The UFC has understandably been pretty insistent over the years that its fighters not reveal that they've signed on for a bout to the media until the promotion itself announces a match. In recent weeks, it may have been the UFC brass who may have learned not to discuss contests until things were absolutely set in stone.
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was reportedly first set to face Glover Teixeira at UFC 169, then at UFC 170 until Dana White announced that the match up was not happening then either because Jones had pulled out.
White said Jones was not injured then it turned out that the champ was indeed still smarting after his rough title defense against Alexander Gustafsson in September. Now, finally, it appears as if the UFC has a date set for Jones vs. Teixeira that would accommodate "Bones'" rest schedule that won't have him back in the gym until the new year.
According to UFC Tonight, the pair will finally meet in Dallas on March 15 at UFC 171. Who do you think will take this one?
More importantly, do you think this fight will actually happen? Let us know in the comments section.
We were afraid of this. New UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis recently suffered the latest in a string of serious knee injuries this year and had to pull out of a title defense against Josh Thomson.
Now, Pettis says that the injury will keep him sidelined for six to eight months.
“The doctor said six to eight months. I’m hoping six months, so hopefully I’ll be back for a July fight," Pettis told UFC Tonight.
When the champ does return, he hopes it will be to face outspoken Nate Diaz.
“Nate Diaz has been talking so much. He looked pretty decent in his last fight. I hope he works his way up and we get to fight," Pettis explained.
Diaz just beat former two-time title challenger Gray Maynard with a first round TKO, of course, and has said that he himself wants to sit out until a top contender gets injured and he can fight for the title. So...who knows what will happen?
Between injuries, retirements, weight cuts and just plain weird luck, next summer Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre could be fighting for the UFC lightweight title for all we know (fingers crossed).
Who do you want to see Pettis face when he finally gets healthy? Let us know in the comments section.
Long time UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva looks back at his shocking KO loss to Chris Weidman this past summer and sees only "basic mistakes" that led to his defeat.
"My mistakes in that fight, and that’s the first time I’m saying this, were basic mistakes," Silva recently told Sportv, according to Brazilian reporter Guilherme Cruz.
"I did everything I had to do except hit him. I didn’t counterattack. When I stopped with my feet parallel, I should have hit him and walked one step behind. I didn’t do that. I saw my mistakes and I’m working on that to train for this next fight."
Of course, before Silva got knocked out on his feet in the second round by Weidman, he got dominated in the first round because of his opponent's take downs and top-game Jiu Jitsu. If "The Spider" is fortunate enough to get Weidman in a stand-up fight when they rematch Dec. 28 at UFC 168, he says he'll make quick work of the new champion.
"It’s going to be a tough fight," he said, "and it won’t last too long if it stays standing."
For his part, Weidman is still acting the part of a hungry challenger.
"I wish I could sit back and relax and I feel like I’ve accomplished my goal, but I gotta win this next fight bad," Weidman explained.
"Every fight just feels like it's the life changer, feels like the most important fight of your life, and we're still there. This next fight is huge for me, I gotta win."
Scott Jorgensen is now looking for his third opponent at the Dec. 14 UFC on Fox 9 card after John Dodson suffered an injury and has been forced out of their scheduled match up. Dodson himself was a replacement for Ian McCall, who was initially set to face Jorgensen.
Jorgensen is dropping to flyweight after losing three out of his last four fights at 135 pounds. The UFC announced Dodson's injury on Twitter Tuesday.
A new opponent for Jorgensen is expected to be announced soon. UFC on Fox 9 is headlined by flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defending his title against Joseph Benevidez.
UFC welterweight contender Hector Lombard had harsh words for colleagues Jake Shields and Georges St. Pierre recently. Lombard made fun of the welterweight champ St. Pierre's fear of aliens to MMA Junkie this week and also called out Jake Shields.
“He’s so scared of aliens coming up and taking him,” Lombard said of St. Pierre.
“You have to be really messed up to think about all that stuff. Like honestly, I have a lot of respect for him and the stuff he’s done for the sport, but how can you think about an alien coming and going to take you? Are you kidding me or what? It’s stupid.”
As for Shields, who has not lost in his last four fights, Lombard calls him "boring," and promises that he'll make the American really fight.
“He’ll make it boring, or I’m going to end up knocking him out. It’s going to be one or another," said Lombard, who has lost two out of his last four fights.
Though he may question St. Pierre's sanity, Lombard isn't ready to call out the possibly retired champ just yet.
“Up to this point, [St-Pierre] can do whatever he wants,” Lombard said.
“He’s done a lot for the sport. There’s no point for me to go and criticize the man. What I do know is that I have to win my next fight and go from there.”
Who do you want to see Lombard fight next? Let us know in the comments section.
Despite being written off as a pouty, unprofessional shrew who is not committed to the extra media work required to promote the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) just days ago at the TUF 18 finale show, on Monday night UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show and demonstrated once more what has always been pretty obvious - that she's bright, cheery and funny whenever she's not caught in the moment of competition, dealing with the death of a co-worker that happened that same day or sitting inches away from an opponent she's set to face.
Check out parts 1 & 2 of her appearance on Kimmel after the jump to see everything she had to say on subjects ranging from her mom waking her up at night as a child to spar, fighting men, cutting weight during Thanksgiving and bar fight advice from her mom. Here are some of our favorite quotes:
On fighting two men at once in a movie theater after one pushed her and the other grabbed her by her neck -
"...I tried to leave and the guy pushed me back and I was already thinking about my disclaimer at that point: 'Ok, I'm going to try and get past you. If you do not let me, I'm going to have to do something about this. I was very calm about it. And then I tried to get past again and the guy pushed me and I grabbed him by the shirt and I just started punching him with one hand. His friend came behind me and grabbed me by the neck so I had his one friend here, I dropped that dude, threw the one guy over my shoulder...and those other girls with them just sat right back down."
On why her mother and Judo world champion decided to perfect arm bar submissions in Judo tournaments in order to overcome judging bias -
"If you break someone's arm and they stand you up, if you lose to someone with one arm then you should lose anyway."
Video after the jump!
Rousey on Kimmel Pt 1:
Rousey on Kimmel Pt 2:
Ever since it was announced that Chael Sonnen would coach opposite rival Wanderlei Silva on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, the fight world has wondered how the nation of Brazil would receive him. After all, Sonnen has disparaged the country and some of its most beloved fighters like Wanderlei, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort and the Nogueira brothers.
Silva recently told USA Today that Sonnen will be completely safe during the TUF: Brazil taping and that the only thing "The American Gangster" needs to worry about is fighting Wanderlei in June.
“He’ll be 100 percent safe,” Silva said.
“Just one guy is going to beat him, and this guy is me. Nobody (else) is going to touch you. Brazil is different.”
Silva dismissed the notion that Sonnen's hate speech was merely humorous fight promotion and that "The Axe Murderer" was being too sensitive.
“It’s a joke for you, but it’s not a joke for me and not for my country,” he said.
“But don’t worry [Sonnen] . You’re going to be safe. But you’re going to pay for that account in June.
“I don’t like fake people. I don’t like jokes. I don’t like guys who talk stupid things about me, and when you say (those things), you’re going to need to pay.”
UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has walked away from MMA competition following his controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. Whether his time away from fighting is temporary or permanent is anyone's guess, but his head trainer Firas Zahabi seems to think it's a toss-up.
Speaking with Sportsnet recently, the Tri-Star head trainer and long-time friend of St. Pierre said that as far as he knows, St. Pierre himself doesn't even yet know what he'll do.
"I don't know. It's 50/50 and I don't think he knows either," Zahabi said.
"I think if he ends it this way, it was good. He ended up with Fight of the Night. An incredible seesaw battle. He showed heart, he showed guts, he showed he's a fighter."
After UFC 167, St. Pierre references personal issues in his life that needed his attention. Zahabi said that it is time for the long-time UFC champion to decide what he wants out of life.
"He's living a very unbalanced life. How long does he want to do that for? He's 32. When is he going to start living his life? At 40? It's a hard decision for him to make and he's got a lot of things going on in his life. He has to decide what he wants to do. Nobody can decide for him," St. Pierre's coach said.
"I tell him, it's about motivation. Do you have the motivation to do this again? If yes, and you want to put your life on the back burner and do another camp, lets do it. If you don't have the motivation to do it, don't do it. You're just going to go out there and get hurt. You're going to cut corners and be miserable and you're going to go out there and you're going to get hurt."
Do you think it is only a matter of time until St. Pierre returns to the Octagon? Let us know in the comments section.
Before her winning TUF 18 finale bout, Julianna Pena made waves by calling UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey a "spoiled, rich brat," and "pretentious" during an interview on Fox Sports 1. Pena is friends and training partners with Rousey rival Miesha Tate and chaffed at Rousey's harsh assessment of her before and after Pena upset TUF 18 Team Rousey member Shayna Baszler.
After winning TUF 18 Saturday night, Pena clarified her remarks about Rousey but did not back off of her criticism.
"Whether Ronda has one penny or $10 million, the point I was trying to make there is she has her nose in the air and she acts like she's better than everyone else," Pena said during the post event press conference.
"If [Rousey] was so real, why didn't she tell me that I didn't deserve to breathe the same air as Shayna Baszler? Why didn't she tell me that to my face instead of saying it on camera behind my back?"
Pena said that it isn't about how much fame or money Rousey has, just an overall arrogance that rubs the TUF 18 winner the wrong way.
"It's her arrogance. It's the way she holds herself, like her [expletive] don't stink. That was the point I was trying to make. It doesn't have anything to do with money. It's the way that she acts," Pena explained.
The 24 year-old UFC newcomer would seem to welcome a fight down the road against Rousey as well, to back up her talk.
"I'm probably like two or three fights away [from a title fight]," she said.
"Maybe one. Maybe they'll put me up against the next champ right after this. Who knows? It's not my decision."
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UFC president Dana White recently met with recently released Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren. Askren, a former Olympic wrestler, desperately wants to sign with the UFC in order to fight his way to the top of the 170 pound division.
The outspoken "Funky" one is ranked within the top 10 of many welterweight ranking lists and the UFC has signed fighters after they've lost to the undefeated Askren. White told USA Today that the meeting with Askren went well but that the UFC still has no interest in signing him at this point.
"The meeting went well," White said.
"He's a nice kid. I've got nothing personal against him. He's a nice guy. You know, we just won't be signing him."
Instead, White repeated that he feels Askren should sign with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) organization, which has former UFC fighters like Josh Burkman, Rousimar Palhares and Jon Fitch signed to its roster.
“There’s competition for him at World Series of Fighting. This kid will probably sign with them. I don’t know (since) they’ve got to come to an agreement and a deal. But if he does, there’s actual competition for him there," White said.
“I think it’s crazy that he’s ranked in the top 10. He hasn’t fought anybody and has no challenges. The best thing that could’ve ever happened to that kid was leaving Bellator. Now he has the opportunity to go to World Series of Fighting and show what he’s got.”
What do you think? Should Askren get his UFC shot after going 12-0? Let us know in the comments section.
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Former UFC lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz returns to action tonight at the TUF 18 Finale card in a main event bout against rival Gray Maynard. It will be Diaz' first fight since a brutal TKO loss last April to Josh Thomson.
When Diaz began to take too much punishment in the second round of the match, the referee stepped in and called a halt to the action but Diaz' older brother and cornerman Nick Diaz also threw the towel in metaphorically and literally. With the topic of excessive damage taken during fights a hot one of late, Nate recently reflected on his own last stoppage and the issue on the whole.
"I didn't feel like the fight should be ended, but that's just my opinion," Diaz said of his loss to Thomson.
"If I was watching from the outside I probably would have thought, too 'oh yea, that didn't really look good.' But the only people who know are people in that fight.
"I felt I was defending myself a little bit but I watched it, too. It didn't look good. It looked like it was time to throw in the towel so I agree with it."
Nate says he couldn't possibly be mad at his brother for symbolically stopping the fight because protecting the fighter is a corner person's job.
"I ain't mad at [Nick]," Nate said.
"He was doing what he thought was right. He was like 'I don't want to see my brother take no shots. I don't think they pay us well enough to be taking [expletive] ass whoopings like this.' ... My brother fights. He's experienced in fighting and he understands. I understand, too."
Nate would not want to be on the other end up as a cautionary tale like Junior Dos Santos after the second brutal beating he took at the hands of Cain Velasquez in less than a year earlier this fall.
