Can Conor McGregor beat Jose Aldo for the unified belt?

Connor Mcgregor Jose Aldo UFC 194
Connor Mcgregor Jose Aldo UFC 194

Conor McGregor made mincemeat of Chad Mendes earlier this summer to stake his claim to the UFC interim featherweight title, but the Irish phenom still has a lot to prove if he wants to be the undisputed champion.

Despite the current string of victories for the Irish dynamo, there are many detractors who still feel the fighter has much to prove if he’s going to back up his cocksure banter. Even Joe Rogan has said that fans shouldn’t get carried away and should remember that as good he is, McGregor isn’t the undisputed champion, yet.

“Let’s be honest. McGregor has an illegitimate belt. It’s a made up belt,” Rogan said in his podcast. “We call it the ‘interim’ belt but Aldo defended his title a year ago. Stripping a guy because he doesn’t—because he can’t get through a camp without getting injured is a part of MMA. It’s always been a part of MMA.”

Until the UFC says otherwise, the official featherweight champion is still Jose “Scarface” Aldo and will continue to be until later this year. For the time being, McGregor can talk all he wants but he will still be forced to share the title until the belts can be unified.

Aldo, for his part, doesn’t plan to go down without a fight and has already said he plans to end McGregor’s hopes quickly, though victory is the main thing on his mind. “It doesn’t matter if I’m going in there and finishing this quickly, if I’m punching him once and he goes down,” the Brazilian fighter said in an interview for Combate’s Facebook page. “The important thing is that I’ll come out victorious, it doesn’t matter what I’m going to do in there.”

McGregor (18-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Aldo (25-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) were originally supposed to fight earlier this July at UFC 189. However, Aldo was forced to pull out of the fight at the last minute due to a rib injury that occurred during training. The two are set to finally square off in the octagon at UFC 194 on Dec. 12 at the iconic MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Aldo has begun his training regimen in earnest in preparation for the upcoming fight, but both will have their work cut out for them come UFC 194. For those trying to gain some edge and insight on the upcoming fight, there’s a plenty of info on all the upcoming cards at the page for Betfair Betting. The site currently lists McGregor at 8/15 odds and Jose Aldo at 6/4, but this could very well be anyone’s match. The big question will be how Aldo returns from his rib injury and any effect it might have on his form, if at all.

Now the braggadocios fighter has announced his plans to move up a weight class to the lightweight division. MMA Junkie reports that McGregor revealed his intentions during a Los Angeles media luncheon.

“I’m going to unify the belts and destroy the division and then I’m going to go up and take the lightweight division, as well,” McGregor said. “So that’s where I’m headed right now.”

Big words from the current featherweight interim champ but don’t expect McGregor to be moving any time soon—he’ll have to get through Aldo first.

Does Daniel Cormier’s UFC 187 title win make him the legit champion in fans eyes?

Daniel Cormier UFC lightheavyweight champion
Daniel Cormier UFC light heavyweight champion

By Sammy Perez

For the first time in four years, the UFC has a light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones. Daniel Cormier (16-1, 6 KO’s 5 subs), who just four months ago lost in his bid to wrestle (no pun intended) the title away from Jones, made good on an unexpected golden opportunity when he defeated number one contender Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson (19-5, 13 KO’s) on Saturday night.

With the now former champion Jones being stripped of his title after yet another legal matter, this time a hit and run traffic accident, Cormier (pictured above) was more than willing to step in on just three weeks notice and fight Johnson for the vacant championship. He did so in convincing fashion as he withstood an early first round knockdown to get up and inevitably begin a ground and pound barrage against the former top contender who came in to the fight riding a nine fight win streak. The punishment eventually led to Cormier sinking in a rear naked choke submission in the third round for the victory.

Congratulations and all respect due to the new champion, who I happen to like very much, and since my personal disdain for Jones is publicly known, all the more better. However I could not help but think to myself after Johnson strapped the belt around Cormier’s waist “Does Cormier truly relish winning the title this way?”

I ask that question in no way as a slight to ‘Rumble’ Johnson or his skills as I thought and publicly stated going in to the fight he would win. I ask it rather on Cormier knowing he did not beat Jones in their meeting four months ago and Jones technically never losing the title in the cage. I feel I got the answer to my question immediately after the belt was strapped on and Joe Rogan interviewed the new champ.

Rogan came in and asked Cormier the obligatory, “How does it feel” question after winning the title. Cormier’s response was to grab the microphone and tell Rogan he has only one thing to say; “Jon Jones, get your sh** together because I’m waiting for you.” With that Cormier walked out of the cage to celebrate his reign as the new light-heavyweight champion.

I have mixed emotions about Cormier’s statement. In one sense I say kudos to Cormier because it should be his only mission right now to truly establish himself as the champion considering he loss to Jones just four months ago. However, on another note I think to myself, he looks foolish saying it considering he loss to Jones just four moths ago. It appears Cormier now finds himself in a catch-22 situation.

He’s won the championship he’s coveted for so long and deservedly so, but do fans of the sport and even he himself look at him as such. I feel as though right now he’s like Apollo Creed in ‘Rocky II’; he won the fight against Rocky in the first film, but he was not satisfied because he did not win the adulation. Thus, the reason he wants to face Jones again and actually needs to. Until then he might be in a situation in which fans ponder to ask the question, “Is the champ here? Or is he?”

What UFC 187’s Winners Expect Next

ufc 187 cormier johnson weidman belfort
ufc 187 cormier johnson weidman belfort

This year, the UFC 187 was the highest profile, successful event organized by the organization and they surely did not disappoint; they delivered in a big way. Jon Jones lost the belt and we now have a new champion in Daniel Cormier, who filled the light-heavyweight void left in the division by Jones. The title did not come easy to Cormier, who was facing Anthony Johnson in a match that was the pay-per-view headliner. On the other side, there was a co-main event going down at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, where Chris Weidman tore apart Victor Belfort in a first round TKO. This meant that Chris successfully, for the third time, defended his UFC middleweight title. It was a great platform for lovers of the event to cash in and place a bet or two. You can also learn more about the advantages of the betting odds so that you make informed decisions and put your money into good use

Apart from the Chris Weidman fight, there were three other matches which featured performances by Andrei Arlovski, Donald Cerrone and Joseph Benavidez. After these matches, every fan is now wondering who their respective opponents will be in the coming matches. Let us take a look at these three individuals, how they won their matches, who they will be facing next and why.

Joseph Benavidez:
Once again, Benavidez proved that he is no ordinary flyweight as he saw out the durable John Moraga. The unanimous decision, the verdict of the judges marked a victory for him that showed how Benavidez is on a totally different level than his opponents. Although he still remains as one of the top contenders in the flyweight division, losing twice to Demetrious Johnson places him in a tough position. This is something he admits and he even addressed the matter in the post fight press conference. Looking ahead, he should fight Kyoji Horiguchi and he has no option but to win and hope that Johnson loses at least one of his matches.

Andrei Arlovski:
The 36 year old came into his match against Travis Browne struggling to shake off a leg injury that had put him in a position that he had considered withdrawing from the fight. If a few years ago I had told you that Arlovski was to fight again for the UFC, then you would have probably laughed it off. However, there was nothing laughable about his first round knockout of Browne, that proved to be one of the biggest wins of his entire career. UFC received its fair share of criticism after bringing Arlovski back to the organization, but he repaid them back and we even expect him to fight the winner of Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum in his next match.

Donald Cerrone:
A funny statistic perhaps? Cerrone is the only UFC fighter, who has had eight consecutive victories but has never received a shot at the title. After defeating John Makdessi, he became the most deserving fighter in the lightweight division to get a shot at the title, especially with Khabib Nurmagomedov sidelined with an injury. Since August 2013, Cerrone has defeated all his opponents and most people expect the winning streak to continue.

by Mybookie.ag

MMA may have made a mistake and woke up the sleeping giant that is boxing

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For a century when it came to combat sports, boxing above all else reigned supreme. Sure, wrestling had been around just as long as an Olympic sport, but as great a sport as it is the public could never relate to it. Most likely it is because people can relate to throwing a punch versus a fireman’s carry.

As decades passed other sports or variations of sport attempted to loosen the stronghold boxing had, such as pro wrestling in the ’70’s when they promoted a match between “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali and Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki. However, it turned out to be a bust when the promotion ended up being more exciting than the fight itself. In the ’80’s kickboxing created a minor buzz with fighters such as Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson and Benny ‘The Jet’ Urqiduez, but in the end their top performers turned to becoming movie stars versus star athletes. Then in 1993, UFC 1 debuted and it would mark the beginning of a global phenomenon now known as mixed martial arts or MMA.

During its run in the ’90’s MMA would have its share of struggles and political backlash. Regardless of its presence though, boxing was still top dog around the world; especially in a decade that featured such high profile stars as ‘The Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones, Jr. and Mike Tyson. Boxing fans and purists alike laughed at the mere thought that MMA would even come close to touching its own popularity and for a while there they were right.

However, at the turn of the century Zuffa took ownership of the UFC, changed the rules of MMA and its popularity began to soar. The advent of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ TV series in 2005 began it’s ascension into the mainstream and slowly, but surely MMA started to creep up on boxing. Boxing meanwhile didn’t take any of it serious; they continued to disregard MMA’s presence, but more importantly, it appeared they disregarded their public’s outcries.

It appeared they got greedy and felt they could give the public whatever they wanted to at a premium. The only boxing worth watching was now only on a Pay-Per-View basis and even those were just one high profile fight every few months with a lackluster under card not worthy of the $50+ price tag. Meanwhile, the UFC laid out a blueprint of stacking cards with not just one, but many high profile fighters in evenly matched bouts. More importantly they would offer you free fight cards and even when they did have pay-per-view events, they would give you access to the under card fights for free.

MMA was smart in their approach and sure enough by the beginning of this decade they started to over take boxing in popularity. Many casual boxing fans and even hard core ones started to believe the best days of boxing were now behind them. However, it appears MMA may have made a mistake and woke up boxing in the process.

In the last week alone we’ve been treated to fights featuring champions and former champions in high profile contender fights all for free on HBO, Spike and NBC; yes network television. NBC’s debut of its ‘Premium Championship Boxing’ series looks as though we are taking a step into the past when boxing was showcased on network TV and even housewives and mothers knew the stars of the sport.

Whether boxing will admit it or not, stacking the under cards, creating more evenly contested bouts and showing those fights to the public as part of the product, is directly attributed to MMA. Also, the pride of boxing has come forward as it’s biggest stars have finally agreed to make the fights the public wants to see. Just this past Saturday night after Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev finished former champ Jean Pascal, his biggest opponent who had previously been avoiding him like the plague, Adonis Stevenson, told the HBO crew he would be fighting him.

Of course no example of this is bigger than the “Fight of the Century” in the highly anticipated welterweight showdown between Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao. For years this fight could not be made and it all but looked like it would never happen. However, we’re less than two months away from it becoming reality. Sure there are many reasons for this, including the proposed $200 million the fighters can make between them.

However, I believe MMA may have made a mistake and awoken a sleeping giant in boxing and for fight fans like you and I, that’s a great thing.

UFC Scotland – What Can We Expect?

ufc scotland ufc news mma news
UFC Scotland 2015!

It was confirmed last month that Scotland would finally be getting a UFC event of its own. It’s been requested by fans and media alike for so many years that it became an in-joke at any European UFC press conferences. There’d always be the token Scot, grabbing the mic and asking UFC president Dana White when there were plans to finally host a show in Scotland. For so long they were fed the same old rhetoric about expansion plans, TV deals and business strategies. But now the date has been set and the Scottish MMA fans are duly excited.

Things really picked up pace when the UFC brought in the 115lbs female division, with Joanne Calderwood seen as one of the frontrunners to get her hands on the prize – the strawweight title. The Muay Thai specialist had won over many fans with performances in Invicta and Cage Warriors and they fully expected her to get the title and drag Zuffa to Glasgow kicking and screaming.

Her time in The Ultimate Fighter didn’t go to plan, although she did put in some good performances, so it wouldn’t be a marquee title fight that forced the UFC’s hand. However, the impression she made was enough that things were kick-started and put into motion. With fervent fans, an ideal arena of 13,000 and recent success hosting the Commonwealth Games, now is better than ever. But who can we expect to see on the card?

joanne calderwood ufc scotland
joanne calderwood ufc scotland

Joanne Calderwood:

Of course Calderwood is the first pick. The 28-year-old striker still has her unbeaten record intact despite a loss on TUF and at 9-0 with four knockouts she’s one of the most exciting female fighters in the world. She has more than 20 Muay Thai fights to her credit and a smooth, efficient style that never fails to impress.

Despite losing to a second round submission to finalist Rose Namajunas, Calderwood still picked up Fight of the Season and almost finished her opponent in round one. “Bad Mofo Jo Jo” has since gone on to impressively defeat Seo Hee Ham at the finale in December, and she’s itching to get back to business before the Scotland show comes around.

She’s been very vocal on the social networks, and presumably that’s because another win might put her in line for a title shot in her hometown. That’s still speculative, but it would be an automatic marketing win for the promotion, the fans, and Calderwood herself. We’ll wait and see on that one, but we definitely expect her to be a part of it.

Robert Whiteford:

Robert Whiteford was the first Scot to sign for the UFC and the first Scot to get a win in the Octagon. The Dinky Ninja judoka has had some injuries since debuting at late notice in October of 2013 and managed just a single fight in 2014. But he’ll have his eyes set on a home fight in the summer. Whiteford has been a part of European Judo’s push to promote their collaboration with the UFC, and he’s getting in favour with the UFC brass for a return. It’d be good to see him active before July but again there’s no confirmation just yet.

Who else?

There are a few other fighters knocking at the door, some louder than others, to get a shot in the UFC. Cage Warriors lightweight champion Steven Ray has been consistently asking to be signed up and this would be a better time than ever. The 16-5 fighter has won four of his last five, including a finish of UFC veteran Curt Warburton last time out. Many years ago we’d have looked to the likes of Paul McVeigh and James Doolan, but both fighters are now concentrating on coaching duties. Top featherweight Graham Turner has won six of his last seven and has plenty of high-level experience.

Outside of Scotland, you could look to other fighters who have a claim to a fight on Glaswegian soil. Jim Alers springs to mind, having defeated Turner in his last fight before signing for the UFC. Under the Cage Warrior banner, Alers made many fans in the UK and that included a main event win over Joni Salovaara in Glasgow. He comes in as 7/4 at the time of writing with betfair when he faces Chas Kelly in his second UFC fight this weekend. But win or lose he could have the right credentials to earn a return battle in somewhat familiar territory. There’d be plenty of support for the Irish, including Bushmills’ Norman Parke and any of the Dublin fighters, such as Pendred, Holohan, Seery or Redmond.

There’s still a lot of time and a busy European UFC schedule coming up. But the Scottish fans are thirsty for action and they’ll lap up everything the UFC throws at them when they finally reach Glasgow.

Is the pressure to succeed in MMA today too much?

UFC middleweight Anderson Silva and UFC champion Jon Jones
UFC middleweight Anderson Silva and UFC champion Jon Jones

Has it come to this? After so many years of struggle to get to the point where mixed martial arts is finally being accepted as a mainstream sport, is it finally just like all the others? In other words, is the pressure to succeed in today’s MMA world too much? Considering what has transpired within the last month alone these seem like valid questions.

In just a matter of weeks, three of MMA’s most well known fighters and arguably the UFC’s top two stars are just the latest athletes to fall prey to the underlying stigma of athletes on drugs; whether recreational or performance enhancing. For the sake of this article, I’m not even including Nick Diaz being busted for marijuana use yet again, because it’s not like no one knew this was coming. Diaz has been suspended in the past for weed and doesn’t deny being a smoker, so for argument sake, why even bother.

However, when it comes to UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and World Series of Fighting welterweight contender and former UFC title challenger Jon Fitch, these came out of left field for sure. Especially when it came to Silva and Fitch who failed tests for PED’s and have always been proponents for a clean sport.

In the case of Jon Jones, who was popped for cocaine use, while that news also was a shocker, for many people, including myself, who don’t believe anything Jon Jones spits out of his mouth, it wasn’t out of the realm. Nonetheless, that aside, in Jones we are talking the UFC’s most viable product and next great thing. Ironically, he is replacing Silva, who was the greatest thing before Jones and before horrifyingly breaking his leg in December 2013.

Not surprisingly, the UFC is downplaying these allegations as much as possible; especially in Jones case. To this point it appears a one-night stay in rehabilitation looks like that may be the entire penalty that’s forthcoming. Strange considering Diaz was suspended for nine months for marijuana usage previously and Matt Riddle lost his job for supposedly the same thing.

In Silva’s defense, he has publicly denied any wrongdoing, but as much as I want to believe this living legend, how many times have we heard this before? Funny how no one ever admits to using PED’s, but fighters and athletes in other sports continuously get busted for it. Former major league baseball player Rafael Palmiero pointed his finger in the face of congress and said he had not done any drugs. A lot of good that did him; he’s been really quiet since then.

Not surprisingly, so too has Jon Fitch. A long time proponent of natural training and fighting clean, his name coming up as failing a pre-fight drug test may be the biggest surprise of them all. As I commented to someone the other day on a Facebook thread regarding this news, “If Fitch is dirty, then the question now becomes, who is not dirty?”

Sadly it appears that MMA’s fight, no pun intended, too become looked upon and accepted the same way as other mainstream sports such as football, basketball and baseball has come at a cost; the same cost those others sports face. The cost too succeed is so high now with TV money and corporate sponsorships as part of the game, that it appears the pressure to succeed may be too much. That is unless you don’t get caught; then at that rate the cost may then become even greater. That is because in a dangerous sport like MMA the cost may be someone’s career or even worse and that is way too high a price to pay.

UFC 183 ‘Silva vs Diaz’ quick results; Anderson Silva earns decision over Nick Diaz

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UFC returned to the pay-per-view market for a historic event in Las Vegas as former longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva returned to the Octagon to take on fellow returning fan-favorite Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 183.

In the main event of the evening, Anderson Silva defeated Nick Diaz via unanimous decision in a wild and exhilarating battle. After the fight, Silva suggested he may retire, but he did not close the door on potentially returning.

Here are your UFC 183 quick results:

Main Card

Anderson Silva def. Nick Diaz via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Tyron Woodley def. Kelvin Gastelum via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Al Iaquinta def. Joe Lauzon via TKO, Round 2 (3:34)
Thales Leites def. Tim Boetsch via Submission (arm triangle), Round 2 (3:45)
Thiago Alves def. Jordan Mein via TKO, Round 2 (0:39)

Preliminary Card

Miesha Tate def. Sarah McMann via Majority Decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-28)
Derek Brunson def. Ed Herman via TKO, Round 1 (0:36)
John Lineker def. Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rafael Natal def. Tom Watson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Diego Brandao vs. Jimy Hettes was scratched after Hettes suffered an illness
Ildemar Alcantara def. Richardson Moreira via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Thiago Santos def. Andy Enz via TKO, Round 1 (1:56)

UFC 183 ‘Silva vs Diaz’ full weigh-ins; Gastelum and Lineker miss weight

20141219035618!UFC_183_pre_sale

The return of the GOAT is now official.

Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz both made weight for their UFC 183 pay-per-view main event showdown this afternoon at the official weigh-ins.

Most of the fighters on the card made weight, but rising welterweight contender Kelvin Gastelum missed weight by 10 pounds in a weight cut so bad he was forced to go to the hospital earlier in the afternoon.

Gastelum wasn’t the only man to miss weight, as flyweight contender John Linker missed weight for the 4th time in his UFC career, weighing in 5 pounds over the 125 limit.

Here are the full UFC 183 weigh-in results:

Main Card (PPV, 10 PM ET)

Anderson Silva (186) vs. Nick Diaz (185)
Tyron Woodley (170.5) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (180)*
Al Iaquinta (156) vs. Joe Lauzon (156)
Tim Boetsch (185.5) vs. Thales Leites (186)
Thiago Alves (171) vs. Jordan Mein (169.5)

Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1, 8 PM ET)

Sara McMann (135.5) vs. Miesha Tate (135.5)
Derek Brunson (186) vs. Ed Herman (186)
John Lineker (130)* vs. Ian McCall (126)
Rafael Natal (185.5) vs. Tom Watson (186)

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 8 PM ET)

Diego Brandao (142) vs. Jimy Hettes (146)
Ildemar Alcantara (185) vs. Richardson Moreira (185.5)
Andy Enz (186) vs. Thiago Santos (185.5)

UFC 183 Video: Conor McGregor Q & A

UFC Fight Night Dublin - Weigh-in

UFC has picked a doozy of a candidate to serve as the latest guinea pig for UFC audiences this afternoon in Las Vegas, Nevada as No. 1 UFC featherweight contender Conor McGregor will be hosting the UFC 183 Q & A prior to this evening’s weigh-ins.

The event is set to begin live at 5 p.m. ET, and you can catch it in the video player below:

UFC 183 Video: Anderson Silva discusses best career performances

Anderson-Silva-Wins

Anderson Silva will finally return to the cage tomorrow after a near 14-month layoff following a devastating leg fracture at UFC 168 in December of 2013.

Before ever facing off against current champion Chris Weidman, Anderson Silva carved out an incredible career atop the 185 pound division, putting together an unmatched highlight-reel while racking up UFC records along the way.

Prior to “The Spider” facing off against Nick Diaz tomorrow night, UFC recently unveiled Anderson Silva’s greatest hits. Check out the entire segment in the video below: