Evan Dunham's callout got Beneil Dariush fired up for UFC 216

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Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, Radio Highlight

UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush gets called out a lot.

While that means there’s always work down the road, it also sends another message: He’s beatable.

“I get called out a lot, and I always say, ‘Let’s go’ (to) whoever calls me out,” Dariush (14-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) told MMAjunkie Radio.

It’s up to him to prove otherwise, which is why he’s coming into a fight with Evan Dunham (18-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) a little more motivated than usual.

“He’s basically saying, ‘This is a good fight for me,’” Dariush said. “I don’t care how respectful it is – at the end of the day, it’s very motivating, because he’s saying he’s got the style to shut me down.”

The two meet on the pay-per-view main card of UFC 216, which takes place Oct. 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

When Dariush accepted the bout, he asked only that it be scheduled in the fall so he could be his best self for Dunham.

But whether or not the fight gets a big spotlight, Dariush is seeking redemption. In his previous outing in March, he availed himself well against Edson Barboza before the Brazilian striking specialist caught him flush with a knee to the jaw, instantly knocking him out.

“When I lose, I always come back stronger,” Dariush said. “But the loss just sucked. I felt really good in there. I felt like I was the better fighter, and he turned that around. He was able to capitalize on a moment of a mistake, and he just took over the fight.”

Dunham is not known to be the same level of technician as Barboza, but he carries a toughness that’s turned many of his fights into thrilling brawls. Dariush is no doubt trying to avoid such a scenario, even if it might benefit his standing to win that way.

What he’s mostly trying to do now is send a message to other UFC lightweights. He wants them to know he’s no stepping stone.

“I’ve just got to get back in the gym and work harder and see I’ve made progress,” he said.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC's Aljamain Sterling wants a push: My next fight 'better be on the goddamn main card'

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Aljamain Sterling has never been shy about asking for what he wants – and believes he deserves. After a big win over a former UFC champion, that includes a main-card spot.

Shortly after beating ex-bantamweight titleholder Renan Barao (34-5-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC)  in a catchweight bout at UFC 214, Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) expressed his interest in meeting fellow contender Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) next. That – along with the desire for a rematch with Bryan Caraway (21-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) – still stands.

But now two wins removed from a two-fight skid that included the first setback of his entire professional career, the 28-year-old bantamweight has another request.

“Honestly, my next fight better be on the goddamn main card,” Sterling told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’m not even kidding at this point. This is beyond ridiculous, if you ask me. (UFC 214) was a blockbuster card on paper, so I get that, but I’m like, ‘Wow, you guys got Barao, a former world champ, on the undercard.’ It’s kind of crazy. But I think I deserve my fair shake at this point.

“I think I have a big enough name now. I’m eight fights into my UFC career. So, why not? Let’s start making some real money, man. I’m in this sport to change my life. I’m in this sport to to change my parents’ lives and the loved ones around me. That’s really what I care about. And I can’t do that if they keep putting me on these prelims.”

But that’s not all Sterling would like to negotiate with the promotion at some point in the near future.

“These guys signed me to an eight-fight deal; I was so pissed,” Sterling said. “I’m still under contract, and I need a new contract.”

The bantamweight chose to re-sign with the UFC early last year after a highly publicized free-agency period. Four fights later, Sterling explains why he ended up agreeing to such a long deal.

“It was a weird period, that whole time frame, that whole free agency thing was just very very odd,” Sterling said. “And things got a little personal. And things stared going the wrong way. And I was trying to not make it go that route, I guess. And just for argument’s sake and to make everything just be at ease.

“I guess I kind of just took it, because it was kind of almost like a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of thing. I was just in a weird spot. At that point, I really felt like my back was against the wall; I really had no other options. I see these other guys, they re-sign contracts all the time.

“So I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve just got to go out there and win, beat some good guys, and I should be able to get a new contract based on increased popularity.’ I think it makes sense. Why not? At this point, why should I have to fight out four more fights at that rate when they’re going to be making more money? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The eagerness to finish his contract, Sterling says, was the main reason why he managed to squeeze in four fights in a relatively short 14-month window. The first two, of course, didn’t pan out so well for Sterling, who ended up dropping admittedly frustrating split decisions to Caraway and Raphael Assuncao.

But Sterling has recovered. First, with a unanimous nod over grappling ace Augusto Mendes at UFC on FOX 24 and now with the huge win over the once-dominant Barao. Now, as Sterling resumes his way up, he looks back on the tough lessons he learned by being down.

“(The Barao win) was everything that I’d been trying to accomplish three, four fights ago,” Sterling said. “Coming off the big win over Johnny Eduardo, doing the whole free agency thing, being that guy in the limelight and then doing the whole promotion thing with Eric B, leading up to the Caraway fight and just not delivering anywhere close to my true capabilities.

“Big letdowns. I just feel like the media, even like close friends – I guess I can’t even call them close friends, just some friends I thought really did believe in me. They started to doubt me. And it kind of lets you know where you really stand in people’s minds. It was all a learning process. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about people, and how this world works.”

To hear more of Sterling’s candid thoughts on his career, learning experiences and his future, check out the video above.

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

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Manager's clients made UFC debuts against each other, and 'it was definitely a tough situation'

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Watching two of his fighters debut on the same UFC card should be one great day for any manager, right?

Well, for Jason House it was a little more complicated than that.

At Saturday’s UFC 213, House got to watch as clients Cody Stamann (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Terrion Ware (17-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) finally got their turn inside the octagon. So far, so good.

The catch? They were matched up against each other.

“It was a lot of mixed emotions,” House told MMAjunkie. “I’ve been with Cody and Terrion both for a long time now. It was an honor to be a part of their career and journey in mixed martial arts. I was so excited to be able to inform that they were taking the next step and achieving their dream of fighting in the UFC.

“However, it’s also extremely tough because they’re fighting each other. That’d never really happened to me before. It was definitely a tough situation.”

Considering Stamman and Ware didn’t even know each other personally before, House was the one left with the emotional toll of the situation. But at no point did he even think about letting his personal feelings get in the way of either of his client’s paths.

“On the flip side of it, I would never want a client not to get in the UFC because he’d be fighting my client – if that makes sense,” House said. “That’s his opportunity. He earned it. I would never want to prevent someone from getting an opportunity. Once I explained it to them, they fully understood.

“If you have the chance to put two guys in, you’re going to put two guys in if they have to fight each other. That means they’re able to take their careers to the next level and fight on the big stage.”

After three rounds, it was 27-year-old Stamann who emerged victorious. He’s now riding an eight-fight victorious run and planning on quitting the family business. Ware, 31, had a four-fight streak snapped but seems to be recovering nicely from the setback.

While House did watch the featherweight battle, he admits he couldn’t bring himself to watch it at T-Mobile Arena. Instead, he tuned in from his hotel room.

“I decided I would just watch it by myself and come to the arena after to be there to support the guys,” House said. “It was just too tough for me.”

To hear House’s own account of the situation, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 213, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie