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Muay Thai champ Tiffany van Soest says she’s ‘one or two years away’ from breaking out in MMA

After making her name as a champion kickboxer under the Lion Fight banner, winning titles in two separate weight classes, Tiffany van Soest is looking to expand her horizons.

The 27-year-old “Time Bomb” recently signed deals with the kickboxing promotion Glory, as well as an MMA deal with Invicta FC. She competes May 13 at the Glory 30 Super Fight Series against Emma Hasshass in Los Angeles.

And, though an opponent hasn’t been named as of yet for her Invicta FC debut — which will double officially as her MMA debut — van Soest says the fight will take place on Sept. 23.

How will she manage not only transitioning from the art of eight limbs to MMA, but compartmentalize her training as she attempts to do both concurrently? The versatile Van Soest says she’s working on it.

“I think right now the most difficult thing to figure out is the in-between stuff,” she said during an interview on The MMA Hour. “Obviously the groundwork is my main priority, because it is my weakest area, but the transition, just the really subtle changes I’m going to figure out as I go. I don’t think it should be too much of a problem. I’ve been training MMA and helping out some of the girls in the UFC, like Carla Esparza, I’ve been working with Jessica Penne. For years, I’ve been sparring partners with them, I’ve been learning from them a little bit here and there.

“So I’m not completely foreign, completely new to MMA. But now it’s just really about sinking my teeth into the ground work and training it for myself instead of as a partner for these other girls.”

Van Soest, not unlike Tyrone Spong who went back and forth between Glory’s ring and WSOF’s cage, has tremendous upside, given her credentials. She’s gone 10-2-1 in the kickboxing realm, but simply doesn’t see sticking with Muay Thai as a sustainable career move.

Asked if transcendent stars like Ronda Rousey, who built around her Olympic-level judo bedrock to take MMA by storm, have prompted her to transition into MMA, van Soest said it boils down to a number of elements.

“No it’s not really…I mean, it’s about the money a little bit but for the most part, if Muay Thai paid what MMA pays, I’d be happy to do that forever,” she told Ariel Helwani. “But for the entire length of my Muay Thai career, people have been asking, when are you going to do MMA? When are you going to transition into MMA? And I’ve always been like, ‘no, I’ll wait, I’ll wait, I’m really happy doing Muay Thai.’

“But it finally just got to a point where I’m like, you know what, I’ve got to at least give it a shot. I’m young enough, I’ve got the skills enough, I’ve got the resources. I don’t want to think ‘what if.’ I don’t want to spend my whole life wondering, ‘what if I did do MMA?’ So I felt like I won a few titles in Muay Thai in two different weight classes. I felt like I’ve done a lot for the sport, done a lot for myself. I’m proud of what I’ve done in Muay Thai, and so I figured why not pursue something else? Why not give it a shot?”

Not that she doesn’t see big things happening for her in the near future. Van Soest said it’s “only a matter of time” before she carves out her place in the pantheon of well-paid athletes.

“One or two years away,” she said.

Van Soest’s ultimate goal is to end up in the UFC.

“Of course, yeah,” she said. “I don’t want to do this just to do it halfway. If I’m going to do it I’m going to do it right. Go big or go home.”

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Live UFC 200 press conference video stream from Las Vegas

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold a special UFC 200 press conference today (Fri, April 22, 2016), which takes place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, just a few hours ahead of the UFC 197 weigh in event.

Joining UFC President Dana White will be the following fighters:

Miesha Tate – UFC women’s bantamweight champion
Amanda Nunes – No. 4 UFC women’s bantamweight contender
Jose Aldo – No. 1 UFC featherweight contender
Frankie Edgar – No. 2 UFC featherweight contender
Cain Velasquez – No. 1 UFC heavyweight contender
Travis Browne – No. 7 UFC heavyweight contender
Joanna Jedrzejczyk – UFC strawweight champion
Claudia Gadelha – No. 1 UFC strawweight contender
Rafael dos Anjos – UFC lightweight champion
Eddie Alvarez – No. 2 UFC lightweight contender

Today’s presser, which begins promptly at 5 p.m. ET in the embedded video player above, will also feature promotion for UFC Fight Night 90, as well as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 23 live finale, which all take place during International Fight Week in July (full schedule here).

And if for no other reason, tune in to see if we have a new main event for UFC 200 after this.

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Evangelista Santos: From cockfighting to Bellator

Almost 20 years after entering a vale tudo ring for the first time in Brazil, Evangelista Santos is still fueled by his cockfighting spirit.

“Cyborg” competed in some of the biggest mixed martial arts promotions in the world throughout his career, from Pride to Strikeforce, and is excited to make his Bellator debut Friday against rising welterweight Brennan Ward.

“I’m very confident,” Santos told MMA Fighting. “I did a great camp. I fought three months ago at Legacy and kept training hard as soon as I got this offer from Bellator. It’s a great opportunity to show my work to the entire world. He’s the type of fighter I like to compete against. I like to fight the toughest ones. I always fought the toughest ones, I never had easy opponents. I was tested against the best. The toughest the fight, more motivated I get. He comes to fight, and that’s the way it should be.”

Santos’ Bellator debut comes two years after the night he decided to retire from the sport. Fighting Melvin Manhoef in Brazil, a rematch from their classic war at Cage Rage in 2006, “Cyborg” lost via TKO in 46 seconds, but complained that referee missed an illegal knee. He failed to get the result overturned to a no contest, and decided to leave the sport.

“Cyborg” stayed retired for over a year, but not fighting was driving him crazy. Stepping away from mixed martial arts was against everything he believed since he was a young kid in Rondonopolis.

“When I was 12, I started working with cockfighting. I took care of the roosters,” Santos said. “When I became a fighter, I had this spirit. You have to die fighting, never run away from a fight. The rooster that runs from a fight doesn’t come back to the stable. A fighter that runs from a fight is not a real fighter. That’s the spirit. My best quality isn’t my technique, but my heart, to never give up. I can identify with the rooster because he’s there to kill or be killed. If the guy is breathing and the referee didn’t stop the fight, we’re going to fight.

“(Cockfighting) is illegal in Brazil now, but it was normal back in those days,” he continued. “I was born and raised in Rondonopolis, and there were more than 20 cockfighting stables in the city. The breeders needed someone to take care of their roosters, and I worked for one of them. I stayed there all day taking care of the roosters. That was my mission. I woke up in the morning and went to the stable to feed them, to train and prepare them for the fight. We prepared them for two months for each fight. We did sparring every Saturday, and they would fight each other using protection. During the week, we did conditioning training and eat the right food.

“It’s a real fight, with three 15-minute rounds with iron beak and spur. The rooster could become blind, but kept fighting. That’s the spirit I was born with. I see me as an extension of that. If the rooster runs from a fight once, it will run again if put in the same situation, and the human being is the exact same thing. A fighter may have all the technical qualities, but if he chickens out once, he will chicken out again. When I decided to become a fighter, I already knew that. Running away? No f***ing way. If you chicken out, you don’t need to come back home. That’s how I teach my students. You see a lot of fighters that are technical, but run from tough fights. (Chael) Sonnen, (Conor) McGregor, they are only good when they are winning. You don’t truly know a fighter when he’s beating someone, but when he’s getting beat. Wanderlei (Silva), ‘Minotauro’ (Nogueira), those are real roosters. I have the cockfighting spirit, it’s in my blood, and will be like that forever. Never give up.”

Santos’ family wasn’t bothered to see a 12 year-old kid taking care of roosters, so he did that for five years. But how did they react when he decided to fight in a ring with no gloves and almost no rules at all?

“When I started competing in kickboxing, my mother thought it was cool, but then I decided to do vale tudo when I was 18,” he said. “I heard that a tournament was happening in Campo Grande, 125 miles away from Rondonopolis. I had no idea what vale tudo was, so I got a UFC tape and saw Marco Ruas fighting. I was impressed, I wanted to be like him, so I signed up for the event.”

On Sept. 7, 1996, “Cyborg” entered a one-night, eight-man lightweight tournament, and his life changed forever.

“When I got to the gymnasium, I thought ‘well, I’ll see the first fight and see how it is. Watching it live is different’. But the first fight of the night was mine. I said ‘f*ck, let’s do this’,” Santos said with a laugh. “I entered the ring like crazy and knocked the guy out. I also won the semifinal. In the final, I fought a jiu-jitsu brown belt and we did a tough fight, but I lost. Fans went nuts, they loved it, and when I felt the blood in my face I thought ‘f*ck, that’s what I want to do for a living’. I felt like a rooster in a cockfight that night. After that, I never walked away from the sport.”

Santos’ first opponent under the Bellator banner, Ward enters the bout coming off four stoppage victories, including three first-round finishes under the Bellator banner. “Cyborg”, who scored the majority of his MMA victories by knockout, expects Ward to avoid a stand-up battle at Bellator 153.

“I believe his instinct will tell him to close the distance and use his wrestling after he eats the first punch,” he said. “His chin wasn’t tested yet, and I will test that. I’m also a black belt in jiu-jitsu and I worked a lot on that as well. If we have to go to the ground, I’m prepared for it. I know that’s what he wants to do. He won’t take the risk and fight me in my territory for too long because it will get ugly for him, and he will give me the opportunity to submit him. I’m a black belt and few people know that, so I might have an opportunity to show my jiu-jitsu in this fight.”

Competing for the first time inside the Bellator cage, “Cyborg” says it’s not a big deal.

“It’s all the same,” he said. “UFC, Rizin, Bellator, Legacy, I see no difference. The difference is the rules and the lights, and that’s it. Inside the cage, it’s all the same. When the cage closes, it’s you against your opponent. I take this fight like I did with my 47 MMA fights. Sherdog doesn’t have 11 other fights I did in Brazil, but it’s only numbers to me. The experience I got inside the ring, no one can take it away from me. I feel more comfortable inside the ring than in any other place in the world. I was born to do this.”

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Conor McGregor Has Retired From MMA, Apparently, And WAIT, WHAT?!!!


(via Getty)

Well, ain’t this some shit.

According to multiple sources, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has suddenly, inexplicably, opted to retire from mixed martial arts. Except that he probably hasn’t. Except that he *has* been pulled from his UFC 200 rematch with Nate Diaz. Honestly, no one really knows what the Hell is going on right now, but head after the jump for all the details.

Yesterday afternoon, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor sent out the following tweet:

It was almost immediately dismissed by those of us “in the know” as the little more than the latest publicity stunt from the McGregor camp — possibly a tactic to get in the head of Nate Diaz ahead of their welterweight rematch scheduled for UFC 200 (I guess?). We all had a good chuckle about it, in either case, until late last night when rumors began to circulate that this thing was at least semi legitimate.

McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, echoed the sentiment of McGregor’s retirement with a tweet of his own, writing, “Well was fun while it lasted.” Then, Ariel Helwani tweeted out that “Multiple sources are adamant at this time that McGregor’s tweet isn’t a joke, troll job or hoax of any kind. Reason(s) behind it is unclear.” But media speculation is just that: speculation.

Of course, when Dana White then went on Sportscenter to announce that McGregor had been pulled from his UFC 200 headliner for failing to make the necessary media appearances earlier in the week, it began to feel like McGregor’s retirement was at least semi-legitimate. The question then became: Why? Had McGregor suddenly been afflicted with a personal tragedy? Was this the latest result of his repeated “clashes” with the UFC brass? WHAT THE F*CK IS HAPPENING?!!!

The reasoning behind McGregor’s shocking announcement seems to boil down to one of three things:

1) The death of Joao Carvalho.

If you haven’t heard, Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho tragically passed away last week following a TKO loss to McGregor’s SBG teammate, Charlie Ward. The heartbreaking death has stirred up some intense feelings from Irish media about MMA’s place in the country in the time since, and McGregor — who witnessed the fight first hand — seemed to take the news of his passing harder than most.

“To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking,” wrote McGregor in a Facebook post last week.

“We are just men and women doing something we love in the hope of a better life for ourselves and our families. Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this. It is such a rare occurrence that I don’t know how to take this.

I was ringside supporting my teammate, and the fight was so back and forth, that I just can’t understand it.
My condolences go out to Joao’s family and his team. Their man was a hell of a fighter and will be sorely missed by all.

Combat sport is a crazy game and with the recent incident in boxing and now this in MMA, it is a sad time to be a fighter and a fight fan.

It is easy for those on the outside to criticise our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is truly a bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us.
I hope we remember Joao as a champion, who pursued his dream doing what he loved, and show him the eternal respect and admiration he deserves.”

It could be entirely possible that McGregor decision to hang up his gloves was not only influenced by the shaking realization of how dangerous this sport can be, but by the fact that he was supposed to appear in Vegas just days after it to promote an event as if nothing had happened. Then again, if that was the case, why would McGregor be posting photos like this just days ago?

Of course, there’s also another possibility behind McGregor’s retirement…

2. A Bluff Gone Wrong

It’s been rumored for sometime now that McGregor has been clashing with the UFC brass over the most obvious of issues: Money. McGregor is a smart guy, realizes that he’s by far the UFC’s biggest draw, and has been demanding increasingly exorbitant paychecks as a result.

“Conor had a deal with the UFC. And Conor’s now going back and trying to renegotiate and it just doesn’t work that way. It can’t. You can’t write everything down, you can’t get your contracts done all the time in this business. There’s 500 guys under contract. There’s not even that many employees in the UFC. I think there’s like 340 employees with 500 fighters. There’s 53 shows scheduled for a year that only has 52 weeks in the year. You have to be able to make a phone call, count on whatever the guy says, hang up the phone and that’s the end of it. You have to be able to do that.

According to a tweet sent out by TV sports personality Charly Arnolt late last night, McGregor was demanding $ 10 million dollars to rematch Nate Diaz at UFC 200, a number significantly higher than *any* UFC fighter has ever been paid before.

Now, McGregor has always been a big picture guy, to the point that he’s openly discussed eventually leaving the UFC to promote his own fights. Just as Floyd Mayweather became the kajillionaire that he is today after he decided to leave Bob Arum behind to found Mayweather Promotions, McGregor may very well be using his popularity as a tool to hold the UFC hostage in a negotiation. Lord knows he has earned enough money to sit back for a while until the UFC decides to pony up, but would he really risk everything on a bluff?

According to Chael Sonnen, yes, he would. During a Facebook live chat last night, Sonnen speculated that McGregor had bit off more than he could chew in attempting to bluff the UFC brass.

“Conor has a contract, he made a deal, somewhere he didn’t sign it. Let the promotion go out, let the money get spent and then realized ‘I’ve got the upper hand. Now I can come back and renegotiate. Who’s going to tell me no when the advertising is already done?’ That’s what he did. Guaranteed. With no inside knowledge, guaranteed that’s what happened,” said Sonnen.

“He might really be done…I don’t know if he wants to be done. This was a negotiation tool. But he called the bluff of the wrong guys. These are gamblers man, there’s rules in Vegas. If you say bet you have a bet. I mean that. You go to a casino, you don’t put your money down, you tell the pit boss ‘I want that bet’ if he yells the word bet you have a bet. And it goes both ways. If you win it he’ll pay you…Anytime you go into a negotiation and you call someone’s bluff, man you better mean it because this is what can happen.”

According to Dana White, however, McGregor’s bluff could have been a lot simpler than that. “He was in Iceland training and didn’t want to ruin his preparation for the fight,” said White while appearing on Sportscenter, suggesting that McGregor may have simply pulled the biggest power move of them all when forced to deal with the obligations the UFC so often forces upon its fighters. Though if we’ve learned one thing from Dana White over the years, it’s that he cannot be trusted.

3. It’s all a set-up

The one thing facet of this story that seems to be agreed upon by both MMA media members and fans is that McGregor, obviously, is not actually retiring. Helwani has since tweeted that “Wouldn’t hang my hat anything. One thing multiple sources seem to agree on: he’ll fight again. When? Where? How? TBD. But they believe that,” and with rumors of George St. Pierre’s return to MMA gaining more steam than ever, the idea has begun to spread that McGregor’s retirement has been a bluff by both the man himself *and* the UFC in order to set-up a match between the two somewhere down the line.

It seems ridiculous, we know, but consider what GSP told The MMA Hour on Monday:

“I would rather be known as the best ever than holding the belt. If you’re the best and even if you don’t have the belt and you’re the best, it’s more gratifying. The belt is a material thing. It’s good. I won it a few times. But I want to fight the best, the biggest name.”

Would the UFC actually pull such a positively WWE-esque move just to put an even bigger fight into place down the line? Not a chance in Hell, if you ask us, especially with what is already primed to be the biggest card in promotional history ever-approaching.

Absolute insanity. We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.

The post Conor McGregor Has Retired From MMA, Apparently, And WAIT, WHAT?!!! appeared first on Cagepotato.

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UFC Pulls Conor McGregor from UFC 200

The UFC has officially pulled Conor McGregor from UFC 200. Per Dana, Conor has been pulled from UFC 200. Working on a new main event. — Dave Sholler (@Sholler_UFC) April 19, 2016 As per Dana White on ESPN just minutes ago, it was all about the featherweight champ refusing to fly out to Las Vegas, […]

The post UFC Pulls Conor McGregor from UFC 200 appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

MMA community reacts to Conor McGregor’s ‘retirement,’ decision to pull him from UFC 200

In what was a rather unusual day in mixed martial arts (MMA) news, which all began with Conor McGregor’s decision to “retire young,” Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White put the cherry on top when he announcied that “Notorious” had been pulled from his UFC 200 rematch against Nate Diaz on July 9, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Full details on that here.

Upon hearing the news White delivered on ESPN’s “SportCenter,” the pieces started to fall into place … sort of.

That’s because the brash head honcho announced that the reason for McGregor’s removal from the monumental pay-per-view (PPV) event is because the fiery Irishman refused to leave Iceland to attend a press conference stateside to promote the Diaz rematch. Hence the whole retirement thing.

It didn’t take long for MMA stars to hit Twitter and offer their mixed reactions.

Don’t say this guy didn’t warn you!

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UFC Pulls Conor McGregor from UFC 200

The UFC has officially pulled Conor McGregor from UFC 200. Per Dana, Conor has been pulled from UFC 200. Working on a new main event. — Dave Sholler (@Sholler_UFC) April 19, 2016 As per Dana White on ESPN just minutes ago, it was all about the featherweight champ refusing to fly out to Las Vegas, […]

The post UFC Pulls Conor McGregor from UFC 200 appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

Pros react to UFC pulling Conor McGregor from UFC 200

An already strange day grew even stranger Tuesday night when UFC president Dana White announced on ESPN’s Sportscenter that the UFC pulled Conor McGregor from the headlining slot of UFC 200 opposite Nate Diaz for refusing to attend a press conference this week in Las Vegas.

The news came just hours after McGregor abruptly announced his retirement from mixed martial arts with a cryptic tweet, and not surprisingly, McGregor’s fellow fighters had plenty to say about the bizarre turn of events. Check out reactions from the pros below.

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MMA Fighting – All Posts

Lyoto Machida Admits to Use of Banned Substance; Henderson Fight Scratched from UFC on Fox 19

The middleweight co-main event of UFC on Fox 19 between Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson has been removed from Saturday’s card after Machida admitted to using a banned substance.
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Tony Ferguson Withdraws from UFC on Fox 19 Headliner vs. Nurmagomedov Due to Injury

Top lightweight contender Tony Ferguson has suffered an undisclosed injury and has withdrawn from his UFC on Fox 19 headlining bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
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