Dana White: 'Unbelievable' Brian Ortega won't get UFC title shot before Frankie Edgar

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FRESNO, Calif. – UFC President Dana White is very high on Brian Ortega’s potential following a submission win over Cub Swanson in UFC Fight Night 123’s main event – just not high enough to give him a title shot.

Ortega (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) earned his biggest win to date on Saturday when he submitted Swanson (25-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC) with a second-round guillotine of their featherweight headliner, which took place at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass. With five straight UFC wins, all by stoppage, “T-City” got himself noticed by the UFC boss.

“Without a doubt, this kid’s obviously the future,” White told MMAjunkie following UFC Fight Night 123. “Cub Swanson looked incredible tonight. … The problem is, this Ortega kid, if he even puts his hands on you man – and he had him in the first round, and I’ve never seen a guy up in a guillotine choke like that and lets go, repositions his hands, and gets the choke. Against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt too. Unbelievable. Incredible performance that definitely puts this kid on the map.”

Ortega is on the map, but he won’t be fighting for the belt next, White confirmed. That honor goes to former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC), who was forced to pull out of a scheduled UFC 218 title fight with champ Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) earlier this month.

Edgar was also in attendance at UFC Fight Night 123 and told MMAjunkie he’s on the verge of being cleared for competition and could fight Holloway as soon as March. A number of things could happen to alter those plans, but as of now, White said Holloway vs. Edgar is the next 145-pound title fight.

“There’s no way that Ortega jumps over Frankie,” White said. “Definitely not. … It all depends on timing. When do we fight again? Who’s ready? Who’s not?

“But yeah, Frankie definitely seems like the No. 1 contender.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Frankie Edgar nearing return from 'freak accident,' wants UFC champ Max Holloway in March

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FRESNO, Calif. – Frankie Edgar is hoping to reschedule his UFC featherweight championship fight with Max Holloway in the first quarter of next year after a training injury forced him to withdraw from the original matchup.

Less than four weeks out from UFC 218 earlier this month, Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) suffered a broken orbital bone in training. He was unable to compete against Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC), who beat replacement opponent Jose Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) with a third-round TKO.

Edgar said he will be cleared in the coming days and is ready to fight Holloway as soon as UFC 222 in March. He’s disappointed he couldn’t challenge “Blessed” the first time around, and although he got some criticism from UFC President Dana White for his injury, Edgar doesn’t feel it was an easily avoidable occurrence.

“You got to crack eggs to make an omelette sometimes, unfortunately,” Edgar told MMAjunkie. “I’ve been in this game for a long time. That’s never happened. Nothing crazy, I wasn’t being negligent, just sparring. To get ready for a guy like Max Holloway you’ve got to spar decent. Four weeks, I wish I could go back and maybe change things, but it’s just the way it goes.

“I think it was a freak accident,” he continued. “It’s tough to not take hits. I’m training for a fight, have guys punching and kicking at me. It was really a freak accident. I’m really not anticipating something like that to happen again.”

Edgar described the emotion of pulling out of UFC 218 as “heartbreaking.” He was forced to witness Holloway successfully defend the belt from the sidelines and said it only made him more eager to share the octagon with the Hawaiian titleholder.

“It felt like a death the in the family,” Edgar said. “It felt like a loss. I trained hard and didn’t really get to compete. Watching the fight, it left a pit in my stomach the whole time. But I’m looking to re-book that fight and looking to get in there with Holloway as soon as he’s able.

“I think it’s the fight that makes most sense. We haven’t fought. He’s kind of running through everybody. Let’s me and him get it done. We had a plan. I know the fans want to see it. I’m pretty sure Max wants to fight me, so let’s make it happen.”

Nicknamed “The Answer,” Edgar believes he’s the 145-pound contender best suited to halt Holloway’s 12-fight UFC winning streak. Holloway has been one of the UFC’s best fighters over the past half decade, but former lightweight champ Edgar has been with the organization for over a decade, and he’s done quite well in that time.

“I’m just going to give the credit to Holloway,” Edgar said. “Aldo looked good first and second round, then Holloway turned it on just like the first fight. The guy is phenomenal. He throws a bunch of punches. He’s a tough mountain to climb right now.”

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Twitter Mailbag: On GSP's potential middleweight exit, Ngannou's terrifying possibilities

What would “”GSP”’s” immediate exit from middleweight tell us about Michael Bisping’s title reign? Is Francis Ngannou going to scare off all the would-be heavyweights? And what is the UFC going to do about its Conor McGregor problem?

