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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Justin Gaethje weighs in on UFC 218 loss

Dann StuppFollowing a loss at UFC 218 – the first defeat of his pro MMA career – Justin Gaethje had been relatively quiet.

This past Saturday on UFC 218’s pay-per-view main card, Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) suffered a third-round TKO loss to former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC).

Gaethje, a former and longtime WSOF titleholder, went 18-0 with 15 knockouts before the setback, which took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. A $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus surely helped the sting of the defeat, but it wasn’t exactly clear how the loss would affect one of MMA’s most exciting and crowd-pleasing fighters.

Immediately after UFC 218, Gaethje thanked Alvarez for the bout and admitted it “hurt” to lose (via Twitter):

Overnight, Gaethje posted another social-media message – this one a little longer – and the longtime wrestler thanked fans for the support and said he’s working toward his next bout (via Twitter):

“Started wrestling at 4. I’ve lost before and I will lose again. It is the nature of the beast. I love what I do and the the people I do it with. Thank you for all the love and support. On to the next one.”

With the defeat, the 29-year-old dropped to No. 4 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings.

For complete coverage of UFC 218, 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

Angela Magana announces UFC release after 0-3 octagon run

One of the most polarizing fighters in MMA is no longer a member of the UFC roster.

Angela Magana (11-9 MMA, 0-3 UFC), who is coming off a second-round TKO loss to Amanda Cooper (3-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at UFC 218 last weekend, announced today on social media that she’s been informed of her release from the UFC following a three-fight stint (via Twitter):

Magana joined the UFC roster in late 2015 after appearing on Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. On top of the defeat to Cooper, she also fell short against top strawweight contenders Michelle Waterson and Tecia Torres.

Overall, Magana has lost her past five fights and hasn’t won since August 2011. She did not win during her UFC career, and her most notable moments came outside the cage through controversial social media antics, as well as a physical encounter with UFC champ Cris Cyborg at the UFC athlete retreat in Las Vegas earlier this year.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Joe Rogan: Max Holloway 'best 145er ever' after UFC 218 title defense vs. Jose Aldo

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UFC commentator Joe Rogan is all in on “The Blessed Era.”

Rogan said on this past weekend’s UFC 218 broadcast that Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) took the label of “best featherweight in UFC history” when he beat former longtime champ Jose Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) by third-round TKO for the second time in six months. It was a phenomenal feat and currently “Blessed” is doing things others in the sport can’t match.

At 26, Holloway already holds a bevy of 145-pound and overall UFC records. He refuses to call himself the greatest of all time until he holds every single record to himself, and while his humility is admirable, Rogan had no such restraint on the “JRE MMA Show” podcast.

“He’s the baddest mother(expletive) ever,” Rogan said. “I think he’s the best 145er ever. He doesn’t yet because of the record, which I see his point, but the way he fights, the octagon IQ he shows, his fight IQ, his ability to find a weakness, his predatory behavior inside the octagon: I think he’s the best. I really do. It’s so impressive to me.”

Rogan said he doesn’t want to discredit Aldo’s accomplishments while speaking so highly of Holloway. The Brazilian went more than 10 years without a loss and defended the UFC title seven times during his reign, compared to Holloway, who has one defense.

After their two fights there’s no doubt Holloway is the superior fighter to Aldo, but when judging their historical accomplishments and overall resume, there’s still a debate to be had for most. Just not Rogan.

“Aldo in his prime was spectacular and amazingly impressive,” Rogan said. “His flying knee first-round knockout of Cub Swanson, his knockout of Chad Mendes, the Urijah Faber fight. He’s unquestionably one of the greats of all time. But in my opinion, skill wise, Max Holloway has passed him. I think he’s the best.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Max Holloway after UFC 218 title defense vs. Jose Aldo: 'This is what kings do … defend their thrones'

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Backstage at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, as he prepared for Jose Aldo in his first title defense, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was calm, cool and collected.

Sounds like the ideal scenario, doesn’t it? Except for the fact that Holloway admits he’s usually on edge before he steps inside the octagon. But this time at UFC 218, before the first fight of the “Blessed Era,” things were different, as he explained Tuesday on MMAjunkie Radio.

“I was kind of nervous how relaxed I was,” Holloway said.

For Holloway, who just turned 26 on Monday, the feeling is part of getting comfortable with who he is as a fighter – and now as a champion. That showed in the pay-per-view headliner over the weekend, with Holloway scoring a second TKO win over Aldo to retain the 145-pound gold he claimed six months earlier from the former champ.

Consider these facts: Holloway extended his career-high winning streak to 12 fights, and he hasn’t lost since August 2013. Holloway became the youngest fighter in UFC history to earn 15 wins with the promotion.

And Holloway’s 12-fight winning streak is the fifth longest in UFC history behind Anderson Silva (16), Jon Jones (13), Demetrious Johnson (13), and Georges St-Pierre (13). Yes, those are the names Holloway is now among.

“It’s great to restore order back into the division,” Holloway said. “This is what kings do. Kings defend their thrones, and I’m glad I was able to defend mine.”

And he did it against a better version of Aldo than in their first fight, but that’s what Holloway was expecting all along.

“Before the fight, they released an article on (Aldo) talking about his motivation for the fight, and the motivation was his daughter. The daughter watched the last fight and so on, and he didn’t want to leave the bitter taste of that last fight in is daughter’s mouth,” Holloway said. “When I read that, I knew I was getting the best Jose Aldo. He was motivated.”

And as Holloway did following their first fight, he continued to show Aldo respect by heaping praise on the man who ruled the division for a decade.

“That guy shouldn’t worry. He should not worry,” Holloway said. “He doesn’t owe anybody anything. He’s the greatest of all time in my book. I believe Rio, Brazil should be celebrating him. In all the favelas, they should be making statues of the man. The man is a living, walking legend.”

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

For complete coverage of UFC 218, 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

Joe Rogan: Francis Ngannou can recreate 'Mike Tyson days' as UFC's next big star

There’s a constant discussion of late about which fighters will represent the UFC’s next crop of notable, crossover stars. Longtime commentator Joe Rogan views heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou as someone with that potential.

Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) picked up one of the most memorable knockouts of the year at UFC 218 this past weekend when he put former Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem (46-15 MMA, 8-5 UFC) to sleep with a brutal one-punch finish. The performance kept “The Predator” unbeaten in the UFC and set him up for a title shot against champ Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC).

Fighters come and go in the sport, but Ngannou’s skill, attitude and harrowing backstory as an African immigrant make him a more compelling package than most. Whether that translates to mainstream attention with continued success remains to be seen, but Rogan said on today’s edition of his “JRE MMA Show” podcast that he views Ngannou as having all the potential.

“Now they’ve got a star,” Rogan said. “I think Ngannou, one or two more fights, you’re going to be looking at Mike Tyson days. That’s what I think. You’re going to watch fights just to see how long these mother(expletives) can survive against this guy. That’s what I think. That could be their big, breakout star.”

Currently the UFC is in a phase of uncertainty when it comes to its biggest names. Ronda Rousey is all but retired, Jon Jones can’t stay out of trouble and Georges St-Pierre is dealing with health complications. The promotions marquee draw, Conor McGregor, might never fight again, according to UFC President Dana White.

Add all that together, and Ngannou has a real opportunity on his hands.

“Conor, who knows if he’s ever going to fight again,” Rogan said. “We really don’t know. We haven’t heard Conor saying, ‘This is my plan. This is who I’m thinking of fighting. This is who I want to fight.’ He’s been talking (expletive) to Max Holloway, he’s been talking (expletive) to Tony Ferguson, but he’s not set it up.”

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

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Despite UFC 218 loss to champion Max Holloway, ex-champ Jose Aldo 'always optimistic'

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He kept it short and sweet, but former long-reigning UFC champ Jose Aldo has spoken up after this past Saturday’s title loss.

Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) met champ Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) at UFC 218, which aired on pay-per-view from Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit. The headliner, which served as a rematch of their title-unifier at UFC 212 in June, ended the same way their first meeting did: with a third-round TKO win for Holloway.

The fallen champ took some punishment leading up to the stoppage, but afterward received tons of praise and support from the defending champion, from UFC President Dana White and from a number of this teammates, family and friends on social media.

On Tuesday, the Brazilian took the time to thank everyone for the support and reassure them that, despite suffering the first skid of his career, he remains optimistic.

“I can only thank my family that I love for everything, my team Nova Uniao, the best in the world, for making me great and champion, and the fans who are always with me,” Aldo said. “Thank you very much to everyone. I will always be optimistic, because believing is the first step toward making it happen.” (via Instagram)

Instagram Photo

Aldo stepped in on short-notice to replace former 155-pound champion and two-time 145-pound title challenger Frankie Edgar, who left the card early last month due to injury. By doing so, the Brazilian had to withdraw from a previous appointment with Ricardo Lamas, set for UFC on FOX 26.

Holloway, who just turned 26, has extended his streak to 12 wins in a row. The champ’s last loss was to current 155-pound champ Conor McGregor. Aldo, in turn, has suffered losses in three of his last four UFC bouts – snapping nearly a decade of invincibility in MMA.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

'Most violent man in the UFC' Eddie Alvarez wants 'big, mega fight' after KO of Justin Gaethje

Eddie Alvarez is looking forward to getting a juicy new UFC contract after being “crowned” as the “Most Violent Man” in the UFC with a third-round knockout of Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 this past weekend.

Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) said he has one fight remaining on his current contract following the memorable “Fight of the Night” matchup with Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), which took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and aired on pay-per-view, and he is looking forward to renegotiating with the organization.

The former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion had to endure a lot of punishment to get the win over Gaethje. Both fighters were transported to the hospital immediately after the bout, but Alvarez knows the thrilling affair bettered his position in the weight class, as well as his leverage in contract negotiations.

“I actually have one fight left with the UFC,” Alvarez said in his first post-fight interview with 93.3 WMMR in Philadelphia. “I’ve finished all my fights, and I have one fight left in my contract. It’s time to sit down with the boss man and talk about long-term, talk about how we’re going to do this thing and what big, mega-fight we can have coming up.”

Alvarez did not name any potential opponents he’d like to face next, which will surely come as a disappointment to Dustin Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC), who has been pleading for a rematch with Alvarez since their controversial no-contest at UFC 211 in May.

All Alvarez cares about at this point is that he earned the label of “Most Violent Man” in the UFC, which was a title he and Gaethje made up in the weeks leading up to their anticipated fight.

“I’m the most violent man in the UFC,” Alvarez said. “They can take the No. 1, 2 and 3 (ranking). I’ll just take that title, and I’ll keep it. I’ve been crowned. … We went in to make a point. My performances in the UFC, I’ve been trying to win. Win, win, win. I’ve been so focused on winning that the performance itself wasn’t showing my true colors. We went in here with just the idea of, ‘Just be as violent as we can.’ The byproduct of that would be a win.”

Alvarez provided an update on his health, revealing, “Everything that happened in the fight is all soft tissue.” He said he has no structural damage, and other than some lingering effects of Gaethje’s leg kicks and some facial bruising, he felt OK.

The back-and-forth fight with Gaethje helped Alvarez bounce back from a two-fight winless drought, which began when he dropped the 155-pound belt to Conor McGregor at UFC 205 in November 2016. The no-contest with Poirier came after that, putting Alvarez on dangerous grounds.

After coaching Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series opposite his opponent, Alvarez finished Gaethje with a brutal third-round knee. He landed a few extra shots on the former WSOF champ before the referee stepped in, and although it made his win all the more violent, Alvarez said he wishes that wasn’t the case.

“He was (out after the knee),” Alvarez said. “I put my hands up in the air immediately. I did not want to hit him anymore after that. I felt it; he felt it. The ref, I’m not going to say he was late, but I didn’t want to hit him anymore. I felt it clean. That’s a guy – he’s like I am. You give him a split-second, and he’s back in the fight, and you have to fight him all over again.”

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC President Dana White, champ Max Holloway praise 'legend' Jose Aldo after UFC 218 loss

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Featherweight champion Max Holloway and UFC President Dana White had only positive things to say about Jose Aldo following another loss by the Brazilian at UFC 218.

After going unbeaten for more than a decade and etching a place in history as the most decorated 145-pound fighter in Zuffa history, Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) is now riding back-to-back losses for the first time. He’s dropped two of his past three overall after falling short to Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) this past weekend.

In a rematch of a June fight at UFC 212, which he lost by third-round TKO, Aldo was against stopped by Holloway’s strikes in the third round of the UFC 218 headliner, which took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

When an all-time great fighter begins to slide, it’s common for some revisionist history to come into play when looking at his or her body of work. It’s likely Aldo will fall victim to that, as well, but Holloway said that shouldn’t be the case. He hopes the world will recognize Aldo for his accomplishments, even if his championship days are behind him.

“That guy, he should know he shouldn’t have to owe anyone anything,” Holloway said UFC 218. “That guy’s one of the greatest of all time. I think Brazil should be building statues of that guy in all the favelas. He’s a legend,. He’s the GOAT. I’ve got a lot to fill.”

UFC boss White, who has promoted Aldo fights in the UFC for more than seven years, echoed Holloway’s sentiments about “Scarface.” At 31 and with UFC losses only to current champions Holloway and Conor McGregor, Aldo likely still has a lot of fight left him. However, with two shortcomings against “Blessed,” a third featherweight title shot is unrealistic.

Aldo’s current situation leaves him with some decisions to make about his goals in the sport and how he can go about accomplishing them. Whatever he decides, though, White said Aldo has his complete support.

“Jose Aldo is one of the long-reigning world champions in this sport,” White said. “He is an absolute legend. The guy has nothing left to prove. I think it’s one of things (where) he has to go sit down, talk to his family and decide what he wants to do next. He’s got plenty of money.”

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

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Source: MMA Junkie