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Posts Tagged ‘future’

A fighters union for mixed martial artists has been a hot-button topic lately, and last week a new group formed hoping to further that agenda in the UFC.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

RIO DE JANEIRO – Kayla Harrison woke up today on top of the world. But after a honeymoon period with her second gold medal, she’ll have some choices to make.

On Thursday, Harrison, a 26-year-old Ohio native, won her second Olympic gold medal in judo. At the London Games in 2012, she became the first American to win gold in the sport. Prior to that, women’s judo in America was defined by Ronda Rousey, who in 2008 became the first American woman to medal in the sport when she took bronze.

But Harrison took gold in 2012, then repeated on Thursday at the Games in Rio de Janeiro to become the first American with consecutive medals in judo.

In the past, Harrison has hinted that she could make her way into the MMA space after her judo career is over. And on Thursday, she said her time in the sport indeed is done.

When she talked to the media after her win over Audrey Tcheumeo from France, she oscillated on whether or not an MMA run might be in her future.

“After a (judo) match, you shake the person’s hand and you give them a hug, and you bow to them to show respect,” Harrison said. “In MMA, it’s not like that, and I don’t know if I’m made – I don’t know if I’m cut out for a world where you get fights based on how pretty you are and how much you talk, and not necessarily what you’re worth in the ring.

“So for me, right now, it’s just going to be focus on being a two-time Olympic champion, enjoy the moment, live in the moment, and never say never – but right now, the answer is no to MMA.”

Not long after that, though, she backtracked a little and at least admitted the thought of success in MMA was something she’d have to consider with her team.

“I’m going to have to talk – not tonight, maybe not for a while – but I’m going to have to talk to (my coach) Jimmy (Pedro) and talk to my manager and see what offers are out there, see what it is I’m going to do,” Harrison said. “Who doesn’t want to be rich and famous at some point in their life? I yearn for that, but I also see the platform. I see how many eyes watch MMA and how much reach I could have with something like that. So it is tempting.”

Harrison’s Olympic judo weight class was 78 kilograms – about 172 pounds. That leaves a fairly significant weight cut to get to MMA’s featherweight division – which exists in some promotions, but not currently in the industry-leading UFC. And to get to bantamweight, where Rousey became the sport’s most dominant champion yet, it would be an even bigger drop for Harrison.

For comparison’s sake, Rousey’s Olympic division was 70kg – about 154 pounds, which left her a much smaller eventual drop to make in weight.

But if Harrison decides to leave MMA alone, she thinks she’s still carved out a nice place for herself after her Rio performance.

“I just won an Olympic gold medal on the biggest stage in the world,” she said. “So are there going to be more eyes on me (in MMA), or right now?”

View full post on News | MMAjunkie

UFC champ Dominick Cruz has surveyed the lay of the land in the bantamweight division. He likes what he sees in terms of future potential title challengers but in particular has an eye on undefeated contender Cody Garbrandt.

Cruz (22-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who most recently defeated Urijah Faber by unanimous decision at UFC 199 in June for his first title defense, sees a lot of possibilities for his career going forward. He’s discussed his desire for superfights at featherweight, but right now his home is the 135-pound division, and there’s numerous fighters coming for the belt.

Many consider former champion T.J. Dillashaw (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) as the rightful No. 1 contender in the division, but Cruz said that’s not the fight he desires most. If he was able to contribute to the decision-making process for his next fight, “The Dominator” likes Garbrandt (9-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC), assuming of course he can get past Takeya Mizugaki (21-9-2 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in their scheduled UFC 202 bout later this month.

“I like Garbrandt because one, he’s Team Alpha-Fail, and two, he runs his mouth, he’s an emotional guy, he’s got a goofy part in his hair and a ton of tattoos so he thinks he’s tough,” Cruz told MMAjunkie Radio. “All of those things together make for an interesting fight. The fans get behind Cody. I’ve gotten a lot of tweets about him, he’s got a lot of fans because he’s been riding the coattails of Urijah Faber for a while now, so what he does is he goes, ‘Hey Faber, let me train under you, I’ll get all your fans and you can just send your fans over to me and I’ll just rep the name and let you pimp me out with Torque, and I’ll let you manage me and in this I’ll get all your fans.’

“He’s got the Faber fan base, he’s got his own fan base, he’s got his emotions, he’s got his whining and crying and talking about knocking people out. Between all that, I think he can make a pretty good run at running his mouth at me.”

Garbrandt, No. 8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, might be young in his career and in the UFC, but he’s been talking about a showdown with No. 1 ranked Cruz for quite some time.

The former boxer turned MMA fighter has displayed strong striking skills and knockout power thus far in the octagon. However, he hasn’t done it against a talent anywhere close to Cruz’s level. The UFC 202 bout with Mizugaki on Aug. 20, which is expected to close the FS1 prelims prior to the pay-per-view main card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will be a stern test for “No Love” but one that would shoot him up the rankings if victorious.

Cruz, 30, said his style of fighting would mesh well with Garbrandt, 25, should the matchup come to fruition. Both men are strikers, but Cruz relies more on volume and movement rather than Garbrandt’s style of pushing forward and looking for the knockout. The champ believes such a clash would play perfectly into his hands.

“I think people want to see it because he’s knocking people out, and I’ll give him that,” Cruz said. “But the good thing for me about that matchup is he’s had a lot of concussions, he knows it. He had to pull himself out (of fights). I could just add to the list of concussions he’s had and it would be a great night for me I think.”

Garbrandt didn’t take kindly to Cruz’s recent comments. He replied to Cruz’s threat to give him a concussion, claiming that if the fight were to come together, he certainly wouldn’t be the one getting knocked out.

Instagram Photo

“Concussions don’t change clarity,” Garbrandt wrote. “I see right through you! Like I said, keep my belt polished. I’m going to dice that melon head up of yours. When you wake up from being unconscious, I’m going to make you wrap the belt around my waist.”

The groundwork for an eventual Cruz vs. Garbrandt title matchup is seemingly in place, but the bout is hardly a certainty. Garbrandt must not only take care of business at UFC 202, but he has to avoid falling behind the likes of Dillashaw, John Lineker or Bryan Caraway in line for the next title shot.

Although all signs point to a matchup coming together in the future, Cruz said it might not go down that way, because in the end, the UFC and its matchmakers put the fights together, and it’s Cruz’s job to accept them.

“I’m never the type to pick my fights,” Cruz said. “The things is this: If the UFC heard everything I said, or they heard none of it, they could just sign me up on the dotted line and give me whoever they want. I’ve always just signed up and said, ‘OK.’ But if you’re going to give me a choice and ask me questions about the matchups I think fans and myself want to see, that’s what I’m talking about.

“This isn’t me trying to pick my fights. I will take anybody they put on that dotted line and I will beat them up because I’m the best in this division and I believe that about myself. But I’m talking about making money and that’s the matchups we’re talking about right now.”

View full post on News | MMAjunkie

“Mystic Mac” is back ahead of UFC 202. Conor McGregor has made his bold prediction for his rematch with Nate Diaz later this month, and in his mind, it’s not going to be a very long fight.

After losing to Diaz (19-10 MMA, 14-8 UFC) by second-round submission at UFC 196 in March, McGregor (19-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) made it his mission to secure a chance at revenge. Now that he has the chance, the featherweight champion, who will move up to welterweight once again for the fight, doesn’t intend to allow history to repeat itself.

The rematch headlines the pay-per-view main card Aug. 20 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

McGregor was asked for his official prediction on today’s UFC 202 media conference call, and while he expects to fight Diaz similarly to the first time they crossed paths, he said he’s going to be much more effective and patient. In his mind, that’s going to lead to a knockout victory within 10 minutes of cage time.

“This time, I’m still going to march forward, I’m still going to press him,” McGregor said. “I’m still going to bust him but there’s going to be a lot more in the tank and I’m going to be a lot more prepared for a man that can stay in there with me. If I was to make a prediction, and I will right now, I believe I will repay the favor and KO him inside the second round.”

McGregor said his performance in the first fight with Diaz, which came together on just 10 days’ notice after original UFC 196 opponent Rafael dos Anjos withdrew due to injury, was not a representation of his best work.

Although McGregor bloodied Diaz with powerful strikes in the first round, his “inefficient” output paired with a lack of conditioning and Diaz’s durability left him with less and less to offer as the contest progressed. Diaz canalized in the second round, landing big strikes that hurt the Irishman and forced him into a takedown. Diaz immediately put his jiu-jitsu prowess to work, getting in position to lock in a fight-ending rear-naked choke.

McGregor has received criticism for his performance, from those arguing he was weak on the ground to consciously making a decision to tap out as soon as the choke was in. He said he takes full responsibility for the outcome, but vows for a different result at UFC 202.

“(Expletive) people,” McGregor said. “I came in to fight and that’s it. People can say what the (expletive) they want. I didn’t feel his weight anywhere until that moment, until when he sprawled. When I went to turn away from mount and regain guard or something, he sprawled me out at the right time and that was it. It was done at that stage but (expletive) it. I’ll take that one on the chin and here we are. 15 days so I look forward to it.”

View full post on News | MMAjunkie

Ryan Benoit provided fans with a personal update via KO Reps recently.

Benoit, who scored a victory over Fredy Serrano at UFC 201, discussed his injury, when it happened in the fight and what is next for the prospect.

The post UFC 201’s Ryan Benoit Talks Fight, Injury, Future appeared first on Fightline.com.

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Tyron Woodley finally reached the pinnacle of the mixed martial arts (MMA) mountain after knocking out Robbie Lawler in the very first round last night (Sat., July 30, 2016) at UFC 201 in Atlanta, Georgia to claim the Ultimate FIghting Championship (UFC) Welterweight title.

Shortly after the biggest win of his career, Woodley spoke to the UFC on FOX Sports crew and reflected on his monumental achievement. Plus, he also looked forward to his next challenges, which could include big fights against Nick Diaz and former division champion, Georges St-Pierre.

Sorry, Stephen Thompson.

Furthermore, Woodley spoke about the pressure he felt about going to work back on the FOX desk without the belt, as he would be expecting some friendly ridicule from his colleagues and fellow champions, Michael Bisping, Daniel Cormier and Dominick Cruz.

The post Video: Tyron Woodley reflects on winning UFC gold, looks toward future challenges appeared first on Fightline.com.

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Through the first 4 years of Marlon Moraes’s  Professional MMA career, it was hard to tell what he would become. Fast hands and a good ground game, but unable to create an impressive winning streak. Posting a respectable 7-4-1 record, but not doing much to stand out. That was until November of 2012 when Moraes stepped up and fought long time veteran Miguel Torres at the inaugural World Series of Fighting. Putting his name on the map with a split decision victory. Follow that up with one of the most devastating knockout’s in MMA history against Tyson Namm at WSOF 2, and a new star was born.

Marlon is on the verge of becoming the sports most highly touted Free Agent. The only thing standing in front of him and a potential lucrative contract, is former foe Josh Hill. Marlon is ready to do whatever it takes to get a repeat victory over Hill, “…it doesn’t matter how. It doesn’t matter what is going to have to happen. If I have to give my blood. If I have to go the 5 rounds. If I have to finish. If I have to knock somebody out. It doesn’t matter how man. I just want to sit on my couch man and see the fight. I’m the winner.”

Listen to the full interview and hear what Marlon has to say about his teammate Eddie Alvarez becoming Champion, his future with World Series of Fighting, and why he thinks Jose Aldo’s spy claims are “bullshit”. All that and more with one of the best Bantamweights in the world today.

View full post on MMA News

 

On an average day President of World Series of Fighting Ray Sefo sifts through dozens of e-mails, takes numerous phone calls, and sits through hours of meetings.  The e-mails from current fighters, trying to give good reason on why they should headline the companies next card. The calls, from managers trying to get their fighters a chance to compete in one of the Top 3 MMA organizations in the United States. Every day Ray is in the office, working hard, doing everything in his power to make W.S.O.F. as big as it can be. Same as Scott Coker of Bellator or Dana White of the UFC. Same as role in President, but totally different in his understanding of a fight and fighters mentality.

Before becoming President of W.S.O.F. Ray Sefo was one of the best Kickboxers in the world. Fighting the “Who’s Who” list of competitors. Big names in Kickboxing and MMA alike. From Ernesto Hoost to Mark Hunt, Ray has fought the best and at 45 years old. He may not be done yet, “…It just has to be the right fight. There is no point in me fighting a fight that doesn’t make any sense. In other words, if Cro Cops team called up and said, ‘hey would you like to have a rematch with Cro Cop?’ that makes sense to me, ya know what I mean?…”

In this exclusive interview we got to talk to Ray about everything from childhood, to fighting, to his thoughts on all of the hot button topics in MMA today. Listen and discover how Ray continues to work on his transition from one of the best fighters in the world to one of the most powerful sports presidents in the world.

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MMA fans didn’t need another reminder, but Michael “Venom” Page gave them one anyway.

On Saturday, the 29-year-old Page advanced his pro record to 11-0 with a sensational flying-knee knockout of Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos at Bellator 158.

It was Page’s 10th win by stoppage and seventh by knockout. The welterweight is 7-0 under the Bellator banner.

At the same time, Page has only faced one fighter, Nah-Shon Burrell, with UFC experience. His seven Bellator opponents combine for a pro record of 86-56-1. 

What should come next for Page? What makes sense for him and Bellator? Should he get a bump in competition or continue to face inferior foes against whom the chances of a knockout are greater?

Opinions vary. Bleacher Report MMA writers Scott Harris and Steven Rondina are here to debate and break it down.

Steven Rondina

Scott, as I’m sure you saw last night on social media—or maybe on television, if you’re a fan of tape-delayed and thoroughly spoiled sporting events—Page scored what may have been the most impressive win of his MMA career. 

Facing well-traveled veteran Santos, Page accurately predicted a takedown attempt and countered with a flying knee. Santos, who has always been a tough cookie, folded back, writhed on the mat and clutched his face. The ref declared Page the winner. A doctor subsequently declared Santos had a fractured skull from the finish (warning: graphic image).

The win, alongside the Pokemon-inspired celebration afterward, has put Page under a mainstream spotlight for the first time and raised one important question: Is MVP the most exciting fighter outside the UFC, or in all of MMA? 

What’s the answer to that, Scott?

   

Scott Harris 

He’s in the conversation. WSOF’s Justin Gaethje, ONE Championship’s Bibiano Fernandes and Bellator’s own Michael Chandler, plus several UFC fighters beside, come to mind alongside Venom. 

But Page is right up there. You can’t watch his highlight reel of flying knees and tornado kicks and reach any other conclusion. And that’s before you factor in the exuberance, even arrogance, he injects into his camera time. Those Pokemon moves weren’t a huge surprise if you recall he actually molds his fighting style after video games.

It’s more than flash too. Steven, you already mentioned the exquisitely timed knee that quite literally dented Santos’ skull. That sort of thing takes skill and it takes power. And by the way, credit Page for later tweeting his best wishes to Santos and indicating he donated money to a GoFundMe page established to help with Cyborg’s medical bills.

 

So there’s a lot to commend the Englishman for on this.

There’s just one little problem: He hasn’t beaten anybody yet.

Santos is 38 years old and had lost two of his last four fights going into Saturday’s bout with Page. And even so, he’s a big step up for the Englishman, whose recent hit list includes illustrious names such as Rudy Bears and Charlie Ontiveros. The combined UFC record of his opponents comes to 1-1, and both those fights come from Burrell. 

If Bellator wants to continue to rise Page’s star, they have to get him better opponents. Steven, your thoughts?

   

Rondina

I wholeheartedly disagree with the complaints of how Bellator has handled Page—no offense to you personally, but it’s just been a major part of the discussion with him for years. Ever since MVP went viral back in 2012 with that tornado kick KO, he’s been subject to the normal questions about how he’d do against a wrestler and what’d happen against somebody who doesn’t just stand there.

Your question is, “can Page’s star continue to grow exclusively from crushing tomato cans?” And the answer is, “of course it can.” I’ll pitch a few examples. 

Who’s a bigger name among MMA fans: Page or Albert Tumenov? Whom do MMA fans care more about? Which fighter do MMA fans want to see more of? The answer to all those is Page. And not by a little.

Tumenov is an exceptionally skilled fighter with some impressive wins over stiff competition, but which scenario is more likely to make a fighter a star? A split-decision win over Lorenz Larkin and a loss to Gunnar Nelson, or nailing a WWE-era Ken Shamrock-style toehold and crushing a dude’s skull? I’d bet you cash money it’s the latter.

There are so many fighters who are technically solid and have wins over “somebody” fans couldn’t pick out of a police lineup. If anything, the UFC should be taking notes on how Bellator has handled Page when it comes to making a star.

    

Harris

As MMA fans, we should give ourselves a little credit. While we’re at it, let’s give some to Page too.

Bellator positions itself as a fun alternative to the UFC. Its leaders don’t have the roster depth they’d need to compete with the big league on a fight-for-fight basis. So they get creative with things such as aging legends and theatrics and mismatches. This approach is fine, but it’s also playing with fire. 

Other concerns aside, if you lose credibility, it’s awfully hard to get back. If Bellator doesn’t advance the plot of this unscripted reality show by moving Page up the ladder, the company moves itself and Page a little closer to stagnation and delegitimization.

Fans can smell that from a mile away. If a star beats the same jobber over and over again, is he a star? Comparing Page to Tumenov is apples to oranges. The UFC isn’t pushing Tumenov like Bellator is pushing Page because it doesn’t need to. All the tornado kicks in the world couldn’t pull you out of the UFC’s welterweight crowd, especially if, like Tumenov, you don’t speak fluent English. He’s not exactly on even marketing ground with Page.

A loss would be bad for Page, too, just as it was a few months ago for Tumenov. But if Page keeps waxing no-names with nothing on the line, fans will lose interest and drift away. Page’s mystique will lose its traction. The window will close on what is, in Page, Bellator’s best chance to cultivate a bona fide star outside of a UFC context. None of those things would be good for business.

After Saturday’s fight, Bellator matchmaker Rich Chou tweeted he was getting a lot of interest from other welterweights on the roster. The brains trust could make several matchups that deliver—bear with me now—excitement and high stakes. Chidi Njokuani. Saad Awad. Brennan Ward. Paul Daley.

Any of those guys would be a substantial step up in competition. Should Bellator be afraid to match Page up with any of them? Should fans? Should Page?

Who knows? Maybe Page could even be in a main event some day. Maybe he could score one of those big knockouts in one of those contests. That sounds like a good business move to me. Hey, at the end of the day, why are you really watching?

    

Rondina

While you’re completely correct that not speaking English (or even having a thick accent) can be a major detriment to a fighter’s promotional ceiling, my point still stands. You could substitute in Rick Story circa 2011, Jake Ellenberger circa 2012 or Neil Magny circa 2016.

And that’s just in the welterweight division! Never mind all the bantamweights, featherweights and lightweights who got thrown into the deep end and forgotten about before ever hitting the main card despite being generally great fighters—here’s lookin’ at you, Bryan Caraway.

It’s easy to say fans will eventually get bored of Page stylin’ all over random bums, but I’m pretty sure people were saying that back in 2014 when he destroyed Ricky Rainey too. And let’s be straight, MVP could fight Awad at the next event and knock him out cold with a triple-axle spinning hook kick. The discussion wouldn’t change. Fans would still try and find some way to chop him down. And worse, Bellator’s already-thin welterweight division suddenly looks even thinner.
That isn’t to say Page should just crush cans forever. Page’s slow burn has served to making his eventual showdown with a seasoned competitor a must-watch affair. But I’m also not going to stop salivating over the idea of Page vs. Andrey Koreshkov if there are a couple more squashes in between.
But ultimately, why do we watch? We watch to be entertained, and Page in that circular cage has been pure excitement thus far. That counts for way more than trivialities such as wins and losses.
   
Harris

Wins and losses are just trivialities? Back away from the participation trophies, Steven.

Seriously, though, excitement does count for a lot. For me, the Page show is a little like watching repeats of a television episode. As great as it is, there are only so many times you can watch the Red Wedding before the effect wears off, no matter how big of a Game of Thrones fan one might be. Eventually, the show has to go on, and that’s where we are with Page, particularly given the low stakes involved to date. Think Red Wedding with animated gerbils.

There seems to be fundamental agreement between us on that, even if we disagree about whether it should happen in his next contest. A step up in competition, not another meaningless knockout, is what it might take to make Page a star, both inside and outside the MMA bubble. There’s no denying both things are important and carry their own risks and rewards.

In any case, Page has established himself as a compelling part of any Bellator main card on which he appears. That may have been the hardest part. It will be interesting to see whether he and those around him can establish him as something more.

Read more MMA news on BleacherReport.com

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LONDON – This weekend’s Bellator 158 event has a noticeable absence following the recent death of would-be headliner Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson.

Ferguson (6-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), the famed heavyweight slugger who helped propel MMA to mainstream appeal with organizations such as EliteXC and the UFC, was expected to rematch James Thompson (20-16 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) in Saturday’s Bellator 158 event at The O2 in London. However, on June 6, the recent Bellator signee died at age 42 due to heart failure.

Ahead of Bellator 158, we spoke to a number of Bellator folks about Ferguson. Check out the above video as Bellator President Scott Coker and fighters Royce Gracie, Tito Ortiz, Michael Page, Paul Daley, Matt Mitrione, Oli Thompson and Douglas Lima share their memories of one of MMA’s most unique personalities. Coker event shares a story about how Ferguson was still planning future Bellator fights on the day of his death.

View full post on News | MMAjunkie

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