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

Why, because it would prove that Michael Bisping lost the UFC middleweight title to a welterweight? Seems to me we already knew that. From the very beginning, this was a savvy calculation by Georges St-Pierre. He went years without even seriously discussing a comeback, then changed his tune the instant Bisping became middleweight champ.

It was smart. Whatever else you think of it, you have to give him that. “GSP” wanted to come back for a big money fight, but he also wanted an opponent who wouldn’t take his head off. Bisping allowed him to etch his name into MMA history as a two-division champ while also padding his bank account.

Why stick around at middleweight now? Because UFC President Dana White will be “pissed” if he doesn’t? I’m not sure a friendship with the same man who threw him under the bus upon his departure from the UFC is reason enough to risk a fight you don’t really want to take, especially if you’ve already got “GSP” money.

As for Bisping, it’s true that his title reign wasn’t exactly the picture of dominance. He had one successful defense against an aging non-contender, and even then he narrowly clung to consciousness long enough to win.

But the fact that Bisping won a UFC title at all, and so late in his career, is impressive all on its own. So many people (myself included) wrote that possibility off as an impossible dream that only he still believed in. Then he made that dream come true, and leveraged it for a huge payday. Knowing how the fight game is played, you have to respect that – even if you don’t like it.

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Easy there. You might be doing the thing where you remember best the thing that happened last. Personally, I think you only have to go back to UFC 217 to find a bigger, better event, especially when you start comparing prelims.

What UFC 218 reminded us is that when you book exciting fights, you get exciting outcomes. Look at all the best fights from that card. They were exactly the ones you would have predicted to deliver exactly the type of action that they did. No real surprises there, which is unlike all the title turnover that made UFC 217 so memorable.

The UFC is in a sticky situation with Conor McGregor. He can’t be controlled, can’t be manipulated. At this point he has so much money that he can’t even be enticed or motivated. That leaves the UFC sitting around waiting for him to decide what, if anything, he wants to do next.

But how long do you wait, especially as he seems to be creating more obstacles to a return with his choices outside the cage? According to Dana White, McGregor may never fight again (of course, White also wants us to believe that he was booked to fight on Dec. 30, before all the Bellator madness). So how do you let him keep walking around with a title he hasn’t defended in more than a year if you think he might be done?

Still, the guy’s a walking payday for the UFC. Taking away his title would only alienate him, and anyway it’s not like it would makeTony Ferguson’s title seem that much more “real” just because you removed the interim tag. (The same Tony Ferguson just had elbow surgery, to boot.)

It’s a tough situation, and right now it seems like the UFC doesn’t know what to do. That might explain why, at least so far, what it’s doing about it is nothing at all.

Jon Jones has other stuff to worry about at the moment, but I would definitely rethink my options if I wereAnthony Johnson.

But just generally, can we resist the urge to get too far ahead of ourselves withFrancis Ngannou? He has yet to fight for, much less win the UFC heavyweight title, and already he seems to be getting the Ronda Rousey-esque “once in forever” type of treatment.

I get it. We’re hyped about the guy, and with good reason. But let’s not forget how hard it’s been to keep star heavyweights healthy and consistent in the UFC. There’s a reason that title has never been defended more than twice in a row.

What a terrifyingly plausible look into the future. Watching McGregor live out the most cliched possible version of the Sudden Fame Lifecycle, I can’t help but wonder how it is that so few people in that situation seem capable of learning from the mistakes of others.

Is that indicative of the kind of person who achieves that type of fame in the first place? Is it created by the environment that comes with all that? Is it one of those things where, it’s easy to see it happening from the outside, but when you’re stuck in the whirlpool you can’t quite appreciate it?

I don’t know. But if McGregor ends up as an MMA Mike Tyson, blowing through all of his money as he self-destructs in full public view, it’s going to be seriously depressing. Though I admit I am curious as to what his eventual face tattoo will look like.

I remember being at a post-fight press conference a few years ago when Dana White, only half-jokingly, mentioned the possibility of Frankie Edgar some day ending up as a bantamweight. The look on Edgar’s face right then could best be described as nervous dread.

Back then, Edgar was a small lightweight (and former champ in the division). Now he’s a small featherweight who lost his most recent crack at the title due to a training injury, and so here we are talking about him shedding 10 more pounds at age 36 like it’s as simple as switching parking spots.

Could he drop to bantamweight? Maybe. Is that really something anyone should pressure him to do when he’s 7-2 as a featherweight, with his only losses coming against one of the best in the history of the division? Nope.

Plus, at featherweight Edgar represents something thatMax Holloway needs right about now – a fresh challenge. The UFC featherweight champ beat so many different people on his way to the belt that title defenses could easily turn into reruns. If the division loses Edgar, that only becomes more likely.

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

Cub Swanson: Max Holloway 'played with Jose Aldo's ego' in UFC 218 title defense

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FRESNO, Calif. – Color Cub Swanson impressed by Max Holloway’s stoppage win over Jose Aldo in his featherweight title defense this past weekend at UFC 218.

Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC) has shared the cage with both men and currently stands as one of the top contenders to Holloway’s 145-pound belt. He looks to improve his argument for a crack at the gold when he meets Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 123 headliner, which takes place at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., and airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Swanson never has lacked respect for either Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) or Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC). He lost to both men by stoppage during their respective bouts, and while he fully believes the rematches would go differently, he said he admires how “Blessed” conquered the Brazilian not once, but twice.

“I thought it was a great performance,” Swanson told MMAjunkie. “I’ve always known (Holloway) as being tough and just having good cardio, but I’ll say I really underestimated how smart of a fighter he is. He went in there and just played with Aldo’s ego. I think that Aldo looked better than he has in the past, but he still had that one weakness, and Holloway just kind of poked at him, poked at him, poked him. Then when (Aldo) got frustrated he gassed himself out when he (went) for the kill. He took him out in the same round both fights, like clockwork. I’ve got to give him points for that.”

Swanson faced off with Aldo at WEC 41 in June 2009 and lost by flying-knee knockout in eight seconds. He’s pursued a rematch in the time since, but it’s never come together. Swanson said he would still like to fight “Scarface” again but not as much as he would like the chance at Holloway.

The belt in Holloway’s possession is what Swanson desires most. He suffered a third-round submission loss to the Hawaiian at UFC on FOX 15 in April 2015 and would happily enjoy a shot at redemption, along with a title fight.

“I would love to (rematch Aldo); it’s just the fact I would like to get a title fight first,” Swanson said. “It’s like my list of priorities. It’s a little lower than a title fight. What was frustrating when he called me out and said he wanted to fight me, he knew I was in a better position than him at the time. I’m thinking, ‘Man, if you would have beat Max we would be fighting, and I would be getting paid triple what I’m getting paid to fight you now.’ It just doesn’t seem as intriguing. Title fight is No. 1, because I’m trying to make the big money and get the big fight.”

Swanson believes he can get his elusive title fight with a strong performance at UFC Fight Night 123. He’s already riding a four-fight winning streak, and he believes pushing that to five could mean leapfrogging Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC), who appears to be the likely next contender to Holloway’s belt.

The situation gets even trickier, though, because UFC Fight Night 123 marks the final bout on Swanson’s UFC contract. There will be plenty to figure out win or lose, but assuming he wins and sticks around, he believes he’s done more than enough for the opportunity.

“I think people jump people all the time,” Swanson said. “It sucks what happened to Frankie, but he had the title fight. He had to pull out. In a sense, I’ve been in that situation before, and somebody else is going to step up. That’s the reason I had to fight Frankie the first time when I was promised a title fight, because they told me if I didn’t fight him that Conor (McGregor) was going to pass me up by beating Dennis Siver, which is a joke, but yes. They made me fight him for my fourth consecutive No. 1 contender fight. I think a win with Ortega, a real big win, would be huge. If they don’t want to give me the show, then whatever.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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After a chaotic few years in UFC featherweight division, where does Frankie Edgar fit?

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A little more than seven years have passed since UFC President Dana White first draped the featherweight belt around Jose Aldo in Detroit and, over the subsequent half-decade, the division came to be defined by the Brazilian’s uninterrupted tenure as the first UFC champion at 145 pounds.

Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) amassed seven title defenses – against six worthy challengers – but, such was his almost total dominance, along with a complete lack of compelling subplots outside the octagon, that flawless reign started to border on the mundane.

By then, Conor McGregor’s incessant soundbites and trusty left hand had somewhat stirred the pot but, it wasn’t until the Dubliner defeated Chad Mendes for the interim title in July 2015 at UFC 189 that the dog-eared script was ripped to shreds.

The unfolding twists, turns and seesawing balance of power were of “Game of Thrones” proportions, and looking back now, it’s startling to consider that it took McGregor a mere 13 seconds to put such a chaotic chain of events in motion.

Almost immediately after unseating Aldo at UFC 194, the brass gave Irishman McGregor leave to challenge then-lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, though when the latter was ruled out through injury, the former and Nate Diaz fought out a pair of welterweight bouts, which were punctuated by an all-too-public standoff between McGregor and his employers.

At UFC 200, Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision to capture an interim crown prior to the Brazilian being handed back the unified title after UFC officials stripped it from McGregor, who had destroyed lightweight kingpin Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 to become the first man to lord over two weight classes simultaeously.

And yet, the plot thickened some more. A month later, in a rather facile attempt to lend UFC 206 some gravitas (after the scheduled light-heavyweight title bout between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson was pulled from the card), the promotion thought it wise to have Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis contest the third interim title bout in less than two years.

Holloway stopped Pettis in Round 3 as he did Aldo in their unification bout in June at UFC 212.

Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) was slated to face Edgar in tonight’s UFC 218 headliner, but the New Jersey native was forced to withdraw after breaking his orbital bone, and Aldo was drafted on three weeks’ notice for a rematch few people believe he can win.

So here we are, seven years later, back in Detroit, where it all began. You tired yet?

UFC color commentator and analyst Dan Hardy believes should Holloway or Aldo win tonight’s main event, which airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, the uncertainty is set to continue.

“It’s been a bit of mess, but there were unprecedented times,” Hardy told MMAjunkie. “We had a two-weight world champion fight the best boxer on the planet, so who can predict what could happen next? With the new ownership, everything is changing, so we’ve just got to be in it for the fights.

“There are plenty of fights being made that make no sense with the rankings. Then there are fights that make perfect sense for the rankings, but they’re just not happening. There were a lot of matchups on the way up to the belt that McGregor should have had, but he didn’t. It’s just the way it works now. If Aldo does beat Max Holloway, he may not want to fight for the next six months, and with an orbital fracture, we just don’t know how long Edgar is going to be out.”

According to Edgar’s coach Mark Henry, the former lightweight champion is already back doing light training, but he had no estimate as to when he will be able to fight again. What Henry is sure of, however, is that normal service should resume at 145 pounds if Holloway’s nascent run as champion continues.

“Frankie can’t wrestle, do jiu-jitsu or spar,” Henry told MMAjunkie. “He can only do pads and some speed and agility. He was really upset. We all were. Frankie was really looking good and coming on just at the right time.

“It’s just a crazy time right now. Frankie deserved the title shot when he got it, but there are a lot of guys in other divisions who don’t, and these interim belts are ridiculous. We’re just lucky that a guy like Max wants to fight and acts like a champion should act. He only wants to fight the best.”

By his own admission, Henry’s hope for a Holloway victory is due to the fact Aldo has twice defeated Edgar, and the appetite for a trilogy fight would be minimal. He also has serious reservations about how active a champion Aldo would prove to be.

“I think Jose will call out for a 155-pound fighter, or he’ll get hurt again,” Henry said. “He hasn’t been hurt in a while, so it’s probably overdue, and he only likes to fight once a year. I guarantee the only thing Jose will concentrate on is Conor McGregor or going to lightweight. That’s all you’ll hear out of him. I would much rather see guys fighting two or three times a year, and that’s why I like Max’s attitude. He’s a true champion.”

There is no doubt that if Aldo recaptures the belt, Edgar’s short-term prospects of fighting for the gold are likely to greatly diminish, even more so should the next big featherweight contest end conclusively.

A week from now, at UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno, Calif., perennial contender Cub Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC) meets undefeated submission artist Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in what could turn out to be a title-eliminator. Some were surprised Swanson did not replace Edgar, but on the verge of testing free agency, the timing appears to have been poor.

Hardy isn’t so sure that Swanson is truly contemplating moving on, and he reckons that his motivations are more mental than monetary.

“If Cub was to get a title shot, they’d have offered him a new contract before putting him in there,” Hardy said. “Look, there’s testing free agency, and then there’s signing a new deal for a title shot, and more than anything, all these guys in the top 10 want to be in the UFC because that’s where you prove yourself as the best.

“Sometimes testing free agency is more about flexing and posturing, just to see where they’re at. It’s been quite a stagnant division for some time with Conor McGregor storming through and taking the top, so a lot of these guys are maybe looking for that little boost, and testing free agency can be more of a psychological ploy than anything else.”

However, no amount of pats on the back from the brass will improve Swanson’s situation if Ortega gets his hand raised, an outcome Hardy believes would only further muddy the waters for all parties.

“You never know, but Brian Ortega could submit Cub Swanson, and then we’ve got a new contender to talk about,” the former UFC welterweight title challenger said. “Then there’s the situation where Frankie Edgar could end up fighting Ortega, shuts him down like he did Yair Rodriguez, and then there’s no argument about him getting another title shot.

“Things have to keep moving along. It’s difficult to tell how long Frankie is going to be out for, and if Max beats Jose this weekend, he’s not going to be waiting around for Frankie to come back. The matches have to be made with who’s fit and able because you can’t be the best fighter in the world if you can’t get in the octagon and prove it. Frankie may have to beat one more guy now but, if the timing is right, he could step straight back into a title shot against Max Holloway.”

Prior to getting injured, Edgar had told “The MMA Hour” that his showdown with Holloway likely represented his final chance to again be a UFC champion, but Henry doesn’t see any evidence to suggest that his pupil is falling victim to father time. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“Anything can happen in the UFC, like you saw Dan Henderson getting a title fight,” he said. “Frankie acts like he just got into the UFC, and I think that’s why I don’t see this as his last run.

“This kid never talks about retiring. He’s at the highest level, and how could he be at the end when he just destroyed Yair Rodriguez, who’s supposed to be at his peak? If you were to ask me how long, I would say another five years, maybe longer. I think he’ll keep digging until he gets that belt – as long as it takes.”

Hardy concurs and is sure the situation is the exact same with 34-year-old Swanson, who has been beaten inside the distance by Edgar, Aldo (in the WEC) and Holloway.

“A lot of people were looking at Yair Rodriguez as part of the new wave spearheaded by Max Holloway, but Frankie just cut through that noise, while Cub Swanson did the same thing with Dooho Choi,” Hardy said. “It’s taken two of the division’s elder statesmen to say, ‘Hold on, you’ve got to wait your turn.’

“It is amazing to watch Frankie get after it because when he does, there’s not a lot of people who can keep up with him. He’s still one of the biggest names in the sport, a fan favorite and, like I said, the time could come when he does get one back on Aldo.”

Looking to the five rounds scheduled to close out the UFC’s third visit to Detroit, Hardy and Henry agree that it’s Holloway’s fight to lose.

“All the signs point to Max winning, possibly even quicker than the last time,” said Hardy, who broke things down recently on UFC’s “Inside the Octagon” (via YouTube). “I feel like he knows he has Jose’s number, and Jose is not a quick starter by any means, and there are still a lot things Max does that he will not have adjusted to.  If Jose lands some takedowns that might be a stay of execution but, when I lay the cards out, it just seems Max trumps everything Aldo does.”

Henry suspects that Aldo will give a better account of himself than before but, ultimately, Holloway – the owner of the longest winning streak in UFC featherweight history – will prevail.

“Jose gassed the last time, but he did win the first two rounds, even if he did get knocked out,” he said. “Look, I’m hoping for Max to win, but I don’t think it’ll go that easy again. But Max has got the cardio, height and range, plus his skills and heart.”

Of course, Henry still has a busy night ahead of him, with Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) taking on the unbeaten concussion specialist Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC ) following their recent stint as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 26.”

Both men have made it abundantly clear that their courteous rapport on the show will not be reflected in their lightweight showdown. All caution should be thrown to wind by a pair of fighters who traditionally have little regard for their own physical wellbeing.

Henry, who recently discussed the matchup on MMAjunkie Radio (watch it above), is resigned to the reality that he’ll have little control over what’s shaping up to be 15 minutes of bruising bloodletting.

“I’ll be in the corner, but Eddie told me to hang out with his wife and watch this one,” he said. “This is going to be a toxic one. Both these guys have dynamite in their hands and such tremendous heart, so it’s going to be wild. It’s definitely a concern because it would be like getting on the back of a wild stallion if I was to try to tame Eddie for this fight.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Max Holloway all good with Jose Aldo rematch at UFC 218: 'These guys are like cupcakes to me'

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DETROIT – Max Holloway isn’t concerned about who is standing across the octagon at UFC 218, because he plans on taking out the entire featherweight division, anyway.

