Dana White Contender Series 3 winner Karl Roberson wants early swim with 185-pound UFC sharks

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LAS VEGAS – As the closing act of a finish-filled Tuesday night, Dana White’s Contender Series 3 headliner Karl Roberson knew he needed to make a statement.

“(I thought) I’ve got to stand out,” Roberson said after the event, which streamed live on UFC Fight Pass from The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. “These guys are coming. I’m the last fight on the main card, so I’ve got to show off. Got to finish this guy. Early.”

Considering Roberson (5-0) needed only 15 seconds to dispatch light heavyweight Ryan Spann (10-5) with elbows, it’s safe to say he managed that just fine. And, other than a fifth victory on his unblemished professional record, the 26-year-old fighter earned a UFC contract for his efforts.

Roberson was one of two fighters who was offered a deal in the third week of the event series, which looks to scout UFC-level talent. After what was as close to a perfect night in the office for any up-and-coming MMA fighter, it’s easy to understand why Roberson would have a tough time articulating the full extent of his emotions.

“It’s going crazy; it’s all over the place,” Roberson said. “I’m so happy. Hard work really paid off. It feels so good that the grind actually pays off. The feeling is crazy. The feeling’s surreal. I’m just like not at in my body right now. I’m just looking down.”

The deal, however, is not going to come without some sacrifice. As UFC President Dana White told UFC Fight Pass reporter Laura Sanko after the show, he believes Roberson is undersized for the UFC’s 205-pound division. The feeling was also expressed by Roberson himself during a quick conversation after the announcement.

“First thing (White) asked was like, ‘How much do you weigh?’” Roberson said. “I’m like, 211. He was like, ‘So, you’ve been down to 185?’ Right then I knew, ‘OK, I’m not fighting at 205.’”

The prospect, however, isn’t too upset about that. First, he’s already made the 185-pound limit before. And, considering his friend Corey Anderson is an active fighter in the UFC’s light-heavyweight class, he’s happy to even avoid having that possible matchup in the mix.

“He (can) take over the 205; I take the 185,” Roberson said.

With that settled, Roberson is excited to get his UFC career going. And despite the fact he’s already fought three times this year, he’d like that to happen as soon – and as mercilessly – as possible.

“I’m ready to go; I don’t need to chill,” Roberson said. “I’m going right back into camp. You want me to go over to 185? I’ll go to 185 with anybody. I’d rather have somebody in the top 10, I want to hop right into the shark pit. I want someone hard. Let’s go.”

To hear more from Roberson, check out the video above.

And for more on Dana White’s Contender Series 3, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Despite win 11 days prior, Geoff Neal didn't hesitate taking UFC contract-winning DWCS fight

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LAS VEGAS – What do you do if you’re at work, only eight days removed from your last MMA fight, and you get a call from your coach to fight again in three days?

If you’re Geoff Neal, you say yes. You win. And you land a pretty sweet gig in the process.

Neal (8-2), who normally competes at welterweight, was one of two fighters who earned a UFC contract after Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 3 event, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. More impressive than taking the fight at 185 pounds on such short notice was the fact that he was able to finish Chase Waldon (11-3) the same way he dispatched Bilal Williams at LFA 16 just 11 days before: with a first-round TKO.

Neal knew that, more than a win, a career opportunity was on the line on Tuesday. So was there any hesitation to accept it?

“There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to take the fight,” Neal said. “I was at work, and my coach called me. He was like, ‘Hey, I got you a fight in the Contender Series on Tuesday.’ I left work right then and there. I told them, ‘I’m not going to be here this weekend. I’m gone.’ I didn’t care if they fired me or not.

“I was planning on coming here, getting the $10,000 and getting the UFC contract, and it happened.”

But don’t worry, everyone.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve got a job to go back to,” Neal said. “They love me there, so they’re not going to do that to me.”

Fighters who compete on the event series are not only fighting for a purse and a win on their records. After their displays, they have to sit around together and wait to see if UFC President Dana White deemed any of them worthy of a UFC contract.

Considering that a win – as impressive as it may have been – might not be enough to cut it, this can make for a somewhat nerve-wrecking experience. Neal, for one, thought he’d done enough to earn a contract. But he also thought Kyle Stewart – who knocked out Jason Jackson that night – could get it over him.

Still, he wasn’t all that fazed by the wait.

“It was like waiting to see if you’d get in trouble or not, like if your mom sends you in the corner,” Neal said. “There were no nerves in there. I was just happy that I won. It was a relief that I got all of this out of the way. Two fights within 12 days – happy about that.”

With a baby on the way, a two-fight winning streak and a UFC contract in hand, one would figure 26-year-old Neal is on cloud nine, right? Well, probably. But he might need a little extra time to fully process his emotions.

“I don’t feel anything right now,” Neal said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m actually in the UFC now. This has been my goal since I’ve started MMA, and now I’m here.”

To hear more from Neal on his career-changing win, check out the video above.

And for more on Dana White’s Contender Series 3, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Video: DWCS winner? Here's the agonizing, awkward backstage wait for your UFC-contract verdict

Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – So, you’ve gone out there and won a fight at a Dana White’s Contender Series event. Now what? As it turns out, the nervousness isn’t over.

Each Tuesday during the weekly UFC Fight Pass-streamed event series, five fights take place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas, and they feature UFC hopefuls – with both up-and-comers and vets hoping to hold on to the dream. However, not everyone is guaranteed a UFC contract, even with a victory.

On Tuesday, at Dana White’s Contender Series 3, five winners – Karl Roberson, Kyle Stewart, Geoff Neal, Alonzo Menifield and Dan Ige – gathered backstage to await their fate, and MMAjunkie was there to capture the anxiety-filled moments and eventual verdicts.

There’s quiet meditation, nervous laughter and some general chitchat as the Week 3 winners – all of whom won via stoppage – await for the arrival of UFC employee Heidi Dean, who ultimately shared the news that just two winners (Roberson and Neal) had earned UFC contracts.

Check out the sometimes-awkward backstage video footage above.

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 3, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

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