Tag Archive for Returning

Rashad Evans wants to get knee back to 100 percent before returning

First came the news that Glover Teixeira needed to drop out of his Feb. 22 fight against Rashad Evans.

Then came the info, dropped almost as an aside by UFC president Dana White after UFC 183, that Evans is hurt, too.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion has been out of action since he defeated Chael Sonnen at UFC 167. An injury to his right knee caused him to pull out of a planned fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 170, which led to the infamous substitution of Patrick Cummins in his place.

But in the wake of the Teixeira fallout, which was to have been his first fight in 15 months, Evans has decided the time is right to take care of lingering issues in his knee once and for all.

“I have to heal up a little bit,” Evans said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour.”I had to get some things cleaned out in my knee, I’m going to take my time getting it all healed up.”

According to Evans, he accepted the bout with Teixeira when he was not quite fully rehabbed, a mistake he doesn’t want to repeat.

“The time that I had off and not being on at that level, to jump right back into it, kind of aggravated my knee a little bit,” Evans said. “I just need to make sure I just take my time with it and truly build up to strength. I was maybe trying to cheat the system a little bit and maybe go, and not fully do the rehab to where I was fully strong and fully where I needed to be before I go back out there and compete.”

Though Evans doesn’t expect to be out too long, he also doesn’t want to commit to a timetable.

“They say I should be fine in a couple months,” Evans said. “But I’m gonna really take my time and see when. I want to get my leg strong I want to be back where I used to be. The right one was skinnier than the left one and it just wasn’t feeling right, so I just want to really build it up.”

At 35, Evans knows he can’t fight forever. So in his mind, that makes it all the more imperative he gets to 100 percent before accepting his next fight.

“I want to go out there and compete with this guys,” he said.”But I want to make sure I go out there and bring me. I don’t want to go out half cocked. People don’t want to hear that crap. If you go out there and you don’t look good, ‘hey, you need to retire,’ that’s what people are talking about, and I don’t want no one saying that about me.”

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Ed Soares ‘could definitely see’ Anderson Silva returning in 2015, potentially against Georges St-Pierre

In the immediate aftermath of UFC 183 this past weekend (Sat., Jan. 31, 2015), much of the discussion surrounding Anderson Silva was in regards to whether or not the former UFC middleweight champion would return to the Octagon once more, or retire with his victory over Nick Diaz.

With Silva explaining that his family wants him to call it quits, “The Spider’s” longtime manager Ed Soares went on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, and suggested that fight fans have not seen the last of the mixed martial arts (MMA) legend.

From MMAFighting:

“Right now they’re already starting to film [The Ultimate Fighter] Brazil [4], beginning [Monday], so he’s got a pretty tight schedule. He’ll probably be filming TUF until the first week of March, and then I think he’ll take some time off and sit there and see what’s next. But I could definitely see him fighting again in the second half of this year.”

If Silva does return, the Brazilian likely won’t be fighting for the title as Dana White suggested he may prior to UFC 183. In Soares’ mind, 2015 is the perfect time to set up the super fight everyone has been waiting for: Anderson Silva vs Georges St-Pierre.

“I think that GSP fight would be an incredible fight. I definitely think that that would be the fight where if I could be the ultimate matchmaker and say, which fight would I like to see, I’d like to see GSP vs. Anderson Silva. I think as they’re going towards the tail end of their careers, they’re two of the greatest that have ever stepped foot in the Octagon, and neither one of them has a title right now, so this would pretty much be the superfight. It would be the biggest fight in UFC history. It would be bigger than UFC 100 with Georges St-Pierre and Anderson.”

Considering GSP’s manager recently noted that the former longtime UFC welterweight champion has no plans of returning to the Octagon in 2015, this may simply be yet another case of wishful thinking in terms of super fights.

Do you want to see GSP vs Silva, or should both men hang up their gloves and let the next generation of fighters become the face of MMA today?

For complete UFC 183 results and coverage of all the night’s action click here.

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Dustin Poirier explains why he’s returning to lightweight

Dustin Poirier’s featherweight days are over.

The former 145-pound contender confirmed to MMAFighting.com that he has decided to resume his fighting career as a lightweight.

“I’m big,” he wrote via text message. “The cut made me hate the process of getting ready for a fight. I was focused on how to make weight instead of how to beat my opponent. It’s sucks to drop out of the rankings, but it has to be done. I’m 180 right now and in great shape.”

Poirier most recently lost via first-round TKO to Conor McGregor in September. He returns to the lightweight division after going 8-3 as a featherwieght. He did not provide any details on his next fight.

The 25-year-old Poirier started his MMA career 8-1 as a lightweight, however, he decided to switch weight classes prior to his UFC 125 fight against Josh Grispi in 2011. Poirier defeated Grispi via unanimous decision and subsequently won three more fights in a row before losing to Chan Sung Jung in May 2012.

“I want to fight the fights that fans want to see,” he continued. “I’m excited to reintroduce myself at a more natural weight.

“Been a long time coming.”

This is why I’m moving up! I’m going to perform better! Let’s go!!

A video posted by Dustin Poirier (@dustinpoirier) on

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Report: Brad Pickett Returning to Bantamweight, Wants Bout with Takeya Mizugaki

After a 1-2 stint at flyweight, Brad Pickett has decided to return to 135 pounds.
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Georges St-Pierre refutes report claiming he is returning to fighting

Earlier this week, Renzo Gracie said on “The MMA Hour” that he was certain Georges St-Pierre would return to fighting in the future. On Wednesday, St-Pierre’s former manager Stephane Patry reported on RDS that St-Pierre had officially decided to come back, as well.

The whispers continue to get louder and louder about the former welterweight king’s return.

However, when contacted by MMAFighting.com following the RDS report on Wednesday, St-Pierre said it was not true: he has yet to decide whether he’ll fight again.

“Georges has absolutely no return plan [right now],” his long-time coach and friend Firas Zahabi said.

In the RDS report, Patry stated that St-Pierre will soon open a gym in Montreal, but Zahabi said it’s mainly a rehabilitation center, not one for MMA training.

“Nothing exciting,” he said.

The 33-year-old St-Pierre, who is still recovering from a left torn ACL suffered in March, hasn’t fought since last November. After defeating Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 to retain the welterweight title, he decided to relinquish the title in order to take some time off from the sport. He has never officially announced his retirement or his intentions to fight again.

Since then, Johny Hendricks won the vacant welterweight title by defeating Robbie Lawler, and he’ll defend the title for the first time in a rematch against Lawler at UFC 181 on Dec. 6. UFC president Dana White has publicly said that St-Pierre would receive an immediate title shot if he ever returns to the UFC.

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Georges St-Pierre refutes report claiming he is returning to fighting

Earlier this week, Renzo Gracie said on “The MMA Hour” that he was certain Georges St-Pierre would return to fighting in the future. On Wednesday, St-Pierre’s former manager Stephane Patry reported on RDS that St-Pierre had officially decided to come back, as well.

The whispers continue to get louder and louder about the former welterweight king’s return.

However, when contacted by MMAFighting.com following the RDS report on Wednesday, St-Pierre said it was not true: he has yet to decide whether he’ll fight again.

“Georges has absolutely no return plan [right now],” his long-time coach and friend Firas Zahabi said.

In the RDS report, Patry stated that St-Pierre will soon open a gym in Montreal, but Zahabi said it’s mainly a rehabilitation center, not one for MMA training.

“Nothing exciting,” he said.

The 33-year-old St-Pierre, who is still recovering from a left torn ACL suffered in March, hasn’t fought since last November. After defeating Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 to retain the welterweight title, he decided to relinquish the title in order to take some time off from the sport. He has never officially announced his retirement or his intentions to fight again.

Since then, Johny Hendricks won the vacant welterweight title by defeating Robbie Lawler, and he’ll defend the title for the first time in a rematch against Lawler at UFC 181 on Dec. 6. UFC president Dana White has publicly said that St-Pierre would receive an immediate title shot if he ever returns to the UFC.

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Paul Heyman talks if Lesnar or Punk will fight MMA, UFC business model and returning to WWE

WWE’s Paul Heyman, both the on-screen mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar the pro wrestler, and confidante of Lesnar the person, on The MMA Hour talked Lesnar, C.M. Punk, the UFC direction, the end of Strikeforce, Ronda Rousey and his own flirtations with the business side of MMA.

World Wrestling Entertainment performer Paul Heyman, who has had many ties to mixed martial arts over the years with both UFC, Strikeforce and discussions with other promotions, spoke about wrestling, MMA, his “client” Brock Lesnar and more in an intense two-hour interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour on Monday.

Heyman, taking a rare Monday off Raw, the WWE’s flagship live television show, since he was scheduled for previously-taped segment on the show, was live in the studios talking about a gamut of subjects.

It was typical Heyman, charming, outgoing, political and at times evasive, such as when asked about the infamous segment with Lesnar and Undertaker (Mark Calaway) in 2010, when they exchanged words, on camera, as Lesnar was walking from the cage. Lesnar passed by Undertaker, who had been given front row tickets by Dana White, after Lesnar had host his UFC heavyweight title to Cain Velasquez in Anaheim, Calif. and after the exchange, Undertaker said, “You wanna go,” and then claimed the two had a past.

Heyman completely dodged answering what was and wasn’t real about the segment, which at the time was supposed to lead to a match at the 2011 WrestleMania. The match never happened since Lesnar was under a UFC contract at the time and Dana White refused to okay the match, since the two companies were competitors on the pay-per-view front. It could have confused the marketplace since the UFC was building to a Lesnar vs. Junior Dos Santos fight, which ended up not happening because of Lesnar having another attack of diverticulitis.

The two ended up having a match at WrestleMania 30, at the New Orleans Superdome, which ended up being one of the most talked about matches in modern pro wrestling history. The Undertaker never loses at WrestleMania, a streak that dated back to 1991, but for a variety of reasons, including the thought that it could be Undertaker’s final career match, WWE owner Vince McMahon flipped the script the day of the show, telling almost nobody, to create the most shocking in-ring moment in years when Lesnar won.

Heyman did say that he wanted the video of the segment used in promoting the WrestleMania match, but in the end Vince McMahon decided against it.

“I don’t bat 1.000 in all of my suggestions,” he said. “Of course I tried.”

The former UFC heavyweight champion’s first match since breaking the streak will be at SummerSlam on Aug. 17, in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, challenging John Cena for WWE’s championship. Heyman himself has been doing media rounds promoting the release of a DVD and Blu-Ray release on his life and career, which came out in the U.S. on Tuesday. There is some MMA talk on the DVD, but it mostly covers a wrestling career that dates back to the late 70s as a photographer at ringside at Madison Square Garden for wrestling magazines, running his own magazines, and then becoming a performer in the mid-80s, and later a booker and company owner.

Heyman talked about swearing off working for WWE since a falling out with McMahon in 2006, only to have the return of Lesnar lead to his return. Heyman was the on-camera manager of Lesnar more than a decade ago, and the two became friends. Heyman accompanied Lesnar at some of his UFC fights and played a hand in promotional ideas during that period.

He claimed he was not interested in returning, and even when he took the meeting to return, since Lesnar’s character is far more effective with someone doing most of the talking for him, that he was expecting to turn the role down. But he came back and has had a second career, as a performer. He’s doing the old pro wrestling manager role he did in his youth, except using a more modern term, an advocate, after being most famous in wrestling for his 1993 to 2001 period where he ran the controversial cult favorite Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion.

Over the years, his connection with MMA included working with investors in trying to purchase Strikeforce, where he noted one of his big ideas was to use it as the platform for Lesnar’s MMA career. He later had talks with Scott Coker about joining the promotion, which ended when UFC purchased the promotion in early 2011. He noted he has not spoken to Coker once since the purchase, which came right after he worked with Coker on the local advertising for the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva show at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. He said that he sensed the UFC would buy Strikeforce when finding out Coker’s business partners in San Jose, Calif., were tight on advertising money for the show, figuring they wanted to get out, and UFC was the logical people who would want to buy them out. He said he mentioned it to Coker, who by then was already involved in secret negotiations for such a deal, and Coker thought he had heard rumors even though he admitted it was nothing but a hunch.

“He got very spooked,” he said. “He got very distant the rest of the conversation. When I saw he was spooked, I thought my theory was 100 percent accurate.”

Heyman, over the years, also turned down offers from several MMA groups, including Bob Meyrowitz’s short-lived Yamma promotion, as well as the old International Fight League. At the time, he said that since the ending of ECW was considered a disaster for his business reputation, something alleviated in later years when the memories of ECW became nostalgic and he went from being a deceptive businessman to a iconic visionary, he wanted to make sure his next business move was a success. And he didn’t have confidence in either entity.

Heyman confirmed that Lesnar had already agreed to fight Fedor Emelianenko in 2012 for the UFC at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, and had even started early preparation for the fight, when it fell through due to Emelianenko pulling out after the death of his father.

“He was ready, willing and able, and already was starting a pretraining camp,” said Heyman, about Lesnar. “Fedor’s father passed away and he lost all desire and motivation.”

Even though it’s been more than two years since Lesnar has fought, and he’s now 37, Heyman was pushing the idea that the door isn’t closed for a return.

“He had a clean bill of health,” Heyman said about going into the planned Emelianenko fight, saying Lesnar’s health was compromised by diverticulitis which he dated back to his college wrestling days.

“He was not ready for the Alistair Overeem fight,” said Heyman. “A liver kick, well placed, will drop anyone and a liver kick from Alistair Overeem, at that size and that weight, no matter how he attained it, or even if he was 50 pounds lighter, a liver kick from Overeem will drop a horse.”

“Brock wasn’t healthy,” Heyman said. “I don’t think Brock has truly understood nor accepted the severity of the illness that took him down. They did blood work on Brock and they found out he wasn’t healthy for many, many years. His body was fighting this affliction off and using so much of his energy.

“He was handicapped the entire time. His body is so freakish, he was fighting this thing off and he had enough energy to do those other things while sick.”

He said that after the Overeem fight that he changed his treatments, changed his doctors and now has a clean bill of health, and claimed if Lesnar returned, it would be the first time he would fight while being 100 percent healthy.

Lesnar has always played WWE and UFC off against each other in negotiations. After his UFC career ended, he walked into a sweetheart deal with WWE where he would do three matches per year, all at big shows, for well into the seven figures. Most of the top WWE stars usually do between 150 and 220 matches per year. It’s a deal somewhat similar to movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

“I think he’s very, very happy right now with what we’re doing in WWE,” said Heyman. “It’s (returning to fight in UFC) not a subject he has to think about. If the deal ends up over in WWE, if a change of circumstances happens, and if it’s a no-brainer to get him back into the cage, I’m sure it’s something he’d consider. Right now, it’s not a topic of conversation. Why would you mess up the WWE deal?”

He claimed that while he watches UFC when he gets the chance, that Lesnar avoids it. Even when Lesnar was an active fighter, he would never watch fights on television unless a training partner was fighting, and even then he’d only watch their fight and not the entire show.

“Brock Lesnar avoids watching UFC because every person that he watches, he will turn and say, `I could whip that guy’s ass.’ Sometimes I’ll say, `Did you happen to see this fight because it’s really good?’ The one I remember, I couldn’t believe the butchering that Cain Velasquez put on Bigfoot (Antonio Silva, in their first fight in 2011). Cain Velasquez is the Abdullah the Butcher of the Octagon. He scars everyone he faces. He scarred Brock Lesnar. He not only beats people within an inch of their lives, he bloodies and massacres guys in the Octagon, and he’s the nicest guy, which makes him so scary. He doesn’t have to be loud, and then he gets into the cage, he’s the Tasmanian devil, a whirling dervish. He’s the devil.

“I saw that beating. It was so impressive. I said, `Brock, you have to watch this.’ Brock turned and said, `I could kick his ass. I see exactly how I’d do it.’

“The Brock Lesnar who stepped into the cage with Alistair Overeem, he was at 50, 75 percent. You’re going to fight Alistair Overeem at 75 percent, Cain Velasquez at 75 percent. He fought Shane Carwin at 75, or 60, or 80 percent, but even at 95 percent against Shane Carwin, you’re at a disadvantage.”

Heyman said that Lesnar considers Overeem’s recent challenge to Lesnar as a grandstand challenge.

“He was unimpressed.  He thought Alistair should call out people who are in the UFC and people he could draw money with.”

Heyman claimed that UFC has the next big thing in Ronda Rousey. While admitting Floyd Mayweather Jr. was a bigger single-event draw, he felt Rousey had more long-term potential, noting Mayweather Jr.’s troubles with the law make him not sponsor friendly, while she is, and that networks could do a reality show based on her.

“Everybody is looking for the next Mike Tyson and UFC has her, and her name is Ronda Rousey.  I don’t think anyone watched her last fight said, `I’m hoping it goes five rounds.’ That was tremendous.”

He spoke of understanding the UFC’s change in business model to oversaturation, a word he used and said it wasn’t necessarily a bad one. But he refused to say whether he agreed or disagreed with it. He said he believed pay-per-view was a declining business and defended the WWE Network, which has caused the company major short-term financial difficulties and resulted in eight percent of the work force laid off last week. But he felt Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz, Rousey vs. Gina Carano and Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg Justino would be huge events even in an era of almost 50 shows per year.

“It doesn’t matter if i agree,” he said of UFC’s current direction. “False humility aside, who am I to agree or not to agree?”

He said that the end of UFC’s seven-year deal with FOX, the end of 2018, will tell the tale of the new direction, and with all the changes in technology, it is impossible to predict how the landscape will change.

“They have four years left on their deal,” he said. “What’s technology going to be like in four years? What’s distribution going to be like in four years? There may be a time where FOX has a billion dollar offer and they don’t want it. I get the idea for that many years, they got guaranteed money, while the new technologies emerge. My answer, without copping out, is I certainly understand why Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta think it is a progressive, intelligent direction to take. Whether they can pull it off remains to be seen.”

For wrestling fans, the most interesting revelation was an insight into C.M. Punk, who quit WWE in January. Heyman and Punk are personal friends besides their television business relationship. Punk, ever since quitting, has gone silent, refusing to discuss WWE or anything to do with his future and recent past as a pro wrestler.

“I think C.M. Punk’s mind set is to never come back, and their (WWE) mind set is they never want him back,” Heyman said.

But Heyman said that if you asked him in 2010, he would swear on his testicles that he would never work for WWE again, and he’s been working there now for a couple of years.

“He’s driven and determined never to go back. He feels that if he ever goes back, it’ll be a sign of failure on his part. His success in life is predicated on the idea he never goes back.”

Still, Heyman has been around pro wrestling long enough to know that never say never. People like Bret Hart and Bruno Sammartino, who one figured would never go back to WWE, have made details with the company after years of animosity, and Heyman and Lesnar, went back.

He teased that Punk could follow names like Lesnar, Dave Bautista and Bobby Lashley in trying out MMA, even though he’s almost 36, and never competed at a high level in a sport like boxing, kickboxing or amateur wrestling. But Punk has trained for years in multiple disciplines.

“Punk has always had the opinion that at its core, when the cage door gets locked it’s two really capable people punching each other in the face until one drops. Sometimes the skill level is overrated, and the ability to just fight comes into play. He’s educated in MMA. He’ a very serious student of the disciplines and he’s become far more entrenched.

“He’s a fighter at heart. One of the things that makes it so interesting is he came into the wrestling world as a fighter who ended up performing, not a performer making a transition  into the fighting world.”

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After First UFC Win, Israel’s Noad Lahat Returning Home to Fight for His Country

Noad Lahat impressed in his featherweight bout against Steven Siler on Saturday at UFC on Fox 12, taking home a unanimous decision victory.
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Returning Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki set for UFC 178

Former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will get a meaningful fight in his long-awaited return to action.

Cruz, who has been sidelined by injuries for the past two-and-a-half years, will meet veteran Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178 on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas. ESPN.com reported the bout on Tuesday.

The San Diego-based fighter was world bantamweight champion dating back to winning the WEC title from Brian Bowles on March 6, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio. A successful defense against Scott Jorgensen on the final WEC event on Dec. 16, 2010 also made him the inaugural UFC 135-pound champ.

Cruz was scheduled to face Urijah Faber in a trilogy bout at UFC 148, following a season spent coaching The Ultimate Fighter, but a torn ACL forced him to pull out of the fight. In his absence, Renan Barao became interim champion. Cruz was scheduled to return and face Barao at UFC 169 in February, but Cruz suffered a groin injury. At that point, the UFC stripped Cruz of the belt and made Barao champ. Barao has since lost to T.J. Dillashaw.

Cruz (19-1), whose last fight was an Oct. 2011 decision victory over current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, meets an opponent on the hottest streak of his Zuffa career.

Mizugaki (20-7-2), of Kanagawa, Japan, made his first impression on North American fans with a memorable battle against Miguel Torres on short notice in a 2009 WEC title fight. Mizugaki has won five fights in a row, the last one a decision over Francisco Rivera at UFC 173.

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Alistair Overeem Opts for Cautious Approach in Returning From Elbow Surgery

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Alistair Overeem had surgery in April, the first time the Dutch heavyweight had gone under the knife in nearly 20 years of combat sports training and competition.
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