Holloway originally was scheduled to fight Frankie Edgar in Saturday’s headliner, which takes place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and airs on pay-per-view-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. “The Answer” suffered an injury less than a month from the event, though, and was replaced by Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC).

UFC 218 goes down almost exactly six months after Holloway battered Aldo for a third-round TKO to claim the 145-pound title at UFC 212 in June. Holloway admits a fresh foe in Edgar would’ve been nice, but he felt an Aldo rematch was going to happen regardless, so he’s not worried about the order of his challengers.

“I got 250 cupcakes coming in (for my post weigh-in meal),” Holloway said at today’s UFC 218 open workout. “Who doesn’t like the new flavor? I want to try a new flavor. But, hey, there’s the other ones, the same ones. I’ll eat them again. These guys are like cupcakes to me. They’re all on the menu.”

The complexion of an immediate rematch is always interesting in MMA, but even more so at the championship level. Aldo never has lost a rematch in his career, which means the Brazilian has a knack for making the appropriate changes between fights.

Aldo claims he had a leg injury for the UFC 212 fight, which prevented him from unleashing his powerful leg kicks with the tenacity he wanted. “Scarface” said he’ll implement arguably his best weapon even more in the rematch, but Holloway appears unconcerned.

“Time tells all,” Holloway said. “That’s the beautiful thing about the sport. You can do all this, you can say all this, but when you get in there, you can’t lie. You can’t lie to yourself. This guy is talking about leg kicks. He’s out there training with Mikey Garcia. Mikey Garcia comes and calls me out. What the hell are these guys talking about? If you can’t beat them you try to fight them.”

“I was expecting leg kicks (at UFC 212), but I was expecting him to shoot, too,” he continued. “All these strikers. They always tell me, ‘This guy is going to strike with me.’ Name one guy who fully struck with me. All these guys try to strike with me, and they end up looking for takedowns.”

For the better part of a decade Aldo was considered the best 145-pound fighter in the world. Holloway’s long-term goal is to take that status for himself, but he knows there’s still a lot of ground to make up before he gets there. Putting together back-to-back wins over Aldo would be a big deal, but even then, Holloway said he won’t be where he wants.

“Beating him for a second time – I still got a bunch to catch up with him,” Holloway said. “He’s got a bunch of records, and those records are meant to be broken. He had his time. There’s levels to this. He had his era. This is the ‘Blessed Era.’”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Dana White credits Jose Aldo for UFC 218 ticket-sales boost, questions Frankie Edgar's camp

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LAS VEGAS – The first time Jose Aldo asked for a rematch, UFC President Dana White wasn’t able to make it happen. Now that Aldo got his wish, White is eager to see what he does with it.

In June then-champ Aldo suffered his second UFC loss when UFC 212’s headliner ended in a third-round knockout loss to Max Holloway, who was then the interim champion. While Aldo’s drive to reclaim the title was always clear, it looked like he’d have to wait after Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) was named the first challenger to the unified belt. Aldo, in turn, was booked for a Dec. 16 rematch with Ricardo Lamas.

With Edgar out due to an injury, however, Aldo got his rematch. A choice that, while commended by many given Aldo’s mostly victorious history, was also not a given considering that there were contenders like Cub Swanson in line. According to head coach Andre Pederneiras, though, the UFC was quick to grant a motivated Aldo his wish.

And it seems the decision has, so far, it’s pleased both the ex-champion and the UFC’s president.

“We’re going to find out how hungry Jose Aldo is and how bad he wants that belt back,” White said Tuesday in Las Vegas. “He’s getting this opportunity because Frankie fell out. Life is all about jumping on those opportunities. I actually liked it that Aldo wanted this fight like that. It’s awesome. I’m excited. I’m excited for that fight.”

Before anyone got a chance to add a follow-up question, White segued into more praise for Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) – who meets Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 218 pay-per-view headliner at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

“You know what’s funny?” White added. “So, the Detroit show is on par to sell out. We’re selling out. The show’s going to be a sell out. You know when you’re going to sell out because of how many tickets you have left and how many days. We put Jose Aldo on the card, and – (vanishing sound). Tickets. Yeah.”

It certainly seems like a good moment in what has in the past been rocky fighter-promotion dynamics. Aldo, in fact, was so displeased with his dealings with the UFC after the title-costing loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 that he threatened to ask for a contract release and retire – a reaction that White dubbed “a little ridiculous.”

At the time, Aldo traveled all the way to Las Vegas to meet with the UFC brass – and, despite immediately saying he remained undeterred, he’s since returned to the octagon and says that, despite a wish to start a boxing career, he’ll fulfill his contractual duties.

Aldo’s chance, however, came at the expense of another fighter: former 155-pound titleholder Edgar. Considering how volatile title pictures are, with the added fact that Edgar has already lost two title bids to Aldo, there are no guarantees his title shot will be there waiting once he’s ready to return after whatever happens at UFC 218.

Asked directly whether Edgar was still the No. 1 contender in, waiting, White sidetracked.

“My question for Frankie – and I haven’t talked to Frankie yet, Frankie is in Russia or something right now, I think – but how do you break your orbital in training?” White said. “Unless it was a freak knee to the eye in wrestling or something like that.

“Who’s hitting you that hard in your training camp that you break your orbital? That’s insane. Anybody know the answer to that question?”

To hear from White, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Reports: Jose Aldo to rematch Max Holloway in UFC 218 headliner after Frankie Edgar's withdrawal

Jose Aldo will get an immediate opportunity to regain the undisputed UFC featherweight championship he lost to Max Holloway earlier this year.

In the wake of Frankie Edgar’s (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) injury withdrawal from next month’s UFC 218 headliner, Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) has agreed to step in on short notice to challenge Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) for the belt in the Dec. 2 headliner at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit. The card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Brazilian website Combate first reported the news, which MMAFighting.com also reported. Attempts to reach Holloway’s management by MMAjunkie were unsuccessful following the reports.

Holloway, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, entered his first meeting with No. 2-ranked Aldo at UFC 212 in June as the interim 145-pound champion. He went to Brazil and unified the gold with a third-round TKO, marking Aldo’s first loss in the weight class outside his memorable 13-second defeat against Conor McGregor.

The Brazilian has never lost a rematch in his career and will get another shot at revenge. The circumstances aren’t particularly bad for him, either, because Aldo already was training for a Dec. 16 matchup with Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FOX 26.

Aldo will have to cut his training camp two weeks short, and for him, hopefully it will be enough to snap the incredible 11-fight winning of “Blessed,” who was eager to remain on the card after Edgar’s withdrawal.

With the change, the UFC 218 card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Paul Felder vs. Charles Oliveira
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

  • Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Sabah Homasi
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Allen Crowder vs. Justin Willis

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Reports: Frankie Edgar injured, off UFC 218 title fight vs. Max Holloway

Frankie Edgar has suffered an injury and will not be able to compete against featherweight champion Max Holloway at UFC 218.

Brazilian outlet Combate first reported the news, which ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto confirmed. Sources close to the fighters told MMAjunkie that Edgar suffered a fractured orbital bone.

The title fight was set to headline the UFC 218 pay-per-view, which takes place at Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Representatives for Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) declined comment to MMAjunkie on the situation.

The Combate report states a search is underway for a replacement to face Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-2 UFC), who was to make his first title defense as undisputed champ after unifying the title with a dominant win over Jose Aldo at UFC 212.

Edgar most recently notched a win over up-and-comer Yair Rodriguez at UFC 211, upping his current win streak to two after a loss to Aldo in a fight for the interim featherweight title at UFC 200.

The UFC 218 lineup now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. TBA – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

What do you think of UFC 218's official poster (and Frankie Edgar's 'crazy eyes')?

Dann StuppCheck out the official poster for UFC 218, which got a mixed review from headliner Frankie Edgar.

UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

On paper, it’s a pretty solid lineup: a title fight, notable names, intriguing matchups and vets with lots of finishes – all in a variety of weight classes.

Here’s the official poster:

With a featherweight title fight between streaking Hawaiian champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-2 UFC) and fan favorite Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) in the headliner, “UFC 218: Holloway vs. Edgar” also features heavyweights Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) vs. former title challenger Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC).

All four are featured on the poster, though as Edgar wonders, “Why they got me all crazy eyed?” (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

(But hey – at least he didn’t point out the misspelling of “championship” on the poster.)

The latest UFC 218 card includes:

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Angela Magana
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Dominick Reyes
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira
  • Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Sabah Homasi

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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