Twitter Mailbag: Jon Jones' legacy, Daniel Cormier's new/old title and Conor McGregor's UFC leverage

What’s to become of Jon Jones now? How about his legacy, or that of Daniel Cormier? And what sort of leverage will Conor McGregor have when he emerges from his bout with Floyd Mayweather on Saturday?

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

You’re really going to make me say it? Jones deserves his due process, just like anybody else, before we make any final judgments. Now that that’s out of the way, yeah, it ain’t looking good.

The problem is that if his “B” sample comes back positive and USADA can prove Jones had the steroid Turinabol in his system at the time of the test, his options are extremely limited. He can argue contamination, much like he did the last time he tested positive, when he blamed the estrogen blockers in his system on a knock-off sex pill, but at a certain point that strains belief – even if it’s true.

Think about it, that would make this the second time in just over 12 months that Jones, a fighter with an abundance of both resources and reasons to double-check everything he ingests, had accidentally got some banned drugs into his body. And, as you may have noticed, a lot of people already don’t buy the first excuse.

So say we come away from all this feeling pretty sure that Jones took steroids. Say you’re among those who don’t believe the counterfeit Cialis story (I actually do believe it, though this one threatens to make me feel like a naive jerk for doing so), thereby bringing his career total to two failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs. Does that mean we’re automatically done with him?

I ask because that would still leave him well short of Josh Barnett’s career record. Barnett had a UFC title stripped from him in 2002 and pretty much single-handedly brought down an already weakened Affliction with another failure in 2009. But he still got to headline UFC cards as a fan favorite (until his fourth positive last December), so clearly we weren’t so quick to be done with him.

How about Chael Sonnen? The first time he was popped, he insisted that he had a doctor’s note and secret athletic commission approval. That didn’t fly and he got suspended, only to get caught again a few years later, at which point he told us it was the result of fertility treatments. Then we learned he had actually failed a third test for still more PEDs, at which point he finally gave up and admitted he was just straight-up doping.

Are we done with Sonnen? Because last I checked, he was headlining Bellator pay-per-views and going on ESPN to call other fighters cheaters.

The point is, you’ve got to really screw up in this sport for us to permanently turn our backs on you. We get mad, but we get over it. Jones’ problem is that he failed a test at such a crucial time, right after this career-defining victory that essentially established him as the greatest fighter in the history of this sport. That leaves him with a long way to fall before he can start to pick himself up – and he hasn’t even hit the ground yet.

Recent history tells us that Cormier has no problem claiming the title and carrying himself as champion in the event that someone else “disqualifies” himself. I’m sure it’s not how he’d prefer to get the UFC title around his waist, but what choice does he have?

If Jones’ positive test holds up, the bout pretty much automatically becomes a no-contest. Like it never even happened. And since Cormier was the light heavyweight champ before the fight, he stays the champ if the fight didn’t happen. Unless, of course, he retires or renounces the throne or skips out of the division to make a new life for himself as a heavyweight.

Which, hey, maybe he’s so shaken by this whole experience that he’ll go one of those routes. Or maybe he puts the belt back around his waist and makes his case to the public that he’s still the best <i>clean</i> fighter in the division.

And, who knows, maybe people appreciate that distinction more than they expected to. Two losses to Jones can’t help but affect his legacy, but there are worse legacies to have than being the guy who was better than almost everyone while still doing it the right way. Plus, early indications are that Jones could end up with a lengthy suspension, which would give Cormier plenty of time to get reacquainted with the belt.

Let’s just say that if you want to see every fighter treated equally under the existing rules, without regard to how much money they have/will/might bring into the state, there’s ample reason these days to be glad that Jones’ drug test failure happened in California rather than Nevada.

I think it tells us what we already knew, which is that no sport is as willing to break its own rules and twist itself into a logical pretzel in order to get that money.

Combat sports have always existed in a different realm from the more traditional stick-and-ball stuff. Here, you have to get the paying customers into the tent. There are no season tickets. There’s nobody showing up just because they’re from Green Bay or because their dad used to bring them every Sunday when they were kids.

They need a compelling reason to buy tickets and pay-per-views, and the financial health of all associated parties – promoters, commissions, fighters, etc. – depends on making sure they get it.

One thing that New York Times article points out, thanks to law-blogger extraordinaire Erik Magraken, is that “commissions exist in an inherent conflict of interest.” If they take a cut of the proceeds from the fight, and if they depend on that money to operate, how can that not affect them?

