Jeremy Stephens has had a long career in the UFC with some memorable fights. Memorable to you and us, that is, but apparently not to Conor McGregor. At the UFC 205 press conference, when McGregor was asked who on stage was the hardest fight for him, Stephens interrupted and claimed to be that guy. McGregor’s response? “Who the f**k is that guy?”Follow @MMAHotSauce on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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John Lineker boasts an impressive 9-2 record in the UFC including this first-round submission victory over Francisco Rivera last year. Lineker faces John Dodson in the main event of UFC Fight Night Portland on Saturday, October 1.
(Video Courtesy of UFC)
Tamdan McCrory went through a lot after being cut by the UFC in 2009 and ended up taking a five-year break from professional fighting. McCrory earned another UFC contract in 2015 and is fighting in the UFC FIGHT PASS featured bout again Nate Marquardt at UFC Fight Night Portland on Saturday.
TRENDING > Joe Rogan: ‘I’m Not Doing It Anymore’
After Conor McGregor‘s meltdown with Nate Diaz at their UFC 202 pre-fight press conference drew the scrutiny of the Nevada Athletic Commission, many people wondered if we might see an kinder, gentler Conor McGregor moving forward.
In a word… nope!
At least things didn’t get physical at the UFC 205 Kickoff Press Conference at Madison Square Garden. There were no cans or bottles flying through the air, as they had between McGregor and Diaz.
McGregor’s tongue, however, was as sharp as ever. When he started to unravel how the fight with lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, which headlines UFC 205 on Nov. 12, 2016, came about, McGregor quickly shifted into high gear, ridiculing Alvarez.
“I said it out straight, ‘beg me,’ and they begged me,” he proclaimed. And that’s when he unloaded.
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Although the public war of words between former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and company president Dana White proliferates, St-Pierre continues the necessary steps toward a potential Octagon return.
As recently as interviews this week, White has reiterated his stance that he doesn’t believe St-Pierre really wants to return to the fight game.
“I’m making a lot of money right now even though I’m not fighting. My (UFC) contract was made before the Reebok deal,” he said. “What we ask is basically, if I go back to fighting, I can’t advertise my sponsor, so I’m losing money if I go to fight under the old term of my contract.”
Aside from his contract, St-Pierre has to be in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool for four months before he can return to competition. Not coincidentally, he began making himself available to USADA in early August, which makes him eligible to fight as soon as UFC 206 on Dec. 10, which happens to be the promotion’s return to Toronto.
In checking USADA’s testing count, St-Pierre has provided four samples since he entered the testing pool. USADA does not comment on collected samples, but as of the time of publication, there have been no public notices of any adverse findings with any of St-Pierre’s samples, although it’s possible all four samples are currently undergoing analysis.
As long as his samples return clean results, St-Pierre would be on track for a return by the end of this year or early next year. Of course, that is still dependent upon his desire, and the UFC’s willingness to renegotiate his contract.
Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defended his title on June 4 at UFC 199. His next title defense is in the works, but whom he’ll face is still in question.
Sixth-ranked Cody Garbrandt is undefeated (10-0) and has finished his last three opponents in the first round. Following his knockout win over Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 202, Garbrandt has been calling for a title shot.
“In my mind, that’s my next fight. I think in Dom’s mind, he has to get ready for it. I truly believe I’m next in line for the title shot,” Garbrandt told MMAWeekly.com at UFC 203 on September 10.
While the match-up is intriguing, there may be someone else in line to face Cruz.
“Obviously, Cody has stated his case. He’s been wrecking people in spectacular fashion,” UFC president Dana White told TMZSports. “I love the kid, and we’ll see, but let’s not forget T.J. Dillashaw is out there too. He just beat (Raphael) Assuncao. He’s the No. 1-ranked guy in the world.”
Dillashaw is the former bantamweight champion. He lost to Cruz by split decision in January, and a rematch could be on the horizon. Cruz’s next opponent will either be Garbrandt or Dillashaw.
“One of those two will get the fight,” said White.
The early days of UFC were not for the faint hearted.
“My financial guarantee when I walked in was 1,000 dollars” is how UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn remembers his first deal when speaking to me via telephone. “And for that, I signed a contract that said ‘in the event of your accidental death.’ There were only two rules: no biting and no eye gouging. There’s a lot of ways you can take another person’s life without violating those two rules.”
The Coldwater, Mich., resident has recently released an autobiography, “The Realest Guy in the Room.” It charts his journey from “a childhood like Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn” to the Octagon and beyond. The name derived from co-writer Ian Douglass’ observations of the man dubbed “The Beast.”
“After (Ian) had spoken to me a few times, he said, ‘You are the realest person I have ever met. You are very direct.’ I always say, you may or may not like what comes out of my mouth, but is it honesty? You can take it to the bank. I’m not going to lie to you. I can sleep well at night.”
One of the things Severn is honest about was his own athletic integrity.
“I’ve spent a lifetime chemical free. I’ve been involved with two of the worst industries for it. MMA is getting worse over time and professional wrestling, oh my God, that’s on a classification all by itself. To put it point blank, I outlived five of my cagefighting opponents and almost 30 of my professional wrestling partners. And none of them were older than me.”
When Severn, now 58, entered UFC 4, it was a blind draw with no weight classes. Yet, he felt his amateur wrestling background prepared him well for what could have been an intimidating situation.
“I was competing in (amateur wrestling) in Michigan, or Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, or go over into Ontario, Canada. They didn’t wrestle that folk style (in Canada); it was more freestyle. I legitimately had over 3,000 amateur matches. It’s an incredible record, but I’ve been wrestling since 1969.
“In amateur wrestling, when you showed up for a tournament, it was a blind draw right then and there. People would weigh in then and there, and you could go against the number one guy in that pool from the very first match. The blind draw did not bother me whatsoever. The size factor, it never intimidated me. As an amateur wrestler, the normal conduct in practice is to work out with people at your weight class, below yours, and one weight class above yours.
“I worked out with the heavyweights. That weight class has a cap on it now. That cap came in in 1986. I was a freshman at Arizona State in 1976, so one of my workout partners, big James Mitchell, weighted 420 pounds. So in the preseason alone, I had to work out with a 420-pound man, seven days a week, three times a day. I was good at my craft, because if I shot in and shot in wrong, he could have sprawled and you wouldn’t have even been able to see me under that massive man, he’d have squashed me like a pancake.
“I competed as a heavyweight and people felt sorry for (my opponents). I was throwing these guys, and they just thought it was impossible. David slaying Goliath out there. But that’s just the bone-headed determination I had.”
His amateur wrestling also took him abroad into hostile territory.
“American is hated by most countries because we are the land of the free, the home of the brave. We are what most counties are trying to be like. So for me to be in a foreign country, and wearing a USA wrestling singlet, I was being booed. Most of the wrestling took place on the old communist bloc. Russia and the United States didn’t get on, cold war era, I was still wrestling. Just to be in the Soviet Union multiple times, to be in East Germany on multiple times, it’s been quite the education.”
I asked Dan if he felt envious of the money and profile bestowed upon the UFC elite of today, and his honest was typically forthright.
“People say you must have made millions. No, unfortunately; I wish I did. I made thousands of dollars. But can I complain? No, because I made the most money at the time. Go back 20 years on any sport, in soccer, (American) football, it has all improved. So I cant begrudge what I made.”
He does, however, feel that UFC could benefit from his involvement today.
“Should I be involved with it now? I should be. That sounds very braggadocious of me, but it’s like my book title, the realest guy in the room. I am the best representative, point blank. I am lifetime chemical free, a married man, a man with an education, I have children, the whole nine yards. I don’t have one tattoo. I have never been in a fight in my life. I have never been in trouble with the law. I work with military personal, law enforcement, and air marshals, and now the worlds largest security company. I am the guy who should be touted.”
Looking forward, Severn is looking at planning a trip to the U.K., to pass on some of his grappling skills in seminars to the bourgeoning MMA scene.
“I’m like a crack addict. I like to teach; I like to share. I have been teaching for over 20 years, but think I have some knowledge, which would probably help people even on a pro level, if they would take on certain tactics, techniques and concepts that I teach that people will never ever think about, but people don’t have the background of international competition. One of the things the U.K. is famous for is its catch wrestling. So there are pockets in the country that have submission or grappling wrestling roots. Basically, I am that throwback from days gone by. I am part catch wrestler, I am part Greco-Roman, and part freestyle wrestler. Because of my experiences, I have put a bit of everything into the pot and made something of it.”
Whilst Severn was, and occasionally still is, is a ruthless competitor in the MMA world. He is also an incredibly polite and engaging individual. Perhaps that dichotomy is best summed by Severn himself.
“I am not a fighter. I am a competitor. I will shake you hand before, I will shake it after, no hard feelings whatsoever. But between those two shakes…”
(This article courtesy of MMAWeekly.com contributor James Oddy. Follow him on Twitter @oddy1j )
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley says even his haters have to respect him and call him the welterweight champion of the world. Woodley faces Stephen Thompson at UFC 205 in November at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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After suffering the only loss of his career to date in 2013, lightweight up-and-comer Zach Freeman was able to rebound over a year and a half later with a victory over Zac Kelley in 2015. As things would have it, he would once again be forced on an extended hiatus for the second time in as many fights.
As Freeman explains, his absence from fighting wasn’t so much that he wanted the time off, but circumstances kept him out of the cage, though he was busy in the gym the entire time.
“I’ve had some delays just due to health issues,” Freeman told MMAWeekly.com. “I had to get surgery last year after the Zac Kelley fight. That pretty much set me back six months.
“I then took a fight with Titan (for December), and they cancelled on us the week of the fight. So it’s not been as long of a layoff as it appears. I’ve been training since August for a fight; just the right opportunity hasn’t come up.”
Having spent over a year in the gym, Freeman feels that while he’s grown, it’s not so much the additions to his game, but more so his preparedness that comes from his training that matters.
“I think we’re all human, and at a certain point you have capabilities, and that’s just it,” he said. “I know my capabilities, and I really think it’s about being conditioned for your fight, as well as being mentally prepared for a fight.”
Freeman (8-1) will have his first fight back in a year when he steps into the RFA Octagon for the first time to take on Thiago Moises (8-1) for the company’s 155-pound championship in the main event of Friday’s event in St. Charles, Mo.
“We’re very similar,” said Freeman of Moises. “We’re both good everywhere. Our strongest point is jiu-jitsu. I think he’s got youth on his side, but I do believe he’s a little smaller, so I have size on my side. So at the end, I think everything kind of evens out.”
Winning a title in the RFA over a touted prospect like Moises could be a very big springboard for Freeman, and while he has a mind to where it could lead him; his focus is set on Friday night and getting that win first.
“I’m going to take one thing at a time,” Freeman said. “I could very well be the first Legacy Fighting Alliance champion. I could very well get pulled up to the UFC. I could very well catch a knee injury in the fight that’s career-ending.
“I try to envision my future, but right now my goal is to fight Thiago and get the win, and do it impressively to where the UFC wants me. It’s a huge opportunity, and it doesn’t come by everybody, so I’m going to make the most of it.”
Jedrzejczyk (12-0) has quickly become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC, having defeated all six of her opponents in the Octagon. She has defended the 115-pound title three times, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down heading into this fight in New York.
Kowalkiewicz, also undefeated at 10-0, forced her way into the title picture just three fights into her UFC tenure. She is coming off of a victory over former title contender Rose Namajunas in her last fight. She’d also like to avenge a loss to Jedrzejczyk when the two were amateur fighters just beginning their careers in Poland.
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The Ultimate Fighting Championship was recently sold for $4.2 billion dollars. At the UFC 205 Kickoff Press Conference, Conor McGregor was asked about his worth to the company, and he put a dollar amount on it… and that amount was not small.
McGregor faces challenges Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight championship at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
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If there’s one thing you can say about Conor McGregor fans, it’s that they’re passionate. One of those fans showed his passion at the UFC 205 press conference when he called out Eddie Alvarez, much to Conor’s amusement.Follow @MMAHotSauce on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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It’s been a long time coming and negotiations went down to the wire, but Chris Weidman finally landed on the UFC 205 fight card slated for Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
He’ll enter his fight with Yoel Romero with the pride of New York on his shoulders.
Jose Aldo has had enough of the way the UFC has handled the featherweight title and current champion Conor McGregor. He’s so fed up with the situation that he reportedly wants to be released from his contract and to retire from mixed martial arts.
He initially took UFC president Dana White at his word that McGregor would either have to defend his featherweight championship or relinquish the belt. When McGregor was matched with Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, that’s what Aldo thought would happen, but when it didn’t, he blew a fuse.
White announced that McGregor would be allowed to keep his belt while challenge for Alvarez’s lightweight championship in an attempt to become the first UFC fight to hold two belts simultaneously. Even though White has added that McGregor would be forced to relinquish one or the other should he be successful, Aldo isn’t buying.
“Conor himself said before that he wouldn’t give his belt away by any chance and nobody would take it away from him,” Aldo said in comments translated by MMAFighting.com’s Guilherme Cruz. “After all this, I see I can’t trust any word from president Dana White, and who’s in charge of the promotion now is Conor McGregor. Since I’m not here to be an employee of McGregor, today I ask to cancel my contract with the UFC.
“When they offered me a fight with Frankie Edgar, Dana said that the winner would challenge McGregor or win the linear title, that he would lose his belt if he didn’t return to the featherweight division after his rematch with Nate Diaz. After being fooled so many times, I don’t feel motivated to fight in the UFC anymore.”
Even though White, after finding out about Aldo’s comments, told Combate that he would talk to Aldo and offer to work things out, Aldo still doesn’t believe that things will change. He simply wants to walk away.
“I don’t want a fight. I want to leave as I came in. The UFC and WEC didn’t give me anything. Everything I conquered was my merit and from my team,” he said. “Nobody gave me anything. I conquered everything. And I gave them a lot more than they gave me back. I just want them to release me from my contract. I’m not a whore to sell myself (for money).
“I don’t even want to fight MMA. I want to follow a career in another sport. That’s what I want.”
Ryback, a former WWE intercontinental champion who once wrestled CM Punk for the WWE championship, is looking to make a jump from the squared circle to Bellator’s Hexagon. Or Polygon. Or whateveragon.
I can confirm reports of former WWE star Ryback being in negotiations with Bellator. Won't be surprised if it happens.
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) September 26, 2016
Ryback is nearly 300 pounds of solid muscle and enjoyed upper mid-card booking in the WWE before his push stalled and he found himself in the opening match of WrestleMania this year, fighting in front of a mostly empty AT&T stadium.
Ryback left the WWE this summer, unhappy with his push, to take independent bookings. He has teased joining TNA and now Bellator.
Ryback was not exactly the most fluid professional wrestler. He was good at body slamming his opponents and knocking them down, but his character was reminiscent of Bill Goldberg’s; he was a big guy who was limited in the ring, but could throw other guys around. His matches rarely lasted more than 15 minutes. In Bellator, as a special attraction, he could certainly draw money, but don’t blink or expect his fights to get out of the first round.
Here he is throwing around John Cena.Follow Joshua Molina on Twitter: @JECMolina. Follow @MMAHotSauce on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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A women’s strawweight fight between top contender Claudia Gadelha and No. 14-ranked Cortney Casey has been added to the Nov. 19 UFC Fight Night card in Sao Paulo, Brazil. UFC officials announced the bout on Tuesday.
Gadelha (13-2) hopes to rebound after losing to champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk in her last outing in July. The only two losses on Gadelha’s record have been to Jedrzejczyk.
Casey (6-3) is riding a two-fight winning streak after dropping her first two fights in the UFC. She’s coming off a sumbmission win over Randa Markos in her last outing in August. A win over Gadelha would rocket Casey up the women’s 125-pound rankings.
The controversy continues to swirl around Conor McGregor and the UFC featherweight championship wrapped around his waist.
UFC president Dana White on Monday announced that McGregor would challenge Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 in New York. The surprising move was that White said McGregor would not be required to relinquish his 145-pound title going into the fight, as he had originally said the Irishman would.
On Tuesday, however, White made a slight amendment. If McGregor were to win in New York, he would become the first UFC fighter in history to hold two belts in two separate weight classes simultaneously. White said that if McGregor wins the belt, he will then have to give up one or the other. He won’t be allowed to keep both belts.
“He wants to try to gain both belts,” White said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “He will give up one of the titles after that fight in New York.”
That was all well and good until McGregor was asked about the prospect of giving up one of the two titles if he’s successful at UFC 205.
“I’m gonna wrap one on one shoulder, and I’m gonna wrap the other one on the other shoulder and they’re gonna need a (expletive) army to come take them belts off me,” he said at Tuesday’s UFC 205 Kickoff Press Conference at Madison Square Garden.
“They’re gonna have to gather an army to try and take one of them off of me. One’s gonna be there and one’s gonna be there, and I’m gonna be picking and choosing who I wanna destroy next,” said McGregor, not relenting one iota on the idea of giving up either belt.
While many pundits, and even White, have questioned whether or not McGregor would ever return to the 145-pound division, the Irishman did little to quell such speculation. Even though he doesn’t intend on relinquishing the belt, he seems to have little interest in the the division in which he currently holds the title.
“We’ll see what happens with Aldo. It’s hard to even think of him, I KO’d him in 13 seconds,” he said. “I’m gonna let that featherweight division play out and see how it goes.”
The only thing he was adamant about was that he would be walking out of the Octagon on Nov. 12 with two belts over his shoulders.
“I’m the featherweight world champion; now in November, I’m gonna be the lightweight world champion. I’m gonna hold two of them consecutively.”
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Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez took center stage in a heated exchange when several of the UFC New York fighters squared off at the UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor Kickoff Press Conference on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The two will meet in the UFC 205 headliner in a battle for Alvarez’s lightweight championship. UFC 205 on Nov. 12 marks the promotion’s first event in New York since the state pass mixed martial arts sanctioning.
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While you might not recognize strawweight prospect Emily Whitmire’s name, you might be familiar with her appearance.
Over the past year, her association with former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate has put Whitmire in the background of various photos; perhaps most famously when Tate helped a young girl with a broken arm down a mountain in Nevada this past September.
“It was a rest day and we kind of wanted to get out, so me and Myra (Fukuno) and Miesha wanted to go up to Mt. Charleston, because Miesha and I hadn’t been up there yet,” Whitmire told MMAWeekly.com.
“It was a beautiful day, we were having a good time, but as soon as we knew there was a little girl hurt up there, somebody was going to do something. There’s no way that if somebody is in danger that Miesha wasn’t going to help.”
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While those around her have been able to be active this year, Whitmire herself had been having difficulty finding a fight until her recent signing with the RFA.
“I have looking for a fight as soon as 2016 started,” she said. “We had a couple of offers, and we accepted, but we didn’t get any return on the other end. Nobody wanted to give me the opportunity. I’m just grateful that the RFA has finally been able to get something going for me.”
Having been a year since she last fought, Whitmire has used the time off wisely and feels she’s matured a lot over the past several months.
“I think I’m a little bit more mentally sound,” Whitmire said. “I just turned 25, so I’m still growing up in a sense, but I’ve come more into my own – even more than I was a year ago – the confidence is definitely there.
“My size, my skillset, I just have an answer for everywhere I go, so I just feel confident going in right now.”
When she makes her RFA debut on Friday in St. Charles, Mo., Whitmire (1-0) will face the debuting Kelly D’Angelo (0-0) in a 115-pound preliminary bout.
“I just have to be the aggressor, be aggressive, and not hold anything back,” said Whitmire of facing D’Angelo. “She’s more of a stand-up fighter from what I know, so I’ve been working my hands five days a week right now.”
Should Whitmire come out of Friday’s bout healthy, she’s eager to make up for lost time and would like to fight again before 2016 is over.
“We definitely don’t want to look past Kelly right now, so we’re definitely focused on that,” she said. “But I’d definitely love to get in one more before the end of the year; hopefully maybe before Thanksgiving. I would love to get one in.”
UFC president Dana White did the media rounds on Tuesday promoting the upcoming UFC 205 pay-per-view event on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden. During interviews with various outlets, White said that he was working on putting together a lightweight bout between top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson to be included on the New York City fight card.
During the UFC 205 press conference Tuesday afternoon, White confirmed that the bout had been finalized.
“Oh, I forgot to say this, Michael Johnson and Khabib are on this card also. How did I forget that?” he said.
Nurmagomedov (23-0) was expected to face lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 or UFC 206, but the fight promotion opted to put featherweight champion Conor McGregor agaisnt Alvarez instead. Nurmagomedov returned in April after being sidelined for two years due to injuries.
Johnson (17-10) is ranked No. 6 in the 155-pound division. He’s coming off a first-round knockout win over Dustin Poirier in his last outing. A win over Nurmagomedov would put Johnson into title contention.
UFC 205 will be the first time the Las Vegas-based fight promotion has held an event in New York City. The fight card will featured three world title fights.