UFC on ESPN+1 Primer: Henry Cejudo Is Trying So, So Hard

God bless little Henry Cejudo. The dude dethroned longtime flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, and suddenly found himself in a division on the cusp of being wiped from the face of the Earth (or at least the Octagon). So what does he do? Since he’s headlining UFC on ESPN+1 this weekend opposite bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, Cejudo goes full on WWE.

At least, that’s what I think he’s doing. I mean, his efforts didn’t exactly translate into perfect execution… but the thought was there.

So here’s a look at the face-offs from today’s pre-fight gathering. Note Cejudo’s gold jacket. Also note that Dillashaw looks like an over-meth’d gypsy from somewhere in Eastern Europe.

I applaud Cejudo for all this. If he loses on Saturday, the flyweight division is surely dead. It might be surely dead even if he wins, but whatever.

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Midnight Mania! Joe Benavidez: Dillashaw ‘Never a Good Friend’

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

“You consider TJ Dillashaw a friend? He’s a friend of yours, right?”

Joseph Benavidez took a long time to answer the question, his jaw working.

Ehh… I mean… we were really good friends and really close. Things are… a little compromised right now, and, its easy to say you’re a friend and this guys a friend and this guys a friend of mine. But its more like, to act like a friend, you know what I mean? Kinda like actions and words and stuff like that, so, um, I wouldn’t say he acts like the best friend, but, I mean, we have a history, so we go back, and there is friends where you go… you get annoyed or whatever by each other for awhile, so.

I guess he was never a good friend. We were teammates and gone through a ton together, so I guess that brings you close.

He went on to explain how TJ bragging he was being paid a f*ck-ton of money to kill the UFC’s flyweight division, rubbed him the wrong way, as he himself is one of those flyweights. Joe B had no problem with TJ dropping to flyweight to pursue a second belt; rather, the ‘annoyed’ feeling comes from the way TJ seems pleased to take away livelihoods of people who aren’t even in his way.

Dillashaw does have a long history with both Benavidez and fracturing relationships with teammates. His acrimonious split with Team Alpha Male was famously foretold by Conor McGregor, who told Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber that Dillashaw was a ‘snake in the grass’, a man with no loyalty, only out for himself. Training room stories circulated amidst the split that painted TJ as a bully in the gym. After getting snake emojis on every social media post for years, Dillashaw embraced the moniker, styling himself the Viper. He knocked out Team Alpha Male’s champion, an angry Cody Garbrandt, to win back the belt, and then repeated the feat in his last bout.

His pursuit of the best route for himself and his career wasn’t something that seemed to bother TAM’s Benavidez, at least not publicly. Long after the split, Benavidez was still traveling to train with Dillashaw and his striking coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig. As he said, they have a long history.

Now, though, things are different. Cejudo, who once faced Joe in the cage, said Benavidez approached him and shook his hand, telling him he was rooting for him. Cejudo sees himself as fighting for the flyweight division, though Dana White won’t guarantee its future.

A lot could be riding on the UFC’s first card on ESPN and ESPN+ for the UFC’s lowest weight classes. In addition to Dillashaw, Benavidez faces Dustin Ortiz in a rematch of a 2014 bout. If Dillashaw succeeds in his superfight quest, it will put the division in a very weird position not entirely dissimilar to women’s featherweight, where Nunes seems uninterested in the division or a rematch with Cris Cyborg. Dillashaw’s priority won’t be defending his flyweight belt; he has targeted a featherweight superfight with Max Holloway, and has contenders piling up at bantamweight as well.

Ultimately, the unilateral decision-making power rests with UFC president Dana White. Will he, too, ultimately decide the UFC’s flyweight division was never his friend?


Insomnia

Cejudo’s smashing of the snake was more than a little corny, but at least he and TJ wore ridiculous outfits to make up for it.

Accurate

Alex Hernandez really nailed this look, which seems to go with his personality.

I won’t lie and say Jon Jones’ response to Kevin Lee didn’t make me chuckle.

Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson got really heated over whether 145 is a real division, and if it isn’t, is Nunes a real champion? The answer, of course, is that no, it isn’t a real division, but Cyborg was a real champion. The world is weird like that. I also refuse to believe Nunes is tweeting out this stuff herself.

TJ Dillashaw hitting pads.

Is Sage Northcutt’s Jeep really at an insane angle, or is the picture tilted?

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Trying to conquer the biggest hill lol ❄️

A post shared by Super Sage Northcutt (@supersagenorthcutt) on

Featherweight prospect Mirsad Bektic training with Georges St. Pierre, who will probably stay in this kind of shape into his fifties.

These people should be too ashamed to ever record or post these videos.

Kayla Harrison vs. Cris Cyborg next? I would watch it in a heartbeat.

Brawling with eight limbs

Speaking of Muay Thai, the legend John Wayne Parr had a boxing career too

There have been a lot of fights announced in the past week, and in terms of quiet quality, Leon Edwards vs. Gunnar Nelson is right up there with the best of them.

Mike Tyson is embracing the memes but not willingly

There is something oddly compelling about watching two men with a lot of extra mass throw bombs at each other.


Random Land

This lizard is kinda creepy but also very cute

Sandstorm

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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UFC on ESPN+1 Primer: Henry Cejudo Is Trying So, So Hard

God bless little Henry Cejudo. The dude dethroned longtime flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, and suddenly found himself in a division on the cusp of being wiped from the face of the Earth (or at least the Octagon). So what does he do? Since he’s headlining UFC on ESPN+1 this weekend opposite bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, Cejudo goes full on WWE.

At least, that’s what I think he’s doing. I mean, his efforts didn’t exactly translate into perfect execution… but the thought was there.

So here’s a look at the face-offs from today’s pre-fight gathering. Note Cejudo’s gold jacket. Also note that Dillashaw looks like an over-meth’d gypsy from somewhere in Eastern Europe.

I applaud Cejudo for all this. If he loses on Saturday, the flyweight division is surely dead. It might be surely dead even if he wins, but whatever.

The post UFC on ESPN+1 Primer: Henry Cejudo Is Trying So, So Hard appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Video: Hardy Comes Face-To-Face With One Of His Biggest Critics

Much of the talk surrounding the upcoming UFC on ESPN+ 1 fight card — which is set to pop off this Saturday (Jan. 19, 2019) in Brooklyn , N.Y. — has been the debut of Greg Hardy, which will be a co-main event slot against Allen Crowder.

Indeed, the controversial figure simply can’t escape his past after he was embroiled in an ugly domestic violence case a few years ago. And despite how much UFC president Dana White wants everyone to move on, many people simply can not.

And they are under no obligation to do so.

Among Hardy’s biggest critics is longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) journalist Ariel Helwani, who has gone on record on multiple ESPN platforms recently to express his unhappiness with having Hardy get such a big opportunity in his UFC debut. Above all else, however, putting Hardy on the same card as Rachael Ostovich — who was recently involved in a domestic violence case herself — was simply a “tone deaf” decision, according to Helwani.

Not one to hide behind the camera, though, Ariel came face-to-face with Hardy earlier today (Jan. 17, 2019) in Brooklyn during a media day to talk about — among other things — his criticism toward him.

This is what Hardy had to say.

“I would say two things, it’s a two-fold answer. One, you would not be where you are now if you were shooting for low-level journalism. The only way to get there is to shoot for the stars. So I encourage everybody out there to shoot for the stars,” said Hardy.

“Opportunities come and you have to take them. That’s the only thing that I am doing. And the other answer is, God bless you, brother. I would be just like everybody you’re talking about that wants to hate me or throw me away as a human being and devalue me and act like I don’t have worth if I sat here and said I’m upset with you because you have an opinion.”

“You are allowed to have an opinion and that should not affect how I feel about you because you have done no wrong to me man. You’re awesome,” he concluded.

One person who does take issue is UFC president Dana White, who didn’t take too kindly to Helwani’s criticism of the former NFL defensive end. Though that battle has been on-going for years now.

Nevertheless, Hardy added that he hopes the time will come that he no longer has to keep answering the same questions about his past, and says the 2019 version of himself is here to stay and is determined to prove that the opportunities he’s getting on the big stage are warranted.

To see Hardy’s full interview click play in the embedded video player below:

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Live! UFC Brooklyn Press Conference Video

Here is news that will shock you:

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Greg Hardy, despite his placement in the UFC on ESPN+ 1 co-main event, will not be a part of today’s pre-fight press conference, which gets underway at 2 p.m. ET in the embedded video above. It’s almost like they don’t want the media to ask him any tough questions.

Weird.

Anyway, the flyweight headliners, Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw, will take the stage to rap with nosy reporters and talk about Saturday night’s (Jan. 19, 2018) title fight, taking place inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Joining them will be “Prelims” standouts Donald Cerrone and Alex Hernandez. “Cowboy” and “The Great” will be the final fight on ESPN before the telecast switches over to the ESPN+ streaming service and I’m sure they’ll be good for a quote or two.

To see the entire UFC on ESPN+ 1 fight card click here.

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Is Amanda Nunes One-and-Done With the Featherweight Division?

Ain’t that something.

Amanda Nunes, the queen of all female bantamweight fighters, moves up a division to fight the super-dominant champ Cris Cyborg. Nunes knocks her out in under a minute, takes the featherweight belt, and… says no mas to the whole 145-pound division thing.

Yup. It looks like the new champ of female featherweights is eschewing defending her title. Instead, she’ll stick to the lower weight classes.

This leaves poor Cyborg out in the cold with no rematch. And if (and when) Cyborg crushes whoever stands in her way of getting that championship back, there will still be a big question mark hanging over her head because of that quick loss to Nunes.

Oh well. Maybe the UFC will sign PFL star Kayla Harrison.

The post Is Amanda Nunes One-and-Done With the Featherweight Division? appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Midnight Mania! Watch Brock Lesnar Back in Training

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

It’s been half a year since Brock Lesnar jumped into the cage and shoved newly crowned heavyweight kingpin Daniel Cormier, flashing decayed teeth as he cut a promo against the champion. The prospective bout with Cormier had a built-in roadblock, with Lesnar needing to finish out his USADA suspension for the anabolic steroids he was suspended for after UFC 200. (Mark Hunt is still angry about that, in case anyone was wondering). Six months on, its still unclear whether Lesnar will actually return to the cage. However, he did spend some time on the mats recently, which could be a good sign.

The skillset that brought Lesnar his fame and glory was developed in his college wrestling days. Now, Brock is back on the mats, practicing with Gable Stevenson at the University of Minnesota.

Could his motivation be to train for a bout with two-time Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier in the UFC’s Octagon? We will get our answer in 2019.


Insomnia

Alexander Volkanovski wins the ten-year challenge

Dana White’s entry was pretty funny too, courtesy of Michael Chiesa

Cub Swanson had a solid entry

Aljamain Sterling has stepped his beard game up

I never realized Angela Hill was an animator

This is the problem with superfights- the clog up the divisions every single time.

Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal is going to be an interesting staring contest

Lando Vannata drilling striking combinations

I don’t usually include John Danaher in Midnight Mania because he writes novels for captions, but something about the geometry in this triangle choke setup was aesthetically appealing.

Tony Ferguson needs to get his title shot in 2019, or we riot.

Anthony Pettis against Stephen Thompson seems like a mismatch, but Pettis is just here for the glory and the loot.

I love Dustin Poirier’s positive mentality.

Amanda Nunes was all over the place on Twitter today, but confirmed she seems to have no interest in a rematch with Cris Cyborg

Okay… what is going on with her account?

Megan Anderson says Nunes should be stripped if she won’t defend

Tatiana Suarez is the strawweight champion in waiting

Ben Askren and Kelvin Gastelum went back and forth on Twitter

I had never seen this incredible one-shot fight scene

Sumo has questionable decisions too

Ouch

On this note…

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Another Hollywood Celebrity Who Can Kick Your Butt

Maybe you remember him from the film “Superbad,” or maybe it’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Either way, Jonah Hill is a big-time Hollywood celebrity.

And, uh, he can probably kick your butt now. Or at least he’s on the road to kicking your butt.

Behold, the world’s newest one-stripe white belt!

Cejudo Willingly Sacrificed Money To Fight Dillashaw

Henry Cejudo’s head coach revealed prior to “The Messenger’s” title fight against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 that the Olympic gold medalist took a pay cut to face “Mighty Mouse.”

Now, Henry says he once again sacrificed some cash to face TJ Dillashaw at the upcoming UFC on ESPN+ 1 event on Saturday night (Jan. 19, 2019) in Brooklyn, N.Y., seeing as how he could’ve earned a bit more if the fight was on pay-per-view (PPV). Cejudo didn’t mind, though, as he says he did it for the sake of the Flyweight division.

Plus headlining the first-ever UFC on ESPN fight card was an added bonus.

“Look at the opportunity they gave me,” Cejudo said during a recent media scrum via MMA Junkie. “It’s a Cinderella story. I beat this guy, resurrect the flyweight division, and that’s all there is to it. I’m willing to sacrifice some of my money for the sake of others. After this fight, let it be known I’m a prizefighter. So Uncle Dana and everybody is going to have to cough up, because I ain’t fighting for free,” he added.

“I’m not here just for a victory for myself and to add to my legacy, but also to all the 125 pounders who are someday looking to become a world champ in the UFC,” Cejudo said. “This is much bigger than me.”

Should Cejudo retain his flyweight title with a win over TJ, he wants to make sure he can lock down another title fight with “Viper,” this time for his Bantamweight strap. But make no mistake, he wants to get paid next time around.

“Once I beat him, we’ll talk to Uncle Dana. I feel like once I beat T.J. Dillashaw, it’s like the champ can’t defend his title unless he fights the other champ that beat him. That’s going to be a negotiation stop with the UFC. At the end of the day I’m a prizefighter. I’m looking to get paid whether I fight at ’25 or ’35.”

The narrative — one Dana White has sort of been hinting at — is that the 125-pound weight class will stay put should Cejudo win. If TJ wins, then most seem to think that’s all she wrote for flyweights competing inside the Octagon.

To see the most up-to-date UFC on ESPN+ 1: “Cejudo vs Dillashaw” fight card click here. And to subscribe to ESPN+ 1 click here.

MMAmania.com – All Posts

Another Hollywood Celebrity Who Can Kick Your Butt

Maybe you remember him from the film “Superbad,” or maybe it’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Either way, Jonah Hill is a big-time Hollywood celebrity.

And, uh, he can probably kick your butt now. Or at least he’s on the road to kicking your butt.

Behold, the world’s newest one-stripe white belt!