Category Archives: Georges St-Pierre

Twitter Mailbag: How big a deal are these eight-ounce gloves for McGregor and Mayweather?

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Filed under: News, UFC

How much difference will two ounces really make on the fists of McGregor and Mayweather? Why does the UFC middleweight champion still get no respect? With a UFC interim lightweight title bout scheduled, where’s “The Eagle” when you need him?

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

The big deal here isn’t the what, it’s the why. Is there a difference between using eight-ounce gloves and 10-ounce ones? Sure there is. (For a more detailed answer on that, I’d recommend this Twitter thread.) But the big issue here is the Nevada State Athletic Commission reversing what it had previously described as a vital safety rule, and without any very good explanation for why.

The Association of Ringside Physicians came out against the glove switch. The commission itself had said it would need to be presented with compelling evidence in order to issue a waiver. That didn’t happen, but the NSAC issued the waiver anyway. Then it tacked on a request that the gloves be turned over to the commission after the fight, ostensibly for a “study” on the effects of glove size. That this study would also give the commission possession of valuable sports memorabilia seems like a happy accident.

Both Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather are enthusiastically supportive of the glove switch, and it might not make a huge difference in the end. But it is worth asking why the NSAC even has these rules if it will throw them out the window the instant the big money draws ask it to.

This was a social media post that snowballed into an actual rule change. As much as the commission said it didn’t want to be used in any stunts to keep the hype alive, that’s it exactly what it did here, and without putting up much of a fight. Kind of makes you wonder what these people wouldn’t agree to for the sake of a dollar.

I don’t want to speak for everyone, but yes, we do all want that. But according to UFC President Dana White, Khabib Nurmagomedov still isn’t ready. That leaves us with Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee in an interim title fight that’s interesting and all, but is bound to lack that title fight feel.

What it’s going to feel like instead is a fight in which the UFC had a date and an interim belt, and it filled in the names based on availability. The reason it will feel like that is because that’s exactly what it is.

Still, right now the UFC has the advantage of working with a division that’s loaded with talent. It would almost be hard to make a bad fight at 155 pounds right now. That’s good, since who knows if or when the real champ will ever return from his epic payday. It’s not hard to imagine that interim belt suddenly morphing into the real thing.

I think we all kind of get it, even if we also kind of don’t. Even before he had the UFC middleweight title, Michael Bisping was a much better fighter than he got credit for. It’s partially due to his personality – a lot people, fighters and fans, just don’t like him, and therefore don’t want to admit that he has legit skills – but it’s also a question of style.

You look at a lot of Bisping’s biggest victories and you see fights with too much room for debate. The knockout win over Luke Rockhold is a glaring exception to most of his recent work, where he won by small margins after nearly losing. That’s how it went against Anderson Silva. It was a similar story in his lone title defense against Dan Henderson.

And that’s the other thing, which is that his reign as middleweight champ isn’t exactly helping him. He’s had the belt for over a year now and has defended it only once, somewhat unconvincingly, against a non-contender who was rapidly closing in on senior citizen discount territory. That’s not the kind of thing that’s going to earn you a ton of respect.

The question is whether the Georges St-Pierre fight will offer him a better opportunity in that regard. On one hand, St-Pierre was a pound-for-pound great and a legend in the division below Bisping. But if Bisping wins, I’m sure a lot of people will write it off to GSP’s age and time off, not to mention the fact that he’s not even a middleweight.

In that sense, it’s kind of a no-win situation for Bisping. In the financial sense, however, it’s exactly the opposite, which explains how we ended up here.

I’m not sure it’s going to change anybody’s viewing habits, but now would be a fair time to ask the UFC president if he’s reconsidering his support, especially since a lot of CEOs have sprinted away from Donald Trump after his response to the unrest in Charlottesville over the weekend.

I feel like I already know what White would say. He’d probably give us the same spiel about how he’s not really political, and he only gave that speech to help out a friend who had helped him out in the past.

And sure, that will placate people up to a point. But when other business leaders have raced to publicly distance themselves from Trump, it might be time to start wondering if we’ve finally passed that point.

