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Jose Aldo Calls Out Conor McGregor for Rematch: ‘You Have Nowhere to Run’

Despite his loss at UFC 229, Conor McGregor is still in high demand as an opponent.
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Will Brooks says would-be Bellator foe Eddie Alvarez ‘can’t run’ from him this time

Will Brooks and Eddie Alvarez were once two parts of an extremely talented triumvirate atop the Bellator MMA lightweight division, along with Michael Chandler.

Alvarez beat Chandler to win the title in 2013, but left Bellator for the UFC before he could defend it. Brooks won the interim belt while Alvarez was in limbo and then became undisputed champion with his second victory over Chandler in 2014.

Not being able to fight and beat Alvarez to win the title still irks Brooks to this day.

“I wanted to fight that guy before he left Bellator,” Brooks told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. “And I’m not gonna talk too much about Bellator because that’s the past and I’m moving forward. But I still don’t feel validated because he was the champion and he left and I didn’t get the opportunity to beat the champion to become the champion. I had to turn around and beat up his leftovers. Michael Chandler, I had to beat him up twice just to feel somewhat validated. That felt good to me.”

Brooks signed with the UFC himself last month and has been booked to face Ross Pearson at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale on July 8 in Las Vegas. One night earlier in Vegas, Alvarez will challenge for the UFC lightweight title against champion Rafael dos Anjos.

With or without the title, Alvarez is in Brooks’ sights, the talented American Top Team product said.

“I told Eddie before, I told people before,” Brooks said. “He’s on my list. He got out of that ass whooping that one time. He can’t run this time. Where else is he gonna go? Is he gonna go back to Bellator, go somewhere else? Man, he can’t run.”

Brooks (18-1), who has not lost a fight since being knocked out by Saad Award in Bellator in 2013, has not been all that impressed by Alvarez’s UFC run. Alvarez lost to Donald Cerrone in his debut, but came back to defeat former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and former UFC champ Anthony Pettis to earn the title shot against dos Anjos. Both victories were gritty, grinding decisions.

“These are very lackluster fights that he put together,” Brooks said. “I personally believe that I’ll come in here and put on a way better show than what he’s done.”

Alvarez’s showing in the UFC has been a statement on just how good that Bellator lightweight division was with him, Brooks and Chandler, who is coming off a first-round knockout win over Patricky Freire last month at Bellator MMA: Dynamite 2 to win the vacant lightweight title.

Brooks, though, is not looking at Alvarez’s résumé or anyone else’s coming into the UFC. The only thing Brooks is focused on is himself and climbing the crowded 155-pound ladder. Pearson is up first.

“I can’t measure myself based off of what Alvarez has done,” Brooks said. “We’re all different individuals. Regardless of what you did in the other organization, what he does at the end of the day means nothing for me. I’m coming in 0-0. In my mind, I’m coming in 0-0. I’m a brand-new guy. I’m a fresh new face. I’m green as can be.”

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Will Brooks says would-be Bellator foe Eddie Alvarez ‘can’t run’ from him this time

Will Brooks and Eddie Alvarez were once two parts of an extremely talented triumvirate atop the Bellator MMA lightweight division, along with Michael Chandler.

Alvarez beat Chandler to win the title in 2013, but left Bellator for the UFC before he could defend it. Brooks won the interim belt while Alvarez was in limbo and then became undisputed champion with his second victory over Chandler in 2014.

Not being able to fight and beat Alvarez to win the title still irks Brooks to this day.

“I wanted to fight that guy before he left Bellator,” Brooks told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. “And I’m not gonna talk too much about Bellator because that’s the past and I’m moving forward. But I still don’t feel validated because he was the champion and he left and I didn’t get the opportunity to beat the champion to become the champion. I had to turn around and beat up his leftovers. Michael Chandler, I had to beat him up twice just to feel somewhat validated. That felt good to me.”

Brooks signed with the UFC himself last month and has been booked to face Ross Pearson at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale on July 8 in Las Vegas. One night earlier in Vegas, Alvarez will challenge for the UFC lightweight title against champion Rafael dos Anjos.

With or without the title, Alvarez is in Brooks’ sights, the talented American Top Team product said.

“I told Eddie before, I told people before,” Brooks said. “He’s on my list. He got out of that ass whooping that one time. He can’t run this time. Where else is he gonna go? Is he gonna go back to Bellator, go somewhere else? Man, he can’t run.”

Brooks (18-1), who has not lost a fight since being knocked out by Saad Award in Bellator in 2013, has not been all that impressed by Alvarez’s UFC run. Alvarez lost to Donald Cerrone in his debut, but came back to defeat former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and former UFC champ Anthony Pettis to earn the title shot against dos Anjos. Both victories were gritty, grinding decisions.

“These are very lackluster fights that he put together,” Brooks said. “I personally believe that I’ll come in here and put on a way better show than what he’s done.”

Alvarez’s showing in the UFC has been a statement on just how good that Bellator lightweight division was with him, Brooks and Chandler, who is coming off a first-round knockout win over Patricky Freire last month at Bellator MMA: Dynamite 2 to win the vacant lightweight title.

Brooks, though, is not looking at Alvarez’s résumé or anyone else’s coming into the UFC. The only thing Brooks is focused on is himself and climbing the crowded 155-pound ladder. Pearson is up first.

“I can’t measure myself based off of what Alvarez has done,” Brooks said. “We’re all different individuals. Regardless of what you did in the other organization, what he does at the end of the day means nothing for me. I’m coming in 0-0. In my mind, I’m coming in 0-0. I’m a brand-new guy. I’m a fresh new face. I’m green as can be.”

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Anthony Pettis: This is Eddie Alvarez’s ‘last chance at a title run’

Anthony Pettis can relate to what Eddie Alvarez is going through, because he once had to make the same climb.

Like Alvarez, Pettis entered the UFC as the champion of another major promotion with a point to prove that he belonged. Like Alvarez, Pettis lost his immediate title shot due to outside circumstances, then dropped his first Octagon appearance as well, before picking up the pieces with a much-needed split decision win.

The rest remains to be seen. Pettis carried his momentum into a five-fight win streak that culminated with UFC gold. Alvarez, of course, will hope to do the same when he kicks off Year Three of his UFC journey against Pettis on Jan. 17 at UFC Fight Night 81. But in the shark-infested waters of the lightweight division, it won’t be easy.

“Anybody in the UFC at 155 can beat you on any given day. They’re all tough, they’re all there for a reason,” Pettis told MMA Fighting.

“Eddie is a dangerous fighter, the only thing is he’s fighting the best guys in the world now. He fought ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, who’s fighting for a title; Gilbert Melendez, who fought me for the title; and now he’s fighting me, who just had the title. He didn’t have a warm-up fight in the UFC. He came right to the top guys, and it’s hard to look impressive against the best in the world. It’s a rare case that it happens. But he’s dangerous, he’s a good fighter who’s been around for a long time. This is his last chance at a title run, so I’m looking to fight the best Eddie Alvarez out there.”

The match-up is as pivotal to Pettis as it is to Alvarez. While his opponent is hunting for his first UFC winning streak, Pettis has his eyes set squarely on his ‘y’all must have forgot’ moment.

It was only a year ago that Pettis was being hailed as the UFC’s next big star. A lopsided beating at the hands of Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185 changed that narrative dramatically, and now, over 10 months later, Pettis is finally returning to the lightweight fold, a reborn fighter looking to reclaim the magic of his original UFC rise.

“Eddie comes and brings it,” Pettis said. “He doesn’t quit, I don’t quit, and he can take a beating, so it’s going to take a lot to put this guy down. I’m not looking to go out there and fight a war, like I did in my last two fights. I gotta get back. I really had a big mental breakthrough in this camp and just remembered where I used to be at. I didn’t get touched this much. I barely got punched in any of my fights before Melendez and RDA.

“For some reason, I got into this boxing mindset, where I’m going to go out there and box this guy up, try to put my hands on him. That’s not me. I’m a rangy fighter. I’m a smart fighter. I don’t get in exchanges unless I know I’m going to be the winner of that exchange, and I gotta get back to that.”

The show will mark the first time since his UFC debut that Pettis is not fighting on either pay-per-view or FOX, though that doesn’t mean the spotlight will be diminished. UFC Fight Night 81 is expected to fill the same Sunday slot UFC Fight Night 59 filled last year. That event, headlined by Conor McGregor’s victory over Dennis Siver, drew record ratings on FS1 with a major marketing push during FOX’s same-day coverage of the NFC championship game.

Pettis’ showdown with Alvarez will not only get the same NFL shine, but the event is also headlined by another mammoth fight, as T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz will settle a rivalry two years in the making with their bantamweight championship clash.

In the past, being on the receiving end of such a big promotional push would be an important goal of Pettis’. But in this case, after dealing with another frustratingly long injury layoff, the same doesn’t ring true.

“You know what, man? I honestly don’t care this time around,” Pettis said. “I think before, in my other fights, I was trying to look online, see who’s talking about it, see who’s going to watch. This time around, man, I’ve got a point to prove to myself. Not to anybody else, to my myself. Coming off a loss like that, I’ve got a point to prove to myself and that’s all I care about, me going in there and being the best I can be. I feel like when I’m at my A-game, no one can stop me. When I go out there and I’m confident and I believe in my skillset and I just believe in myself — it’s more of a mental thing than it is a physical thing. No one can beat me, and that’s what I’m here to prove.

“Two weeks later it’s another event, then two weeks later there’s another event, two weeks later there’s another event. There’s so much stuff to talk about, it’s hard to stay relevant, man. So for me, it’s just proving to myself that I know I’m the best in the world and getting that spot back.”

That march to the top begins in earnest on Jan. 17. Yet even with his plate full, Pettis has still found his name in headlines as the target of callouts from his fellow lightweight contenders.

The latest of those callouts came from Tony Ferguson, who after his win over Edson Barboza, said of Pettis on The MMA Hour, “I’d like to kick that guy’s ass. I think he deserves it and I think he needs a little butt whoopin’.”

Pettis can’t help laugh when he hears lines like Ferguson’s, even if he isn’t quite sure where they’re coming from.

“Man, I don’t know,” Pettis said. “If you look at the lightweight division, there’s no really popular fighters. I mean, RDA is the champ and ‘Cowboy’ was getting more shine than RDA. So I guess if these guys want a title shot, a title run, these managers are probably feeding them lines, ‘hey, call out the biggest name in the division,’ and they’re going to call me out.

“But I’ve been quiet. If you notice me, I haven’t said s**t on social media. I haven’t said anything on Instagram. Anything. I’ve been staying quiet, I’ve been busting my ass in the gym. Tony Ferguson, if he wants it, he can get it too, man. That’s an ugly dude. I don’t mind making him a little uglier.”

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Claudia Gadelha eyes early 2016 return, vows to ‘run through’ Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Claudia Gadelha earned a shot at the UFC title with a win over Jessica Aguilar, and she hopes to be back inside the Octagon early next year.

The Nova Uniao strawweight, who lost to Joanna Jedrzejczyk via split decision in 2014, injured her left hand during her UFC 190 win over former WSOF champion Aguilar on Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro, but is already back to training.

“I returned to training today, even though I can’t use my left hand,” Gadelha told MMAFighting.com on Thursday. “I will train boxing using my right hand, work my legs, do some physical training, everything but use my left hand.”

Gadelha expects to be 100 percent cleared to start her camp in October or November, and targets early 2016 for her return to action in a rematch against Jedrzejczyk.

“I should fight in January of February,” she said. “I tore a ligament on my middle finger, and the doctor said I will be 100 percent to punch again and start my camp in three months. I will work other things during this time, get stronger, more flexible, faster, and when I’m ready to punch with my left hand, I’ll start my camp.”

After scoring a close decision win over Gadelha, Jedrzejczyk stopped Carla Esparza in March to win the 115-pound title and defended it for the first time with a dominant TKO victory over Jessica Penne in June.

At 2-1 under the UFC banner with a pair of decisions, Gadelha sends a message to the current strawweight champion.

“Tell her I’m gonna run through her like a runaway train,” said the Brazilian.

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UFC Quick Quote: Norman Parke would give any top-10 lightweight a ‘run for their money’

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“I’m not top 10 already, I’m training here with animals everyday and it’s just a matter of time…I know you’ve got to work your way up the ladder and stuff like that, but I know if I was to fight anyone in the top ten straight away I would give them a run for their money no problem.”

– The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Smashes winner and current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight Norman Parke tells Bleacher Report that he feels he is currently skilled enough to hang with the top-10 fighters in the world at 155 pounds. While Parke has only one bout under the UFC banner –a decision win over Colin Fletcher to win TUF– he has a strong record of 17-2, has never been knocked out and has won seven-straight fights including five by (technical) knockout or submission. Training alongside the likes of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and other top fighters such as Myles Jury, Ross Pearson and Michael Chandler at Alliance MMA training center in California, the 26-year-old has the potential to do big things down the line. First, though, he must focus on defeating Kazuki Tokudome at UFC 162 next Saturday night (July 6, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Can “Stormin” really hang with the very elite of the UFC lightweight division? Only time will reveal the truth.

For more news and notes on UFC 162: “Silva vs. Weidman,” visit our complete event archive here.

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