Posts Tagged ‘Georges St. Pierre’

MMA 2013: Who would’ve thought…

In January, no one could have told the unforeseen things that happened in MMA this year.

GSP STEPS AWAY

This biggest news story and unexpected change in the landscape of MMA in 2013 was Georges St-Pierre stepping away from the sport.

After returning from an injury in November 2012 to defeat Carlos Condit, St-Pierre was set to scrap Nick Diaz early 2013.  GSP met Diaz in March, completely outpointed the former Strikeforce champion and retained his UFC welterweight title.  St-Pierre was in prime physical condition for the match, and any idea of him walking away from his belt and the sport was not conceivable.

St-Pierre then put his title on the line again in 2013, this time against former Oklahoma State wrestler Johny Hendricks.  His performance that night at UFC 167 was not nearly as dominant as those throughout his five-year title reign.

Hendricks battered St-Pierre and even out-wrestled the champ.  The French Canadian was declared the winner via split decision, but controversy surrounded the outcome of the match.

Then St-Pierre trumped that talk with his post-fight interview.

Inside the Octagon, St-Pierre told UFC color commentator Joe Rogan that he is stepping away from the sport and has personal issues to deal with.  UFC president Dana White was furious at the post-fight press conference, citing that the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s judges were “atrocious” and “incompetent.”  To top it off, St-Pierre’s timing to announce his hiatus from the sport was something with which White strongly disagreed.

St-Pierre’s future plans stayed in limbo for 27 days.  Then he and the UFC held a joint conference call to explain the champion vacated his title and immediately embarked on an indefinite leave from MMA.

The 32-year-old’s announcement came out of nowhere and rattled the entire UFC welterweight division.  It shook up things so much that it created a scenario in which Robbie Lawler will fight for a UFC belt in 2014 (against Hendricks), something unthinkable a year ago, when Lawler was middling in Strikeforce.

SAYONARA SILVA?

After being such an unstoppable force for so many years, who could have imagined Anderson Silva would be where he is now?

Silva had a glorious career until 2013.  He captured various UFC records, littered highlight reels with his finishes and earned the distinction of many as the best mixed martial artist of all time.

“The Spider” defeated Chael Sonnen and Stephan Bonner, both via TKO, in 2012, while not appearing to not have lost a step in his game.  However, a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler named Chris Weidman came along.

Silva and Weidman clashed at UFC 162 in July.  The challenger, Weidman, knocked out the seemingly unstoppable Silva in Round 2, putting an end to the Brazilian legend’s 17-fight winning streak.  An instantaneous rematch was scheduled for UFC 168 in December.

It ended in a nightmare for Silva.

Silva broke his tibia and fibula while throwing a leg kick that Weidman checked with his knee.  Silva’s many admirers watched in horror and stunned disbelief as the longtime UFC middleweight kingpin’s leg snapped.  He was stretchered out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena, screaming with pain all the way, and rushed to the hospital for immediate surgery.

Sure, getting caught can happen to anyone, and Silva’s time came in his first meeting with Weidman.  But to go from such a destructive champion to crippled in one year was another surreal unpredictable scenario.

BELLATOR’S BETTER BUSINESS?

Bellator changed the company’s business model in 2013, and perhaps not for the better in many instances.

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney organically grew the organization by utilizing the tournament format, developing talent and securing sensible television deals.  In 2013, that changed as Viacom-owned Bellator premiered on Spike TV, debuted a reality TV series and fleshed out its roster with familiar, undesired faces.

To start the year with a bang, Bellator revealed the television series “Fight Master,” which featured former UFC two-time champion Randy Couture as one of four coaches on the show.  Bringing in Couture instantly triggered a reaction from an irate White.

The public feud between White and Bellator created a rivalry between “The Ultimate Fighter” and “Fight Master,” but the Spike TV series could not match the finely tuned “TUF” on FX and then the new Fox Sports 1.

After airing a reality television series similar to “TUF,” the company that once prided itself on not copying the UFC shamelessly tried to mimic the world’s No. 1 MMA brand.

The promotion announced in June that it signed former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.  Just one month later, UFC legend Tito Ortiz came out from backstage at a Bellator event to publicize his signing with the organization and his match against Jackson in the first-ever Bellator pay-per-view show.

In August, Bellator re-signed Eddie Alvarez, its former lightweight champion and promotional poster boy, after a long, ugly and drawn-out court battle with the UFC over contract disputes.  Alvarez was scheduled to challenge lightweight champ Michael Chandler on the pay-per-view card in the co-main event, although media and fans claimed should’ve have been the main event.

Unfortunately, Bellator’s new approach to attracting fans did not go as planned.

Due to a neck injury suffered by Ortiz, the bout with Jackson never materialized, and the pay-per-view was cancelled.  Detractors were left to argue that moving the event to a free show on Spike TV hurt the promotion’s credibility and displayed the lack of faith Bellator had in its “own” guys to carry a pay-per-view card.

In addition, the other UFC cast-outs Bellator signed — including Cheick Kongo, Lavar Johnson and Joey Beltran — did little to intrigue fans to spend Friday nights watching their events any more than in past years.

For a promotion that was the clear-cut No. 2 organization in the world in January 2013, Bellator unpredictably ended the year struggling to gain back credibility amongst the MMA community.

WOMEN GET THEIR SHOT

Not all unexpected moments of 2013 were misfortunes, and some were pleasant surprises.

While it was known that women’s MMA was coming to the UFC in 2013, even the WMMA community would have been hard-pressed to figure it would play such a big role in”TUF 18″ and “TUF 20.”

In March 2013, the UFC broke news that women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and the winner of the match between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano would coach opposite one another on the first-ever co-ed season of “TUF.”  Zingano won the match, but required knee surgery. Rousey’s hated rival, Tate, filled the spot.

The season was a success, though the males on the show felt slighted due to the women getting all of the attention, not to mention higher TV ratings on episodes featuring female fights.  The series provided a backdrop for the lead-up to Rousey vs. Tate at UFC 168 and their burning hatred for each other, while also adding depth to the only UFC women’s weight class at the time.

Nearing the end of 2013, the UFC purchased the contracts of the 11 females that made up Invicta FC’s strawweight (115-pound) division.  The Zuffa-owned promotion made its mark in WMMA in 2013, and has set up 2014 with the all-female “TUF 20″ cast featuring 16 women to decide the division’s inaugural UFC 115-pound champion.

A promotion that until mere months before refused to allow women to compete, the UFC raised the stakes in WMMA with the moves made in 2013.

These stories, along with dramatic outcomes of fights throughout 2013, made for a roller-coaster of a year in MMA.

There’s no telling what 2014 will bring.

UFC on Fox 9: Wallets to fatten Sam Stout’s pockets; bonuses to fatten his wallet

Sam Stout knocks out Yves Edwards (Photo courtesy of Tracy Lee)

Sam Stout used wallets to fatten up, but now seeks a bonus to fatten his wallet.

Stout (Twitter: @SammyJstout) meets Cody McKenzie at UFC on Fox 9 on Dec. 14 at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., in a lightweight bout.  The match will mark the 17th time Stout has competed in the Octagon, but putting his skills on display on the grandest stage MMA has to offer isn’t where “Hand of Stone” always showcased his talents.

Stout was fortunate to be a frequent contender in TKO, an organization located in Quebec, when he first began making the crossover from kickboxing to MMA.  However, the Ontarian’s experiences when competing in kickboxing were not so glamorous as his intro to mixed martial arts.

“I remember having to do kickboxing shows, showing up and the guy was 20 pounds overweight,” Stout told Jason Kelly and Trevor Airdrie on MMA Cypher Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.  “One time I had to weigh-in for the fight and I had to put every guys’ wallet on the team in my pocket, and all their loose change just to make weight.  I had protein bars and power bars in there so the commission would let us do the fight.  I had, like, 15 wallets in my pockets.”

Stout has not competed outside of the UFC since January 2008.  Needless to say it’s been a number of years since the Team Tompkins product has been provided with nothing but top notch treatment when heading into battle.

Out of Stout’s 13 bouts outside the UFC, 11 of them were under the TKO banner.  TKO, where Stout remains the lightweight champion, was one of the few Canadian promotions that housed elite competitors, such as Georges St-Pierre, Mark Hominick, T.J. Grant and plenty more before the boom of the UFC caused for an influx in regional shows throughout central and eastern Canada.

Ontario, Stout’s home province, underwent a drought of MMA until recently when Substance Cage Combat and Provincial Fighting Championship filling the void.  Stout has been present at each of the organizations’ inaugural events and thinks taking a page out of TKO’s business model may the best idea to have continued success in these new promotions.

“It’s good to build local talent, but you’re not going to have local guys fighting local guys,” Stout explained.  “You want to have local guys and bring in out-of-town opponents for them.  That’s what people want to see, they want to see the home team against the away team.

“It’s kind of like what TKO had back in the old days with me and Hominick and GSP.  There were the staple guys, then the promoter would bring in guys from the U.S. or different parts of Canada to fight the guys who had a fan-following with the promotion.  I think that’s the way to put on a successful show.”

Stout has witnessed enough inside and outside of the cage to provide a valued opinion on MMA promoting, not that he intends on taking on that role in the future.  Stout can’t even say for sure if he will be involved in coaching or managing once his gloves are hung up either, as he said those occupations can be more difficult than fighting.

One thing he can clarify is his current field of employment and training, which took place with Mark DellaGrotte and in Las Vegas at Syndicate MMA, for the less experienced McKenzie has been great.

McKenzie, a combatant with about a third of the Octagon appearances as Stout, was not an easy opponent to get motivated for.  But one of the many things “Hands of Stone” learned in his years of competing in combat sports is to properly ready himself for each counterpart.

“At first glance you think, ‘This guy’s not that good,’ but the more I watched him and more homework I did on him, the more I realize how dangerous he is,” Stout said.  “He’s got a couple holes in his game, but he’s hard to train for.  He’s tall, he’s left-handed, he’s very unorthodox when it comes to standing and he’s very unorthodox when he’s on the ground.  He uses flexibility, his strength and his dexterity to put you situations most guys can’t put you in.  He’s actually a dangerous opponent, but I think I’ve done my homework and I’m going to be prepared for him.”

Being equipped for an opponent has never been a problem for Stout.  As a matter of fact, he often goes above and beyond what is expected and locks in an event bonus with an added monetary bonus, as he has done on seven occasions inside the Octagon.  However, with a flyweight championship tilt between Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, along with the other thrilling competitors on UFC on Fox 9, Stout will be hard pressed to collect a purse that exceeds show and win money.

“I’ve got my work cut out for me to win fight of the night,” Stout said.  “I’ve got one (knockout of the night) and I like those better.  They’re a lot easier on my body to get a quick finish than a 15-minute war.”

At the end of the day, a bonus of any kind makes for a fatter wallet.

UFC 167 happened, now what?

UFC 167 was a night of questionable futures and judging.

UFC 167 took place Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and the event was headlined with a UFC welterweight championship bout between title holder Georges St-Pierre and No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks.

St-Pierre won a highly controversial decision.  Following the event, UFC president Dana White referred to the judges, Tony Weeks and Sal D’Amato,  as “incompetent” for rewarding St-Pierre with a split-decision victory, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission as “atrocious” for continuously incorrectly scoring MMA bouts.

Whether the judges screwed up the results or not, that’s a topic that is always up for debate, the victory was recorded as a win for St-Pierre and, according to MMAJunkie.com, he broke and extended UFC records.

St-Pierre won his 19th UFC bout, the most of any fighter in organizational history.  He extended his UFC winning streak to 12, the longest active streak of any fighter currently on the roster.  St-Pierre’s 12-fight UFC winning streak is the second longest of any fighter in UFC history. with Anderson Silva being in the No. 1 spot.  The victory was also St-Pierre’s ninth straight welterweight title defense, the most in the division’s history.  St-Pierre passed B.J. Penn for the most total fight time in UFC history with 5:28:12 spent inside the octagon during Round 1.  St-Pierre has won seven consecutive fights by decision for a total of 175 minutes of fighting without a stoppage.  St-Pierre fought to a decision for the 12th time in his UFC career, the second most of any fighter in history behind Jon Fitch and Sam Stout (13). His 12 decision victories are a UFC record, and St-Pierre has never lost a fight decided by the judges.  St-Pierre completed three takedowns in the fight, giving him a total of 87 in his UFC career, an all-time company record.  St-Pierre added to his tally for most total strikes landed in UFC history and has now landed a total of 2,523.  St-Pierre added to his tally for most significant strikes landed in UFC history and has now landed a total of 1,254.  St-Pierre absorbed 85 significant strikes in the fight, the most he has ever absorbed in a UFC bout.

Still, though, the controversial decision will go on to mar the significance of St-Pierre’s night in which many people believe Hendricks won.

Simple solution to an outcome like that is an instantaneous rematch, right?

Well, not when St-Pierre announced in a post-fight interview that he is taking a “step back from MMA.”  It appeared as if “Rush” was trying to express that he was retiring, but couldn’t commit to saying it, so no one really knows if he will fight again or not.

Regardless, Hendricks is left in limbo, as is the rest of the welterweight division until things with GSP become clear as to what his intentions are.  Also, to raise more questions on the near future of the UFC 170-pound weight class, the division was shook up earlier in the evening.

Leave up to Robbie Lawler to throw a monkey wrench up in any organization’s plans.

Prior to UFC 167, there was plenty of talk about St-Pierre’s teammate, Rory MacDonald, defeating Lawler and the two Tristar combatants facing one another.  However, Lawler, a 32-fight veteran at 29 years old, dominated in two of their three-round bout and elevated one rung on the divisional ladder.

MacDonald, who was expected to be a belt contender in a short time, is completely out of the title picture.  Throughout Lawler’s career he has been that fighter who derails the promotion’s up-and-coming talent en route to securing his own title shot.  And he does it without talking to hype fight, but establishing his rank with exceptional performance in combat.

Chael Sonnen, though, is a mixed marital artist who does live off the hype talk.  And that is something he failed to do leading up to his UFC 167 co-main event against Rashad Evans.

Evans defeated Sonnen via TKO in Round 1 of their light heavyweight affair, but unlike a typical bout featuring the former UFC middleweight No. 1 contender, the match flew under the radar.  A reason for that could be that it was revealed by White weeks before their fight that Sonnen will be coaching opposite Wanderlei Silva on “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” and meet “The Axe Murderer” at a later date.

Everyone, Sonnen included, has been focused on the ongoing feud between him and Silva.  And given that Sonnen is Evans’ colleague on Fox Sports 1, it wasn’t a total shock that “Suga” didn’t receive the tongue thrashing “Chael P.” is capable of.  Nonetheless, Sonnen was pummeled in the opening frame, didn’t stay in the spotlight by utilizing is slick wit and is now coming off a loss as he heads into his coaching stint against Silva.  It takes some meaning away from the match when the American and Brazilian do square off.

Former Strikeforce welterweight Tyron Woodley caused a “TUF 1″ alumni to visit the same thoughts St-Pierre is entertaining.

Woodley blasted Josh Koscheck with a accurately placed right hand to the chin in the first round of their UFC 167 meeting that ended the fight.  Woodley is back in the win column after losing a split decision to Jake Shields at UFC 161 in June, but has numerous competitors between him and a title shot.  He isn’t ranked in the UFC top 10 welterweights, however, the win over Koscheck could help him crack the list.

Koscheck, on the other hand, is on a three-fight losing streak, with the most recent two ending in TKO/KO.  The four-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler reportedly texted White alluding to the fact the he might hang his gloves up.  Considering he is far removed from a title match and consecutive knockouts are a good way ensure brain trauma, it isn’t the worst idea if Koscheck does retire.

Ali Bagautinov, who is just beginning his UFC career, racked up his 10th straight victory in the opening fight of the UFC `167 main card.

Bagautinov outlasted Tim Elliot, winning a unanimous decision and halting the American’s two-fight win streak.  Elliot’s awkward style and high pace was something Bagautinov evidently had never dealt with.  Elliot was able to take advantage of the Russian’s lesser cardio in Round 3, but Bagautinov already had the victory locked in by winning the first two frames with a higher volume of strikes.

Donald Cerrone, who submitted Evan Dunham via triangle choke in Round 1 on the preliminary card, earned the submission of the night bonus.  Woodley won knockout of the night, and St-Pierre and Hendricks picked up fight of the night honors.  All winners received $50,000.

The event drew an attendance of 14,856 and a live gate of $5.7 million.

Something the event did offer is a variety of quandaries.  Such as what happens with the welterweight division?  And, what is to be done about judging in MMA?

Video: UFC 167: Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks highlights

Georges St-Pierre (L) fighting Johny Hendricks (R) at UFC 167. (Photo courtesy of MMAJunkie.com)

Ali Bagautinov defeated Johny Hendricks via decision, and defended his UFC welterweight belt at UFC 167, which was the main event of the evening and took place at UFC 167 on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  Check out highlights from the bout here.

UFC stars predict Hendricks over St-Pierre

In July, at UFC 162, Chris Weidman scored one of the biggest upsets of all time when he knocked out Anderson Silva to win the UFC middleweight championship. Fans Octagonside at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas were stunned when a Weidman left hook laid out “The Spider” in the second round. But not everyone was surprised by the result. Now, some of the sport’s best athletes are predicting another long championship reign to end when welterweight king Georges St-Pierre collides with No.1 contender Johny Hendricks this Saturday.

The fight is the most eagerly-anticipated UFC welterweight title fight in years, with Las Vegas oddsmakers giving the Ada, Oklahoma-born Hendricks the best shot to take the title away from “GSP” in years. The No.1 ranked challenger is currently listed as +205 (or a little over 2-1) to snatch the title away, the narrowest odds offered on any GSP opponent since BJ Penn challenged the Canadian half a decade ago at UFC 94.

 

UFC president Dana White said: “Just like when Chris Weidman was challenging Anderson Silva, everywhere I go, I’ve got fighters telling me that they think the upset is happening in this fight. All the pros think Johny Hendricks is the biggest challenge that GSP has faced in his entire UFC career. Almost every fighter I’ve spoken to and every fighter we’ve interviewed thinks Hendricks is going to shock the world.”

 

Here, some of the biggest names in the UFC weigh in on what could be the upset of the year.

 

Carlos Condit (No.2 ranked welterweight contender, former interim UFC welterweight champion; has fought both St-Pierre and Hendricks)

“If I were a betting man, I’d take Johny Hendricks for the upset. You have to give Johny a huge chance in this fight. I’m most excited to see how their wrestling matches up. If Johny can stop the takedown, like a lot of people think he will, it is going to be very interesting.”

 

Chael Sonnen (No.6 ranked light heavyweight contender, three-time UFC title challenger)

“Johny is by far the biggest threat to GSP’s title, that’s obvious. Hendricks could be the guy to end GSP’s reign, we all get that. What’s getting missed here is the bigger story: If GSP wins this fight, he is the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC, the number one guy of the UFC’s first two decades. Hendricks will be the UFC champion in the future – I think we can all agree on that – so if GSP can beat him now he will not only be the greatest fighter of his era, but also of the Hendricks era. Every win Hendricks gets after losing to GSP would be a win for GSP, too. So this is an even bigger stakes match than people realize. I think GSP will show up in the form of his life – but I also think Hendricks wins this.”

 

Tim Kennedy (No.10 ranked middleweight contender)

“I think Johny Hendricks is the better fighter across the board. Better wrestler, better striker, takes a shot better – everything. But I think GSP, he’s just a freak, he will find a game plan to win on points. I really think that Hendricks should win this fight, but I won’t bet against GSP.”

 

Robbie Lawler (No.10 ranked welterweight contender)

“It’s going to be a tense first round for sure. I think whoever imposes their will and can get the ball rolling early will take it. Cardio is going to be the key and you know Georges will be ready to go the full five. Hendricks needs to come in shape and, if he does, he’s got a great chance to take the title.”

 

Matt Serra (former UFC welterweight champion, last man to defeat St-Pierre)

“Johny has been taking out a lot of tough guys, knocking guys out, so he has a huge puncher’s chance. Koscheck had a great right hand and a puncher’s chance against GSP, but nothing like this guy. GSP does fight safe, so the opportunities for Hendricks to land the shot are going to be few and far between, but he will get the chance and he has to be ready to take it. That’s what I did.”

 

Dan Hardy (UFC welterweight contender, former title contender who faced St-Pierre)

“The upset can happen. We all know GSP is the best problem-solver in the sport, but he’s got a hell of a problem in this fight. Johny Hendricks presents a different kind of danger than anyone else Georges has ever fought. GSP has beaten fighters with good power before, but Hendricks, to my mind, is the hardest single-shot puncher in the division. Johny Hendricks needs to hit you once, and that’s it. GSP has beaten great wrestlers – before, but no one anywhere near as decorated as Hendricks. Even if Johny’s wrestling enables him to stay standing for 10 minutes out of the scheduled 25, that’s still a hell of a long time for him to land one shot.”

 

Alexander Gustafsson (No.1 ranked light heavyweight contender)

“I definitely believe Hendricks has a chance to beat GSP. He’s a hard hitter with excellent wrestling skills, so anything can happen.”

 

Chad Mendes (No.1 ranked featherweight contender)

“I think Johny is gonna get this. GSP is super athletic, a great champion, but Johny’s wrestling and power gives him the advantage. GSP doesn’t have the best chin in the world, and actually I think he can’t take a shot even as well as he did a few years ago. I can see a second-round KO.”

 

Brian Stann (former middleweight contender, FOX Sports commentator)

“Georges is the all-round better fighter, but I think Johny is winning this fight. I think the years of being champion, fighting the best of the best, fight after fight, year after year, have taken a toll on GSP. His chin isn’t what it was and I think Johny’s takedown defense is so good that he will spend enough time on his feet to land the knockout shot. Johny is happy to take a few to land one, and I think that will happen. Carlos Condit did a lot of damage to Georges in their fight, and if Johny catches him like that it is over.”

 

Cat Zingano (No.1 ranked women’s bantamweight contender)

“GSP knows how not to lose fights, and I can see him not losing the fight. But, I have this feeling that Johny Hendricks is so wild, so unpredictable, that he will catch GSP. Hendricks is like a wind-up doll with a chainsaw and I don’t know how you can prepare for that. GSP will have had a hard time preparing for this style. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Hendricks wins the title.”

 

Michael Bisping (No.4 ranked middleweight contender)

“I’m going with Hendricks to put him to sleep in one round with a left hook. Hendricks has the capabilities of stopping GSP’s takedowns and, quite honestly, it is going to be a murder on the feet. Hendricks hits too hard and he can take a hell of a shot himself. Hendricks’ left hook is the most dangerous weapon in the entire welterweight division, and it will win him the UFC championship on November 16. Also, I’m just not sure if GSP really wants to do this anymore. He is the best welterweight of all time, perhaps the best UFC fighter of all time, period.”

 

Jake Shields (No.7 ranked welterweight contender, former welterweight title challenger)

“If I had to bet a lot of money on it, I’d go with GSP on points, but I think Johny has a real good chance because GSP doesn’t like getting hit. I’m excited to see two things happen in this fight. First, I want to see how GSP reacts to getting hit by someone who hits like Hendricks. Second, I’m really interested in how Hendricks deals with getting put on his back. Hendricks is a four-time NCAA Division I wrestling All-American, he’s not used to getting taken down, but it will happen fighting Georges. It will happen in the first round. If Johny can mentally deal with that, keep cool, get up and throw, he can win this fight.”

 

Matt Hughes (UFC Hall of Famer, former welterweight champion, fought GSP three times)

“I really think Hendricks has the tools to get his hand raised. He’s obviously got the wrestling, and along with the wrestling he’s got that big left hand. I don’t think Georges’ jab is going to be as effective against a southpaw, and he’s always going to know that when he’s close enough to throw that jab, Johny’s gonna be close enough to land that left. So I think that may play into Georges’ mind just a little bit and I think mentally Georges has some obstacles because he doesn’t like to get hit.”

 

Gray Maynard (No.5 ranked lightweight contender, two-time UFC lightweight title challenger)

“I’m going with Johny. He’s got the wrestling, the power and the more I hear from him, he just sounds confident, like he knows he’s got this. I’m calling the upset.”

 

Daniel Cormier (No.2 ranked heavyweight contender)

“I was able to work with Johny in the past and no one performs better when the lights are brightest. I pick Hendricks.”

 

Forrest Griffin (UFC Hall of Famer, former light heavyweight champion)

“Johny Hendricks is a way better wrestler than GSP, Johny Hendricks has way, way more power than GSP, and Johny Hendricks has a far, far, far better chin than GSP. Clearly, Johny Hendricks doesn’t stand a chance of pulling off the upset against GSP…”

 

Chuck Liddell (UFC Hall of Famer, former light heavyweight champion)

“I think Hendricks is really going to make GSP fight. GSP is a great, great fighter. And he really can fight, but he prefers not to and to think his way to victory. Johny won’t allow that to happen. I will say I thought all this before the last fight GSP fought Josh Koscheck, but I think the pace Johny fights at, how hard he hits with each shot, and how much he seems to want this makes this the most interesting GSP fight in years.”

 

Luke Barnatt (undefeated UFC middleweight)

“My money is on the upset. GSP is the greatest ever, but Hendricks is the most dangerous opponent GSP has faced in years. Hendricks has the best wrestling credentials in the UFC on paper, and has that one-punch KO power. GSP has the advantage over five rounds, but I see Hendricks finishing the fight early.”

 

Jimi Manuwa (undefeated UFC light heavyweight)

“I’d definitely give Hendricks a shot against GSP – he’s a great wrestler with powerful striking. I’m really looking forward to seeing this fight.”

 

Nik Lentz (No.8 ranked featherweight contender)

“GSP is the better fighter, overall, but Johny is the biggest puncher, pound-for-pound, in the sport. Maybe it is because we have the same nutritionist, Mike Dolce, but I think Johny wins the belt by knockout in the second round. Johny is going to get taken down, right away, but if Johny keeps calm, keeps going for the knockout and doesn’t get frustrated, he will land that shot.”

 

Jason High (UFC welterweight contender)

I hate to go against my wrestling brother Johny Hendricks, but I think GSP might get him. Hendricks is definitely a tough nut to crack for him, but I think in a five-round fight, those fourth and fifth rounds could be a problem for Johny. Georges is always in shape and he’s fought five rounds a bunch of times, so I’ve got to go with the champ on this one.”

 

Ross Pearson (UFC lightweight contender)

“For this fight I would tell Hendricks to go out and take the fight to Georges, don’t wait for him, be first to do everything. I definitely think Hendricks can defeat Georges. He has scary power; he just has to make sure he uses it early in the fight.”

 

Brad Pickett (UFC flyweight contender)

“If I was a betting man I’d put my money on Hendricks. He has the finishing power that we’ve seen has caught GSP out before when he fought Matt Serra. We could be in for another Matt Serra upset. When it comes to tactics, GSP is the best he studies his opponents in so much detail. If Hendricks can keep unpredictable then he could outsmart GSP. My prediction would be GSP decision or Hendricks KO.”

In Their Own Words: The Week’s Noteworthy MMA Quotes

UFC president Dana White

“Nobody wants to watch them on free TV. They’re pulling terrible ratings. If they want to get into the pay-per-view business, get ready to lose some money boys. Real money.”
- UFC president Dana White warned Bellator that the pay-per-view business is not friendly via mmafighting.com.

“Honestly, I feel like I’ve been re-born. My excitement, energy and aggression, it’s all back and bigger than ever. I feel like a kid again. The Rampage you’ll see Nov. 2 will be better than any Rampage you’ve ever seen.  Everybody knows Tito and I have a very long history. He’s a former teammate and friend, and it’s one of the reasons I stayed away from the UFC as long as I did.  But, I want to be very clear; any sort of friendship we once had doesn’t exist when that cage door shuts. I’ve got a ton to prove on November 2nd, and unfortunately for Tito he’s the guy I have to make an example of. He’s in my house now and Saturday, Nov. 2nd on PPV, it’s going to be a horrible night for Tito Ortiz.”
- Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson gave his thoughts on headlining the first-ever Bellator pay-per-view via Bellator press release.

“I’m back. Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with Dana. I didn’t have that drive to compete, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free. Bjorn and Bellator put together an opportunity that made me part of the promotion, part of the family.  I feel like I can breathe again and my old friend is going to be on the receiving end of all that happiness turned into an old school Tito Ortiz ground and pound beating. I’ve fought and beaten the very best in MMA history and on Nov. 2nd, Rampage will be the next huge win on my record. This is a new era for the People’s Champion.”
- UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, now a Bellator competitor, chastised his former employer and spoke on his bout against “Rampage” via Bellator press release.

“It’s only the MMA diehards that want to see that fight. I have so many things going on. If she really wants to make that fight happen, I’m here.”
- Ronda Rousey talked to ESPN about the people that want to see her fight “Cyborg” Santos.

“He went out and bulled B.J. because he knew he could. He didn’t try to bully Ellenberger. Don’t come in and say my fight was great and technical and I belong in the top-10 and all this s—, and don’t go in there and try to perform. I don’t think he performed. I don’t think he did anything. He threw a few jabs and some front kicks.”
- At the UFC on Fox 8 post-fight press conference, White spoke on the lackluster bout between Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger.

“I hate answering questions about him. He’s just not relevant to me. There’s so many great fighters in the light-heavyweight division. He’s not even top five in his division. I’m not sure if he is.”
- Jon Jones admitted at the UFC World Tour that Daniel Cormier is not on his radar.

“Vitor drives me crazy man. Lorenzo can deal with Vitor, not me.”
- White spoke to OGlobo about the difficulties of matching Vitor Belfort with a suitable opponent.

“I’ve never made Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre money, anyway. The thing I’ll miss the most is being a part of the greatest sport, the fastest-growing sport in the world. It’s so awesome to go out there and know I’m a part of the big show. The UFC really is the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts. It’s the biggest and best. It will be sad to not be a part of that anymore.”
- Aaron Riley talked to mmajunkie.com about his recent retirement

“I was sitting on the toilet and I heard screaming, ‘GSP! GSP are you there?! I was saying to myself, ‘Are you serious? Is he really calling me while I’m on the toilet right now?’ And I didn’t say a word. So I’m waiting and I’m like, ‘Shoot, I can’t believe he’s doing this to me.’ I’m a shy guy. I don’t like to be on the spot. So I wait. When I finished, I flushed and I even waited the next five minutes to make sure everybody that was in the [bathroom] when the guy called me … was gone, so it was different people because I don’t want to be put on the spot.”
- Georges St-Pierre, at the UFC World Tour, detailed a peculiar fan interaction.

“I don’t mind my goals being told aloud because then it makes me train that much harder.  My goal is to fight at 185 (pounds) and hopefully win a belt there.  That’s my real goal because, like I said, I walk around at 220.”
- Johny Hendricks admitted to MMA DieHards that he intends on vacating the welterweight division.

”When I used to box, I was like Anderson Silva.  They compared me to Pernell Whitaker.”
- Hip hop icon and former boxer Cormega talked to MMA Cypher about his unique boxing history.

“I’ve always been physically ready.  Every fight, I’ve always been in shape.  I’ve always been there.  Just for me it’s a mental thing because I can be a head case and that really has been what’s gotten me down in the past, but I took personal steps in my personal life, new relationships, new whatever it may be to just change for the better. I really am just happier and in a much better place than I can really ever remember, which is nice.”
- Ian McCall admitted to MMA Weekly that his life changes will be the key to his UFC success.

“I lost my focus and made a technical mistake. It was one of the things that I left – the philosophy of the martial art –and it cost me the belt. I always fought with this felling of keeping the martial art philosophy and keeping the control of the situation – trying to be as calm as possible for me to keep the balance of the octagon, which is very hard to do.”
- Anderson Silva explained to Mundo da Luta how he feels after his first UFC loss.

“Dana White has killed the sport that you and i love. The refusal to build stars. The reward for standing and wanging. THE UNIFIED RULES, have all killed the sport of mixed martial arts. I come to you humbly, as a student and teacher of the mixed martial arts. A man that has never tapped out, or been knocked out in mixed martial arts competition and ask that you do not support a corporate monarchy that favors a mark in the Win column, over showcasing the ART of MMA.”
- Jason “Mayhem” Miller took to The UG to address the UFC president.

 

Johny Hendricks: ‘My goal is to fight at 185 (pounds)….drop GSP with my right hand’

UFC welterweight No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks.

A UFC welterweight title shot is the least of many goals for Johny Hendricks.

Hendricks (Twitter: @JohnyHendricks) is scheduled to fight UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167 on Nov. 16 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  The bout is long overdue, since Hendricks was given the title only to have St-Pierre request “Bigg Rigg” wait so he could fight Nick Diaz at UFC 158 in March.  Hendricks didn’t play it safe and neglect fighting in order to be sure his title shot was secure either.  No, no.  “Bigg Rigg” opted to fight one of the toughest combatants in the division, Carlos Condit.

Hendricks, even though, it wasn’t easy, defeated Condit via decision, and it was an action-packed match from start to finish.  With St-Pierre on his radar now, Hendricks is fully focused on taking the champ’s belt, but he does have ultimate goals on his mind that doesn’t involve GSP or even the welterweight division.

“Right now I am just under 210 (pounds), I’m getting an early start on my weight, which is nice,” Hendricks told Jason Kelly  and Tyler Peters on MMA Cypher Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.  “I’m a little bigger, I think most people that, by the time they fight Georges St-Pierre they weigh, let’s say, 185 (pounds).  I walk into the Octagon weighing 195-200 (pounds).  I think that’s my biggest I’ve been, in my last couple of fights I weighed 200 (pounds).  I still have the speed and the agility that I want, which is really good.  I’m just a bigger guy, I’m not the tallest guy, but God I love to eat.

“I don’t mind my goals being told aloud because then it makes me train that much harder.  My goal is to fight at 185 (pounds) and hopefully win a belt there.  That’s my real goal because, like I said, I walk around at 220.”

The UFC middleweight division is something Hendricks said he would consider more seriously if he cleans out the welterweight division.  Before he can begin to dominant reign as the 170-pound weight class champ, he has to defeat St-Pierre.

For St-Pierre, Hendricks has a different goal to accomplish.

Hendricks, along with his impeccable wrestling capabilities and other well-rounded MMA skills, is known for finishing fights with a single left punch to the head.  He’s done it to Jon Fitch, Martin Kampmann and T.J. Waldburger, and all three ended in first-round knockouts.  Even Condit felt that impact of a few, but, proving his will to keep fighting, he stayed conscious and made it through a 15-minute scrap with the former Oklahoma State University 4-time-All-American wrestler.

But, when it’s time to square off with “Rush,” Hendricks is pulling a George Costanza and doing the opposite of his common routine.

“My goal plan is to stand in front of him, let him try to hit me, and I’ll tell you right now my goal is not to put him away with the left (hand),” Hendricks said.  “My goal is to put him away with the right (hand).  My whole goal of this fight is, I want to drop somebody, and I want to drop GSP with my right hand.  I know I hit hard, I’m getting better every day, I’m sparring with boxers every day and they say I hit just as hard with my right hand as I do with my left (hand), and I’m starting to believe in it more.  So that is my whole goal, not to put him away with the left (hand), but to put him away with the right (hand).”

No one can give a surefire prediction of the outcome of “Bigg Rigg’s” bout against St-Pierre, but it is safe to say Hendricks is a goal oriented man.

MMA Cypher Radio: Johny Hendricks, Cormega, Charlie Brenneman

DROID-FRIENDLY AUDIO ARCHIVE HERE: 

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APPLE-FRIENDLY audio available for download on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio.

At 7:30pm ET on Monday, MMA Cypher Radio (Twitter: @MMACypher) on the MMA DieHards (Twitter: @MMADIEHARDS) Radio Network welcomes a UFC No. 1 contender, a Cage Fighting Fury Championship combatant in title contention, and a legendary MC in the hip hop world.

Also, alongside host Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) will be King of the Dot competitor Tyler Peters (AKA Step Easy) (Twitter: @StepEasy3rdAve) as guest co-host.

First up on the show, UFC welterweight No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks (Twitter: @JohnyHendricks) will join us.  Hendricks has been awaiting a title shot for quite some time, but is finally scheduled to challenge the division’s champ, Georges St-Pierre, on Nov. 16 at UFC 167 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Secondly, Charlie Brenneman (Twitter: @SpaniardMMA), a former UFC welterweight, is on a three-fight win streak since exiting the world’s premiere MMA promotion.  “The Spaniard” is expected to meet Kyle Baker at CFFC 26 on Aug. 17 for the vacant lightweight title at the Borgota Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, N.J.

Lastly on the show, hip hop icon and legendary MC, Cormega, will lend us some time.  Cormega (Twitter: @realcormega) has been pumping music out for 20 years and remains one of the most respected people in the industry.  We’ll talk about his upcoming project, his unique boxing past, and a lot of hip hop.

UFC World Tour: Four UFC champions, four No. 1 challengers tour 11 cities in six days

World championship headliners: UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Alex Gustafsson, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks, UFC® women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, will hit 11 cities in five countries while promoting the final four Championship Pay-Per-View events of a historic year punctuated by some of the biggest fights of all-time.

The World Tour Schedule

  • July 29 – California Bay Area:  Press tour with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.
  • July 29 - Las Vegas, Nevada – Main Lobby, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, 12 PM PT: Ultimate Media Day with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks. Free and open to the public.
  • July 30 - Los Angeles, California –Club Nokia at Nokia Live, 11 AM PT: UFC president Dana White hosts a press conference live with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, UFC welterweight champion George St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Free and open to the public; streamed live on UFC.com.
  • July 31 - New York, New York –Beacon Theatre, 1 PM ET: UFC president Dana White hosts a press conference live with UFC®heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Free and open to the public; streamed live on UFC.com.

 

  • August 1 - Montreal, Canada – Complexe Desjardins, 12:30 PM ET: UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright hosts a press conference with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks.  Free and open to the public; streamed live on UFC.com.
  • August 1 - Houston, Texas –Toyota Center, 1 PM CT: Open workouts and interviews with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Free and open to the public.
  • August 1 - Stockholm, Sweden: Press tour with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
  • August 2 – Dallas, Texas – Cowboys Stadium, 1 PM CT:  Open workouts and interviews on the field UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks.  Free and open to the public.
  • August 2 – Chicago, Illinois: Press tour with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.
  • August 2 - London, England: Press tour with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
  • August 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – HSBC Arena, 3 PM BRT: UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos to participate in joint Q & A session prior to weigh-ins for UFC 163. Free and open to the public.

About The Upcoming Championship Pay-Per-View Events

UFC 165: JONES vs. GUSTAFSSON takes place Saturday, September 21 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, as reigning pound-for-pound king Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight title against a top-ranked challenger who can match him in speed, size and youth in Alexander Gustafsson. Both men have been calling for the showdown and, finally, the biggest 205lbs clash of the year is on.  Tickets are available now atwww.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.

UFC 166: VELASQUEZ vs. DOS SANTOS 3 takes place Saturday, October 19, from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The fate of the world heavyweight championship will be decided when perhaps the two baddest men on the planet – UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and rival former heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos – collide for the third and perhaps final time in their blistering series. Mexican-American Velasquez regained the championship from Brazil-born dos Santos last December, pounding out a five round decision which tied the series 1-1 after dos Santo’s crushing 64-second KO win in their first fight in 2011. Tickets go on sale Friday, August 2 at www.houstontoyotacenter.com or by calling (866) 4-HOU-TIX.

UFC 167: ST-PIERRE vs. HENDRICKS takes place Saturday, November 16 at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, where the longest-reigning champion in the UFC, welterweight king Georges St-Pierre, returns to the Octagon® to face No.1 contender Johny Hendricks. “GSP” will be fighting in the United States for the first time in three-and-a-half years, taking on his most dangerous challenger to date in the sledge-hammer handed “Big Rigg”.  Tickets go on sale Friday, August 2 at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.

UFC 168: WEIDMAN vs. SILVA 2 closes out 2013 on December 28 at The MGM Grand Garden Arena with the most hotly anticipated rematch in UFC history with UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman’s defending his title against the dethroned king Anderson Silva. UFC 168 also features UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey who takes on bitter rival Miesha Tate in a rematch of one the biggest female fight of all time. Rousey ripped the championship from Tate in a breathtaking March 2012 war, however, nothing was settled in Tate’s eyes and now she gets her chance to avenge the most painful defeat of her career at UFC 168. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 27 at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.

In Their Own Words: The Week’s Noteworthy MMA Quotes

“I back. Trust me, I back.”
- Anderson Silva announced a rematch with Chris Weidman in this video.

“I just think that [Silva is] going to go in there and take care of business. That’s what I feel very confident about. I don’t know what his game plan is going to be. I think it’s still too early, but I believe in Anderson Silva and whatever he decides to do, I have faith in him.”
- Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, talked to Sherdog about the rematch between his client and UFC middleweight champion Weidman.

“Nobody likes to lose. I train four months to win. But you end [up] learning with your mistakes, and I learned the worst way possible. After everything that happened, we calm down and I realized I had something to question, even question Anderson Silva. I lost to myself, and that’s the worst loss. Losing by knockout shakes you, [it] will be in history, but will leave a lesson.”
- A. Silva stated to Globo TV that he learned from his loss to Weidman.

“I’m super stoked about being on the same card as Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman. It’ll alleviate some of the promotional stress and pressure because there’ll be more of us working to promote this big card.”
- Ronda Rousey admitted to USA Today that being demoted to co-main event at UFC 168 due to “Weidman vs. Silva 2” is a relief.

“I haven’t said anything that wasn’t true. My message to Rory is pretty clear: Pick some flavors of baby food and find one that you like and stock up, because this isn’t a ‘Tears for Fears’ lookalike contest. All I said was, ‘Prepare for some horizontal television time,’ and I meant it.”
- Jake Ellenberger spoke on his UFC on Fox 8 opponent, Rory MacDonald, during the UFC on Fox 8 conference call.

“Sometimes you train so hard and for so long and you only get 15 minutes max of game day for a few times a year. So sometimes it’s nice to spend a little time in there and get hit once or twice or hit him a little more. Sometimes it’s just a little more fun. Sometimes, you just want to hurt someone and devastate their lives fast. But I only react to how I’m feeling that night.”
- MacDonald answered back on the UFC on Fox 8 conference call, saying that punishing Ellenberger may be an option.

“[Henderson is] a whole new fighter, a way different fighter than he was in the WEC days. But I am, too. It’s not like I’m the same Anthony Pettis you fought in Arizona. This is a totally different Anthony Pettis. It’s funny because my last two fights, the world only got to see me perform for like two minutes, so no one really knows how much I’ve evolved as a fighter. I’m excited to get out there and show what I’ve been working on.”
- Anthony Pettis joined The MMA Hour, and talked about differences between him and UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson, as the two mixed martial artists meet in a rematch at UFC 164.

“You train, you do everything, you’ve done everything that you could and to know that your boss believes in you that you can beat Georges St-Pierre means everything. That’s just confidence that you can shock the world. The only difference is Georges won’t have his hands down. I want to knock him out, but I want his hands to be up. I want to punch people’s hands and I want to lay him out the right way.”
- Johny Hendricks talked to mmafighting.com about having a certain confidence heading into his bout against UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

“That wasn’t my plans, UFC wanted me to go to 170. They believe that I have, that I will perform better at 170 than 185. I have to do what the bosses say you know. Can’t argue with the bosses. If it were up to me, I would have stayed at 185. I have to be disciplined and I have to do what they want me to do. I’ve been training hard and I think I will be able to make it and I will be able to perform better that way. “That wasn’t my plans, UFC wanted me to go to 170.”
- Hector Lombard explained to The MMA Hour that the drop from middleweight to welterweight was no choice of his own.

“You know how being a fighter is, your mind changes from time-to-time. Of course I’m looking, Anderson (Silva) he’s 39 and he’s in there fighting, I’m like ‘I’m 34, why can’t I fight again?’ It’s gotta be right. There’s no sense in me going back into the Octagon and getting beat up in front of everybody, that just doesn’t make any sense.”
- B.J. Penn told UFC Tonight about the possibility of retirement.

“I’m excited about getting a W against anybody at lightweight, but especially against this guy. They’re giving me money at this point.”
- Jorge Masvidal told mmajunkie.com that fighting Mike Chiesa is easy money.

“People got to understand, the fighters at the top are the fighters that are supposed to get paid, because they’re the guys that are bringing people in, bringing eyes to the TV, getting pay-per-views buys, and putting people in the seats. I mean, that’s what it comes down to. You want to get that? Beat everybody. Be good enough. If you’re not good enough to get there — sorry. It’s not a welfare state.”
- Chuck Liddell, via Fight Club, addressed fighters complaining about their pay.

“No. After I talked about looking at what we’re doing with the bonuses, the fighters all made it clear that they want to keep the post-fight bonuses and the discretionary bonuses.”
- Dana White clarified on the UFC on Fox 8 conference call that OTN bonuses will continue.

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