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‘Rampage’ Jackson wanted to fight Mirko Cro Cop more than ‘King Mo’ next

Quinton Jackson knew he’d be fighting in March. He just didn’t think Muhammed Lawal would be his opponent.

“Rampage” told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he was gearing up to fight Mirko Cro Cop under the Bellator banner next month. But Cro Cop ended up retiring in January, after winning the Rizin openweight grand prix.

Now, Jackson will rematch “King Mo” at Bellator 175 on March 31 in Rosemont, Ill. “Rampage” would have preferred the other matchup and he thinks spectators would have as well.

“I think that would have been a better fight for the fans,” Jackson said. “I think Cro Cop would have been a more exciting fight. ‘King Mo’ is just gonna try to get my legs pregnant.”

Jackson (37-11) beat Lawal the first time around by unanimous decision in 2014. It was not the most exciting fight, though, despite a fun, insult-filled build-up between the two men. Lawal’s wrestling-heavy style has drawn criticism from “Rampage.” Meanwhile, “King Mo” believes he should have won the fight by decision, disagreeing with the judges’ call. All but one MMA media member on the site MMADecisions.com scored the bout for Lawal.

Jackson, 38, admits to not being all that excited for another fight, even though he asked for a rematch in the cage immediately after the first bout. “Rampage” has said it wasn’t a successful outing for him, because he didn’t win by KO.

“I wanted to knock him out,” Jackson said. “It’s whatever. I’m just so over it. I don’t think there’s a lot of people for me to fight over there in Bellator.”

It still bothers “Rampage” even three years later that “King Mo” believes he won the fight. The two got into a back-and-forth argument about it during a press conference after Bellator 170 last month in Los Angeles.

“The thing that really f*cks me up is that he thinks he won the last fight,” Jackson said. … “How did you win that fight? He never hurt me at all. When he took me down, he laid on top of me and I got up.”

If there’s one thing that Jackson does regret it’s asking for the rematch right away.

“I shouldn’t have asked for a rematch,” he said. “I watched it again and It was a boring-ass fight and I don’t like to do boring fights. But since it’s my last fight on Bellator, I’m gonna have to do what it takes to win.”

Jackson’s contact with Bellator expires after this fight and he told Helwani that he believes he has to then honor a contract he signed with the UFC in late 2014. “Rampage” said he terminated his Bellator contract then and ended up fighting in the UFC in 2015, but Bellator sued him and the two sides eventually settled.

Jackson returned to Bellator last year, beating Satoshi Ishii by split decision last June. Lawal beat Ishii back in December by unanimous decision, but then fell to Cro Cop by second-round TKO in the quarterfinals of the Rizin grand prix.

The coming fight between Jackson and Lawal will be contested at heavyweight. Jackson said he doesn’t want to cut to light heavyweight any longer. Lawal made fun of him for his weight at the post-Bellator 170 press conference and “Rampage” said it “hit home,” because he knew he was heavier at the time than normal.

Jackson is over that now, though, perhaps in the same way he’s over the thought of a Lawal rematch.

“I train hard when it’s time for me to train hard,” Jackson said. “He can talk about my weight all he wants. I don’t give a f*ck about that shit.”

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Angela Hill believes Joanna Jedrzejczyk would be ‘easier fight’ for her than Jessica Andrade

If Angela Hill beats Jessica Andrade this weekend, expect some words directed at Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Hill told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he plans on challenging the UFC women’s strawweight champion if she gets interviewed in the Octagon following the bout. In Hill’s mind, Jedrzejczyk presents a less difficult matchup than Andrade does.

“I’m gonna call her out,” Hill said. “I’m totally gonna call her out. I feel like for me, Joanna is an easier fight. Just because she’s not gonna go for takedowns. At least not at first. That’s not gonna be her Plan A. Everyone I’ve fought since my first fight, their Plan A has been to take me down and submit me. So it’s gonna be a relief for me. I’ll be able to actually chill and open up in my striking and doing what I’m a little more used to doing.”

Hill (6-2), the current Invicta FC champion, will be making her return to the UFC against Andrade at UFC Fight Night: Bermudez vs. Korean Zombie on Saturday night in Houston. The Muay Thai champion came into the UFC with just one pro fight and one exhibition on The Ultimate Fighter 20 in 2014. She went 1-2 and was released by the promotion in late 2015.

Since then — and since moving to San Diego to train at Alliance MMA — Hill has been on a tear. Hill, 30, won two in a row to earn an Invicta title shot and then defeated Livia Renata Souza for the title last May. “Overkill” defended the title via unanimous decision against Kaline Medeiros in November.

Hill was supposed to fight Andrade at UFC 207 last month, but a provision in the UFC’s anti-doping policy says a fighter returning to the organization must be in the USADA drug-testing pool for four months before stepping back in the Octagon. That rule was waived for her earlier this month, because it was not her choice to leave the UFC and the drug-testing pool in the first place.

Many felt a fight with Andrade was another difficult matchup, just like the ones she was given in her first UFC run, against top strawweights like Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas. Hill disagrees. Andrade, who is soon in line for a title shot, is obviously very good, but Hill thinks she has the edge. That’s why she didn’t mind the bout on short notice at UFC 207.

“She’s tough, but I still feel like she’s a bit overrated and I felt like i could really make a statement just by fighting her, beating her and doing it all within 2016,” Hill said.

Hill believes she’ll have an advantage standing up against Andrade and isn’t sure how much the tough weight cut will affect the former bantamweight fighter.

“I just think I’m a better striker,” Hill said. “I think I’m more elusive. She kind of comes forward with heavy hits. I think I definitely hit harder than what she’s been hit with as a strawweight.

“That cut, it drains you. I definitely think I’m gonna outcardio her, out-speed her and I definitely hit really hard for my size. I think that’s gonna be my key to beating her.”

If Hill does win, it would be quite the story after her release from the UFC in 2015. And in her mind, there would only be one thing to do next: call for a title shot against Jedrzejczyk.

“I definitely feel like Joanna is an easier fight than Andrade is,” Hill said. “For me.”

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Tyron Woodley insists his quest for superfights is more about legacy than dollars

After getting flak for chasing big fights over #1 contenders, Tyron Woodley attempts to lay out his master plan.

Tyron Woodley hasn’t given up on hunting the biggest names in the sport.

The UFC welterweight champion may be playing ball with the UFC and rematching Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 209, but he still has plans to try and land himself some massive superfights in the future. That’s a goal that has earned him the ire of some fans who feel like he’s just the latest fighter trying to eschew fights against the many tough contenders at the top of his division for opponents like unlikely 185 pound champ Michael Bisping.

But in Woodley’s mind, he’s just trying to build something that will last in tha annals of MMA history. Via FOX Sports:

“Legacy is really important to me,” Woodley told FOX Sports. “It’s more important than dollars to me. So with that said, I try to find the fights that would solidify my legacy. Beating (Michael) Bisping, winning two belts in two divisions, maybe starting a rivalry and controversy with a fighter and then also knocking off legends like Nick (Diaz) and GSP.

“Those sort of things solidify me and also yeah it puts me in the position to maximize myself as far as being awarded the highest purses. So I’m just trying to kill two birds with one stone.”

“Knocking off these big names in fights really solidifies me as the best welterweight that’s ever done it. Fighting Georges St-Pierre really puts the exclamation point at the end of it. It sounds like (GSP) is serious about coming back and I don’t think it should be a question of anybody fighting him before me.”

For now, Woodley is stuck defending his belt against the criminally under-promoted “Wonderboy” in a fight that will thrill the hardcore fans and do decent numbers … but nothing like a fight against a returning Georges St. Pierre could do. But considering Georges is nowhere near coming back (and may never come back now that he’s kinda sorta trying to blow up the UFC’s business), it’s the best fight for the moment.

Even if he wins at UFC 209, it sounds like he’ll have to take on the very tough but (again) less than bank Demian Maia. But there’s some sexy fights on the horizon. We assume Nick Diaz is eventually going to return. And Conor McGregor sounded completely confident that he could pull off a threesome and take the 170 pound belt off Woodley.

But for now, Tyron will have to make due with the murderer’s row of top contenders in one of the UFC’s deepest divisions. Great for the fans, and if he manages to hold onto the belt through it all, good for his legacy too.

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Mike Dolce: Ronda Rousey ‘puts more pressure on herself’ than anyone I’ve worked with

Mike Dolce has worked with some of the best known — and most decorated — fighters in MMA history as a noted nutrition coach. None, though, are quite like Ronda Rousey in the respect of putting pressure on himself or herself to emerge victorious in the cage, Dolce said.

“I can say externally, she does put a lot of pressure on herself to win, like most great athletes do in every sport,” Dolce told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “Ronda, I believe, of all the athletes I’ve worked with, and I’ve worked with the greats — ‘Rampage Jackson,’ Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, I’ve worked with some of the best ever — Ronda puts more pressure on herself than any of those athletes. She does have this unique desire to win, not just for herself, but to win for everyone who supported her, but also to spite those who have hoped against her.”

Rousey fell in her second straight bout Friday night at UFC 207, getting knocked out by Amanda Nunes in just 48 seconds. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion failed in her effort to regain the title from Nunes. Rousey lost that belt to Holly Holm, via second-round knockout, at UFC 193 in November 2015.

All of a sudden, the most dominant champ in UFC history is on a losing skid with many people expecting her to never fight again. Rousey also took a decent amount of damage in both defeats. It’s a far cry from the days when people talked about not if she would win, but how quickly.

After Rousey’s loss to Holm, she said on “Ellen” that she had suicidal thoughts immediately afterward. That isn’t the case now, Dolce said.

“I’ve been with athletes — and I don’t want to name names — that just destroy locker rooms, as you’re probably aware, they destroy hotel rooms, they become extremely despondent and belligerent to the people closest to them,” Dolce said. “Ronda doesn’t do any of that. So I think it’s just different. Each athlete is different. Their internal drive is different. Their external representation of what’s happening inside is different. Ronda becomes rather quiet and standoffish. She needs her space, which is very important. Some athletes, they act out in a more aggressive manner.”

Dolce, who has worked with Rousey for years, believed her to be well-prepared for the Nunes fight — and in better shape than she has been for bouts in the past. Dolce said Rousey was already in the mid-140s two months before she had to weigh-in at 135 pounds last week. That’s normally a good sign.

The coach, though, could not factor in Rousey putting more pressure on herself than most others do. Might that have played a factor in both losses? It’s hard to say scientifically. All Dolce knows now, after keeping in close contact with her team, is that Rousey seems to be doing OK now. Her post-fight demeanor is not as sullen as it was following the Holm knockout.

“It’s status quo,” Dolce said. “It’s no different than the loss of any other high-level athletes. I think some of the media portrayal is a little distorted from the reality of what any athlete goes through at such a high level.

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Nielsen report: Ronda Rousey more marketable than Conor McGregor, 90 percent of celebrity athletes

It’s a shame that Ronda Rousey lost her bid for a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight title in her return to the cage last night (Fri., Dec. 30, 2016) at UFC 207 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. She lost in just 48 seconds after champion Amanda Nunes battered her with countless combinations. If she had won, Rousey could have continued to dominate the limelight like no other mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the world.

According to a recent Nielsen report by way of Forbes, Rousey remains the most marketability fighter under UFC rule. On a scale determining endorsement potential of celebrities based on awareness, likability and 10 other attributes, Rousey scored a 68 on a 1-100 scale (47 awareness, 62 likability). That’s 16 points higher than the almighty PPV king, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. In fact, Rousey ranks in the top eight percent of the Nielsen database for all celebrity athletes.

That staggering number, which most likely plays into Rousey’s control over the female demographic, may end up changing once she is re-tested in 2017 after her loss to Nunes. But if Rousey is really pondering retirement, she may want to rethink it. MMA still holds a lot of money and it’s obvious she retains huge popularity even after crushing defeats.

For complete UFC 207 results and coverage click here.

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Nielsen report: Ronda Rousey more marketable than Conor McGregor, 90 percent of celebrity athletes

It’s a shame that Ronda Rousey lost her bid for a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight title in her return to the cage last night (Fri., Dec. 30, 2016) at UFC 207 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. She lost in just 48 seconds after champion Amanda Nunes battered her with countless combinations. If she had won, Rousey could have continued to dominate the limelight like no other mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the world.

According to a recent Nielsen report by way of Forbes, Rousey remains the most marketability fighter under UFC rule. On a scale determining endorsement potential of celebrities based on awareness, likability and 10 other attributes, Rousey scored a 68 on a 1-100 scale (47 awareness, 62 likability). That’s 16 points higher than the almighty PPV king, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. In fact, Rousey ranks in the top eight percent of the Nielsen database for all celebrity athletes.

That staggering number, which most likely plays into Rousey’s control over the female demographic, may end up changing once she is re-tested in 2017 after her loss to Nunes. But if Rousey is really pondering retirement, she may want to rethink it. MMA still holds a lot of money and it’s obvious she retains huge popularity even after crushing defeats.

For complete UFC 207 results and coverage click here.

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UFC On Fox 22: Has Mickey Gall Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew Or Will He Run Through Sage Northcutt?

And the hits just keep on coming as the UFC sets up for yet another event this Saturday night as Paige Vanzant clashes with former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson. But before these two women meet head to head we’ll get to see Mickey Gall get his wish to face off against the natural lightweight Sage Northcutt in a welterweight match up. It’s a fight that has generated enough interest for it to be genuinely appealing, especially considering how early each of these young men are in their career. Will Gall’s callout prove to be the wise move or has he bit off more than he can chew against Northcutt?

From what I’ve gathered from Mickey Gall so far in his career is that he has solid striking with an affinity for grappling. As far as his stand up goes we only have a handful of examples both in which featured the young upstart battling men with little experience. We got to see his grappling game as he faced off against the inexperienced CM Punk back at UFC 203. The fight may have done more to answer questions about the former WWE wrestler than it did to measure Gall’s potential in the UFC. Being the longer, bigger man, Gall will most likely aim to get this fight to the ground as soon as possible rather than play around on the feet. Expect him to follow a similar game plan to what we saw in the CM Punk fight. Gall will throw some strikes and feints on the feet in order for Northcutt to counter and over compensate. Once that happens expect for Gall to shoot for a double leg takedown.

From what we’ve seen from Sage Northcutt this far in his MMA career, there’s a lot to like. He can wrestle, he can grapple, but he does much of his best work on the feet. What he’s missing is technical savvy. At times he finds himself too far forward against opponents who are obliged to take the karate expert down once he’s in their range. Gall is likely to employ a wrestling based game so it’s going to be important for Northcutt to keep his distance in this fight. He will likely have a speed advantage which he should consistently exploit with jabs or lunge punches then shuffle out before Gall can counter with strikes or a takedown attempt. Fighting in a broken rhythm will be key to throwing Gall off of his game and maintaining a gulf in between them will only enhance Northcutt’s chances of landing devastating power punches when he feels so inclined.

Both of these young men are still prospects with a ton of upside. While Northcutt has falter d against wrestlers in the past, working with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has likely given him the preparation he needs to counter Gall effectively. Look for Sage Northcutt to pull out the victory with a second round TKO.

Will it be Sage Northcutt or Mickey Gall at UFC on Fox 22?


Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

The post UFC On Fox 22: Has Mickey Gall Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew Or Will He Run Through Sage Northcutt? appeared first on Cagepotato.

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UFC On Fox 22: Has Mickey Gall Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew Or Will He Run Through Sage Northcutt?

And the hits just keep on coming as the UFC sets up for yet another event this Saturday night as Paige Vanzant clashes with former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson. But before these two women meet head to head we’ll get to see Mickey Gall get his wish to face off against the natural lightweight Sage Northcutt in a welterweight match up. It’s a fight that has generated enough interest for it to be genuinely appealing, especially considering how early each of these young men are in their career. Will Gall’s callout prove to be the wise move or has he bit off more than he can chew against Northcutt?

From what I’ve gathered from Mickey Gall so far in his career is that he has solid striking with an affinity for grappling. As far as his stand up goes we only have a handful of examples both in which featured the young upstart battling men with little experience. We got to see his grappling game as he faced off against the inexperienced CM Punk back at UFC 203. The fight may have done more to answer questions about the former WWE wrestler than it did to measure Gall’s potential in the UFC. Being the longer, bigger man, Gall will most likely aim to get this fight to the ground as soon as possible rather than play around on the feet. Expect him to follow a similar game plan to what we saw in the CM Punk fight. Gall will throw some strikes and feints on the feet in order for Northcutt to counter and over compensate. Once that happens expect for Gall to shoot for a double leg takedown.

From what we’ve seen from Sage Northcutt this far in his MMA career, there’s a lot to like. He can wrestle, he can grapple, but he does much of his best work on the feet. What he’s missing is technical savvy. At times he finds himself too far forward against opponents who are obliged to take the karate expert down once he’s in their range. Gall is likely to employ a wrestling based game so it’s going to be important for Northcutt to keep his distance in this fight. He will likely have a speed advantage which he should consistently exploit with jabs or lunge punches then shuffle out before Gall can counter with strikes or a takedown attempt. Fighting in a broken rhythm will be key to throwing Gall off of his game and maintaining a gulf in between them will only enhance Northcutt’s chances of landing devastating power punches when he feels so inclined.

Both of these young men are still prospects with a ton of upside. While Northcutt has falter d against wrestlers in the past, working with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has likely given him the preparation he needs to counter Gall effectively. Look for Sage Northcutt to pull out the victory with a second round TKO.

Will it be Sage Northcutt or Mickey Gall at UFC on Fox 22?


Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

The post UFC On Fox 22: Has Mickey Gall Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew Or Will He Run Through Sage Northcutt? appeared first on Cagepotato.

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Coach: Michael Bisping a bigger fight for Georges St-Pierre than unconfident Tyron Woodley

Georges St-Pierre is currently negotiating with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

That means “Rush” (25-2) could make his mixed martial arts (MMA) return at some point in 2017, though don’t expect the former 170-pound champion to come back to the weight class he once ruled. Not because he doesn’t want to reclaim his crown, but rather because current welterweight titleholder Tyron Woodley isn’t a big enough fight.

Coach Firas Zahabi talks to ESPN’s 5ive Rounds podcast:

“I would love the Bisping fight to be honest with you. I feel the welterweight division doesn’t have a supremely confident champion yet. Tyron Woodley is a great champion, but he’s on his first defense. We need someone to build a history like Georges did, to have a super fight. With Bisping, it would be for the middleweight title. That would make it epic. Georges needs to come back for a mega fight, super fight. Something five rounds, something historical. Not just another contender. I still think Georges is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He trains regularly so I still see him in action and the guy is a monster. I hope Georges and the UFC, his management team at CAA, they book him again. He’s such an incredible talent sitting by the wayside. It’s crazy to me. I think it’s a matter of time. I’m hopeful at least.”

I’m not holding my breath.

After three years on the sidelines, St-Pierre — now 35 years old — started training for his Octagon return. At the top of his hit list is current middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who would probably leave Yoel Romero high and dry for a chance to make some of that “GSP” money.

Nothing personal, just business.

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Anthony Pettis: The only good striker Max Holloway faced is Conor McGregor and I have way more tools than ‘Notorious’

Anthony Pettis is without a doubt one of the best and most creative strikers in all of mixed martial arts (MMA). But as he gears up to vie for the interim featherweight title at this weekend’s (Sat., Dec. 10, 2016) UFC 206 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he’ll be doing it against someone who isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe in Max Holloway.

That said, “Showtime” is more than confident he has the striking, power, and overall skill set to take out “Blessed,” who he best describes as a younger version of himself. Besides, the only good striker Max has faced thus far is Conor McGregor, according to Pettis, and Anthony says he has way more tools in his arsenal than “Notorious” does.

“I see Max as a younger version of myself; raw, natural talent and he definitely wants it bad. But I got the skill set to beat the guy with the striking and I got the power and size on him,” said Pettis during a recent stop at the UFC Unfiltered podcast with Jimmy Norton and Matt Serra.

“The only other striker he fought of my caliber is Conor McGregor, and you saw how that went down. I feel like I have way more tools than Conor McGregor,” he said. “Conor McGregor has a big left hand and some decent kicks. I have submissions, wrestling, I have everything; I’m the complete package. Now I have the size, so it’s a great weight class for me.”

While it may be a “great” weight division for Pettis, he has no plans to stay there permanently, as he intends to climb back up to lightweight down the line in an attempt to reclaim his strap.

Still, Pettis won’t deny that he enjoys having the size and power advantage at 145 pounds. Whether or not that equates to a win over “Blessed” and another world title, remains to be seen.

To learn more about the upcoming UFC 206 PPV event click here.

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