Alexander Gustafsson will wait for Daniel Cormier-Volkan Oezdemir winner, picks 'DC' to retain

Two-time UFC light heavyweight challenger Alexander Gustafsson will wait his turn for another shot at the belt.

“Daniel (Cormier) knows I’m here to stay, that I’m waiting for my rematch against him,” Gustafsson told Viaplay Fighting in a post on his official Facebook page. “I’m not in a hurry. I’ve had longer stretches between fights than this. I’ll be fine.”

Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) said he’ll be ready to face the winner of a likely fight between Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) and Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), which could take place in early 2018 with the champ taking time to recuperate from a busy 2017.

Although Gustafsson might not be in a rush, his desire to win UFC gold hasn’t waned.

“I want the belt,” he said. “I want a title fight. We’ll see if Volkan vs. Cormier gets confirmed. Then I’ll fight the winner and … I’m pretty sure I’ll fight ‘DC.’”

“The Mauler” pushed Cormier to the limit when they met two years ago at UFC 192, which marked Cormier’s first title defense after seizing the belt left vacant by Jon Jones’ out-of-cage troubles.

With Cormier the champ once again following Jones’ failed drug test, Gustafsson’s path to the title is clear. The Swedish star has been on a tear since his loss to Cormier, defeating Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira.

Gustafsson compared Oezdemir to Anthony Johnson, who lost a pair of bouts to Cormier.

“Volkan does have a puncher’s chance,” Gustafsson said. “He’s not someone you want to underestimate. He’s a power puncher. But ‘DC’ is the better fighter.

“(Cormier) can take a punch. He has the cardio. He is a better mixed martial artist than Volkan. So I see ‘DC’ winning the fight.”

Of course, as Gustafsson well knows, heavy-handed fighters can catch you. Johnson did just that when they met two years ago, bringing “Rumble” another title shot that ended in a bizarre fight and his retirement from MMA.

The difference between Gustafsson and Cormier, however, is their wrestling pedigrees. Cormier is a world-class grappler with the ability to take anyone down.

“He’s going to put him on his ass,” Gustafsson said of the champ. “He’ll take him down and dominate on the ground. Volkan is sort of like Anthony Johnson – a power puncher. We haven’t seen much of his ground game. And I think ‘DC’ will take him down.”

But if Oezdemir pulls off the upset, Gustafsson will happily take the fight. Then he would not only get the chance to win the title, but get some payback for his teammate Jimi Manuwa, who Oezdemir knocked out in his most recent fight.

“Styles make fights,” Gustafsson said of the potential matchup. “I want to beat ‘DC.’ I want to avenge my loss. Because of that, I want ‘DC’ to win. But if Volkan were to win, that’s fine with me. Then I’ll avenge Jimi.”

Whatever ends up happening, Gustafsson figures he’s got time to let it play out.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Daniel Cormier now targets 2018 for title defense against Volkan Oezdemir

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier expects to defend his title in early 2018, facing upstart Volkan Oezdemir in his first challenge since being re-crowned as the titleholder.

“I’m going to fight Volkan,” Cormier told MMAjunkie Radio during a recent in-studio appearance. “I went to the doctor, and he advised me to take the rest of the year off because I started to contemplate fighting at the end of the December.

“(I’ll fight him) beginning of next year sometime.”

Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) held an informal social media poll to determine the opponent fans wanted him to fight, and Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who’s stormed into the UFC with three straight wins and two high-profile knockouts, came out ahead.

A recent report claimed the matchup was on target for UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But Cormier is pumping the brakes to allow himself more time to recover from the past 12 months of his career.

The matchup will Cormier back in the cage after a tumultous summer that saw him lose the belt to Jon Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) via knockout, only to get it back after Jones failed a drug test for a steroid.

Jones’ case with the UFC’s anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, is currently in process, with the fighter’s team trying to uncover the source of the positive. The process could take several months, and both sides are expected to move to arbitration. Jones also is appealing a fine and suspension handed down by the California State Athletic Commission, which oversaw UFC 214.

Cormier struggled with his next move when the news of Jones’ drug failure went public. Initially, he expected a rematch as the embattled champ waited for the results of a confirmation test. After the initial findings were validated, however, he shifted gears and started to look toward the future.

A second loss to Jones left Cormier an emotional wreck in the weeks following UFC 214. But the positive test and subsequent overturning of his loss also made him question whether his reaction was justified, and it left him uncertain about how he felt about Jones, who took a gentlemanly turn after their rematch.

“Obviously, we should let due process play itself out and everything,” he said. “I worry about the human factor, because he is a father, too, and has a family. But there’s a part of me that’s still pissed off. Obviously, how do you not be pissed off when something like that happens and you feel like, ‘Man, did I really get a fair shake?’”

At the same time, Cormier can’t deny what happened in July when they met at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

“He won the fight,” Cormier said. “That’s me, the competitor. Fighters come up to me and say, ‘No, you didn’t (lose the belt).’ (UFC lightweight) Beneil Dariush was like, mad. He was like, ‘I’m so mad that you had to accept the belt back. That’s stupid. You never lost it if you didn’t get a fair shake.’ He’s like, ‘Why are you down on yourself?’ But everybody doesn’t look at competition like I do.

“For me, I lost the fight. I was there. July 29, he beat me. They can say whatever they want to say, but I lost. That’s just who I am.”

In the wake of Jones’ positive test, his second for a banned performance-enhancer and third for a banned substance, Cormier consulted experts who told him about the drug for which Jones was flagged. The information only left him more confused as to why a fighter with Jones’ gifts would take it – and upset they might have widened a gap between their competitive abilities.

“Talking to some of these guys, these things are so fast-acting, some of these drugs,” he said. “If that’s the case, it allows you to train longer and train harder. It sucks.

“Because at 38, I work hard. I do a lot. And it would feel good to wake up and not feel like death. Come Wednesday, I didn’t know you could be this sore. My ass is sore. When do you get sore in the butt cheek? It happens. If you feel like you have to do something like that, it’s unfortunate, because I don’t believe he needed to. I think he’s that good. But how do you say that?”

“I can’t jump off the side of the octagon like Anthony Pettis,” he later added. “I can’t do any of that stuff. I can try to take you down, and I can stand and strike with you, and I can grapple with you. I can’t do spinning back kicks and jump elbows. So to feel that you have to do something extra to beat me with what I bring to the table kind of sucks.”

Cormier also cites a number of stories released in the wake of his first fight with Jones at UFC 182 that question whether “Bones” may have doped given his abnormally low testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio, despite the fact he wasn’t flagged for an anti-doping violation.

“The T/E ratio was so jacked, it probably would have been flagged,” Cormier said. “That’s messed up. That’s something that really bugs me.”

But in the end, Cormier is resolved to move forward with his career and put the past behind him. He appreciates the fact Jones tried to turn over a new leaf in their relationship, which is why he can’t bring himself to completely condemn the now ex-champ. He is just saddened by the circumstances surrounding their second fight, and ready to turn over a new page of his own against Oezdemir.

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

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Daniel Cormier apologizes to Anthony Johnson: 'The reality is, I was wrong'

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It’s not exactly rare for a fighter to have some words with past or future opponents. Apologies, though, don’t come around that often.

So there’s something refreshing about UFC light-heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier’s willingness to admit he was wrong, during a recent MMAjunkie Radio appearance, in the way he went about former title challenger Anthony Johnson.

Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) and Johnson (22-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC) met twice in the octagon, at UFC 187 and UFC 210. Other than the fact both fights ended in rear-naked-choke submission wins by Cormier, they had in common somewhat respectful lead-ups. Things, however, turned sour recently – when Cormier took issue (via “Talk and Talker”) with Johnson’s possible return from retirement and buddy-buddy attitude with former 205-pound champ Jon Jones prior to the UFC 214 encounter between Cormier and Jones.

Johnson, who announced he was hanging up his gloves immediately after their UFC 210 encounter, didn’t take too kindly to being called “(expletive) soft” on Cormier’s podcast. So he responded to the “crybaby” champ on Facebook:

To which Cormier fired back. (via Twitter)

After speaking to other people, though, Cormier realized he was off base. While there’s a side of him that’s measured on his words and approach, Cormier said, there’s also the ultra competitive side, which comes out swinging when he feels disrespected in any way.

That, the champ explained, is what we got in this whole Johnson ordeal. But that doesn’t make it right.

“After Rumble put that post up, I tweeted him,” Cormier told MMAjunkie Radio. “But then I texted him. Because I was mad. Like, ‘I’m mad. I want to fight.’ The reality is, I texted him, and I said some things that weren’t very cool. But then I was talking to somebody that means a lot to me and they said, ‘Why are you so mad? You started it. You said stuff. And you’re mad at him.’

“So the reality is, I was wrong. I should not have called him soft. But I thought that I didn’t like the action, but why do I expect so much out of him? Why do I expect him to not be able to be respectful and still compete at the highest level of the sport?

“So I walk it back a little bit. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have said anything about him being soft. Everybody does not have to view competition like I do. And I think that’s why – if he wants to be friends with (Jones) and be nice and cordial, then fine. What does that matter to me?”

In his post, Johnson joked about the lack of logic in Cormier’s thinking that he could have given Jones any advice on how to beat him; after all, Cormier did beat Johnson twice. And Cormier, now, agrees.

Mostly, though, Cormier said he was peeved by seeing his two two-time opponents hugging and being playful with each other – simply because that’s something that he wouldn’t do due to his competitive nature. But he, with a hand from his wife, also realizes that not everyone has to go about things the same way he does.

“I was wrong,” Cormier said. “It took me talking to Ali Abdelaziz (Johnson’s manager) of all people. Ali was like, ‘You guys are like – what the hell?’ He was right. But I talked to somebody last night. And my wife, she goes, ‘I get it. You’re a man. You’re from Louisiana. You don’t like to be disrespected. So when you feel a challenge, you go at it head-on.’

“But she goes, ‘You were wrong. You didn’t have to say that about him in the first place. What was the point? You won both fights.’ But, again, it’s just me looking at competition a certain way. And I guess just expecting people to do it too. And it really doesn’t have to be that way.”

Cormier’s issue with Johnson, however, wasn’t only with the Jones situation – but rather with the former challenger’s quite unexpected announcement that he would be leaving MMA to pursue other endeavors after the loss to Cormier. Which, again, the champ now sees is not his place to judge.

“I think the bigger issue for me was just not even the thing with Jones; it was like, ‘Man, I wish you would have just thought about it a little more before he made that decision,’” Cormier said. “Look, I said it before: I hope he comes back. Because he should be fighting. He’s that good. But it was just so quick.

“It just seemed like he should have taken a little more time in regards to making that decision, but who am I to pick when he retires? I’ve just got a different way of viewing stuff, man. I guess that’s why I am who I am.”

While Johnson has yet to formally announce anything on that end, his manager recently told “The MMA Hour” that a comeback was being discussed – this time, at heavyweight. Cormier, on his end, thinks a “Rumble” comeback is imminent. And he wants to make amends.

“I do believe he’ll fight again,” Cormier said. “So I’ve got to talk to ‘Rumble.’ I need to talk to ‘Rumble’ and try to either apologize or make it right in some way, shape or form.”

It’s unclear whether Cormier has since reached out directly to Johnson. But, in the meantime, the champ used the MMAjunkie Radio stage to get his message out there.

“The reality is, I was wrong,” Cormier said. “Not everybody should view competition like I do. So to Anthony Johnson, I apologize. I should not have said that. I should not have said that. I should not have said that. And because I said it, I have to truly expect him to respond. And he did.

“And because he responded, I should not try to fight him in the streets of Las Vegas. I’ve got to be better than that.”

To hear from Cormier, check out the video above.

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

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2538 with guests Daniel Cormier, Urijah Faber

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Daniel Cormier and Urijah Faber.

Cormier co-hosted most of the show and covered topics that included rival light heavyweights Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson. Faber said he’s happy in retirement, but could be swayed to come back with the right matchup and pay day – even though he’s not actively looking for it.

You can stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com or below.

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

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Daniel Cormier (in studio) and Urijah Faber

Filed under: News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Daniel Cormier, who’s in studio, and Urijah Faber.

Cormier, the reigning UFC light-heavyweight champion, is our in-studio guest host. UFC Hall of Famer Faber helps us preview UFC 216.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Daniel Cormier names Volkan Oezdemir as next title challenger

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So much for due process.

Newly re-crowned light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) is moving on from Jon Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) and lining up his next fight. Apparently, he’s cutting out the UFC’s matchmaking middlemen too.

Cormier announced today that he’s conducted a poll, and the surging Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is the opponent fans want to see (via Twitter):

In theory, Cormier’s schedule would be held up by the resolution of his saga with Jones. The now-former champ has yet to resolve his case with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, and the California State Athletic Commission, which overturned his knockout win over Cormier at UFC 214 when a failed steroid test was confirmed.

Cormier urged fans to give Jones due process, and even told them to let up after his “B” sample delivered bad news. But with the ex-champ facing a potential four-year ban, he’s shifting focus to his second reign as champion.

That’s where Oezdemir, who’s No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, comes in. The Swiss striking phenom has burst onto the scene at 205 pounds, knocking out top contenders Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa to get into the title mix. After knocking out Manuwa at UFC 214, he called for a title shot.

Before Jones, who’s still ranked No. 1, popped positive, Oezdemir called out two-time title challenger and No. 5-ranked Alexander Gustafsson to “increase the value of the next title shot” and decide the “real king of Europe.” After a knockout of onetime title challenger Glover Teixeira in May, Gustafsson was the most credible threat to Oezdemir’s No. 1 contender’s spot.

Now, it’s a whole new world. But here’s the thing about those UFC middlemen: They have to send the bout contracts that make your poll official. We’ll see if No. 2-ranked Cormier gets one.

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

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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.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter Mailbag: Is this too high a price to pay for a clean(er) UFC?

The UFC’s anti-doping program can be a bummer for fans, but does that mean we’d be better off without it? Plus, did we all get what we deserved, in one way or another, with the main event scratch at UFC 215?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

Those are all pretty frustrating, though when you group them together like that it does make the “money fight” phenomenon seem a lot less annoying, because at least that one results in a fight.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency thing is a different matter. With some of the recent suspensions, I think a lot of people have started to wonder just how clean they really need this sport to be. We don’t want to feel like every main event is a glorified science experiment, but would that be better than no main events at all?

Plus, people are starting to wonder whether USADA is really catching dopers and cheats, or just a bunch of careless supplement shoppers. Of course, then we’d have to ask ourselves why it is that MMA fighters seem so prone to accidentally ingesting steroids, when other sports don’t seem to have the same problem, or at least not this often.

It really comes down to a simple question: Do we care about fighters doping or not? If we do, then I’m not sure we really want to complain that USADA is doing too good a job at catching them. Whatever you think of how that turinabol got in Jon Jones’ system, the positive B sample tells us that it was there. Until there’s a test developed that can tell us if someone actually meant to cheat, we have to accept that result and move on.

Unless you’re in the camp that says we shouldn’t care about doping. And, honestly, I can see how some people might be feeling that way right now. Wouldn’t it be more fun for fans if a bunch of awesomely doped-up fighters smashed each other with all manner of spinning stuff well into their forties?

And, yeah, that would probably be fun to watch, at least as long as you could ignore the human costs associated with it. A sport where doping is allowed will quickly become a sport where doping is required. Some drugs might speed your recovery time from nagging injuries, but they won’t do a thing to protect your brain from the consequences of all this trauma.

That’s exactly what has happened in the hours since you asked this question, although it wasn’t necessarily an automatic move. The outcome of the fight is handled by the commission, but the belt is the UFC’s. The promotion can do what it likes with it, as California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster confirmed when I spoke to him last week.

The options here were limited. Either you give the light heavyweight belt back to Daniel Cormier, or you leave it vacant until someone can officially win it.

But does Cormier feel like the champ? Maybe, if you can convince yourself that Jones only beat him (both times) with some help from performance-enhancing drugs. If you’re more willing to buy any combination of tainted supplement defenses, it gets a little tougher.

The real problem for Cormier’s title legitimacy is that there’s almost nothing he can realistically do about it. He’s already beaten most of the other top 205-pounders, so any victory over a light heavyweight not named Jon Jones will just feel like rehashing old arguments rather proving something new. That’s a tough spot to be in, especially when you’re the one who didn’t do anything wrong.

Ha, good one. As if Dana White could “make” Conor McGregor do anything he doesn’t want to do right now.

via GIPHY

Seems like Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg is slated for UFC 216 now, assuming Borg can steer clear of viral illnesses in the meantime. If that holds, it’ll mean the top three bouts look like this:

  • Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee
  • Johnson vs. Borg
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Fabricio Werdum

I don’t know about you, but that’s enough for me. Now we just have to hope all those fights are still on the card come Oct. 7.

It’s tricky, because one of the first questions we have to ask is who would issue the ban.

The penalties under the UFC’s current anti-doping program are pretty stiff, with suspensions potentially doubling after each offense. But if the ban came from USADA and the UFC, then the UFC would pretty much have to release the fighter from his contract. If that happened with someone like Jones, you know Bellator would be blowing up his phone trying to cut a deal.

Even if a lifetime ban came from an athletic commission and made it impossible to get a license, that wouldn’t stop someone like Jones from ending up in Tokyo on New Year’s Eve, fighting a sumo wrestler in a one-night tournament (and the wind whispered: “Baruto…”).

Try, for a moment, to imagine that as a bad thing rather than a good one.

If you’re referring to this explanation, it leaves a little to be desired. Amanda Nunes repeatedly extended the fingers of her outstretched hand while fighting Valentina Shevchenko. John McCarthy would warn her, she’d stop for a little while, then she’d do it again.

I can see how someone might argue that as long as there’s no problem as long as there’s no actual eye poke, but that seems flawed to me. If you’re standing there with your fingers outstretched in the general region of my face, I have to weigh the possibility of getting poked when I consider coming forward.

And if I do get my retinas jabbed, hey, you might lose a point, but I might lose full vision for a few minutes or more. That could be enough of an advantage for you that the penalty on the scorecards doesn’t matter.

Maybe a little, but close fights always seem to bring out the worst in us. Georges St-Pierre was super popular when he won that decision over Johny Hendricks in his last UFC fight, and still we had to watch Dana White’s head change colors as he called for the governor of Nevada to look into the state athletic commission.

Shevchenko can be mad if she wants, but if she’s watched this sport for any length of time I don’t see how she can be surprised. She spent most of the fight trying to counter with her back nearly touching the fence. I’m not saying you can’t win a decision that way, but you can just as easily lose one if you don’t make it super clear that you’re the one doing the damage.

Francis Ngannou. He’s a heavyweight, and fans love the big guys. He’s also relatively young (31), so you could still get some mileage out of him. Plus he’s never lost in the UFC, so Dana White can’t claim that he’s on the way down and Bellator’s only reviving the rejects.

Ngannou is a huge dude who puts people away and dresses like a particularly rad Bond villain. If properly hyped, you could do a lot with a guy like that.

What, you didn’t hear? It was a “viral illness.” Nothing at all to do with the weight cut. It just so happened to hit him as he was cutting weight, which is itself a process that hasn’t gone well for him recently. What a coincidence.

People have jumped on this turn of events as proof that Johnson should have fought T.J. Dillashaw instead. What they forget is that Dillashaw has never made 125 pounds in the UFC, whereas Borg has at least proven that he can do it some of the time.

Also, let’s not forget that Johnson was willing to take the fight if the UFC would give him certain financial guarantees in the event that Dillashaw didn’t make the weight. That’s probably because Johnson was smart enough to anticipate a situation just like this, where he trains but doesn’t get paid, and now has to do it all over again a month from now.

My prediction for this one was that we’d all complain until the fight got closer, in part because it feels like we’ve been hearing about this fight for years now, but once fight time arrived we’d get at least a little bit hyped. I still think that’s what will happen, and you’re right that the complete lack of other big fights on the horizon has a lot to do with it.

Is this a kind of silly fight? Yes. Are there much better things that the middleweight champ could be doing, now that we have a wealth of middleweight contenders? Absolutely. Does that mean I’ll sit out the return of GSP? Not on your life.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Daniel Cormier: Jon Jones' failed test for steroids 'a death sentence'

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Daniel Cormier has been down this road before with Jon Jones.

Still, the fact that Cormier is dealing with Jones failing another drug test in connection with one of their fights?

“I think it’s crazy,” Jones said Wednesday on FS1’s “UFC Tonight.” “It’s one of the craziest things.”

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) originally was flagged for a potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency violation Aug. 22 after it was revealed he failed an in-competition at the weigh-ins for his UFC 214 title win over Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC). On Tuesday, USADA announced that Jones’ B sample also came back positive for metabolites of the steroid turinabol.

With that information, the California State Athletic Commission, which regulated the July 29 headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., overturned the result to a no-contest on Wednesday. And the UFC, in turn, responded by stripping Jones of the light heavyweight belt and reinstated Cormier as champion, a decision Cormier believes was “the right thing to do.”

So, what’s next for Jones? The now-former champion is entitled to due process just like anyone else. But considering this is Jones’ third failed drug test in connection with one of their fights (including his cocaine infraction), Cormier wonders why the phrase “due process” is even being thrown around.

“USADA is being very straight line, saying ‘due process.’ But the reality is you can’t fail a drug test,” Cormier said. “You can pass a hundred tests; you cannot fail one. And they’re saying we have to wait for the due process, but what are we waiting for? … You cannot test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. It’s unfair. I’m very upset about it.”

That certainly is an understandable sentiment coming Cormier. Also understandable is the likelihood that Jones is headed for arbitration with USADA in an attempt to clear his name.

For his failed test last year at UFC 200, Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. The defense sort of held up as USADA stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension.

If found guilty this time, Jones faces up to a four-year ban. At age 30, that figures to potentially end his career, which is why Cormier knows Jones will defend himself to the end.

“He has to fight this. This is a death sentence,” Cormier said. “If this does what it says it can be, it’s a death sentence.”

But, again, Cormier can’t see how Jones explains his way out of this one and doesn’t believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

“This is a very expensive drug, something that could not be easily found in a supplement,” Cormier said. “I’ve been in the USADA program for 12 years. I’ve never had these issues. If it was a mistake the first time, you’ve got to be more careful. Especially with all the scrutiny that was on him coming back from a suspension, you’ve got to be cautious and careful. To expect people to understand anymore is just ridiculous.”

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Jon Jones stripped, Daniel Cormier reinstated as champion after UFC 214 result overturned

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Jon Jones has been stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title for the third time in his career.

The news was announced today on FS1’s “UFC Tonight” by long-time rival Daniel Cormier, whose knockout loss to Jones at UFC 214 was declared a no-contest by the California State Athletic Commission.

After Jones was first flagged for the banned steroid turinabol, UFC President Dana White said he would crown Cormier the new champion if Jones was suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. But with Jones’ initial failure confirmed by a positive B sample, the promotion made that decision sooner.

“Dana White called me today, and he said if it’s a no-contest then the fight didn’t happen,” Cormier said. “He says, ‘One of you guys would’ve missed weight, and he would’ve won the fight, you still would’ve kept the belt.’ He said, ‘Because of that, the championship is getting returned to you. The fight is a no-contest. If he cheated, he could not have fought and cheated and still won the fight.’ So, once again, I’m the UFC champion.

“Now, people will say stuff like, ‘Well, you got handed the belt.’ 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.”

Denise White, Jones’ public relations representative, did not initially respond to a request for comment. The UFC also sent MMAjunkie a prepared statement confirming the decision to strip Jones.

“UFC was informed Wednesday that the result of the UFC 214 bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier on July 29 was overturned by the California State Athletic Commission,” read the statement. “The ruling changes the Jones ‘win’ to a ‘no contest’ following a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected after Jones’ weigh-in on July 28, 2017.

“As this was a title bout, Cormier will be reinstated as UFC light heavyweight champion.”

Jones also faces a possible four-year suspension from USADA and additional punishment from the CSAC, which regulated the July 29 pay-per-view event. His team has indicated he will appeal the positive tests, arguing they were the result of a contaminated supplement.

If Jones goes to arbitration, his case could play out over several months.

Cormier defended the UFC’s decision to reinstate him as champ and had pointed criticism for Jones, whom he’s previously accused of knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.

“He disqualified himself by taking a steroid before the fight,” Cormier said. “So it didn’t happen. I get the belt back, which is the right thing to do. And I’m not only saying that because it’s me. It’s the right thing to do. You don’t cheat the sports, you don’t cheat the fans, you don’t cheat me. You have all the physical advantages, sir. You’re 30 years old, you’re 6-4, you have 85-inch reach. … It’s an unfortunate situation. We had one of the biggest fights of the year, and once again this guy has made a mockery of the sport.”

Jones was first stripped of the title after a hit-and-run accident in April 2015 left a pregnant woman with a broken arm. He reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and received 18 months’ probation.

After fulfilling the terms of his probation, Jones returned to the cage and beat Ovince Saint Preux in a bout for the interim UFC light heavyweight title put up after Cormier was forced to withdraw from UFC 197. Three months later, however, Jones again found himself in hot water when he failed a pre-fight drug test in connection with a title unifier against Cormier at UFC 200.

In November 2016, the UFC stripped him of the interim title after USADA handed him a one-year suspension.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie