrifying amount of heart. And to him, training in MMA has renewed his passion for beating people up.

“In my mind, it’s like I’m 11 or 12 years old again, learning things very fast again,” he said. “I’m ready to fight for four or five years more.”

As long as Saki’s journey has been, many fans who tune in Friday will get their first look at his style. If he can promise one thing about his new foray, it’s that nothing has changed about the way he fights.

“I am a striker, and they try to be a striker,” he said. “I’m 100 percent sure I’m going to bring new things to MMA. My style is kickboxing, but my style is special. Why? I can fight everybody. I can fight Thai style. I can fight with a lot of footwork. I can fight big guys.

“So for every fight, I have a different game plan. I train 20 different systems. Because of that, my style became special. Explosive. Hard. This is what people want to see. I’m sure, they’re not used to this. They’re going to be in shock.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Darren Till unloads on Brendan Schaub for criticizing UFC headliner vs. Donald Cerrone

UFC welterweight Darren Till has a lot of people to prove wrong.

Till (15-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC) is on the verge of the biggest fight of his UFC career and already he’s on the defensive. Although he professes not to care what social media says about his UFC Fight Night 118 headliner against Donald Cerrone (32-9 MMA, 19-6 UFC), Till is awfully fired up at those who question it.

“You’ve got people like Brendan Schaub … saying he doesn’t know me, he’s disrespecting me and whatever, saying ‘Cowboy’ shouldn’t be taking this fight, but why shouldn’t I be taking the fight? Let’s get it straight, I’m unbeaten here,” Till said on the “Obviously Fight Talk” podcast. “I’m unbeaten. Nobody’s been able to beat me.

“So what do I do? Do I just stay on the prelims, do I? Fighting no one. Can’t I move up? Is this what the world’s come to? I can’t move up? I can’t fight these big guys? Is this what it is? A big gap? I’ll (expletive) show them what’s going to be a big gap on fight night when I crack him on the chin.”

Schaub, a former UFC heavyweight and co-host of “The Fighter and the Kid” podcast, indicated Cerrone should be a bit more selective about matchups, taking on marquee fighters to rebuild toward a title shot. Cerrone, one of the most active combatants the UFC has ever seen, has lost two straight fights at welterweight, where he hoped to win a title after falling short on multiple occasions at lightweight.

Schaub might not have meant to disrespect Till, who’s 3-0-1 in the octagon and recently outpointed Bojan Velickovic in an impressive performance. Till took it that way nonetheless.

“They can say what they want,” Till said. “At the end of the day, if ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone came into Muay Thai we’d consider him an amateur. So what does that say? He wouldn’t be considered no top-level striker in Muay Thai, let me tell you that right now. So what’s the difference? He’s a lightweight.

“I just don’t see how he’s going to take me down. He is a black belt, a respected black belt, but I don’t see him tapping me. And, you know, on the feet I just don’t see what he’s going to do to me. I don’t see where he can bother me. I just don’t see it.”

Before he entered the UFC, Cerrone was, in fact, a professional kickboxer. Although accurate records are almost impossible to come by, his advertised kickboxing record was 28-0-1. He also won titles as an amateur and professional.

When he transitioned to MMA, Cerrone showed he was not just a striker. His first seven wins were either the result of armbars or triangle chokes. But Till wouldn’t be the first to underestimate his opponent, no matter how many times Cerrone has snuck in a fight-ending punch, kick, or submission.

“There’s no disrespect between me and Donald,” he said. “I just want to beat him up. I just want to batter him. That’s what I want to do, and he wants to do the same to me. But just because he doesn’t know me I’m going to get all disrespectful?

“Listen, I don’t care what people say, I don’t care about social media. None of that gets to me. I do look at it, and I do laugh. I just don’t give a (expletive) what anyone says. I really don’t.”

It certainly sounds like the opposite. But leave Till to prove none of that matters when they step into the cage.

“I’ll be going in to take his chin clean off. So, you know, let these people talk, let Brendan Schaub go on his podcast and talk,” Till said. “Hasn’t he got better things to talk about? He should be worrying about the (expletive) 10 knockouts he’s had in his career.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/3uEZgtYD4EB7c89JEwdiW4/273315”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Till def. Velickovic”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Return of 'The Natural Born Killer': Carlos Condit lobbies for UFC fight in December or January

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/QwSR7SGfgVkwDkvw2truGB/273305”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Carlos Condit”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

There was a time not long ago when many thought former interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit was done fighting.

But today, Condit (30-10 MMA, 7-6 UFC) emerged on Twitter to ask UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby for a fight.

“Yo! @seanshelby,” Condit wrote. “What’s up big guy…? I’m wanting to fight in December or January… what say you!?”

Condit, 33, last was seen in the octagon 13 months ago at UFC on FOX 21. He hoped to get back into title contention with a win over Demain Maia. Instead, he wound up tapping to the Brazilian submission ace.

The loss left Condit 2-5 in his past seven appearances, with two of his setbacks coming in title bouts. Condit had already pondered retirement after falling short against champ Robbie Lawler in a nail-biter at UFC 195.

After the Maia loss, Condit wondered if he had what it took to compete at the highest level. But he shied away from making any definitive statements about his future. Then Condit retreated from the spotlight and mostly kept quiet about his life. Speculation about a career as a personal trainer was stoked by a post on social media.

Now, it appears “The Natural Born Killer” is ready to get back in the mix. And his return comes at an interesting time.

Three years ago, Condit took on current champion Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) in a bout with title implications. After getting rocked in the first round, Condit suffered a knee injury that prematurely ended the fight.

Undoubtedly, Condit eyes a shot at UFC gold so he can rematch Woodley. The question now is who will welcome him back to the octagon.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch Roy Nelson tussle with wing chun dummy ahead of Bellator 183

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_oB2rH3FI_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/oB2rH3FI.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: Bellator, News

Veteran MMA heavyweight Roy Nelson is known for three things: his beard, his belly, and his overhand right.

His appearance distinguished him from the tatted, mohawked fighters typically seen in the cage. But his striking ability turned him into one of the sport’s most improbable stars – a guy who looked like he stepped off a bar stool and still could beat some of the world’s toughest fighters.

Before he fights, Nelson (22-14 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is announced as a “kung fu fighter,” which seems more like a nod to his sardonic personality than a serious affiliation. In the cage, not much of his fighting technique resembles the ancient martial art. That overhand right is just at home outside a bar as inside a dojo.

But the new Bellator heavyweight is serious about his roots, or so he proclaims in a new video promoting his promotional debut, which comes against Jay Ayala (10-5 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) at Bellator 183, which takes place Saturday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., and airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

“The one thing that drew me to kung fu was the history and the lineage,” Nelson said.

Even if traditional martial arts techniques aren’t apparent when Nelson gloves ups, they represent a foundation on which he built a career in MMA. Nelson’s former kung fu teacher, Steven Baugh, said his student simply got frustrated with the limited rule sets in tournaments. He wasn’t a perfect fit for point fighting.

“I remember getting disqualified in the regular team sparring because I drew blood,” Nelson said.

Thankfully for him, blood is a plus in his chosen career. And Nelson has drawn plenty of it while slugging it out. On many occasions, his technique hasn’t been enough to overcome highly seasoned strikers. But it keeps him employed with major promoters who like to see him light up a crowd.

Between his belly and his brawling, he always seems to make that happen. Check out the above video to watch Nelson visit his old kung fu studio.

And for more on Bellator 183, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/8GKauFKLcd276qwgodsAjW/273218”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Roy Nelson”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 216's extended preview gives origin story on Lee-Ferguson beef, ignores UFC 215 shuffle

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_kX1XF89z_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/feeds/kX1XF89z.json”,”ph”:2}
);

Filed under: News, UFC

The way Kevin Lee sees it, destiny placed him opposite Tony Ferguson.

“Me and Tony were bound to fight, whether it was going to be headlining at T-Mobile Arena for a world championship, or if it was going to be in my backyard,” Lee said in an extended preview for UFC 216.

Of course, destiny got a bump from Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC). The undefeated Dagestani fighter was ruled out of a fourth potential booking with heated rival Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC), paving the way for Lee’s (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) shot at the UFC interim lightweight title on Oct. 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

However the pay-per-view headliner and title fight arrived, it’s a pivotal moment for Lee as he tries to reshape the 155-pound division with an upset win over Ferguson, the more well-established threat and two-time challenger for the stand-in strap to Conor McGregor’s undisputed belt.

“‘El Coo-Coo’ going night-night,’” Lee joked of Ferguson’s nickname, “El Cucuy,” before adding in Spanish, “Oct. 7 is the day of the dead.”

Ferguson isn’t driven by the same fervor in his second chance at the interim belt. Although he sees a tough fighter in Lee, he doesn’t see a challenge above his abilities. He’s more concerned that his opponent shows up.

When Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw from an interim title bout just one week prior to UFC 209, scratching a third booking, Ferguson worried about the financial implications of a fight cancellation.

So in between all the usual proclamations of dominance that would be on display in the PPV headliner, Ferguson included a directive to Lee: “Make weight. Show up.”

Thankfully for Ferguson, Lee is not known to struggle at the scale. That worry gets reserved for UFC 216’s co-headliner, a flyweight rebooking between longtime champ Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) and challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

The UFC was left in the lurch when Borg came down with a viral illness and was forced to withdraw from UFC 215 earlier this month. It was a head-slapping moment considering Johnson turned down a fight with ex-bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw in favor of Borg, touching off a highly publicized spat with the promotion.

Johnson, too, wondered whether he’d get paid. Thankfully, the promotion rewrote his contract and immediately rebooked him for UFC 216, setting up a second chance for “Mighty” to earn his 11th title defense and break the record long held by former middleweight champ Anderson Silva.

Curiously, the extended preview for UFC 216 makes no mention of the saga that brought Johnson and Borg together for the Oct. 7 event. Borg is recast as the upstart challenger, ever eager to prove he’s no flyover on Johnson’s trip to the record books. Johnson is a man on a mission to make history. It seems everyone would rather forget it happened.

“This is definitely uncharted territory for any champion out there, and I’m glad I can be the first person to make that walk, and hopefully, I can be successful,” Johnson said.

Given the rocky roads they’ve navigated in the past year, it’s an accomplishment just to make that walk without interference.

For more on UFC 216, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/BZmaANcyDjkNFoqU9L5v2d/273185”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Tony Ferguson”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Refusing to pile on Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier urges fans to lay off criticism for failed drug test

Daniel Cormier is now going to bat for Jon Jones.

The newly minted UFC light heavyweight champion today thanked fans for their support and urged them not to beat up on Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC), who was stripped of the belt after confirmation of his failed drug test at UFC 214.

“I have never felt so much love,” Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) wrote today on his Instagram account. “It’s crazy because this all happened when I lost. Guys now I call upon you to take a breathe, lay off of Jones. Let him and his team figure out what’s going on and what happened.

“I was down and some may have kicked me but the majority of you showed compassion and love. After the fight Jones showed compassion, regardless of what has happened as humans we must show compassion. Jon is not on this ride alone, remember this man has a family. Let’s respect that. You don’t show ur support for me by hurting others.”

Instagram Photo

After knocking out Cormier in the third round of UFC 214’s headliner, Jones seemed to turn over a new leaf with his longtime rival. He didn’t exit the fight with an obscene gesture or mock Cormier’s tears. Instead, he thanked Cormier for being his biggest foil and motivator.

“He has been a model champion, a model husband, a model father, a teammate, a leader, and I aspire to be a lot more like that man,” Jones said moments after his win. “Unfortunately we were opponents, but outside of that, he is a true champion for the rest of his life.”

That was before both of their lives were completely upended – again – by another Jones failed drug test.

Reeling from his sudden reversal of fortune, Cormier said Jones’ UFC 214 positive was “very emotional” and said he didn’t know what to think anymore about Jones.

“I can’t believe we are going through all of this again,” he said in a prepared statement. “We will see what happens next.”

When the UFC decided to strip Jones of the belt, however, Cormier struck a more critical tone, defending the promotion’s move. He also admitted money was a factor in accepting the belt.

“People will say stuff like, ‘Well, you got handed the belt,’” Cormier said. “He cheated, and the reality is, for me to say I don’t want this title when I was going to be in championship fight anyways, financially it’s just a big difference if I don’t fight as the champion as opposed to fighting for a vacant title. I’m taking the belt.”

Now, Cormier is taking the high road as Jones prepares to mount another defense for why he failed his second USADA drug test. As Jones’ prominent anti-doping attorney Howard Jacobs has indicated, the ex-champ didn’t knowingly ingest any banned substances for UFC 214. It’s the same argument from a failed test at UFC 200, which ultimately led to a one-year suspension.

This time, Jones will need a pretty good defense to keep him from a potential four-year ban from USADA.

Whatever the ultimate verdict, Cormier wants his followers to respect Jones.

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_yeD4cHkI_RbnemIYZ_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/jw6/yeD4cHkI.xml”}
);

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Give a (expletive)? Tickets for UFC 217 on sale today

When UFC President Dana White is your social media manager, don’t expect Madison Avenue messaging.

White today announced UFC 217 tickets on sale in the way that only Dana White can, adding a special caption to the poster the Nov. 4 pay-per-view.

“For those of u who give a (expletive)….. tickets for UFC at MSG go on sale today,” White wrote.

He might not sound like it, but White hopes fans do give one. It’s the UFC’s much-anticipated return to Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the promotion is coming in hot with the return of former UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC). “Rush” adds 15 pounds to his usual frame to take on perennial heel and middleweight champ Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC).

Adding star power to the card are a pair of title fights. Bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) defends against longtime rival T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC), and women’s strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) attempting to tie ex-champ Ronda Rousey’s title defense record at six in a bout against Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC). It’s quite rare the UFC brings three title fights in one night.

Tickets went on sale at 7 a.m. today, and as of 1:30 ET, the buy in was $306 on Ticketmaster with a pair of front-row seats going for $6,512.

Of course, there’s still two months until the event. If prices perform anything like they did for “The Money Fight,” there could be discounts to be had.

So buy them or don’t, you goofs.

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Blue Corner, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

ONE Championship's Ben Askren eyes matchmaking job – but first, a successful finale

When longtime ONE Championship welterweight champion Ben Askren signed a contract extension with the Asia-based promotion at the end of 2015, he told his friends and family it would be his last.

By the end of 2017, his fighting days will be over.

Now just two months away from his final trip to the cage, Askren is trying to write the perfect ending – a professional MMA career of 18-0 – and set up his future.

“You have to be accepting of everything you’ve accomplished up to that point and accept that there’s a time to retire and move on to other pursuits in my life,” Askren (18-0) told MMAjunkie during a conference call in support of his career-ending fight against Shinya Aoki (39-7) at “ONE: Immortal Pursuit,” which takes place Nov. 24 at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Askren, a two-time NCAA wrestling champ and former Bellator titleholder, doesn’t plan to stray too far from his core competency. He will coach wrestlers at his academy in Wisconsin. He expects to go to work for his promoter, first as a matchmaker and then as a marketer and manager.

“I’m excited and eager to jump at any task they throw my way,” Askren said. “But first and foremost, I’ve got to finish my career right.”

Askren didn’t feel as certain about his expiration date at 30, one month before he won the ONE title. At 33, though, he has no doubt his decision to step away from the cage is the right one. The physical demands no longer provide much allure.

“I used to love going in the gym every single day,” he said. “I used to be passionate about it. I couldn’t wait. There was nothing I was more excited for. And now, I frickin’ hate it.

“I’m disciplined enough to still do it. I’m disciplined to get up two times a day and go to the gym every day and not miss a workout. But I don’t like it any more. So I know it’s my time.”

Askren didn’t want to become another athlete who’d hung on too long, particularly in a sport where that choice could lead to serious injury. Plus, he wants to be a better parent and husband, and he can’t do that if he’s training and fighting full-time.

“I’m taking time out of those things, which I thoroughly enjoy, to be selfish about my own training and making sure I’m the best I can be,” he said.

One month after his final fight in Singapore, he’ll welcome his third child. Being the world’s best dad will be right next to being the world’s best MMA executive on his list of post-career goals.

A behind-the-scenes role is not entirely new for Askren. When he couldn’t find an opponent to compete against for his professional debut in 2009, he and a few buddies decided to start their own MMA promotion, Headhunter Productions. At a Holiday Inn a stone’s throw from his alma mater at the University of Missouri, he stopped his opponent in less than 2 minutes. Another Mizzou alum and Askren teammate made his debut that night: Tyron Woodley.

ONE Championship, which boasts a broadcast reach of one billion potential viewers, is obviously on a much bigger scale. But Askren expects his hard work will shorten his learning curve.

“Whatever I’ve taken to, I’ve had success at,” Askren said. “And I think it’s because I’m so disciplined and determined in what I do.”

For more on ONE Championship 65, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 116's Mike Perry not so subtly accuses Thiago Alves of ducking

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_KTY5MqG9_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/jw6/KTY5MqG9.xml”}
);

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

PITTSBURGH – UFC welterweight Mike Perry is no stranger to last-minute fight withdrawals, though he can’t remember the last guy to do it before onetime title challenger Thiago Alves.

“Sometimes, I’ve got to watch what I say, because I scare these guys away,” Perry on Thursday told MMAjunkie after a workout. “I don’t know if I scared Thiago. I might have.

“They posted (my knockout of Jake Ellenberger) this week and said it was the ‘Knockout of the Week.’ He might have seen that and replayed it in his head.”

Perry is irritated at the opportunity lost by not getting to fight Alves, who challenged for the UFC’s welterweight title in 2009 and who withdrew from the FS1-televised co-headliner at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 for undisclosed reasons.

Perry (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) claims the matchup has been in the works on three separate occasions since Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC) called him out, only to see the fight evaporate.

With the latest scratch on short notice, Perry is “pissed.”

“(Alves) took away the recognition I was going to get for fighting him,” he said.

In Alves’ place goes first-time octagon combatant Alex Reyes (13-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who will step in on three days’ notice to face the fearsome Perry at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

“It’s a lose-lose for me,” Perry said. “I’m giving this guy every chance, and I’m getting almost nothing from it. But I’m here to fight, so I’m happy to have a fight.”

Granted, there are two silver linings he sees to the matchup. First, he gets paid. And second, he gets to halt a 13-fight streak built by Reyes on the regional circuit.

“He’s a black belt, and he must think that that’s good enough for him to come in here and exit this fight safely and out of harm’s way,” Perry said. “But you lock that door with me, man, you all know what to expect.”

Perry, of course, expects to come out with another highlight-reel knockout. But he hasn’t forgotten about Alves.

“If they called me and say, hey, we got this fight scheduled, call me short notice,” he said. “Call me short notice. I’ll just cut the weight and get in shape.

“The long time is what’s making me upset. The long time that I took to prepare for this. I wanted to see that preparation unfold. I’ll still see it unfold, but it won’t be the same.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/hGuZAhEQJkZccmcuvLLtnS/272231”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Mike Perry”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Valentina Shevchenko changes tune, targets drop to UFC women's flyweight division

if(typeof(jQuery)==”function”){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)};
jwplayer(‘jwplayer_wQV45jAf_FLu19iir_div’).setup(
{“playlist”:”http://content.jwplatform.com/jw6/wQV45jAf.xml”}
);

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

From the second she lost to UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 215, Valentina Shevchenko was asking for a rematch.

Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) blasted the judges who handed her a split-decision loss and even contemplated filing an appeal in lieu of a third fight with the Brazilian.

But after some time to simmer down, she appears to have had a change of heart. Rather than push for another shot at Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC), she’s targeting the newly opened flyweight class as her next conquest.

“Now I’m thinking to move to 125 (pounds), and I think more probably my next fight it will be in this division,” Shevchenko told Submission Radio on Thursday. “Because 125 is like much closer weight for me. It’s my real weight category, and even at 135 I feel comfortable, and I feel like 125 I will be able to use all my techniques and all my skills because I will fight with the same-sized opponents as me.”

The UFC formally opened the women’s 125-pound division earlier this year with “The Ultimate Fighter 26,” which debuted this past month and features 16 flyweight female fighters vying for the inaugural title belt.

Shevchenko had little incentive to move with 135-pound gold within her grasp. But now that she’s fallen short and dropped two fights to Nunes, she sees it as a more logical move than trying to get an immediate rematch or appeal the fight.

“I want to win my belt in a fair battle and to receive the belt from the fight, not only from legal situation or fighting like appeal or something like that,” she said. “And I know it will come; I will have my time. And will do everything great next time. So, I prefer to be the champion in the fight, not on the paper.”

The move to 125 pounds will be very familiar for the Russian. While competing in muay Thai, she fought as a flyweight and won several championships. One of her victims in the ring was none other than women’s strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

“Just a little bit of cutting, and it will be everything perfect,” Shevchenko said. “Because, in my Muay Thai fights, I was fighting every time at 125. The last year I was moving a little bit up in weight class, but it was 130. So I feel very comfortable at 125.

“And even at 125, we can have like opponents (that are) very tall, but of course it will be the same physical conditions – the same head, the same size arms and everything, the same like mine.”

Shevchenko hasn’t totally let go of a possible third fight with Nunes. She eventually plans to return to the bantamweight division to exact revenge.

“And for the next time, not give any chance to make this like this decision that was made a few days ago,” Shevchenko said. “Of course, it’s on my mind, and I still want it. Not right now, not in the near future, but definitely it will happen.”

Now, Shevchenko can start entertaining a matchup repeatedly posed to her by fans and journalists who were aware of her kickboxing past at flyweight.

“Every time when people ask me about Joanna, I say that, why not? Because we have our history, our era in fighting Muay Thai, and now we can start to do the same in MMA in the UFC,” she said.

For complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of MMAjunkie.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie