Alex Volkanovski wants $50,000 KO at UFC-Sydney, then fight with 'bully' Jeremy Stephens in Perth

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – With his third UFC fight in less than a year right around the corner, Alex Volkanovski has a pretty clear plan for his future.

Naturally, it starts with Volkanovski (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) taking out short-notice newcomer Shane Young (11-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in their featherweight fight at UFC Fight Night 121 – and in a way that gets him a $50,000 performance bonus.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Sunday (but airs live on Saturday in North America due to the time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Young stepped in for Humberto Bandenay earlier this week, and Bandenay had been a replacement for Jeremy Kennedy. Strangely enough, Volkanovski knows a little about Young.

“We get along with their gym very well,” Volkanovski told MMAjunkie at a media day this week. “I’ve got a guy cornering me who is actually one of his training partners. They haven’t been with each other forever, but it just shows you. At the end of the day, I’m happy for him, but I’ve got to do my thing. I’m looking for that finish and I’m looking for that $50,000.”

But after this weekend, Volkanovski wants to make things a little more regular – like back again in February at UFC 221 in Perth, giving him another fight in front of his home Australian fans.

“I want to fight as regularly as I can,” he said. “I’ll be calling out all these bad boys and these top 15 guys. I’m going to prove why I’m ready for these top guys – I’m getting thrown guys and I’m finishing them, dominating performances, so I’m expecting to do that again. I want a top-ranked opponent, and I want him in Perth.”

Just how top-ranked? For now, how about Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC), who despite his .500 UFC record presents a potential opponent with longevity.

“He’s highly ranked, he’s well known, and I’m after these bad boys,” Volkanovski said. “He says he’s a tough guy, he’s a bad boy. I think of him like a bully-type of person. I don’t like bullies. He can try and bully me and we’ll see what happens. I’ve got a job to do on (Saturday), but I’d love to fight him, that’s for sure.”

For more from Volkanovski, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

After postponement for UFC 215 fight, Jeremy Stephens finally got married over the weekend

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

It’s been a pretty good month for UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens.

Not only did the longtime UFC veteran Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) score one of the most important victories of his career against Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) at UFC 215, but he also got hitched.

Stephens and his new bride, Cindy Lopez, got married in California over the weekend, and the pictures are in (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Stephens was originally scheduled to be married on the same weekend as UFC 215. However, when he was offered the matchup with Melendez, which he won by lopsided unanimous decision with a UFC record-tying five knockdowns of his opponent, he opted to push the date back.

“I have a great fiancee,” Stephens told MMAjunkie at UFC 215 media day. “Not only is she beautiful, she has an amazing heart. She understands this is what I do, and this what I love. These opportunities aren’t going to be knocking 15 years from now.”

Stephens clearly made the right choice. On top of the noteworthy win, “Lil’ Heathen” also received a $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus for his encounter with Melendez. That should help pay off the honeymoon.

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Does Conor McGregor recognize 'who the fook' this guy is with his mom?

It took him a while, but UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens finally got Conor McGregor back.

Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) today let the world know he hasn’t forgotten abouot McGregor’s (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC, 0-1 boxing) infamous “Who the fook is that guy?” taunt during the press conference for UFC 205 one year ago.

On Twitter, Stephen’s posted a picture of himself alongside the UFC lightweight champ’s mom, Margaret McGregor.

YourMomKnowsWhoDaFook

Youch.

Stephens, of course, is fresh off an impressive win over former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC), and he’s in the mood to call out big names. After his win earlier this month at UFC 215, he eyed a fight with ex-featherweight champ Jose Aldo – and a bigger contract.

Now just two days away from the wedding he delayed to fight Melendez, Stephens is hunting big game. McGregor, not one month removed from a boxing match drubbing at the hands of Floyd Mayweather, still hasn’t announced his next move.

One year ago, Stephens said he’d be the Irishman’s toughest match. McGregor’s response drowned out that statement. Today, Stephens evened the trash-talk score.

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

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Even 'Korean Zombie' is doing Conor McGregor-inspired trolling of Jeremy Stephens

Dann StuppJeremy Stephens will never escape that infamous Conor McGregor dis.

You know the one – “Who da fook is that guy?” – that McGregor tossed Stephens’ way during a UFC 205 press conference a year ago. When Stephens suggested he’s the 145-pound division’s hardest hitter, McGregor countered with the now-legendary question (via YouTube):

Although the quote has taken on a life on its own and been used to dismiss callouts from all corners of the sport, Chan Sung Jung – the “Korean Zombie” – channeled it to use on its original target.

It started on Monday when Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC), who’s fresh off an impressive and lopsided unanimous-decision win over former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) at UFC 215, realized his desired fight with ex-champ Jose Aldo was unlikely to happen. So he turned his focus to Jung (via Twitter):

Early Tuesday Jung (14-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) responded with the McGregor meme and a few emojis (via Twitter):

Jung recently returned from a three-and-a-half-year layoff (due to mandatory military service in his native South Korea) and scored a “Performance of the Night” bonus with a first-round knockout of Dennis Bermudez.

While a fight between Jung, who’s No. 10 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, and unranked Stephens could produce fireworks, the “Korean Zombie” is currently on the mend due to a knee injury. It’ll keep him out of the octagon for the remainder of the year.

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

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 'Fight Motion:' In which Gilbert Melendez's lower leg swells up instantly

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Jeremy Stephens delivered a barrage of low kicks to Gilbert Melendez and, as we in the “Fight Motion: highlights for this past Saturday’s UFC 215 bout, the swelling began instantly and forced Melendez to the mat.

The super-slow-motion highlights capture the action from the event at Rogers place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada., which aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) once again proved his durability in the cage, but he’d probably just as soon forget all about his featherweight debut against Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) as he dropped a unanimous decision with scores of 30-26, 30-26 and 30-25. The story of the fight was the repeated low kicks that hammered Melendez’s left leg.

“Fight Motion” highlights also include the main event, which champ Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) won over Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) by a narrow unanimous decision and Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) finishing Wilson Reis  (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) via second-round TKO.

Check out the “Fight Motion” highlights above.

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

The long struggle to understand the difference between tough and stupid

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When the referee comes to visit you in the hospital so he can apologize, it’s a pretty good sign that you didn’t have a great night.

Still, UFC featherweight Gavin Tucker (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) isn’t complaining. In fact, he’s glad that referee Kyle Cardinal didn’t stop Rick Glenn (20-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) from thumping on him at UFC 215 in Edmonton on Saturday night, or so he would have us believe.

“Stop blaming the ref for a bad call,” Tucker wrote on Facebook. “That man let me go out on my shield.”

He also let Tucker suffer through four broken bones in his face, including fractures in his jaw and orbital bones. He didn’t know that at the time – it’s not like he has X-ray vision – but what he should have been able to see was that, as of about the middle of the second round, Tucker was no longer in this fight.

Cardinal should have stopped it there. When he failed to, Tucker’s corner should have stopped it before the third. Instead, everyone with a responsibility to look out for his safety let Tucker get beat up for five more minutes, and for what?

I found myself asking a similar question later in the evening, when Gilbert Melendez’s corner talked him out of quitting on the stool before the third round of his pay-per-view main-card opener. Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) had suffered a very obvious and visible leg injury early in the fight with Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC). It clearly hampered his ability to move and defend and, at times, stand.

And yet when Melendez told his corner that he thought he was done, they talked him out of it. They told him he was fine. They told the doctor to pay no attention to the man with the ice pack on his shin. They told Melendez he could do anything for five minutes.

Of course, you go out there with limited mobility against a knockout artist like Stephens, one of the things you might do is hobble right into a concussion. Melendez didn’t, which is as much a testament to his poise and experience as his toughness, and in the end he managed to hear the final horn.

He still lost, of course, and he wasn’t able to do much but survive in the final round. Surviving might have been enough to help him net his $50,000 share of the “Fight of the Night” bonus, but it’s hard to say whether that’s genuine admiration from the UFC or just pity.

We have this strange attachment to pointless suffering in combat sports. Maybe it’s part of the morality play aspect of watching two people battle in a cage. We think that they are teaching us about how to suffer with strength and dignity, and to some extent maybe they are. Or maybe they’re just accumulating damage in the service of a lost cause.

The fact that both these fights happened on the same night in Edmonton helps to drive home a certain point. It’s the same Canadian city where, some three months ago, former UFC fighter Tim Hague died after being knocked out in a boxing match.

There was another fight where there seemed to be no real reason to continue after a first round in which Hague hit the deck four times. But again, combat sports love finality and hate even the tiniest shred of doubt. We often seem to feel that it’s easier to keep going than to stop and explain why.

And you can understand why the fighters want to keep going. Fans aren’t kind to those they deem a quitter. Plus, all that training for one night – and one paycheck that doubles with a victory – who can blame you for wanting to give yourself every last chance?

But then you look at Tucker, who was 10-0 with a promising future before he got his face broken in several places, all to prove what we already knew or suspected, which is that he’s a tough guy who can withstand some pain. It didn’t do him or his career any favors to take that extra five minutes worth of punishment. It was pointless and dumb and dangerous.

Same with Melendez, whose corner no doubt thought they were doing him a favor by talking him through a low point so he wouldn’t hate himself in the morning. Then again, in 10 years covering this sport, I’ve seen a handful of fighters get talked into continuing by well-meaning cornermen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those fighters win, but I have seen a lot of ugly fights that only got uglier.

There’s definitely a place for this mentality in sports like MMA, where you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know how to get hurt, recover and overcome some adversity. But there’s a difference between fighting through the pain and being someone’s punching bag.

There are times when the pursuit of some minor moral victory will come at the expense of actual victories later on, the same way refusing to tap to a joint lock only earns you more time in surgery and rehab, when you could have been training and fighting and learning instead.

Seems to me we could do a better job of understanding and recognizing that distinction, and not valorizing empty risks that only serve to reinforce a point that’s already been proven. We get that UFC fighters are tough. You don’t make it to this level if you’re not.

But there’s a point where tough gives way to stupid. There are already enough ways for this sport to send you to the hospital. We don’t need to go looking for new ones.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

So yeah, Gilbert Melendez's leg was a mess the day after UFC 215

Dann StuppGilbert Melendez’s legs got a rude welcome to the UFC featherweight division on Saturday at UFC 215. Check out the aftermath.

In the pay-per-view main-card opener at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, a durable and resilient Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) dropped from lightweight to featherweight and survived three rounds of lower-limb battering from Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC).

Ultimately, Melendez, who was often hobbled early in the fight, survived to the final bell and suffered a unanimous-decision defeat. But it was clearly Stephens’ night.

On Sunday, Melendez’s wife, kickboxer/MMA fighter Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez, posted a picture of her husband’s badly swollen left leg.

With a quick comparison to his right leg, the swelling is obvious (via Twitter):

“Hey All. Everyone is asking about Gilbert’s leg. Here is a pic today. He is doing A ok. Thank you to all for the support. We feel the love

Melendez, a former Strikeforce champion who joined the UFC in 2013, has fallen short in two UFC title shots. With the UFC 215 defeat, the 35-year-old is now in a 1-5 skid going back to his promotional-debut title loss to then-champ Benson Henderson.

For more on UFC 215, 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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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Amanda Nunes and UFC 215's other winners?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 215’s losing fighters?)

The UFC’s first pay-per-view event in Canada this year took place on Saturday with UFC 215, which went down at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The five-fight lineup saw Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) defend her UFC women’s bantamweight championship for the second time when she earned a hotly contested split-decision victory over rival Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in the headliner.

Several other impressive performances were turned in, with former champ Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC), Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Ilir Latifi (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) and Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) turning in convincing winning performances against their opponents.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 215’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Jeremy Stephens

Brian Ortega

Should fight: Brian Ortega
Why they should fight: Stephens once again bounced back from a two-fight losing skid inside the UFC octagon when he earned one of the more noteworthy victories of his career, this time against former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez.

With the help of vicious leg kicks, Stephens earned a dominant unanimous-decision win over “El’ Nino” to get him back on track. Despite 26 UFC appearances, Stephens is still only 31 and said he still has a lot of competitive years left.

Although Melendez is a established name in the sport, he’s not currently considered a top title threat, nor is he someone who should elevate Stephens into the title-shot discussion. There are names out there who could do more for him, though, and an undefeated rising star like Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) would make for a compelling affair.

Ortega is young, dynamic and a fighter with some buzz in the weight class. Stephens would be a big test, but if he handles him, that would legitimize him in a whole new light.

Ilir Latifi

Mauricio Rua

Should fight: Winner of Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Fight Night 117
Why they should fight: Latifi returned to the octagon for the first time in more than a year and halted the undefeated streak of rising light heavyweight Tyson Pedro.

Latifi improved to 4-1 in his past five UFC appearances with a unanimous-decision victory over Pedro. He’s lined himself up for a greater opportunity next time out, and the winner of the UFC Fight Night 117 headliner between Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) and Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) later this month could be the perfect fit.

Although “Shogun” and “OSP” have accomplished as much in the sport as anyone Latifi has fought thus far, a victory over the winner of their upcoming matchup would help legitimize himself at 205 pounds and allow him to join the title-contender discussion.

Henry Cejudo

Sergio Pettis

Should fight: Sergio Pettis
Why they should fight: Cejudo turned in easily the most impressive performance of his career when he completely outclassed fellow former flyweight title challenger Wilson Reis for a second-round knockout win.

After beating his opponents on the scorecards in his first four UFC wins, Cejudo made a definitive statement with a stellar striking performance against Reis to help him rebound from a two-fight skid against 125-pound champ Demetrious Johnson and top-ranked contender Joseph Benavidez.

Although Cejudo eventually wants a title rematch with Johnson, he named Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) as a possible next opponent. They were scheduled to fight at UFC 211 in May, but Cejudo was forced to withdraw during fight week due to a hand injury. Pettis is coming off a decision win over fast-rising Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114 in August, and Cejudo said he would be very interested in booking that fight again to further strengthen his title-shot argument.

Rafael dos Anjos

Tyron Woodley

Should fight: Tyron Woodley
Why they should fight: Former UFC lightweight champion dos Anjos continued a successful venture into the welterweight division when he defeated longtime contender Neil Magny.

Dos Anjos earned a first-round submission win to improve to 2-0 since he moved up to 170 pounds earlier this year. The Brazilian has made a quick rise in the division, and he would have already fought for the title against Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) in July if Demian Maia had been unable to accept.

Woodley is still nursing some injuries from his UFC 214 win over Maia, but that works perfectly for the Brazilian, who said he’s eager to take some time off after two fights in three months. Although Woodley somewhat dismissed dos Anjos as a legitimate next challenger at this time, there are few better options available in the weight class. Dos Anjos’ performance against Magny paired with his status as a former UFC titleholder should get him the next shot.

Amanda Nunes

Should fight: Raquel Pennington
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Nunes should face Pennington (9-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) for her third title defense.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC 215 post-event facts: Which fighter tied an 11-year-old UFC record?

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Filed under: News, UFC

The UFC made a successful debut in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Saturday with UFC 215, which took place at Rogers Place with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The 11-fight card was capped off by a razor-thin title defense from UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who edged rival Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) by split decision in their anticipated title rematch.

Nunes’ victory continued to raise her profile in the divisional record books, but she wasn’t the only fighter on the card to make some history. For more, check below for 35 post-even facts to come out of UFC 215.

* * * *

General

Amanda Nunes

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $185,000.

Rafael dos Anjos, Henry Cejudo, Jeremy Stephens and Gilbert Melendez earned $50,000 UFC 215 fight-night bonuses.

Debuting fighters went 1-0 on the card.

UFC 215 drew an announced attendance of 16,232 for a live gate of $2,028,307.14.

Betting favorites went 6-5 on the card.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:06:50.

Main card

Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko

Nunes’ six-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Nunes’ eight victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Shevchenko has suffered both of her UFC losses to Nunes.

Shevchenko has suffered both of her UFC losses by decision.

Shevchenko failed to complete a takedown in a fight for the first time in her UFC career.

Rafael dos Anjos

Dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) improved to 2-0 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in June 2017.

Dos Anjos earned his first submission victory since May 15, 2012 – a span of 1,943 days (more than five years) and 14 fights.

Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) has suffered four of his six career losses by submission.

Henry Cejudo

Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) earned the first stoppage victory of his UFC career.

Wilson Reis (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) fell to 5-3 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in August 2014.

Tyson Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had his six-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) improved to 6-5 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in May 2013.

Jeremy Stephens

Stephens has earned four of his six featherweight victories by decision.

Stephens’ five knockdowns landed tied the single-fight UFC record set by Forrest Petz vs. Sammy Morgan at UFC Fight Night 6 in 2006.

Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) suffered his fourth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He’s 1-5 in his past six bouts overall and hasn’t earned a victory since October 2013.

Melendez was unsuccessful in his UFC featherweight debut. He hasn’t earned a victory in the weight class since August 2005.

Melendez has suffered six of his seven career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Ketlen Vieira and Sara McMann

Ketlen Vieira’s (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) three-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Nunes (six) and Raquel Pennington (four).

Sara McMann (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) has suffered three of her four career losses by stoppage.

Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has suffered both of her career stoppage losses by submission.

Gavin Tucker (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his 10-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Mitch Clarke

Mitch Clarke (11-5 MMA, 2-5 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career.

Clarke retired from MMA following his defeat.

Alex White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) improved to 1-1 since he moved up to the UFC lightweight division in January.

White has earned 10 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Luis Henrique (10-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Henrique failed to complete a takedown for the first time in his UFC career.

Kajan Johnson

Kajan Johnson (22-11-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) earned his first knockout victory since Nov. 6, 2009 – a span of 2,864 days (nearly eight years) and seven fights.

Adriano Martins (28-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has suffered both of his UFC stoppage losses by knockout.

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

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jeremy Stephens would love to fight Jose Aldo – just not in November (and understandably so)

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

EDMONTON – Veteran UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens just finished his 26th octagon appearance and snapped a two-fight losing skid.

He feels a raise is due.

“My kids are growing, and I want the best for them and the best for me and to set them up in the future,” Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) told MMAjunkie after Saturday’s UFC 215 event, where he outpointed former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) in the pay-per-view opener at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “I’m just now starting to make good money in this sport, and it’s been a long time.

“I feel like I should be making a (expletive) more money, especially since I just beat a guy who makes probably double what I do.”

That guy, of course, expertly used the free-agency process to win a lucrative new deal with the UFC. Stephens is most known for his work in the UFC octagon, so his opportunity to leverage one promotion against the other was not as strong as Melendez’s.

Still, with his contract nearing completion, Stephens said it’s time to get a bump.

“I’m definitely going to be begging for some more money and putting on these performances (so) I can retire nice,” Stephens said. “I definitely want to retire and do some FOX analysis (work). But right now I’m a fighter, and I want to make as much money as I can.”

Stephens has a good idea of an opponent that might earn him a bigger paycheck – ex-champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC). He noted the Brazilian’s desire to fight in November after the loss of his belt to Max Holloway earlier this year.

While that timeline doesn’t exactly jibe with Stephens’ schedule – he did, after all, put off his wedding for UFC 215 – a matchup later this year sounds perfect.

“I would love that fight, but November, it’s a little tight on my schedule, and I can’t push two things back,” Stephens said. “So December or January, something like that – that would be something I’d definitely look forward to. He’s a banger and a class act.

“I think me and him could get it on and give the fans a great showing. But I just can’t do November. I can’t keep pushing things back.”

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

And for complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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