Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Benavidez’

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UFC 152: Joseph Benavidez builds a legacy at flyweight

UFC fighter Joseph "Joe Jitsu" Benavidez celebrates after a hard-fought and bloody battle in the cage. (Photo courtesy of mmafightcorner.com)


No matter the outcome, Joseph Benavidez will enter the history books this Saturday at UFC 152 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Win, lose or draw, “Joe Jitsu” (Twitter: @JoeJitsu) will cement his place as one of the UFC flyweight division’s founding fathers. Come fight night, Benavidez will face Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, another trailblazer for the UFC’s smallest weight class. The victor will stand tall as the division’s first title holder for all time.

“This is about making history,” Benavidez told MMADiehards’ new Hammerfisting MMA Podcast on Saturday, Sept. 15. “I think I’m going to build the bulk of my legacy and really make my name in the flyweight division. What a great way to start that legacy – by becoming the first champion in the division. You become great by going out there and doing things like that.”

Benavidez first broke into MMA as a bantamweight in 2006. He’s now 16-2, and the only person who’s defeated him is Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz, the UFC’s bantamweight champion. Entering the flyweight ranks thus gives “Joe Jitsu” a breath of fresh air, and it’s a change he’s grateful for.

“This has been a big dream of mine,” Benavidez said of his latest title shot. “When I got into this sport, my goal wasn’t to be in a UFC main event, it was to be a UFC champion. It’s been a long journey. My eyes are on the prize.”

Johnson, for his part, isn’t just a stepping stone. “Mighty Mouse” is 15-2-1 and a major threat against even the most masterful fighters. Blindingly fast and a tenacious grappler, he’ll give Benavidez a true battle when the cage door closes.

“Johnson goes out there with no fear and always comes forward,” Benavidez admitted. “He mixes it up well and I really like his style. I think he’ll bring out the best in me.”

Both men had rocky roads leading toward their matchup. Benavidez blasted 19-5-6 Yasuhiro Urushitani into unconsciousness at UFC on FX 1 last March, winning via second round TKO. Johnson, meanwhile, faced 15-2-1 Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall in back-to-back brawls following a scoring error. He won the series with a dominating unanimous decision at UFC on FX 2 in June.

Such grueling competition has convinced Benavidez he has an uphill battle Saturday night. In a fight between the world’s most elite flyweights, he claims his killer instinct will make the difference.

“I like Johnson but he’s the one guy standing in my way and trying to take away my dream,” Benavidez said. “Nobody can do that. If I have 25 minutes to fight, I have 25 minutes to kill him and get the stoppage. I don’t think ‘Mighty Mouse’ can make it 25 minutes before I can get to him and finish him off.”

Though Benavidez is banking on championship gold, he plans on making the first flyweight title fight unforgettable either way. Champion or not, “Joe Jitsu” has a division’s future to develop.

“We’re the two best fighters in the world in our weight class,” Benavidez said of his matchup with Johnson. “This has all the ingredients for a great fight. I have 100 percent faith that when people see us they’ll believe in what we do.”

Mark Hensch is an avid MMA fan who became interested in the sport through wrestling and karate. When not covering the hurt business, he serves as a digital editor for the Washington Times’ Times247.com in Washington D.C.

UFC 152: Demetrious Johnson feels ‘like WEC is still fighting’ with match against Benavidez

Demetrious Johnson (Hector Castro/MMADieHards.com photo)

From WEC 48 to UFC 152, challenging is the word to best describe Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s fight path.

Both byproducts of the WEC-UFC merge, Johnson (Twitter: @MightyMouseUFC) and Joseph Benavidez, will meet at UFC 152 on Sept. 22, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, in a historic title affair.  The two combatants will be competing for UFC’s inaugural flyweight championship, which was decided through a four-man tournament consisting of Johnson, Benavidez, Ian McCall and Yasuhiro Urushitani.

The WEC alumni, Johnson and Benavidez, were left standing in the end and “Mighty Mouse” can’t help but feel like the blue-canvassed cage promotion is still alive.

“Me and Joseph (Benavidez) have gone through a lot in the 135 pound division,” Johnson told MMADiehards.com.  “Now, to be able to fight each other in the 125 pound division is just awesome. It’s like the WEC is still fighting.”

As if Johnson’s level of opposition wasn’t difficult enough en route to a UFC bantamweight title fight against Dominick Cruz, the Kentucky native’s journey to the flyweight belt offered different, peculiar obstacles.

It was “UFC on FX 2” that marked the beginning of the UFC four-man flyweight tournament, and Johnson welcomed Tachi Palace Fights 125 pound champion McCall to the Octagon in the opening round.  Meanwhile, Benavidez greeted Urushitani in the Japanese mixed martial artist’s UFC debut.

Johnson squeaked out a majority-decision victory over McCall, and Benavidez finished off Urushitani via TKO, 11 seconds into the second frame.

Or so we thought.

UFC president Dana White revealed at the “UFC on FX 2” post-fight press conference that the athletic commission in Sydney, Australia made a crucial error and Johnson vs. McCall was decided a draw.  White made each combatant aware of the situation and that they would be having an immediate rematch.

For McCall this meant another chance to compete and be granted access to a UFC title shot, but for the former UFC bantamweight No. 1 contender this was a step in the wrong direction.  Johnson’s mind switched from McCall to Benavidez, only to find out his efforts against “Uncle Creepy” were unsatisfactory and the two athletes would meet again.

Nevertheless, after a quickly hitting the psyche reset button, “Mighty Mouse” was content beating McCall in a rematch before meeting Benavidez in the title bout.

“It was good to go through that readjustment,” Johnson said.  “I had to make a mental readjustment, but fighting somebody again, so soon, was pretty easy for me.  Fighting Ian McCall again was no problem.  I dropped down to 125 (pounds) and this will be my third fight this year at flyweight, and I want to stay active, so I want no matter who it is, I want to keep on fighting.”

Prior to the UFC four-man flyweight tournament, Johnson was a top contender in the bantamweight division.  Fresh off a bantamweight title loss heading into the flyweight tournament, Johnson’s original plan didn’t even entertain the idea of competing in the 125 pound weight division.

“After my loss to Dominick Cruz, we were ready to fight Eddie Wineland,” Johnson admitted.  “We had the contracts signed and everything.  My goal was to stay at (bantamweight) and keep on fighting.”

Though, Johnson opted to drop 10 pounds and compete in the four-man UFC flyweight tournament, the end reward entails more than just a title shot.

When “Mighty Mouse” meets Benavidez at UFC 152, the historic bout will be remembered as the first-ever UFC flyweight match in the organization’s existence.  Johnson has the opportunity, not just be a part of the match, but also go down in the books as the first-ever flyweight champ in UFC history.

The luster of a history making title fight can easily become a distraction for a fighter, however, Johnson has become accustom to competing in noteworthy battles.

“If you look at the last half of my fights, they’re all high-profile fights,” Johnson said.  “I fought Miguel Torres, (Norifumi) “Kid” Yamamoto, both high-profile fighters.  They’re not high-profile fighters now, but at the time they were the baddest on the planet at that weight-class.

“You have to be in a constant grove where you’re always fighting high-level guys.  My last few fights have been against No. 1 guys in the world.  McCall was ranked the No. 1 fighter in the world at 125 pounds and he was the TPF champ.  Now, I’m taking on the uncrowned champ at 125 (pounds) in the world, Benavidez, for the UFC title.  My career has not easy or handed to me by any means.  I’ve worked my butt off to get here.”

Twitter MMA: Best of the Week for Sept. 9 – Sept. 16

Dana White ‏@danawhite

Rampage is hurt and out of UFC 153 RIO. SUCKS!!!!!!

Dana White ‏@danawhite

Now Aldo is out with foot injury. Main and co main in the same day!! Another amazing day at the UFC. We have some work to do

Stephan Bonnar ‏@StephanBonnar

Holy crap! Haven’t been on twitter in a couple days & i see this crazy rumor that I’m fighting @spideranderson in Brazil ..my fav place

Stephan Bonnar ‏@StephanBonnar

What!!! I’m only a 13 to 1 underdog vs Anderson? I must be better than I thought

Anderson Silva ‏@SpiderAnderson

#SpiderFriday Starting training to #UFC Rio III Ooosspic.twitter.com/hVhfUJi1

Rodrigo Nogueira @ Minotauromma

I thank all of you who gallows asked me to be part of the UFC Rio card 3.Now we’re in. What do you think? Thanks @ danawhite

Dana White ‏@danawhite

Much respect to Anderson, Nog, Bonnar, etc thank u for stepn up for UFC 153!!!! Brazil will be FUN. Here we come RIO :)

Quinton Jackson ‏@Rampage4real

Dr. Colker fixing me up as only he can. Back with him and taking his MYO-X. Now I know I’m gonna be pure pow http://instagr.am/p/PkNI0Ev_A_/ 

glover teixeira ‏@gloverteixeira

I am upset about rampage, I am in shape I’m healthy. And I pray to God so I don’t get any injury, I’ll fight whoever

Fabio Maldonado @ MaldonadoMMA

glover teixeira,you much respect,but we will fight,i have same style of rampage q would fight with you,we are going to do in the ufc fight that the bitetti combat did not

Bisping @bisping

@ufc urijah favour,Joseph benavidez and the rest of the munchkin crew talk s— cos theyre stuck in the body’s of pre pubescent boys

and I’ll take the Pepsi challenge with smug faced little shit any time.

Urijah Faber @UrijahFaber

Thought we were buddies @bisping I know u can dish it out but can’t take it back @ufc ur like a spoiled 3rd grader. Grow up.

Joseph Benavidez ‏@JoeJitsu

Wow didn’t think a big, tough, secure guy like @bisping would get all butt hurt at my blog. Pretty funny.

Demetrious Johnson ‏@MightyMouseUFC

gotta love @joerogan riffs on the flyweight division “basically tiny man that can F&%k you up” Awesome!! #teammighty

Walel Watson ‏@135Gazelle

Im sittin here gettin my pedicure and I’m the only dude so these ladies at the shop throw on college football lol!

Pat Miletich ‏@patmiletich

Enjoyed my weekly TSA episode of “strangers groping strangers” this morning at the Houston airport.

Ben Askren ‏@Benaskren

@patmiletich do you refuse to go through the X ray machines? Some of those TSA people have no shame

Pat Miletich ‏@patmiletich

@Benaskren No, but I do wink at the female TSA agents that look at the security X-RAY of me. They always smile.

Eric Kelly ‏@EricKelly

I respect him but confused why @ColeKonradMMA retired MMA to become a wallstreet nerd! #getyourerickellyon

Cole Konrad ‏@ColeKonradMMA

@EricKelly you get it. My job is to provide for my family. And I needed to make the right decision for them. But it was a blast.

Aaron Simpson ‏@aaronsimpson

Big congrats to @Dadeez87 for his win tonight! Nice to get the first one under his belt. @Powermmafitness @magllc

Ryan Bader ‏@ryanbader

Congrats @Dadeez87 on your win buddy! nice job @RayRgs79@Powermmafitness

MMA DieHards Radio Network presents The Hammerfisting MMA Podcast: Emergency Contact – Joseph Benavidez

 

MMADieHards.com welcomes The Hammerfisting MMA Podcast to the MMA DieHards Radio Network.  NYC-based stand up comedians Luis J. Gomez (Twitter: @luisjgomez), Kris Tinkle (Twitter: @kristinkle), and Julian Vance (Twitter: @YESweVANCE) are here to put the “funny” in MMA.  ”Wait!  There’s no ‘funny’ in ‘MMA’!”, you say?  ”IT’S ON!”, we say – BRANG IT!  It’s our civic duty to show you the error of your there’s-no-laughing-in-MMA-ways.  You can thank us later.

And oh boy, will you ever thank us.

Episode 123 – Emergency Contact – Joseph Benavidez
Luis J. Gomez, Kris Tinkle, and Julian Vance talk MMA news and rumors! On this episode Oni Perez sits in for Julian and UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez calls in to chat about his title fight. They discuss UFC Rio falling apart, the UFC 152 conference call, Lombard vs. Palhares, Renzo Gracie mugging, Chandella Powell leaving the UFC, and more!

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

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (Photo courtesy of 5th Round)

“Regardless of who wins, even if St. Pierre loses, a fight with me can happen. A fight like this is above anything else. St. Pierre is one of the greatest of the UFC. Right now, a fight with Condit is meaningless.”
- Anderson Silva told SporTV that he wants to fight Georges St. Pierre, whether the Canadian defeats Carlos Condit, or not

“A source from very close to him said Jon Jones was willing to pay the fighters, he felt so bad about the card being cancelled, he was willing to pay the fighters on that card their fees. But after all these attacks on him by other fighters, he chose not to do that. He feels really bad about this situation and did not expect the entire card to be cancelled.”
- It was revealed on MMA Live that Jon Jones intended to pay the combatants that lost pay from the cancellation of UFC 151.

“Every guy who has lost to a champion twice in that weight division basically has to reinvent themselves and most likely change weight divisions. For us, the way I look at it, that’s a big step. For the UFC potentially, it’s just another event. It’s just UFC 151 or 152 or whatever it is, but for Lyoto it’s a much bigger decision in his life. I know that in Lyoto’s heart and in his mind, he believes he can still be the light heavyweight champion of the world. So if he’s going to take this chance, and he’s going to take this opportunity to fight against Jon Jones, he wants to make sure he puts his best foot forward and be 100-percent. Because if he loses, it’s not just like he’s losing another fight. He really has to sit back and reinvent himself and figure out what am I going to do.”
- Ed Soares, manager of Lyoto Machida, explained the “Dragon’s” reasoning for not accepting a championship bout against Jones to MMA Weekly.

“Right now no one wants to fight Jon Jones, but shit I’ll do it, I’ll fight Jon Jones. Guys are turning down the fight; you have to go to an old school fighter like Vitor Belfort to step up to the plate. That’s no knock on Machida or “Shogun,” but if those guys want to coach on The Ultimate Fighter and move off to the side and let me fight Jones, I’ll do it. If no one wants the title shot then give it to Daniel”
- Daniel Cormier told BJPenn.com that he’d scrap “Bones” if no one else would.

“It’s difficult, because Jon Jones has a larger-than-normal wingspan and he’s still very young. He’s still in the phase where he’s playing during the fight, really, but he doesn’t have the responsibility of a champion. He fights with delight, jokingly, striking like I did back in 1930, when I started. Vitor has a great chance to defeat him. The biggest factor for Vitor is to use his explosiveness and his jiu-jitsu, where he is very good. But I think when one of them makes a mistake, the other will end up striking. As a Brazilian, I’ll be rooting for the Brazilian, even though I have a very good friendship with Jon Jones. Whenever I’m with him, I ask him to conduct his career in a different way, because he is very young and is always asking me something. But I’ll be rooting for Brazil, yes. May the best man win, but I’m rooting for Brazil.”
- A. Silva admitted to Bem, Amigos that he will be rooting for his countryman, Vitor Belfort, when the “Phenom” meets Jones at UFC 152.

“No, I think, like I said, everybody’s emotions kind of got the better of them, not just Dana, but a lot of people. Fighters, too. I think that’s reasonable. Listen, Dana is very, very good at what he does. He is the best in the world. You need that fire. The same thing that makes him emotional also gives him the fire too, you know; to knock on these executives doors when people are turning him down time after time. From fighting to get us legalized here and there, you need that fire. Kind of the flip side of that fire can be when things don’t go your way, you get mad. But, I don’t hold that against him for myself. You have to have that passion and you have to have that fire. It can go out of control or it can flash a little bit. But, if he didn’t have that fire, we might not be where we are today because it gets discouraging, you know, time after time. Remember, the UFC wasn’t always like this. It took someone to really get in there and fight and fight and (not) get discouraged and get up again and fight and fight to get it to where we are. That’s why I’ll never say a bad thing about Dana. Sometimes that stuff comes out as a negative and if I have to bear the brunt of it, that’s what I have to do. No, not at all, (ill will towards Dana), for the reasons I stated before. He is a passionate fiery guy and I am not the type of guy to takes that kind of stuff personal.”
- Greg Jackson was a guest on The MMA Hour and he talked about Dana White’s reaction to the trainer’s student, Jones, neglecting to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 152.

“When you have a card that is only carried by one match, given the attrition rate in MMA, the injuries in training, they kind of set themselves up for the fall. They need to hold themselves accountable. It’s become a bit of a habit, of late, by the leaders, to blame others for their problems, instead of letting people hold them accountable … I think Jon Jones had nothing to gain in that fight. Sonnen, moving to a different weight division, having not fought there for quite a long time, and competing at 185, hasn’t earned the right in the first place.I think Jon Jones was well within his rights, and I back Jackson on the decision that he made and the advice that he gave Jones to pull out of the fight. It doesn’t do the UFC any good to chop the legs out from, possibly their biggest star because he doesn’t take a last minute replacement fight. There was nothing to gain for his career. I think its organizational suicide to do that to your biggest star.”
- Pat Miletich told Bloody Elbow that he thinks vilifying Jones was a mistake on the UFC’s part.

“I love the fact that I’m getting to fight Demetrious Johnson. We’re the two best guys in the world. I’ve always been impressed by him as a fighter and he’s always someone I looked at and was like, ‘that would be an awesome fight, me versus this guy.’ I know where I’m better than him and I know where he has the advantages. You have to go into a fight like that. He’s a speedy fighter, a very active fighter. As far as power goes, you definitely got to respect it but that’s not something I’m going to worry about. I’m going into the fight knowing I’m the powerful striker here. He’s going to be on the defensive. Of course I’d like to test his chin out. Everyone that I go in there, that’s the goal, to hurt them with every punch I throw. Whether it be in the body or in the face, I’m looking to hurt them with every punch. I’m going to be going for it the whole time and when you put pressure on him, that’s when you see people break. Thankfully, that’s what I’m good at, putting pressure on people. … My goal was to come in and be champion and now it’s so close, I can taste it. So there’s no way I’m going to let him take it away from me.”
- Joseph Benavidez talked about his UFC 152 flyweight championship match against Demetrious Johnson via UFC.com.

“The UFC made me very happy giving me this fight right now. It is a pleasure to fight with Edgar inside my country. I think this is going to be the fight of the year. It is a great opportunity to show everyone I’m the best. I will be looking to finish the fight at all times.”
- Jose Aldo talked to Bleacher Report about his upcoming superfight against Frankie Edgar.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, the fight I want to have again is Dan Henderson. That’s the one that haunts me. I go to my Twitter every day and there’s people, ‘Hey Bisping, check this out!’ And I click on it and it’s a picture of me getting knocked out. You can have that. It’s what drives me, it’s why I’m here today. If I could get the opportunity to fight him, I would relish that opportunity and if I was offered it on eight days’ notice, I would take it.”
- Michael Bisping clarified a rematch with Dan Henderson is a bout he desires in an interview with Jon Anik.

“The UFC title has always been in my sights. I’m not doing this for any other reason. I’m in this to be a champion, I’m not here to waste time. I’m not here to just say I’m a UFC fighter and wear a cool tee shirt. I want to be a world champion, period. In order to become a world champion, I’ve got to beat Michael Bisping, period. I’ve got to beat him and make a statement. I’m going to finish him.”
- Brian Stann stated he wants to be the champ via UFC.com.

“I think it’s good to control your own destiny. I just throw a name out there. He’s had three fights in the UFC and two Knockouts of the Nights. His sole loss is to Struve. I think people are scared of him. I think it’d be a good fight. Lavar hits hard. For me, yeah people say I have a weak chin, so this would solidify my place. But I fight at heavyweight. Everyone hits hard.”
- Brendan Schaub joined UFC Tonight and discussed his upcoming bout against Lavar Johnson.

“There’s no such thing as holding back. I want to finish as soon as possible. The only time I did it was because he was a friend of mine. It was against Thales Leites. We went until the last round because he’s a friend of mine and I respect him”
- A. Silva admitted to Tatame that he didn’t have his usual killer instinct when he fought Thales Leites.

“First of all, I would like to say Anderson has never been or went to Nova Uniao. I have never seen him around, we were never friends, only professional colleagues. No doubt, he is a great fighter. If he says he was easy on me because he considers me to be his ‘friend,’ I don’t agree. The fight was not finished because neither of us could do it. People criticized me a lot after the fight with Anderson, I really should have done more and gone for it, but the guys who came after me did not do things much different. The ones who tried to stand-up with him got exposed and were knocked out, and the one who used the game plan of taking him down was defeated on the judges’ decision, like me. I think it’s funny a champion that always talks about respecting each other and martial arts would say something like that. I am a fighter, and I respect everyone. I know what a fighter goes through to get there. We all have good and bad moments in our career. It’s just a big rollercoaster with ups and downs. But, we have got to stay humble and stay quiet about subjects that do not add anything. There is no superman, we are all human beings.”
- Leites disagreed with Silva in an interview with Tatame.

“A lot of people thought I was gay … We would wear a dress [he would allow his sister to dress him up with girl's clothes and play with dolls], put on her shoes. And because I am very vain about my appearance, and have a high voice, a lot of people were sure I was gay.”
- “Spider” Silva talked to Tatame about being considered a homosexual during his youth.

UFC 152 lineup finalized, Dunham vs. Grant demoted to FX-televised prelims

http://mmajunkie.com/news/30404/ufc-152-lineup-finalized-dunham-vs-grant-demoted-to-fx-televised-prelims.mma

UFC on FX 3: Eddie Wineland wins in fights, fires, handguns and car accidents

Eddie Wineland is ready to get back on the winning track. (photo: Hector Castro/MMADieHards.com)

To fight fire, or fight people?  That is the question.

UFC bantamweight Eddie Wineland (Twitter: @EddieWineland) has been a perennial competitor in Zuffa-owned promotions for over half of his nine year career. He won the WEC bantamweight title at WEC 20 when he defeated Antonio Banuelos via head-kick knockout on May 5, 2006. Wineland next lost the belt the following year, but stayed a top contender in the blue-canvassed cage until its demise.

When the WEC merged with the UFC in 2011, Wineland made his Octagon debut against another former WEC champion, Urijah Faber. The former WEC bantamweight champ lost to Faber, and then lost his second UFC bout against “The California Kid’s” training partner Joseph Benavidez.

Wineland is currently win-less in the UFC, but he will have the opportunity to change that on June 8 when he meets Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. Both combatants are coming off a loss; therefore must-win pressure is present. However, Wineland puts a positive spin on what some may perceive as a burden.

“I always fight better when my back is against the wall,” Wineland told MMA Beatdown Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “When I was fighting Urijah (Faber) and (Joseph) Benavidez it was kind of high-profile fights, not that this isn’t a high-profile fight, but I’ve got two losses in a row. You’ve got a dog cornered and it’s time to look out.”

Besides being backed into a corner, Wineland is also ambitious to compete after a ten-month hiatus from the cage.

The Texan last fought against Benavidez in August 2011 at UFC Live: “Hardy vs. Lytle.” He was expected to square off against Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Fox 2, but his opponent was changed after “Mighty Mouse” was pulled from the card to participate in the UFC flyweight four-man tournament. Wineland was still scheduled to take part in the second UFC event on Fox, except he’s now slated to fight Johnny Bedford.

Wineland eventually withdrew from the bout due to an injury, but the unfortunate incidents didn’t stop there and he was forced to stay out of action far longer than expected.

“When I began that camp I sprained my left ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and sprained my ankle,” Wineland explained. “They said I could continue with the activity, but not to do anything strenuous. Obviously, everything I do is strenuous. After that I totaled my Cadillac. I got hit head-on at 60 miles an hour and I walked away with a sprained wrist. Somebody was on my side that day, but yeah, sprained knee, sprained ankle, sprained wrist.”

By now the mythical ring rust that so many fighters speak of had time to set in. However, Wineland is not overly concerned with his hiatus as he approaches his next match with Jorgensen.

“There’s some (ring rust), but I don’t think (it will affect me),” Wineland said. “I think as long as you’re confident in yourself and you know you’re going to win, you feel you’re going to win and you go in there and let loose and do your thing.”

A job that does not allow Wineland to get rusty is his full-time occupation in La Porte, Ind. Along with competing in the Octagon, Wineland is also a firefighter for the La Porte Fire Department. He doesn’t encounter the blazes that occur in some of the larger cities in the U.S., but he did share a funny story about an elderly woman and a .357 handgun he crossed on a call.

Wineland said he’s a committed mixed martial artist, but he doubts he could ever completely walk away from his career as a firefighter.

“I like doing it, I like the job, but unfortunately it’s a job,” Wineland said. “There’s some people that love it, and you need those guys in the department. There’s some people that eat, sleep and breathe firefighting. Well, I eat, sleep and breathe fighting. I use my firefighting money to pay bills.”

“I could see myself sticking with it, but I could also see myself ditching it and opening a gym,” he continued. “I want to be sure; I don’t just want to go out on a limb.”

UFC on Fox 3: Green means go for Louis Gaudinot

UFC flyweight Louis "Goodnight" Gaudinot weighs in for his "Ultimate Fighter" Season 14 fight in Las Vegas last year. (Photo courtesy of ufc.com)


UFC flyweight Louis “Goodnight” Gaudinot’s fighting career is all about standing out from the pack.

For starters, the 5-2 Hoboken, N.J. fighter can claim a stint on the 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” for his meteoric rise up the MMA ranks. Not content for mere exposure on the hit TV show, he went on to win “Fight of the Season” accolades in a submission loss to Dustin “The Disciple” Pague. Nearly a year later, Gaudinot (Twitter: @LouGaudinotUFC) credits the show as pivotal boost to his career.

“Being on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ got my name out there instead of coming into the UFC by the usual route,” Gaudinot told MMADiehards on Tuesday’s MMA Beatdown. “Recognition is the biggest thing. You’re on the show for 12 or 13 weeks and people seeing you every week is definitely good for your career.”

It helped that punk rock style stood out in a house of 16 aspiring UFC athletes. When he wasn’t putting on star-making fights, Gaudinot was attracting constant stares with his bright green hair. With his season now over, it’s a look the flyweight said isn’t leaving anytime soon.

“I’ll always have the green hair,” Gaudinot declared. “It’s my trademark. It helps people recognize me. I can’t get rid of it.”

Gaudinot will next try making his mark with a UFC on Fox 3 match against Brazil’s 19-5 John “Mao-de-Pedra” Lineker on Saturday. On paper, it’s a close contest as both men are debuting in the UFC’s flyweight division. Gaudinot, however, maintains he’ll have an advantage given that Lineker doesn’t love fighting at 125 lbs. like he does.

“All my pro fights have been at flyweight,” said Gaudinot, who moved up to bantamweight for his “Ultimate Fighter” exhibition match. “It’s my natural weight class. It feels good to be back where I started. It feels like I’m home.”

Such confidence doesn’t mean Gaudinot is looking past Lineker. On the contrary, he said he sees his opponent as a tough challenge to overcome.

“Lineker’s put together a nice run of 12 wins in a row, 13 wins in a row,” Gaudinot said. “He likes to swing and throw bombs. At the same time, I’m not seeing him dropping anybody with one punch. I’m looking to go in there and trade with him.”

It’s a high risk, high reward strategy in the UFC’s new flyweight division. Launched with a four-person title tournament in March, a champion remains uncrowned as semi-finalist Joseph “Joe B-Wan Kenobi” Benavidez awaits the victor of Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall vs. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in June. For division rookies like Gaudinot, it won’t take long entering the rankings and storming the title holder’s gates.

“Right now the flyweight division is up in the air,” said Gaudinot, who estimates the UFC has signed eight flyweights besides himself. “With two or three impressive fights you could be fighting for the title as you’ve beaten two-thirds of the roster for your division. It’s definitely exciting.”

All the same, Gaudinot said he prefers fighting smart rather than speculating on the future. When the cage door closes for his match against Lineker, he said he’ll go after what works rather than people’s predictions.

“The division is young,” Gaudinot said. “I’m looking to move myself up the ladder. I’m not going to go out there and force anything. If I hurt him I’m going to finish him then.”

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