If McGregor beats Mayweather, chances are he’ll have to knock him out. And if he knocks out the best boxer in a generation, giving him his first career loss and beating him at his own game the first time out? Then forget fighter, I don’t see how you don’t crown him athlete of the year.

That’s a very good question. Ronda Rousey was tested nine times in 2016, according to the online USADA test history database. As far as we know, she hasn’t officially retired, so she should still be subject to testing, especially since USADA is still looking for other inactive but not technically retired fighters, such as Nick Diaz.

Yesterday I sent an email to USADA to ask if there’s any reason it is suddenly way less interested in Rousey, but so far I haven’t heard back. I suppose it’s possible that her number just hasn’t come up yet this year. But the more time passes, the less plausible that explanation is going to be.

Seriously? This one is really hard for me to pick. A few years ago and forget it, even with the size difference you’ve got to take St-Pierre all day. But the man’s been gone for nearly four years, all while time has marched brutally onward. It’s true that he doesn’t seem like the type to let himself get too out of shape, and clearly he wasn’t about to rush (ha) his return, even if it jeopardized (in theory) his chances of getting the fight.

But still, we have to admit that we’re just guessing when it comes to what GSP will look like in the cage now. Bisping isn’t an easy guy to take down, and if St-Pierre’s timing is off it could spell trouble for him. Plus, while Bisping isn’t exactly known as a knockout artist against middleweights, he might have more power than we think when he’s throwing at a welterweight. If you make me pick right now, I guess I’ve got to go with the champ.

It depends. What does success look like for a weekly internet fight show? Dana White’s Contender Series is filmed in a gym and the fighters make about half the typical UFC minimum, so it’s relatively cheap to make. And if it helps the UFC lock down some talent or snag some Fight Pass subscribers, that might be all it takes to justify the pretty meager expense. Maybe the better question is, what would failure even look like for something like this?

If you had the ability to be at or near the top of either sport, I can’t imagine why you’d pick MMA. In addition to the differences in pay and contractual restrictions, there are just so many more ways to get hurt in MMA. For a long time we’ve told ourselves that boxers suffer more head trauma over the long term, and that may be true, but it’s not like MMA fighters suffer none, plus I know plenty of MMA retirees who are limping around on bad joints after years of grappling in the gym and the cage.

Also, notice how MMA fighters keep calling out boxing champs, trying to get a piece of that pie now that they see how well it’s working for McGregor? Notice how you don’t see so many boxers trying to do the same thing in reverse? That ought to tell us something.

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

Bisping-GSP, Garbrandt-Dillashaw title fights among 7 official for UFC 217

Two championship belts will be on the line when the UFC makes its second visit this November to the famous Madison Square Garden in New York.

In the main event of the Nov. 4 pay-per-view lineup (which follows prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass), Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) will defend the UFC middleweight championship against Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC). Bantamweight titleholder Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) takes on rival T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) in the co-headliner.

Both title bouts were confirmed on Tuesday’s episode of “UFC Tonight” on FS1.

The matchup between Bisping and St-Pierre has been an on-again, off-again mess after it was announced in March that former UFC welterweight champion St-Pierre would end his nearly 4-year hiatus to fight Bisping, despite never having competed at 185 pounds.

St-Pierre hasn’t fought since 2013, when he notched his ninth consecutive welterweight title defense with a split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. St-Pierre then vacated the title and took a break from competition. After St-Pierre recently flirted with a return, UFC officials announced earlier this year that the 36-year-old Canadian MMA great would fight Bisping sometime later in the year.

However, St-Pierre then said he could not fight until at least November due to outside commitments, and an irked UFC President Dana White later said the fight was off. Bisping was then slated to fight top contender Yoel Romero.

But when Bisping subsequently revealed a knee injury (while St-Pierre declared a lingering eye issue), Plan B for Bisping-Romero also was scrapped. Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) then lost a decision to fellow contender Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) for an interim title earlier this month at UFC 213.

White suggested a knee injury recently suffered by Whittaker opened the door for St-Pierre to cut the line.

With Whittaker the challenger in waiting, White said in July that St-Pierre would instead fight the winner of this past Saturday’s UFC 214 co-headliner between current welterweight champ Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) and challenger Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC). However, with Woodley’s heavily panned unanimous-decision win over Maia, that apparently opened the door for St-Pierre vs. Bisping once again.

Garbrandt and Dillashaw have a tenuous history after being teammates for several years at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif. Dillashaw unceremoniously left the gym to train with striking coach Duane Ludwig in Colorado, and the disdain with former teammates such as Garbrandt and Urijah Faber has grown thicker ever since.

The feud grew deeper when the pair served as opposing coaches on Season 25 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. Dillashaw handled Garbrandt in the coaching aspect, seeing a greater number of his fighters advance through the tournament, with Jesse Taylor ultimately winning the tournament crown.

Garbrandt was forced to withdraw from their planned UFC 213 bout in July due to a back injury that required treatment. He’s been rehabbing since and is ready to go for UFC 217.

Also confirmed for UFC 217 was a heavyweight bout between Curtis Blaydes (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Aleksei Oleinik (52-10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), a light-heavyweight showdown between Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Patrick Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) and a bantamweight bout between Ricardo Ramos (10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Aiemann Zahabi (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

The latest UFC 217 lineup now includes:

  • Champ Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – for middleweight title
  • Champ Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
  • Paulo Borrachinha vs. Johny Hendricks
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik
  • Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Georges St-Pierre officially signs agreement to fight Michael Bisping at UFC 217

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Michael Bisping said it was official, and now Georges St-Pierre has signed his bout agreement for the planned UFC 217 middleweight title fight.

After months bouncing from on-again, off-again status, the matchup between 185-pound champ Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) and former welterweight titleholder St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) is moving forward for UFC 217, which takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Bisping let the cat out of the bag last week with regard to the date and location of the fight. Now St-Pierre has revealed that he’s put pen to paper on his official bout agreement (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

St-Pierre vs. Bisping originally was announced in March, but without a date attached. As time wore on the contest appeared to fall apart, with UFC President Dana White claiming “The Count” would fight interim middleweight champ Robert Whittaker next and St-Pierre would get current 170-pound king Tyron Woodley.

When Woodley put on a successful title defense against Demian Maia at UFC 214 this past month that didn’t meet White’s standards, White reverted back to the initial plan, which St-Pierre and Bisping said they wanted all along.

With two title fights on tap so far, the latest UFC 217 lineup includes:

  • Champ Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – for middleweight title
  • Champ Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
  • Paulo Borrachinha vs. Johny Hendricks

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

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Twitter Mailbag: Was post-fight Jon Jones the real one, or just a convincing fake?

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In this week’s Twitter Mailbag, was the UFC light-heavyweight champion extending a sincere olive branch to his vanquished challenger, and where does all this leave the former champ’s legacy? Plus, is GSP-Bisping the fight that no one but the participants has been asking for? And can you really blackmail your way into an apology from the UFC president?

All that and more in this edition of the TMB. To ask a question of your own, tweet it to @BenFowlkesMMA.

* * * *

I think he was being sincere. The things Jon Jones said about Daniel Cormier immediately after the fight were not so different from what he said about him a few days before the fight. Talking to reporters after the open workouts, Jones called Cormier “a good (expletive) dude” and admitted to liking him as a person. What stopped them from getting along, he said, was that Cormier had this weird hangup that simply wouldn’t allow him to admit that Jones was better than he was.

Now, we hear that and we can spot the ridiculousness in the argument. Of course Cormier can’t admit that. He’s one of the best fighters in the world. His whole life is about being the absolute best. He’s not killing himself in the gym just to be second place. How could Jones not realize that?

I think the answer has to do with the inherent narcissism that comes with being the best fighter in the world. It’s so obvious to Jones that everyone else is just a character in his story. So why can’t they see it, and just be happy to have a supporting role in the great drama?

That’s where his head seemed to be at before the fight. Once Jones had knocked out Cormier, then he was free to let his guard down and admit that Cormier was a good guy and a great fighter. Why not? If you praise him now, it just makes you seem greater for having beaten him. And it’s not like anybody will get confused about who the best is while Cormier is stumbling around off-camera.

So yes, I think he meant every word. I also don’t think for one second that he would have uttered anything close to that if he’d lost.

The book isn’t closed on Cormier just yet. He could stick around at light heavyweight and still trash nearly everyone in the top 15. Or he could go to heavyweight and end up fighting for the title by this time next year. A lot depends on what he wants to do next, so it’s hard to make too many sweeping statements about his legacy.

That said, if it ends here? I wouldn’t be surprised if the collective conventional wisdom fails to give Cormier his due. He was champion in the absence of Jones, that’s true. In a different era, he might have been his own dynasty. In my book, that puts him ahead of Tito Ortiz and somewhere right behind Chuck Liddell. Both those guys should be glad they came along before Jones did.

Yes. However he wants.

Tempers seem to have cooled somewhat between Tyron Woodley and UFC President Dana White, but you’re right, that was not a great strategic move on the champ’s part. The problem with trying to blackmail your way into an apology is that even if you get what you want, what does it really mean? An apology given just to stop something bad from happening is completely insincere, thus defeating the entire point.

Then there’s the question of what you’re supposed to do about it if you don’t get the apology. Assuming Woodley really does have damaging info on the UFC, leaking it because the boss hurt his feelings would probably not improve his relationship with his employers. It also doesn’t turn him into some hero of transparency in the eyes of the public, because he already told us that the only reason he was telling secrets is because White wouldn’t say he was sorry.

Of course, if White doesn’t give you that public apology and then you back down from your leak threat anyway, it just makes you look weak and desperate.

That brings us to what actually happened in the end to resolve this situation (at least for now). According to White, he spoke to Woodley privately and smoothed things over. Also according to White, Woodley explained his outrage and his threats by saying that “he was just pissed and upset and didn’t mean it.” Maybe it’s just the source, but it kind of sounds like the apology went in the opposite direction.

I see the logic at work here, but how do you enforce something like that? Especially when MMA referees seem to have such a hard time enforcing the existing rules. What, do we require fighters to tell the ref in advance what they’re game plan is, so the ref can be on higher alert for illegal moves that might nullify it? Is the ref then required to share that info with the opponent, so he can know which type of cheating will be more severely punished?

The only fix I can see is that we either allow fence-grabbing or we don’t. And if we don’t, then why aren’t fighters punished as soon as they do it? It’s not like they’re learning the rules on the fly. And a fence grab isn’t like throwing an inside leg kick and accidentally hitting the groin. It’s something you can only do on purpose. So why aren’t you penalized the moment you do it, regardless of what your opponent’s game plan is?

There’s a growing sense that this is the fight no one asked for outside of Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre themselves. And that’s funny, since the reason they both seem so intent on it is because they’re convinced it will make a lot of money. But how does it make money if fans are lukewarm about it?

It’s possible that we’re just suffering from hype fatigue. They’re been talking this fight up for over a year, and still nothing. Maybe by the time it actually happens we’ll have changed our tune. The return of GSP is always going to be a big deal, and Bisping is so easily hatable whenever he opens his mouth that you know he’ll convince some people to pay just on the hope that he’ll get beaten up.

But right now? I can’t say I’m excited. There are so many compelling fights for Bisping at middleweight, and welterweight is going to need some help very soon. The more I think about this fight, the more it seems like we’re all being asked to go along so that the already rich guys can make more money. Maybe it’s just me, but that is not a compelling sales pitch.

Oh, Cameron. Are you really going to force me to be the jerk who points out that there is a difference between being a legend and just being old? Not that I don’t have a lot of affection for Daniel Kelly, who seems awesome, but he’s also 13-2 at the age of 39. Sam Alvey beat him in 2015, when he had to cover slightly fewer body parts in supportive wrap, but he still wasn’t exactly a young sprout back then.

Rashad Evans is a slightly different story (even if he does have a recent split-decision loss to Kelly). He’s also edging into his late 30s, but he’s a former UFC light-heavyweight champion. Then again, he’s on a three-fight losing skid and has dropped five of his past seven.

You really want to know how far this is from being a part of any kind of legends tour? Just look at where it is, in the middle of the main card at UFC Fight Night 114 in Mexico City, on the week after the biggest pay-per-view of the year. Does that seem like where you’d stick your legends, if you thought they still qualified as such?

I suspect you are not the only one, especially since the UFC chief recently went out of his way to disparage both champions who are slated to defend their titles at UFC 215. Plus, those other three fights each feature a former champ, and they’re all likely to be exciting, competitive matchups.

That makes you wonder how they’ll do on pay-per-view, doesn’t it? We know that the UFC has written Demetrious Johnson off as box-office poison. Amanda Nunes hasn’t been a huge draw either, and is probably less of one after pulling out of UFC 213 and getting scorched by the boss for it. But that undercard? How do you not pony up the dough to see those fights? Even if you’re not that interested in what follows.

This feels a little like a return to the old UFC strategy, back before it could rely on any one fighter to sell tons of PPVs. If the main attraction won’t do it, you have to make your case in the aggregate. Honestly, this lineup looks like a pretty good way of doing just that.

From the sound of it, Volkan Oezdemir likes that fight too, and he’s even suggested that the winner would be dubbed “the real king of Europe,” which is obviously pretty awesome.

If I’m Alexander Gustafsson, I might rather wait for Jones. But if Jones is holding out for a big money fight with someone like Brock Lesnar, how long does Gustafsson really want to sit around waiting and not making money?

As for whether “No Time” has it in him to be the division’s new knockout artist, early indicators are good. But let’s not forget that in recent years there’s been a major drop-off in talent in that division once you get past the top three or four. If Oezdemir wants to prove he belongs in that elite club, Gustafsson’s a tough test to get in.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 217 opening odds: Who's the favorite – champ Michael Bisping or Georges St-Pierre?

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The odds have opened for UFC 217’s recently announced headliner between UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and former longtime welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre.

Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) formally announced his title fight with St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) during Tuesday’s edition of “UFC Tonight.” This past weekend at UFC 214, UFC President Dana White confirmed the previously announced and then subsequently canceled fight was back on again (watch the video above).

According to the oddsmakers, St-Pierre, who hasn’t fought in nearly four years – and who will move up a weight class for the fight – is actually the favorite heading into UFC 217.

The event takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In widely available lines, St-Pierre is a -155 (20/31) favorite over +125 underdog Bisping (5/4). That gives St-Pierre an implied win probability of 61 percent.

At those odds, a winning $100 bet on St-Pierre would result in a net profit of $64.52; a winning $100 bet on Bisping would net a profit of +$125.

Bisping is currently riding a five-fight winning streak, which included a title win over Luke Rockhold and an October 2016 title defense over rival Dan Henderson. He was the underdog in two of those five wins:

EVENT FIGHTER ODDS FIGHTER ODDS RESULT
UFC 204 Michael Bisping -280 Dan Henderson +167 Bisping UD
UFC 199 Michael Bisping +330 Luke Rockhold -900 Bisping KO
UFC Fight Night 84 Michael Bisping +160 Anderson Silva -275 Bisping UD
UFC Fight Night 72 Michael Bisping -150 Thales Leites +100 Bisping SD
UFC 186 Michael Bisping -160 C.B. Dollaway +105 Bisping UD

St-Pierre, meanwhile, has won 12 straight fights, and he was the favorite in each of them, including his past five:

EVENT FIGHTER ODDS FIGHTER ODDS RESULT
UFC 167 Georges St-Pierre -225 Johny Hendricks +155 St-Pierre SD
UFC 158 Georges St-Pierre -430 Nick Diaz +330 St-Pierre UD
UFC 154 Georges St-Pierre -315 Carlos Condit +205 St-Pierre UD
UFC 129 Georges St-Pierre -550 Jake Shields +250 St-Pierre UD
UFC 124 Georges St-Pierre -360 Josh Koscheck +300  St-Pierre UD

Should St-Pierre, who hasn’t fought since November 2013, actually be the favorite – or do the current odds underestimate Bisping’s chances? Cast your vote below.

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

Take Our Poll
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Champ Michael Bisping says Georges St-Pierre title bout official for UFC 217 in NYC

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UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping claims his next title defense against Georges St-Pierre is finally official, and it will go down at UFC 217 in New York City.

Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) today announced the bout with St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) on FS1’s “UFC Tonight,” on which he frequently serves as a co-host.

“This is actually the third time I’ve been offered this fight, so the ship’s sailed twice,” Bisping said. “On this occasion, on the third occasion, it set off sailing but did a U-turn and it pulled up at New York City. I’ve got a chirpy little Englishman who’s going to fight Georges St-Pierre, Madison Square Garden, Nov. 4. It is official. Do not miss it. We’re taking over.”

UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The matchup has been an on-again, off-again mess after it was announced in March that former UFC welterweight champion St-Pierre would end his more than three-year hiatus to fight Bisping, despite never having competing at 185 pounds.

St-Pierre hasn’t fought since 2013, when he notched his ninth consecutive welterweight title defense with a split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. St-Pierre then vacated the title and took a break from competition. After St-Pierre recently flirted at a return, UFC officials announced earlier this year that the 36-year-old Canadian MMA great would fight Bisping sometime later in the year.

However, St-Pierre then said he could not fight until at least November due to outside commitments, and an irked UFC President Dana White later said the fight was off and Bisping would instead fight top contender Yoel Romero.

But when Bisping subsequently revealed a knee injury (while St-Pierre declared a lingering eye issue), Plan B for Bisping-Romero also was scrapped. Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) then lost a decision to fellow contender Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) for an interim title earlier this month at UFC 213.

White suggested a knee injury recently suffered by Whittaker opened the door for St-Pierre to cut the line.

With Whittaker the challenger in waiting, White said in July that St-Pierre would instead fight the winner of this past Saturday’s UFC 214 co-headliner between current welterweight champ Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) and challenger Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC). However, with Woodley’s heavily panned unanimous-decision win over Maia, that apparently opened the door for St-Pierre vs. Bisping.

“I know Michael Bisping will fight,” White said. “He will show up and actually fight.”

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

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

Tyron Woodley has positive chat with Dana White, was 'probably not' going to leak info

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

It appears the tension between UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and UFC President Dana White has been smoothed over following an airing of grievances between the two sides.

A furious Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) came out earlier this week demanding a public apology from White after the UFC boss publicly shamed his performance in a successful title defense against Demian Maia at UFC 214. He said if White didn’t apologize he would “start leaking some (expletive),” which would not paint the UFC in a very positive light.

Woodley said he spoke to White and now feels better about the situation. Moreover, he revealed the threat to leak dirty details was somewhat of an empty gesture born out of frustration.

He shared details of the conversation with White with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

“There was some yelling back and forth. At the end of the conversation, I felt pretty comfortable. It ended on a positive note. Two men can talk on the phone and maybe not agree on everything, but at least respect each other.

“I still feel he should apologize publicly, but I’m not going to hold my breath. The conversation ended with respect and that was really my goal. Dana knows all about talking off emotion. I went a little (crazy) and was talking off emotion, too. Did I really plan on leaking stuff? Probably not. But at the time, I was mad and it sounded good.”

Despite admitting that receiving an apology from White is unlikely, Woodley, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, appears ready to move forward. He’s not sure who he will fight next at this point, but right now his greatest concern is dealing with a shoulder injury he apparently suffered early in the unanimous decision win over Maia at UFC 214.

Prior to the event is seemed Woodley would fight former champ Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) in his next outing, but the nature of his fight with Maia led to White shifting away from the matchup and instead booking “GSP” against middleweight champ Michael Bisping, likely at UFC 217 in November.

Woodley was frustrated when he learned he wasn’t going to get the St-Pierre fight, but a large part of him believes it was never going to happen, anyway.

“I want Georges to know there’s no shame in his game. I’m not saying he’s scared. He’s not coming back for a belt or to be the best. He’s coming back for big-money fights. He sees a sport in which he helped the pay-per-view model grow and he wants to get on it. There’s no shame in that. But don’t say you’re here for any other reason.”

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Jon Jones and a history of 2-time UFC champions

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, UFC

Claiming a UFC championship belt is one of the most difficult accomplishments in MMA. Doing it twice, however, is almost otherworldly.

Jon Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) became the latest to join the short-list of fighters to win a UFC title in the same weight class on two different occasions this past Saturday when he defeated Daniel Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) by third-round knockout to reclaim the light heavyweight belt in the UFC 214 headliner.

“Bones” became the eighth fighter in UFC history to reign over a division on two occasions, and if his post-fight comments are any indication, the second run is going to be ever better than the first, which was one of the most dominant ever.

Here’s a rundown of the group Jones joined with his third-round knockout of Cormier at UFC 214, which took place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Randy Couture (heavyweight and light heavyweight)

Randy Couture

Not only was Couture (19-11 MMA, 16-8 UFC) the first to become a two time UFC champion, but he did it twice in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. “The Natural” first won heavyweight gold at UFC Japan in December 1997. His second reign began at UFC 28 in November 2000. Years later, Couture dropped to 205 pounds where he had title reigns in September 2003 and August 2004. Then he won the heavyweight title again in 2007, making him a three-time heavyweight champ – though one whose first ride with that belt was vacated.

Tim Sylvia (heavyweight)

Sylvia (31-10 MMA, 10-4 UFC) first became UFC heavyweight champion in February 2003. A failed drug test caused him to be stripped of the gold. However, he came back to win the belt more than three years later before he dropped it to Couture at UFC 68 in March 2007.

Cain Velasquez (heavyweight)

Cain Velasquez

The first run of Velasquez (14-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) as UFC champ came to an abrupt end when he was knocked out by Junior dos Santos in just 64 seconds at the inaugural UFC on FOX event in November 2011. He stormed back to take the belt in the rematch when he battered Dos Santos at UFC 155 in December 2012 to set up his second run as champion.

Jon Jones (light heavyweight)

One can only wonder what Jones’ career would currently look like had he not been stripped of the title following a run eight consecutive title defenses due to a series of outside-the-cage indiscretions. The road back to a second shot at UFC gold was tumultuous, but he made the most of it by beating his biggest rival in Cormier to claim the strap.

Matt Hughes (welterweight)

Matt Hughes

Hughes (45-9 MMA, 18-7 UFC) first became UFC welterweight champion in May 2001 when he took the belt from Carlos Newton at UFC 31 in one of the closest instances of a double knockout in UFC history. He defended five consecutive times before losing it to B.J. Penn. However, when Penn was stripped of the title for leaving the organization, Hughes immediately snatched it back up at UFC 46 in January 2004.

Georges St-Pierre (welterweight)

Georges St-Pierre

The heir to Hughes’ welterweight throne was St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), who forced a changing of the guard at 170 pounds when he beat Hughes at UFC 65 in November 2006. “Rush” would drop the gold to Matt Serra at UFC 69 in April 2007 in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. The French-Canadian proved he was superior in the rematch, though, taking the belt back from Serra at UFC 83 in April 2008.

Jose Aldo (featherweight)

Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is the only fighter on this list who had two different UFC title reigns without ever actually winning the belt inside the octagon. He first run at 145-pound champ came when he was promoted from WEC titleholder in November 2010, and his second reign six years later was the result of being promoted from interim champion after Conor McGregor was stripped.

Dominick Cruz (bantamweight)

Similar to Aldo above, Cruz’s (22-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) first stint as UFC champion stemmed from him being promoted from a WEC titleholder when the division was folded into the UFC late 2010. “The Dominator” had his time as champion completely derailed due to a long series of injuries, and he was forced to finally vacate in January 2014. One of the most spectacular comeback stories in the sport’s history saw him rally from those dark times and reclaim the title with a victory over T.J. Dillashaw in January 2016.

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

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

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

With 'GSP' fight off table, UFC champ Tyron Woodley could rematch Robbie Lawler next

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Filed under: News, UFC

ANAHEIM, Calif. – UFC President Dana White was not happy with Tyron Woodley’s performance at UFC 214 – so much so that he took what would be the biggest fight of the welterweight champion’s career off the table.

Prior to UFC 214, White said Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) would fight ex-champ Georges St-Pierre next if he defended his belt against Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC). He accomplished that feat by unanimous decision in Saturday’s co-headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., but the underwhelming nature of the bout made White so displeased that he instead decided “Rush” will fight middleweight champ Michael Bisping in his return.

With the 170-pound division relatively thin on logical opponents for Woodley to fight next, White said it’s possible former champ Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC), who picked up a unanimous decision win over Donald Cerrone (32-9 MMA, 19-6 UFC) at UFC 214, could be next in line.

“Right now, off the top of my head, I would say Robbie Lawler (is next for Woodley),” White told reporters at UFC 214’s post-fight news conference. “He’s not getting the ‘GSP’ fight, but obviously Robbie Lawler’s a great fight, too.”

Woodley and Lawler fought a year ago in the UFC 201 main event, where “The Chosen One” took the belt from Lawler with a first-round knockout. Lawler took a year off after the fight and made his return to action in an entertaining affair with Cerrone at UFC 214.

Although Woodley put Lawler away quickly, and Lawler has only been able to edge Cerrone in a competitive fight in the time since, White believes a rematch is logical given the state of the weight class.

“I had it one to one going into the third, and I gave the third to Robbie,” White said of Lawler vs. Cerrone. “I just thought that third round, Lawler was pushing forward, he was throwing tons of punches, he was in his face the whole time. I thought he did more in the third.”

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Tyron Woodley declines comment on Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre

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UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley doesn’t expect to get the fights he wants, so he’ll just beat whomever the UFC puts in front of him next.

Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) expected his next fight might be again Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), but that possibility seemed to dim in the wake of his dominant, yet lackluster, title defense over Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC) at UFC 214, which took place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and aired on pay-per-view.

Prior to UFC 214, UFC President Dana White said the Woodley-Maia would next fight St-Pierre – because a fight between St-Pierre and UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) was no longer a possibility. However, the UFC exec changed his mind, as he announced after Saturday’s event.

“I have no reaction to that, my man,” Woodley said when informed of White’s decision. “The next person that steps in front of me, I’m going to beat them. That’s it.”

White later added the winner of Bisping vs. St-Pierre will face interim champ Robert Whittaker in a middleweight title-unifier.

Woodley said he expected St-Pierre would wind up fighting Bisping after the two talked up a fight on Bisping’s podcast, but he tried to put the possibility out of his mind.

“(St-Pierre) should have to fight me,” Woodley told MMAjunkie after the event. “He doesn’t want to fight me because I’m a better version of him.”

Bisping, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, made it clear he doesn’t want to see Woodley and St-Pierre step into the cage together.

“You’ve got Tyron Woodley, who just landed the least amount of significant strikes in a title fight, ever, and he’s going to fight a guy who likes to jab people and go, ‘I am not impressed by your performance,’ and try to take him down,” he said during FS1’s post-fight show (via Twitter). “I can’t wait to see that fight. Take my $60 dollars right now. I want to see one guy do nothing, and another guy do nothing. I want to see it. ‘I am not impressed. I am not buying this.’”

Woodley dominated Maia on the scorecards to retain his belt, but he was roundly booed over five rounds of lackluster action. Despite the crowd’s reaction, he defended his win and pointed to the 24 takedowns he denied the jiu-jitsu expert.

“I thought it was a great performance,” Woodley said. “You’ve got a guy on a seven-fight win streak, and he’s taken out all seven opponents, world-class guys.

“Twenty-four (takedowns) tried, 24 denied. We need to look at the different stats. This is my fourth title fights in 12 months. I’m thinking of how many top-class welterweights he would have been able to put on the ground. He was not able to do any of that with me.”

UFC commentator Joe Rogan pointed out Woodley’s low strike count, but the champ said he didn’t take offense.

“Fans, they want to see blood, they want to see cuts, and they want to see a back-and-forth exchange,” Woodley said. “You also have to recognize that I’m fighting specialists. Stephen Thompson, I’m not going to sit there and try to out-spin kick him. I’m not going to take down Demian Maia and prove it’s time for me to get a black belt.

“I felt like it was a very tactical fight. I felt like I did everything and stuck to the game plan. I walk around with my head up and the belt around my waist.”

Woodley said he fought despite tweaking his right shoulder with his preferred overhand in the first or second round, making him tentative for the rest of the fight.

“All these guys get the credit, and the champ doesn’t ever get the credit,” he said. “So guess what: I don’t expect it. I’ll just keep kicking ass, and I’ll be the greatest walking away.”

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie