Tag Archive for Changing
Kevin Lee saw his five-fight win streak come to an end when he was submitted by Tony Ferguson back at UFC 216 for the interim lightweight title.
In hopes of regaining some ground in the talented 155-pound division, “Motown Phenom” is changing up a few things for 2018. Not only is Lee taking some time off to refine his skills inside of the cage, but he’s mixing things up on the management side, too.
“I’m taking some time, I’m changing up my whole style,” Lee said during a recent appearance on MMA on SiriusXM. “I’m changing up my team around me. You know, there have been a lot of things happening, especially at the end of this last year, unfortunately, that I’ve had to make changes (for). But it’s a new me, it’s a new start, when I come back the folks are going to see a new me.”
When Lee is ready and willing to step back inside of the Octagon he may find himself in a lightweight clash with fan favorite Justin Gaethje, who is coming off a third-round knockout loss to former champion Eddie Alvarez back at UFC 218. Gaethje recently took aim at “Motown Phenom” when he said he’d love to beat up a “loudmouth.”
“I mean, absolutely,” Lee said when asked if he’d be interested in fighting Gaethje. “I think the best thing about 155 is that there are so many options. The division is right open now. I don’t know, we’ll see.”
That said, Lee insists that “Highlight” needs even more time off than himself to heal from the beating he sustained opposite Alvarez, as well as Gaethje’s menacing UFC debut against Michael Johnson back in July.
“If it’s going to be against Justin, I like easy money,” Lee said.
“Justin likes to take a lot of damage. I like to give a lot of damage – it seems like a good match to me.
“I’m trying to look out for Justin’s health, too. He needs some time, too. The man has taken a lot of bad beatings over the last couple of months. I don’t think he wants another one right here, right now.
“If he does then so be it, but for now I’m just taking my time. I’m still young in the game. I got a long time to go. I want to make some necessary changes to my camp. I’ve just changed management, too. There are going to be a lot of changes coming and I think people are going to be excited about it.”
Whether or not Lee draws Gaethje his next time out (that seems like one of the more plausible matchups), fight fans better get used to “Motown Phenom” competing atop the UFC’s 155-pound division. Every time he has lost inside of the Octagon Lee has seemingly come back stronger, so there’s no telling how far the Grand Rapids native can take it in 2018.
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Jimi Manuwa, who fights Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 214, says he will go up in weight or even take boxing matches rather than fight teammate Alexander Gustafsson for the belt.
Jimi Manuwa on not fighting teammate Alexander Gustafsson
Jimi Poster Boy MMA Manuwa förklarar varför han inte vill tävla mot sin klubbkamrat, Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson. Det är en komplicerad situation för de båda men Manuwa ser andra möjligheter om inte en titelchans skulle uppenbara sig.
Se hela intervjun med Jimi här: https://www.kimura.se/mma-panelen-ufc-214-jimi-manuwa/
Posted by Kimura.se on Thursday, July 20, 2017
Manuway sums up the way he sees it:
Do you know what? We don’t even need to talk about it, what if you get the belt or whatever. We’ve got an understanding on that. For me anyway, there’ll be no problem, there’ll be no problem. There’s other people to fight; the belt is what we want, but if one of us gets it, then there are other ways around it. Maybe I’ll go up or come down, or do a boxing fight, or whatever. For me, it’s no problem. It’s really no problem. We’ve got love for each other, you know? Training together is more important, and helping each other to win our fights is more important. The belt is what we want, but it’s not everything, you know?
That loyalty is significant. In a hyper-competitive sport, this is rare. We’ve seen it before, notably when Daniel Cormier himself dropped to light heavyweight rather than stay in a division where he might have to challenge Cain Velasquez for the belt. It wasn’t a loyalty Jon Jones extended to Rashad Evans. In the case where ambitions come into conflict with camp loyalties, everyone handles the situation differently. Some fighters change camps before a fight, or split coaching staff, as was the case with Tyron Woodley before he challenged Robbie Lawler.
If team-mate Alexander Gustafsson gets the next title shot at 205lbs, Jimi Manuwa says he’ll consider going up or down in weight or box. https://t.co/i5fYAjpuLg
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) July 20, 2017
Manuwa, who lost to Gustafsson back in 2014, is now teammates with the lanky Swede, and in his mind, changing weight classes is preferable to jeopardizing the relationship he has with Alex. If he does win against Oezdemir, Manuwa will find himself within touching distance of a title shot. The only man more likely to get the coveted opportunity (aside from a possible trilogy fight if Cormier beats Jones) is Gustafsson, who is coming off a fourth-round knockout win over Glover Texeira.
Manuwa also hates fat bullies like Daniel Cormier, who he feels is condescending. Cormier certainly seemed above it with his reply…
Poirier calls out Michael Chiesa after Chiesa got his appeal denied to overturn the result of his loss to Kevin Lee
We both got played. Let’s fight! https://t.co/8iC6ebo7Sh
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) July 20, 2017
Will Gastelum make weight though?
Kelvin Gastelum Weight Cut for UFC on FOX 25 vs Chris Weidman Will Make Weight https://t.co/s3R7Ph2HbW
— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) July 21, 2017
McGregor has infinite self belief, I’ll give him that.
GSP is still in training, even though his fight with Bisping is off
HBO featured Karim Zidan’s work exposing how Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov is using MMA for his political ends.
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) July 20, 2017
Normally, this would go under “good reads” but I’m just going to include it here. Zidan is doing journalistic work of consequence- go read his piece up on Deadspin!
— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) July 19, 2017
Sage looks like he belongs on the cover of a paperback romance novel from the 90s
This video of Jack Dempsey in color is incredible
Slips. Rips. Awesome Clips.
FFC 2 – Sandra Lavado > Blanca Amasifuen by armbar pic.twitter.com/B0pTrunToX
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) July 20, 2017
FFC 2 – Carlos Huachin Quiroz > Fernando Noriega – 1R TKO1 pic.twitter.com/7N1Rm9sYwT
— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) July 20, 2017
The King of Rock-n-Ro- I meant The King of Troll, and one of my favorite fighters, Yasuhiro Kido 1+min of Kido greatness bcuz it’s Kido pic.twitter.com/aquKTrWmmE
— FriendlyMMANerd (@VictorVonDoooom) July 20, 2017
One of the longest reigning WBC BW Champions, Shinsuke Yamanaka. A compilation of some of his best work. If you’re not a fan, watch him ASAP pic.twitter.com/isJcJ0QlZI
— FriendlyMMANerd (@VictorVonDoooom) July 20, 2017
— SumoSoul (@TheSumoSoul) July 21, 2017
This shows just how much slapping can happen in sumo.
— SumoSoul (@TheSumoSoul) July 19, 2017
- I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to Bermudez-Elkins. Andrew Richardson analyzes the wrestler showdown for us.
- Learn about the advanced biometric revolution Iaquinta and Weidman are buying into at a top sports facility in Long Island. This was a really intriguing piece by David Castillo
- Andrew Richardson breaks down Chris Weidman’s skillset
Podcasts and Video
Flyin Brian J previews Weidman-Gastelum. Hate to say it, but I’m going with Gastelum here.
These swords are from cartoons
This guy makes GIANT swords ⚔ ⚔ pic.twitter.com/kL2f0k7bp2
— Sparrow Video (@SparrowVideo) July 18, 2017
I’m convinced Florida is the worst place on Earth by incidents like this
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 20, 2017
Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter @Vorpality
An episode of the UFC video blog Embedded showed Mickey Gall on the phone with UFC president Dana White before UFC 203 last week. White told Gall that he didn’t want him to use his preferred walkout song: the popular 1980s song “Mickey” by Toni Basil.
The conversation got people talking on social media — and might have contributed to White’s change of heart.
When Gall walked out at UFC 203 in Cleveland, it was to “Mickey” after all and he didn’t know it until he heard the first chord, Gall told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour.
“Then I started hearing the beginning of that song,” Gall said. “I looked at them like, ‘Did they switch it? Is this me? Am I going now?’ And then they’re like, ‘Yep, we’re rolling, let’s go.’ So I found out right there when everyone else did.”
Gall has not spoken to White since the fight, which Gall won by first-round submission against the former WWE star. He did, however, have a quick discussion with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva right after the bout. Gall said Silva told him that he also tried to convince White to let Gall use the song.
A day earlier at the UFC 203 ceremonial weigh-ins, White and Gall did speak briefly.
“Dana told me, ‘Hey dude, I’m getting f*cking abused online for this ‘Hey Mickey’ stuff,’” Gall said. “I think the people online, it shows you guys are heard. We’ve got a voice out there.”
The walkout seemed to fit a very loose Gall. And the result of the fight — albeit against a neophyte opponent — was unequivocal. “Mickey” is here to stay. At least one of them.
LAS VEGAS — Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira didn’t talk much about his childhood accident much during his fighting career. Now, though, it’s something Nogueira has discussed with fighters a lot.
When he was 11 years old, Nogueira was hit by a truck and somehow he survived. He was in a coma for a time, had damage to his lungs and was in the hospital for nearly a full year.
The Brazilian MMA legend told a bit about the story Sunday during his induction speech for the UFC Hall of Fame here at Las Vegas Convention Center. He has been using his background story quite a bit in his new role as an executive for UFC Brazil. Nogueira is now a mentor to young fighters in his home country.
“I hope I set an example to motivate people, to motivate the new fighters, motivate the guy who doesn’t got to the gym who doesn’t train martial arts because he has a knee injury or some little things,” Nogueira told the media afterward. “I’ve been from a big accident and I hope I can motivate them to watch the UFC and to train. I love to inspire people to train.”
Nogueira, 40, only retired from fighting after a unanimous decision loss to Stefan Struve last August at UFC 190. He is a former interim PRIDE and UFC champion with a handful of some of the most exciting fights in mixed martial arts history on his record. Nogueira (34-10-1, 1 NC), who was inducted by his brother Rogerio and Anderson Silva, owns wins over Dan Henderson, Mark Coleman, Fabricio Werdum, Randy Couture, Josh Barnett and Mirko Cro Cop. He’s unequivocally one of the top five greatest heavyweight fighters of all time.
Now, though, Nogueira is all about talking, not fighting. That’s what his job entails. “Minotauro” said he is in constant contact with fighters.
“I like a lot of new guys that are coming up, the new fighters,” Nogueira. “We are working with them in Brazil. We’re doing research. Not just the UFC fighters, but the guys that have potential to go to the UFC. We study all the greats in Brazil and we see a lot of guys that are gonna come to the UFC in the future.
“I like to talk with Jacare as well. He’s not a young fighter, but I like to talk to him a lot. He’s a big friend of mine. I love to talk to Demian Maia. Thomas Almeida, another guy I have talked to a lot in Sao Paulo. There’s a guy from Brasilia, Renato Moicano, I’m a big fan of these kids. We’re trading messages every day. I think he’s got a big potential.”
“Big Nog” doesn’t just have an office job, either. He’s out at events constantly, and not just UFC events. He’s scouting talent and imparting his wisdom.
That nearly tragic story from his past, the one he didn’t love talking about during his fighting career — he never wanted to detract from his or anyone else’s accomplishments — has now become a calling card.
“A lot of people use the excuse,” Nogueira said. “They’re hurt. They cannot do it because they’re tired. So me as a guy who came over the accident, I know I can be a lot of motivation other people.”
Frye changes mind about women’s MMA
One of the main characteristics of Don Frye’s old video blog predicting UFC fights was a steady stream of insults toward female competitors in MMA. You won’t be hearing that any more from the newly inducted UFC Hall of Famer.
Frye praised women’s MMA on Sunday after the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony. The mixed martial arts legend has done a complete 180 on the topic.
“I used to be against them. I thought women should be delivering my drinks to me, cooking my dinner,” Frye said. “Hell, these women are tough. They’re better athletes, fight better than some of the guys. Last night, the best fight there was the women.”
Frye, 50, was talking about the stellar women’s strawweight title fight between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale. Jedrzejczyk won a bloody unanimous decision to retain her belt.
“It just happened over time,” the Arizona native said. “The guys got softer and the women got harder. They put on better fights. Being an athlete my whole life, I appreciate athleticism. I appreciate somebody who sticks in there and goes after it. And the women are. It’s impressive the way they’re going after it. They’re fighting like we did back in the ‘90s.”
Notes: The 1998 fight between Mark Coleman and Pete Williams was inducted into the fight wing of the UFC Hall of Fame on Sunday. Williams beat Coleman via head kick during the UFC 17 contests. It’s still one of the most discussed — and one of the first ever — head kick finishes in MMA history. … Bob Meyrowitz, the former owner of the UFC, was also also inducted, though he could not physically attend the ceremony. Meyrowitz was one of the co-creators of the UFC in 1993 while running his Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG) company. SEG later purchased the UFC and sold it in 2011 to Zuffa LLC, headed by Lorenzo Fertitta, Frank Fertitta and Dana White.
How foolish is it to try and project even just six months into the future of the UFC? Well…it’s asinine foolish, if we’re keeping everything a hunnit. Like, preposterously, other-level ridiculous.
It’s easier to forecast earthquakes, you see.
Heading into the year plenty of the game’s most dominant icons were still intact. Anderson Silva, considered the greatest of all time, was coming back against Nick Diaz, yet another testament to his total sublimity. Jon Jones, considered the greatest of now, was still untouchable heading into his fight with Daniel Cormier. Anthony Pettis was (and still is) on the Wheaties box, for god’s sake. And Cain Velasquez was still considered by many — particularly UFCphiles who never acquired a taste for beet borscht — the greatest heavyweight of all time.
Oh yes, Velasquez. At UFC 188, Fabricio Werdum snagged another figure from the pantheon of greats, sapped him of will and aura, and smuggled his invincibility out of Mexico. Didn’t see that coming? Get used to it.
Six months into 2015 you can’t help but realize (yet again) just how unpredictable the UFC is. Champions are booked to get beat. Champions beat themselves. Champions are nothing more than really strong ephemera.
Velasquez got beat by perhaps the game’s master dupe in Werdum, who somehow always convinces everyone (including Vegas oddsmakers) that he has zero chance of beating the monstrosity in front of him. How long is Werdum’s reach? Those go-to-hell jabs he was crashing into Velasquez’s wobbling head were also aimed at our misconceptions.
What a mess.
Other than Ronda Rousey and Demetrious Johnson (and maybe Chris Weidman), the only constant right now is Jose Aldo, and it doesn’t take a diehard MMA fan to realize he’s the one pillar that the UFC wouldn’t mind painting Irish green. Conor McGregor fights him on July 11, and you best believe he’ll be sharing some Midleton Very Rare with the avuncular types at Zuffa headquarters should he take that belt. If McGregor can share Lorenzo Fertitta’s tailor, he can damn well share a glass of celebratory whisky.
Point is, champions aren’t meant to last in the UFC. Not anymore. Not since Georges St-Pierre, the game’s true opus, rode off into the sunset with a face battered to match its orange and purple majesty. Since then everything has been fog-based. If it’s not a challenger that gets them, it’s life. If that gauntlet is gotten through, it’s Hollywood. Or injuries. Just ask Dominick Cruz, who hasn’t lost anything since 2007 except his belt.
Werdum is the latest to rise out of some forgotten place to the greatest elevation in the sport. There was a time when Werdum was pleading with Alistair Overeem to come to the ground with him in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He didn’t trust his hands. That memory, along with him getting crushed by a Junior dos Santos left at UFC 90, endured enough for him to sneak into the pound-for-pound conversation.
People refused to see him coming. Now he’s here.
Werdum joins the list of Improbable Stories, along with middleweight champion Robbie Lawler who was losing to Lorenz Larkin not all that long ago, and T.J. Dillashaw, who somehow defeated the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport (for that week), Renan Barao. There’s no rhyme or reason, there are only fate-dealing fists from the blue corner that keep changing the narrative.
The good news is that all this flux means other narratives change, too. For instance, Brazilian champions are no longer on the endangered species list. For a brief moment there it was Aldo fighting not just to retain his featherweight belt, but for the pride of Brazil. Dos Anjos and Werdum have reestablished Brazil as a force. Bethe Correia will get a shot at Rousey in August, and Barao will get another shot at Dillashaw.
But I’ll tell what’s on the endangered list midway through this year — the concept of the “superfight.” The most burning superfight that could have been arranged heading into this year would have been a fight between Jones and Velasquez, and that after Jones and Silva of years past, and that after Silva and GSP back when Dallas Cowboys Stadium came up during every press conference.
These days, who knows. In six more months, it’s possible the world will appear right side up. For now, we live in a time where Rafael Dos Anjos, Fabricio Werdum, T.J. Dillashaw, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Daniel Cormier and Robbie Lawler are all champions. What an unlikely list of names.
And by the end of 2015, here’s what we can safely say — those names are subject to change.
Things have been a little topsy-turvy in Sara McMann’s UFC run; in fact, the one-time Olympic wrestler’s trajectory seems slightly ridiculous even though the Zuffa portion of her career is just shy of three fights old.
McMann destroyed the “Wanderlei Silva” of women’s MMA, the German fighter Sheila Gaff, in her debut on the UFC 157 prelims. It was a good start which generated the right amount of buzz. How much buzz? Ten long months later, after bout with Sarah Kaufman fell through, she leapfrogged the women’s fleet and fought Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight title at UFC 170. She went from debuting on the prelims to headlining a pay-per-view.
And now six months after that loss, McMann’s fighting UFC newcomer — and former Invicta 135-pound champion — Lauren Murphy at UFC Fight Night 47 in Bangor, Maine. Back on the prelims. And with those prelim bookends, there’s a case to be made that McMann got cut off too much too soon in drawing a title fight with Rousey back at UFC 170. In fact, conspiracy theorists who believe the UFC is protecting Rousey — opting to pursue Gina Carano ahead of Cristiane Justino, say, or giving her McMann sooner (while still green) rather than later (when honed) — have raised their whispers to a mumble.
McMann herself isn’t among them.
“With the way everything worked out, I still think that it was the right choice,” McMann told MMA Fighting. “So I’m not upset at all about the timing thing. I think I just made a mistake [in that fight]. I made a positional error. You take that out of it, and it’s a very different fight. That’s why I need her for a rematch. If I had gone out there, and got completely dominated in positions, like she just clearly showed she’s a better fighter, I’d probably be like, oh man, maybe I don’t have what it takes. But judging from how the fight went previous to that liver shot, then I feel really confident about it.”
McMann has spent the last six months with that in the back of her mind, but it’s not been an easy thing to get past. And not from the mental side of it, but from the practical side; McMann has had trouble getting a fight. She wanted to finally step in the cage with Sarah Kaufman, a fight that was made and scrapped in 2013, but after fits and starts it never materialized.
“I told my manager [Monte Cox], you know what, forget it,” she says. “I took the fight three times against [Kaufman], and she was calling out Cat [Zingano] and Miesha [Tate] but saying she was too injured to fight me. So I said forget it. If she doesn’t want to fight, then that’s fine. I don’t need to not fight, I’ll just fight somebody else.”
Asked if she thought Kaufman was ducking her, McMann said it’s not specifically Kaufman, but more a collective.
“I think a lot of people are, because I’m the harder road to get a title shot,” she says. “You don’t want to take a risk of losing your position against me. But I can think about it a different way, too. If you aren’t willing to fight the other people underneath, then you don’t deserve a title shot. That’s how I feel. If you say I want to be the best, you have to fight everybody and prove that you are the best, not just the top girl.
“I had three different offers in June and July, and I said yes to all of them…and really Monte’s never come to me with a fight I said no to. It was frustrating to me, just because I’m 33, I’m not 23. I want to do more. I want to do this, and I love competing, and to not be out there. It gives me a lot more grit and fire when I am out there.”
Since McMann fought Rousey in February the women’s bantamweight division has gotten theoretically more intriguing. Zingano, the original No. 1 contender who has been out with a knee injury, returns to action at UFC 178. Bethe Correira is a quarter through her mission to unseat every one of the four horsewomen, and looks like a challenge for Rousey. She fights Shayna Baszler at UFC 177.
And then there’s the three-piece hypothetical of the recently signed Holly Holm, the coveted Gina Carano, and the pariah Cristiane Justino. McMann says she sees and hears all the rumblings, but there’s a lot of red tape.
“Holly Holm still has a long way to go in fighting girls, and showing that her ground game is title contender worthy,” McMann says. “And in my opinion, she has to prove it before she gets a title shot, or else she’s going to get thrown and arm-barred in quicker time than Sarah Kaufman. Cyborg, I’ve been hearing for two years that she’s coming down to 135. I mean, I can only get riled up or think about those things as a possibility for so long before I start rolling my eyes. They keep saying it’s going to happen, it’s not going to happen, who knows.
“But truthfully, when it comes to Gina, I don’t see a potential gain for her. She struggled making weight at 140 and she’s been off for five years. I really think that, unless she needs the money, it’s not going to help her popularity. Her ground game wasn’t her specialty.”
On Saturday night, McMann will finally get the chance to once again join the fray. Her opponent, Murphy, is 8-0 in her career, and a finisher. Six of her victories have come via TKO, including her fight with Miriam Nakamoto in Invicta FC 7 last December for the bantamweight belt.
McMann, who has been in competition for much of her life growing up a wrestler, sees a competitor.
“I think that [Murphy]’s more of a ground girl,” she says. “I think that also, to a certain extent, toughness goes a long way when it comes to fighting, and it’s actually the same in wrestling. You can have one person who might have more experience or be more technical or whatever, but there are strong factors when it comes to certain sports, and toughness in fighting and in wrestling, that’s the case.”
And even if she doesn’t know what comes after Murphy, whether it’s a prelim or the main card or a rematch with Rousey or a welcome to the UFC for Justino or some other thing, McMann knows this. She wants to fight again in 2014. With only three fights in two years, she wants to be busier.
“Absolutely,” she says. “I just like to compete, and I know I can’t compete forever. The only thing that’s going to stop me competing is not having an opponent or being injured. That’s it.”