But that’s fight sports for you. It’s always going to rely in part on selling us on our own curiosity. And when taken to its extreme, curiosity is just a more polite term for freak show.

Really? That’s what’s stopping you? One guy tests positive from a fight last month, and that makes you not want to watch two different guys in a completely different sport this Saturday? And it’s not like these two haven’t undergone extensive testing themselves. The bout was put together in a hurry, but every indication is that USADA has been all over these two.

If you’re going to get too sad to watch, at least choose a better reason. Like, for instance, Mayweather’s appalling history of violence toward women.

And, nope, my obsessive-compulsive tendencies are not the least bit inflamed by the fact that you misspelled Jones’ first name and McGregor’s last name in the same sentence. Not at all.

I want to believe. The things he’s done inside the cage are incredible and creative and dynamic. He’s expanded our understanding of what an MMA fighter can do, and he carried us along in this gripping redemption story that seemed to have a dramatic ending with the win at UFC 214. If he doped for that, you’d have to wonder about the prior test failure before UFC 200. Then you’d have to wonder whether he’s been doping his whole career.

I’d like for there to be some way to not go down that depressing rabbit hole, but I’m going to need a better explanation than vague accusations of a setup. Who, with the power to do so, would want to set Jones up like this?

Not the UFC, which got a much-needed pay-per-view boost from his return. Not USADA, which risks turning public sentiment against its continuing program with the UFC if people start to feel like all the best fighters and fights are being ruined by questionable tests. Definitely not Jones’ team, which needs him to keep fighting and keep getting paid in order for all the coaches and nutritionists and managers and assistants to stay in business. So who? And how? And why?

If the best answer available is the same old answer we’ve heard before, I’m not sure it’ll be enough.

This is the other aspect of the Cormier question. Say he decides he doesn’t want that belt, or that he doesn’t even want to stay in this division after this twisted turn of events. If he leaves either for another weight class or for a job talking into a mic (and the UFC needs him even more in that regard now that Brian Stann, the best in the business, has bounced), what then?

The short answer is that light heavyweight goes from being a glamour division to being a desolate wasteland, and almost overnight. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good fighters. You’ve got Alexander Gustafsson. You’ve got Mr. “No Time,” Volkan Oezdemir. You’ve even got Jimi Manuwa. I guess.

But that’s a long way from the days of Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. In terms of depth and quality of talent and overall marketability, it’ll be a new low for the weight class in the UFC. And just thinking about it bums me right out.

Again, due process, “B” sample, so forth and so on. But what makes the situation worse for Jones – and for fighters in general, really – is that they don’t have to dope for their whole career or even a significant portion of their careers for the stain to stick to them. Fighting isn’t a collection of seasons; it’s a series of moments. Some moments are more important than others, which is why not all failed drug tests register equally in people’s minds.

Jones didn’t just fail a drug test. He failed one for the biggest fight of his life. He could come back and turn in nothing but clean results for the next 20 years, and still people aren’t going to forget this one.

As a side note for those people who will inevitably say that it doesn’t matter, that PEDs are good, that we shouldn’t even bother with them: It wasn’t your head in there getting thumped on. Want to tell me that steroids don’t make anyone a better fighter? Fine, then explain why fighters keep taking such risks to use them. Even if their primary benefit is recovery, using a recovery aid that the other guy (assuming he follows the rules) doesn’t get to use is still cheating. It still matters. If you don’t think so, go ask Cormier.

There’s always the chance that Saturday night’s result could severely diminish the value of his personal brand, but consider the likely outcome for McGregor. Even in an embarrassing defeat he makes more from one boxing match than he would have from a half-dozen or so UFC title defenses. If he can acquit himself even a little bit in the big gloves, he’s already got a rivalry brewing with Paulie Malignaggi.

So how do you convince him to come back to the UFC? Even tougher, how do you convince him to come back soon, when you need him?

Dana White and friends are going to have to find a way to make it worth his while, whether that’s through offering him a piece of the company or by letting him slap his logo on the mat or even just by letting him rep his own sponsors somehow.

Because how are you going to keep them down on the Reebok farm after they’ve made millions to wear a T-shirt and some shorts for one night against Mayweather?

Tony Ferguson is a tough fight for anyone, but he’s also a huge opportunity for Kevin Lee, who doesn’t have the most airtight case for a title shot and yet finds himself with one largely due to the unusual circumstances in the division. So why not take your chances?

As for what happens to the winner, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to wake up one morning and discover that the interim title has morphed into the real thing overnight, especially if McGregor doesn’t show enough interest in returning to defend the real thing.

At the moment, at least, the UFC President doesn’t seem to be straining himself to sell the thing. Then again, all of MMA seems to be on hold until we get past this Mayweather-McGregor business, so what’s the point of rolling out a bunch of promotion we’ll just ignore?

Still, it’ll be curious to see how hard the UFC pushes this one, since it features two champions that Dana White has very recently and very publicly maligned. It’s tough to tell us how mentally weak or historically unpopular these people are and then turn around a few months later and convince us to pay for their fights.

Losing the Junior Dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou fight on the undercard sure doesn’t help.

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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UFC 214's 10 memorable moments: Jon Jones reclaims his crown, ends feud with Daniel Cormier

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The stacked main card of Saturday’s UFC 214 did not disappoint.

In the main event, Jon Jones returned to the octagon for the first time in 15 months and put on a nearly flawless performance, regaining both the light heavyweight title and his ranking as the best 205-pound fighter in UFC history with a third-round knockout of Daniel Cormier.

In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley focused on defense, much to the chagrin of fans and UFC President Dana White, while retaining welterweight crown against challenger Demian Maia with a unanimous decision.

In the first title fight of the night, the most feared woman in MMA, Cristiane Justino, became a UFC champion with a third-round TKO victory over a very game Tonya Evinger.

UFC 214 took place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are the most memorable moments from the biggest UFC fight card of 2017.

1. New reign, new man?

After dispatching Cormier in the third round with a head kick and ground strikes, Jones began his second stint as light heavyweight champion. The “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning victory solidified Jones as the greatest light heavyweight in MMA history. The respect Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) paid Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) after the fight was almost as noteworthy as his victory.

We don’t know if Jones has turned a corner in his life. We don’t know if the time he spent on the sidelines due to his actions and decisions has made him a more thoughtful person. But during that brief speech, Jones provided some hope that he has learned at least some lessons.

As for Cormier, he offered his congratulations to Jones and his team via social media late Sunday night.

2. Heartbreak and confusion

The decision to speak to Cormier after his knockout loss was unwise, something UFC commentator Joe Rogan acknowledged on Sunday in his apology, but Rogan did make that decision. The brief interview provided fans a glimpse of a man who was heartbroken and confused.

“I don’t know, man,” Cormier said when asked what he was feeling. “I thought the fight was going well. I don’t even know what happened. I think I got kicked in the head. It’s so disappointing.”

The raw moment revealed to everyone just how much this fight meant to Cormier and how emotionally invested he was in defeating Jones and cementing his legacy as an all-time great.

“I guess if he wins both fights, there is no rivalry,” Cormier said, fighting back tears. “I don’t know.”

3. Recoup the losses

During his first title reign, Jones defended the light heavyweight title eight times. In his last defense, Jones earned a reported $500,000. Since then he has fought twice, taking in a reported $1 million in total for those two contests. In short, Jones left a lot of money on the table while he sat on the sidelines due to his self-destructive behavior.

What better way to get some of that money back than to follow Conor McGregor’s lead and call for the most bankable fight possible?

“Brock Lesnar, if you want to know what it feels like to get your ass kicked by a guy that weights 40 pounds less than you, meet me in the octagon,” Jones said after defeating Cormier.

While that fight is far from a lock, Jones’ callout did get the attention of the former heavyweight champion.

4. Losing by winning

Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) stopped each of the 21 takedowns Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC) attempted during their fight. That defense-first strategy allowed Woodley to retain his title via decision. Unfortunately, it seemingly cost him a fight against former champion Georges St-Pierre, which UFC President Dana White had said was “the plan” just days before Woodley’s win over Maia.

“Michael Bisping will show up, and he will fight,” White said when revealing the change at the post-fight press conference “So, yeah. I’m going to give it to him.”

Woodley, who predicted the St-Pierre fight wouldn’t come to fruition, was not surprised with the switch.

5. So dominant

How good is Justino (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC)? So good that a lot of the post-fight talk wasn’t about her knockout win over Evinger but of how tough Evinger (19-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) was for extending the fight into the third round before Justino finished her.

“Tonya Evinger was awesome,” a smiling Michael Bisping said on the UFC on FOX post-fight show. “She went out there and took a beating really, really well.”

Justino was patient and technical. She never got too aggressive until the finish was in sight. While Justino’s approach might have disappointed fans of her previous fights, it showed she’s added a new, and maybe more frightening, wrinkle to her arsenal, that of the predator tiring her prey before moving in for the kill.

6. Taking shots

For someone who didn’t compete at UFC 214, former women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie took a beating in Anaheim.

“I think it’s really important to mention that Germaine de Randamie, who won the title against Holly Holm, just did not want to fight this woman,” Rogan said before the Justino vs. Evinger fight began. “She said, ‘I’m not doing it. I’m stepping down, and I’m relinquishing my title.”

Rogan later said that while he was enjoying the Justino-Evinger bout, he felt “robbed” that de Randamie was not fighting.

“That proves that Evinger would put up a better fight,” replied fellow commentator Dominick Cruz. “She (de Randamie) didn’t even want to get in here; Evinger’s here.”

The duo then speculated what de Randamie must be thinking knowing someone was “tougher than her to take the fight.”

These comments came days after Evinger referred to de Randamie as a “coward” during her pre-fight media interview.

De Randamie was stripped of the belt in June due to her unwillingness to fight Justino.

7. Back in the mix

Almost one year to the day since losing the welterweight title to Woodley, Robbie Lawler returned to the title hunt with a unanimous-decision victory over Donald Cerrone.

As expected, Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and Cerrone (32-8 MMA, 19-5 UFC) delivered an exciting back and forth striking battle.

The win showed that Lawler remains one of the best welterweights in the UFC. More impressive was Lawler was without his good friend, former UFC champion Matt Hughes, who was in a terrible accident, throughout training camp. Lawler acknowledged it after the fight.

“I’m pretty good at focusing on the task at hand,” Lawler said post-fight. “But obviously, it’s a buddy of mine. He would’ve been right around the corner right now. He would have been here this whole week. It’s tough, but he’s fighting a fight now.”

8. Big time

Jimi Manuwa was an insurance policy, booked on UFC 214 as a safety net in case Cormier or Jones could not compete in the main event.

Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) did not get the opportunity to fight for the title in Anaheim, and after getting knocked out in 42 seconds by Volkan Oezdemir (a.k.a. “No Time”) he won’t be getting a title fight soon. As for Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who joined the UFC in February, he’s now 3-0 with two knockouts, including his “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning stoppage of Manuwa.

 

9. Nice try

Jason Knight attempted to leap up the featherweight rankings at UFC 214, stepping in to face former featherweight title contender Ricardo Lamas. It didn’t work out well for Knight.

Lamas (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) was too technical for the brawling and still developing Knight (17-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC), picking him apart on the feet with precise striking. Knight showed he’s a game fighter, taking everything Lamas had to offer before referee Mike Beltran came in to stop the fight in the first round.

The win gives Lamas two-straight victories and stops Knight’s four-fight winning streak. Lamas remains a player in the featherweight division, and while Knight lost via TKO, it’s hard to see the defeat hurting him too much since he took the fight on short notice against a more seasoned opponent.

10. Keep away

A word of warning for the featherweight division: If you think you have a lead over Brian Ortega heading into the third round, do whatever you can to stay out of his grasp for those 5 minutes.

At UFC 214, Ortega finished his record-breaking fourth consecutive fight with a third-round submission of Renato Moicano. Like his previous three wins, this one looked like it could have gone either way had it made it to the scorecards, but once again Ortega ensured it didn’t.

Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and Moicano (11-1-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) slugged it out on the feet for the majority of this “Fight of the Night” winning contest, but for some reason, Moicano attempted a takedown halfway through the final stanza. As soon as Ortega hit the mat he locked in a guillotine choke and forced the quick tap from Moicano.

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

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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Daniel Cormier and UFC 214's other losing fighters?

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UFC 214’s main card saw stunning results, big knockouts and somewhat underwhelming action. Nevertheless, all the losing fighters on the card were part of the biggest pay-per-view card of the year, which took place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Daniel Cormier’s (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) more than two-year reign as light-heavyweight champion came to a decisive end in the main event when he was stopped for the first time in his career courtesy of a third-round knockout from Jon Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC).

Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC) and Tonya Evinger (19-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) also came up short in title fights, while Donald Cerrone (32-9 MMA, 19-6 UFC) and Jimi Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) dropped fights which could have arguably earned them title shots of their own.

After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters 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 214’s losing fighters.

* * * *

Jimi Manuwa

Daniel Cormier

Should fight: Cormier
Why they should fight: Manuwa’s chin failed to hold up to the power-punching of rising UFC light-heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir, and it led to a somewhat stunning 42-second knockout defeat.

Manuwa went from being a standby in case anything went wrong in the headlining bout between Cormier and Jones to experiencing the worst loss of his career, showing the utterly unforgiving nature of the sport. Fortunately for “Poster Boy,” he is still one of the top contenders in the 205-pound division, and the thin nature of the weight class will likely afford him another marquee fight next.

It seems backward that losing to Oezdemir could lead the Brit into a matchup with ex-champ Cormier, but strangely that’s how the sport works sometimes. Manuwa and Cormier were briefly linked to fight at UFC 214 before Jones decided against a warmup bout after his long layoff, forcing Manuwa into the matchup with Oezdemir.

Now that both are coming off knockout losses at the same event, though, a matchup is arguably more logical than ever, especially because of the history of trash-talk.

Donald Cerrone

Should fight: Dong Hyun Kim
Why they should fight: Cerrone fell just short of matching the UFC’s all-time wins record when he dropped a unanimous decision to former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, marking the first time in his career that he’s dropped back-to-back fights.

“Cowboy” gave Lawler everything he could handle in the contest, but the judges didn’t view it as enough. Regardless of the outcome, the performance proved without a doubt that Cerrone belongs in the octagon with the best in the 170-pound division, and any talks of a drop back down to lightweight should be silenced for good.

Cerrone needs to be careful when selecting his next fight to avoid dropping three straight and falling into a dangerous territory in his career. The majority of his losses have come against fighters capable of beating him on the feet, and while Kim (22-4-1 MMA, 13-4 UFC) does have decent striking, he’s primarily a grappler, a type of fighter Cerrone has largely succeeded against.

Daniel Cormier, Demian Maia, Tonya Evinger

Should fight: Watch the video above to see why Cormier should fight Manuwa, Maia should fight Colby Covington (12-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Evinger should fight Julianna Pena (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) after their UFC 214 title-fight losses.

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

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Volkan Oezdemir has a new nickname, with a new hand gesture, and it's actually kind of great

Volkan Oezdemir has a new nickname. If you watched his first-round knockout of Jimi Manuwa on Saturday at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif., you might have noticed.

After back-to-back wins in the first minute of the first round, Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) seems to have fully embraced the nickname “No Time.” You can tell by how he gestured to his wrist, at the precise spot where a watch might usually go, in order to drive home the point after dispatching Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC).

Of course, he didn’t just do the gesture once and trust us to know what he meant. No, this was apparently the kind of thing you have to do over …

… and over …

… and over.

The nickname could potentially be a little confusing. Is he saying he has no time for long fights, so that’s why he knocks people out right at the start? Is he saying he finishes fights in no time? Is his car parked outside and there’s no time left on the meter, so he has to end this quickly and get outside to pump some quarters in there? Is the “no time” meant to refer to his career goals? As in, he recognizes the brief window of opportunity for professional athletes, and perhaps even the fleeting nature of life itself, and therefore he knows there’s no time to waste?

Maybe it’s all of those. And, honestly, what makes it really work as a nickname is the hand gesture. When he points to the place where most people wear their watches, you see that he is of course not wearing one. He literally has no time.

“That’s my new nickname,” Oezdemir said in his post-fight interview, as if we didn’t already get the point. “I’ve got no time. So I want the winner of tonight’s bout, for sure.”

Ambitious? Yes. But something tells us that if you asked UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to face Oezdemir instead of a guaranteed cash cow like Brock Lesnar next, Jones will suddenly decide he has no time for that conversation.

For complete coverage of 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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UFC 214 results: Volkan Oezdemir knocks out Jimi Manuwa to state case as title contender

Volkan Oezdemir has once again cut the line of UFC light heavyweight contenders.

Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) stunned Jimi Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in the clinch before knocking him to the mat with a left hand just 42 seconds into the opening round.

The light heavyweight bout opened up the main card of today’s UFC 214 event at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

“I don’t know what’s happening with my hands, but that’s dynamite,” Oezdemir said after flattening Manuwa, who was booked for tonight’s event as a backup opponent in case headliners Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier fell out.

Manuwa was in line for a title shot and had verbally sparred with Cormier after two straight knockout wins. But Oezdemir shut him down early and put himself in line for a shot at the title.

The end came after Manuwa initiated the clinch and walked Oezdemir to the cage, perhaps hoping to exhaust his opponents’ arms as they wrestled for position. But Manuwa neglected to cover his head in close, and Oezdemir snuck in a left hook that took his legs.

As Manuwa stumbled back, hoping to regain his wits, Oezdemir connected with a left hook that sent him down, his head bouncing violently off the canvas.

Oezdemir, who stopped rising star Misha Cirkunov in 28 seconds in his previous bout, now has won three straight in the UFC and five in his current streak overall. He called for the winner of the Jones vs. Cormier rematch.

“I think my entry to the UFC is kind of unique,” Oezdemir said. “Before this fight no one knew me; I came from nowhere. People were always doubting me, and each fight I prove them wrong – I really like it. It drives me and gives me a challenge when I’m able to do this.

“Manuwa was supposed to be fighting the winner of the main event and this fight, and I think I deserve the shot next. I put on a really good performance, and that’s three in a row against top-10 guys, so yeah, I think I deserve the shot.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC 214 results include:

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

(MMAjunkie’s Dann Stupp, John Morgan, Ben Fowlkes, Mike Bohn and Ken Hathaway contributed to this report on site in Anaheim.)

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

Twitter reacts to Volkan Oezdemir's 42-second KO of Jimi Manuwa at UFC 214

Volkan Oezdemir’s remarkable UFC start continued on Saturday when he picked up yet another upset win, this time against Jimi Manuwa at UFC 214.

Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has steamrolled the competition since his February debut. That happened again when he beat Manuwa (17-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) by 22-second knockout in the light heavyweight bout, which opened the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Oezdemir’s victory over Manuwa at UFC 214.

* * * *

For complete coverage of 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.

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

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

Volkan Oezdemir: UFC 214 fight vs. Jimi Manuwa 'going to be a 1-round war'

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5524393991001
Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

LA MIRADA, Calif. – Volkan Oezdemir’s rise in the UFC light heavyweight division has been fast and furious, and he expects it to continue.

After just two promotional fights – a decision over Ovince Saint Preux in February and a stunning 28-second knockout of Misha Cirkunov in May – Oezdemir (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is ranked No. 8 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings and faces a pivotal matchup against No. 7 Jimi Manuwa (17-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at UFC 214.

“Everything happened quickly, but I don’t want to say I surprised myself, because that’s a lot of work I’ve tried to put in,” Oezdemir told MMAjunkie during Thursday’s open workouts. “I could’ve used some rest, but I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to keep on going, and I’ll think about it later.”

UFC 214 takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Manuwa-Oezdemir is slated to kick off the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

Oezdemir doesn’t expect the fight to last long.

“It’s going to be a one-round war,” he said, “and I’m going to go for the kill right away.”

Oezdemir wants to be “the fastest guy rising for the belt.” A first-round knockout certainly would make a strong case for his shot at facing the Daniel Cormier-Jon Jones winner, though Oezdemir acknowledges he might have to fight Alexander Gustafsson first.

All that said, he knows who he’s facing on Saturday.

“He’s the strongest guy I’ve ever faced in the striking department,” Oezdemir said of Manuwa.

Check out the video above to hear more from Oezdemir.

And for more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 214 staff picks: How close are votes for the Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones rematch?

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5524776977001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Cormier
vs.
Jones
Woodley
vs.
Maia
Evinger
vs.
Justino
Cerrone
vs.
Lawler
Manuwa
vs.
Oezdemir
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 70-55
jjones2017
Jones
(66%)
woodley2017
Woodley
(59%)
justino2017
Justino
(91%)
lawler2017
Lawler
(66%)
manuwa2017
Manuwa
(71%)
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 78-47
trophy copy 2015 Champion
cormier2017
Cormier
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
lawler2017
Lawler
manuwa2017
Manuwa
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 78-47
cormier2017
Cormier
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
cerrone2017
Cerrone
manuwa2017
Manuwa
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 77-48
jjones2017
Jones
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
cerrone2017
Cerrone
manuwa2017
Manuwa
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 76-49
cormier2017
Cormier
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
lawler2017
Lawler
manuwa2017
Manuwa
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 74-51
jjones2017
Jones
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
lawler2017
Lawler
manuwa2017
Manuwa
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 70-51
jjones2017
Jones
maia2017
Maia
justino2017
Justino
lawler2017
Lawler
manuwa2017
Manuwa
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 72-53
trophy copy 2016 Champion
jjones2017
Jones
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
lawler2017
Lawler
manuwa2017
Manuwa
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 70-55
jjones2017
Jones
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
cerrone2017
Cerrone
oezdemir2017
Oezdemir
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 70-55
cormier2017
Cormier
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
lawler2017
Lawler
manuwa2017
Manuwa
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 70-55
trophy copy 2014 Champion
jjones2017
Jones
woodley2017
Woodley
justino2017
Justino
lawler2017
Lawler
manuwa2017
Manuwa

The UFC puts on one of the biggest cards in its history Saturday with three title fights at the top of the bill, including one of the most anticipated rematches ever.

UFC 214 takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) takes on former champ and heated rival Jon Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC). The two fought at UFC 182 more than two years ago, and Jones won a unanimous decision when he was champ.

Things have changed plenty since then. Jones was stripped of the belt and Cormier won it. Then Jones won an interim title, only to have that stripped, as well. Still, despite just one fight since he first fought Cormier, Jones is more than a 2-1 favorite at the sports books. He also has the edge in the picks from our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts, but just by a 6-4 margin.

In the co-feature, welterweight champ Tyron Woodley (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) defends his belt against Demian Maia (25-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC). Maia brings a seven-fight winning streak into his title shot, but Woodley is the favorite, and he’s the pick of nine of our 10 staff members.

The night’s first title fight will see the vacant women’s featherweight title get a new home. Former Invicta FC featherweight champ Cristiane Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is more than a 13-1 favorite against former Invicta FC bantamweight titleholder Tonya Evinger (19-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC). And not surprisingly, with odds stacked that highly in her favor, “Cyborg” is the lone unanimous pick at the event.

Also on the main card, Donald Cerrone (32-7 MMA, 19-4 UFC) takes on former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (27-11 MMA, 12-5 UFC). Lawler is a slight favorite, but he’s getting a 7-3 nod from our crew. And to open the main card, light heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa (17-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who may get the next title shot with a win on Saturday, takes on Volkan Oezdemir (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC). Manuwa is close to a unanimous pick, but has to settle for a 9-1 margin.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Jones, Woodley, Justino, Lawler and Manuwa are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

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

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

UFC 214 media day face-offs: The non-title (but still good) fights edition

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5523835717001
Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

LA MIRADA, Calif. – After a UFC 214 press conference yesterday that featured all six title fight competitors, the promotion today held a media day with other fighters at UFC Gym, including former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and Donald Cerrone.

UFC 214, set for Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., features three championship fights on the pay-per-view main card, which follows prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) defends his title in a highly anticipated rematch with Jon Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC). The co-headliner features champion welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) defending against Demian Maia (25-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC). Also, Cristiane Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Tonya Evinger (19-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will square off for the vacant women’s featherweight belt.

At today’s media day, Lawler (27-11 MMA, 12-5 UFC) and Cerrone (32-7 MMA, 19-4 UFC), Jimi Manuwa (17-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Volkan Oezdemir (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), and a host of others from the card came face to face, and MMAjunkie was on the scene to capture it all.

Check out the video above.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Street-fight story: UFC 214's Jimi Manuwa describes his most memorable scrap

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5522292444001
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

An MMAjunkie Radio tradition is to ask fighters about memorable street-fighting encounters. UFC 214’s Jimi Manuwa offered up a solid one from his apparently lengthy resume.

“It’s no secret I wasn’t an angel growing up,” Manuwa told MMAjunkie Radio. “I got into a lot of street fights. I’ve never lost a fight in my life on the streets.”

Manuwa (17-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who meets Volkan Oezdemir (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in Saturday’s pay-per-view main-card opener at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., described a nightclub encounter more than a decade ago in which he came to the aid of a loudmouth friend and ended up knocking out a much bigger man.

Prior to his UFC 214 bout with Oezdemir, which he hopes will be his ticket to earning the next title shot in the UFC light heavyweight division,” watch the video above to hear “Poster Boy” relive his street-fighting encounter.

And for more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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