"I just saw the last Junior dos Santos fight with Cain Velasquez. I'm like 'what the [expletive] is wrong? Does this guy have friends?' ," Diaz wondered out loud.
"For me, if my partner is fighting and he's not doing well and I get time to talk to him or if it's early in a round I'm gonna say 'if he doesn't start doing better and keeps catching punches and shots I'm gonna throw this towel.' He's gonna have to be mad at me later but I'm the one who's going to have to go to sleep at night thinking how I let you get your ass whooped.
"He's a soldier, he wasn't going to quit. A fighter ain't gonna quit. That's when it's up to your friends and your brothers to not let you die."
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Ronda Rousey was concerned that she'd be viewed as some kind of deranged nut job after her stint as a coach on Season 18 of "The Ultimate Fighter" aired on Fox Sports 1.
The season concluded on Wednesday and it portrayed Rousey as ultra-competitive, ultra intense and an extremely poor loser.
None of that, though, is much of a surprise and none of it detracts from her primary gig as the UFC women's bantamweight champion. Her job is not only to fight and retain her title, but also to sell tickets and pay-per-views.
After just one fight in the UFC, a victory in February over Liz Carmouche, Rousey is already one of the sport's biggest stars, male or female. It's fair to say that only welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre clearly exceeds her as a draw. Some might argue that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and/or middleweight champion Anderson Silva may exceed her in terms of star power.
That may be true, but it's by no means a slam dunk, and Rousey is a fighter on the rise. Fans clearly want to see her fight and nothing that happened during Season 18 figures to impact that.
Rousey will appear as coach one last time when she's at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday to support David Grant and Jessica Rakoczy in the final bouts against Chris Holdsworth and Julianna Pena, respectively.
Then, the focus will turn to where it belongs, to her title defense on Dec. 28 at UFC 168 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas against arch rival and fellow TUF 18 coach Miesha Tate.
The ratings on TUF this season were lower than in some other years, but it's largely attributable to being on a third network in five seasons. Season 14 was on Spike, then seasons 15, 16 and 17 were on FX before moving to the new channel, Fox Sports 1, for Season 18.
The numbers for Season 18 likely would have been far lower without Rousey's presence bringing viewers week after week.
She may not have come across as America's sweetheart, but anyone who expected her to be that didn't really know her in the first place. Rousey is an attractive woman with a quick wit and a gift for verbal warfare, and those talents along with her dominant fighting style have contributed to her popularity.
People love a winner, particularly one who wins in spectacular fashion and trash talks a lot along the way.
Rousey can sell a fight as well as anyone alive, and she'll display that ability in the next month as she promotes her UFC 168 bout with Tate.
Her stint as a coach may not have portrayed her the way she might have wanted, but it certainly did nothing to hurt her as a drawing card.
LAS VEGAS -- It's hard to tag a bout a must-win for a fighter who is 11-2-1 and has beaten some of the best fighters in the world. But if Gray Maynard wants to remain remotely in contention for the UFC lightweight title, then he has no other choice but to defeat Nate Diaz when they meet on Saturday in The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Maynard's record is magnificent, and he was seconds away from having Dana White wrap the lightweight belt around his waist on New Year's Day 2011, when he knocked champion Frankie Edgar down three times in the first round of their bout at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
But Maynard is just 1-2-1 in his last four fights and a loss to Diaz on Saturday would literally mean a year or more climb back to relevancy in the division.
The fighters are so evenly matched at the highest levels of the division that losses take on a lot more meaning. A series of losses can be a killer to one's title hopes.
Maynard not only hopes to win a rubber match with Diaz -- He lost to Diaz during Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter, then defeated him in 2010 in a closely fought rematch -- but to snap out of a recent doldrums.
He drew with Edgar on that memorable 2011 bout, one of the greatest matches in UFC history. He then was knocked out by Edgar in a rematch, eked out a close decision over Clay Guida in a terrible fight and then was knocked out by T.J. Grant in a title eliminator bout at UFC 160 on May 25.
Maynard is ranked fifth in the UFC's lightweight division and Diaz is eighth, but if he loses, it's impossible to see how he fights his way back into contention in a year.
The four contenders ranked above him -- No. 1 Benson Henderson, No. 2 Gilbert Melendez, No. 3 Grant and No. 4 Josh Thomson -- are a combined 22-3 in their most recent bouts.
So much is at stake for Maynard, who by any measure is one of the division's greats. But for a title shot to remain realistic, he has no choice but to defeat Diaz on Saturday. And it wouldn't hurt a bit if he were to look good doing it.
Rousimar Palhares never meant to hurt anybody, you guys. He just really liked hugging the legs of opponents for a long time.
Alright, so not exactly. But the controversial Brazilian submission expert who was recently fired from the UFC after the latest in a career-long history of incidents of holding onto submissions long after referees had signaled the end of a fight says that he's fixing whatever is wrong with his head and that he won't make the same mistakes in his new fighting home.
Palhares has been signed with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) and spoke with Guilherme Cruz about the changes he's making in his training and mindset.
"I never wanted to cause any harm to anyone," Palhares said.
"We’re working hard to make sure that it never happens again...I wasn’t focused and I didn’t realize that I was doing it. Now that I can see it, I hope I can work hard on that. We’re training the right way, fixing the issues. It’s perfect now."
Perfect. So be cool, everybody.
In any case, Palhares actually has some good competition in the WSOF's welterweight division including Josh Burkman, champion Steve Carl and perennial UFC contender Jon Fitch. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt says he's ready for any of them.
"I’ll fight anyone," he said.
"I’m here, I’m ready. I’ve signed the contract and I’m happy to get back to the cage. I want to be back in the best shape of my life. I’ve found my weight class, and now I’ll be able to show everything I can do."
Also, Palhares wants to show opponents that he's really a nice, decent guy. Jon Fitch spoke out against Palhares' antics recently and Rousimar says he wants a chance to prove Fitch wrong.
"The only thing that bothered me is the fact that [Fitch] said he doesn’t like me, but I never did anything to him. He said things without knowing me. I hope I can show him who I really am so he’ll change his opinion about me."
Given that Palhares and Fitch will likely only meet as opponents in a ring, we're not sure how or why the hulking leg lock ace would want to make Fitch like him, but whatever. Palhares is an excellent fighter and we're glad he can go back to making a living.
Hopefully he can do so without ripping apart others' chance to do the same by breaking the rules this time around.
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With Thanksgiving upon us, each Yahoo Sports blog is taking stock of what they're thankful for while also providing menu suggestions and a sport-specific viewing guide for when you hit your couch. Share what you're thankful for on Twitter with the #YSBThanks hashtag or in the comments below. Have a safe and happy holiday!
Elias Cepeda, Cagewriter editor
The fight fan in me is especially thankful for five things this Thanksgiving. Check out our list and let us know yours in the comments section!
The UFC making it past 20 years: Long before the UFC was able to hold two events in a single week, on separate continents, as it does now, MMA fans were lucky to get a UFC card more than once every other month. In the dark days, MMA fans had to make friends with the one guy in the gym who had a satellite because UFC pay-per-views were banned from cable.
Those who wanted to check out Pride events from Japan often had to wait until Sunday mornings to wade in the legally dubious waters of sites like Daily Motion to watch bootlegged copies of fights that were uploaded by nerds for other geeks (not that I'd know anything about that). This was an especially tough pill to swallow since top boxing had essentially been phased out of the mainstream years ago in the shadow of the big but short-lived pay-per-view dollars.
Now, because of the UFC more than any other fight promotion, quality fights are readily available either live or previously recorded every day all over the world. You can keep your Detroit Lions stinking up the joint on Thanksgiving day. I’ll be watching fight tapes while stuffing my face on Thursday.
UFC matchmaking: For well over a decade now, the UFC has had the best matchmaking in all of fight sports. Part of that is due to the talent of matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby in the UFC and part of it is because the UFC is now home to most of the top talent in the MMA world.
The downside of UFC hegemony is that fighters don’t have the same options they used to when they could decide between fighting in the UFC, Strikeforce, Pride or other high-paying promotions. An upside to the UFC being the lone survivor among top MMA promotions is that UFC brass usually has the ability to make the fights that fans want to see.
How long have we been waiting to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight Manny Pacquiao? Chances are we’ll all keep waiting until either we or Mayweather and Pac are in wheelchairs.
If Manny and Floyd were MMA fighters, they’d likely be fighting in the UFC instead of for warring promotions and cable networks. There’s no way that Dana White would let that type of fight pass him by.
Inter-weight division super fights are another matter, but it is rare that the best fighters in the same division get away without fighting one another in the UFC.
UFC champions thinking for themselves: This may sound contradictory to the prior point but I’m very thankful that at least a select few UFC fighters are now beginning to have some leverage and autonomy in their careers. UFC president Dana White has lamented the loss of total and complete control over his fighters as they’ve grown richer and more famous.
Too bad for him. And, if we have to wait longer for our favorite gladiator to suit back up because he or she needs a rest, too bad for us.
When Jon Jones, one of the most active top challengers and champions in UFC history, decides that he’d rather heal up some leg injuries and not rush into another fight just because White thinks he could make money with “Bones” headlining a Super Bowl weekend card, he should have that right.
Nike, Gatorade and many other large companies sponsor Jones now. Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva also enjoy global fame and blue-chip endorsement deals.
It is no coincidence that these three have all recently drawn the ire of White.
Fighters like Jones, Silva and St. Pierre are not as desperate for their next UFC fight purse as champions of the past were so they are able to better consider what is best for their health.
Accessibility of MMA personalities: I’m often asked who my favorite fighter to interview is. That’s hard to answer but any answer would start with whoever is the most accessible and conversation-friendly. In MMA, there’s a lot of such fighters, coaches and promoters to choose from.
For the most part, those in the MMA business that fans want to hear from are easy to get ahold of, are open and honest in conversation and don’t suffer from the same inhibiting suspicion that more established celebrities in society do. That makes for insightful and inside coverage for fight fans of their favorite athletes.
Of course, as MMA grows in popularity, the tabloid idiots will continue to come out of the wood work. The more often fighters are accosted at airports and asked to comment on baby and family health rumors, the more guarded they will become.
For now, all of us covering MMA should be thankful for all that we get.
Women in UFC: The finale of the first ever Ultimate Fighter season (TUF 18) to feature women is coming up on Saturday. On TUF 18, the women on the cast were the best and most watched fighters.
Those women proved what Dana White has already admitted – that he was wrong for so many years in thinking that the interest and talent was not sufficient for the UFC to have women’s divisions. At least the UFC caught on eventually.
Now, the organization has plans to create a second division for women, at 115 pounds. This decision could help pave the way for a men’s 115 pound category and help with international expansion. The UFC has it’s sights set on Mexico and the Philippines, for example.
Try expanding your product there without having lighter weight classes. Ain’t gonna happen.
The Cagewriter Thanksgiving menu for the MMA Wannabe/Fan:
The 2013 Cagewriter Thanksgiving UFC viewing guide:
There's plenty UFC television programming to help you turn into a pumpkin on your couch while you gorge yourself on pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. All times in Eastern Standard Time.
1:00 am - Fox Sports 2 - The Ultimate Fighter - Team Rousey vs. Team Tate: Aiming for the top
2:00 am - Fox Sports 2 - UFC Tonight: Before they were champs
6:00 am - Fox Sports 2 - Best of Pride Fighting Championship: Legends of Pride
7:00 am - Fox Sports 2 - UFC presents Mark Hunt: The Art of Fighting
8:00 am - Fox Sports 2 - UFC 167 Prelims
5:00 pm - Fox Sports 1 - Fighting for a generation: 20 years of the UFC
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* * *
Both headlining fighters on this Saturday's TUF 18 Finale card in Las Vegas are coming off of devastating knockout losses in their last fights. Two time title challenger Gray Maynard was stopped by TJ Grant last May and Nate Diaz was knocked out by Josh Thomson just one fight after he had lost a UFC lightweight title contest.
Diaz is confident that he'll soon fight for UFC gold again. Maynard says he's just excited to get back into the Octagon.
"I'm just pumped to get back in there," he recently said during a UFC interview.
Maynard and Diaz have fought each other twice before. The first time was an exhibition fight on TUF 5.
Diaz won that fight by guillotine choke. The pair fought once more in 2010 and Maynard won that fight by split decision.
Diaz has always maintained that he deserved to get the nod in that bout. Maynard himself knows about the motivating power of losses.
"Losses hurt," he said.
"You just kind of hold onto them and you can't dwell on it a lot but you've got to kind of hold onto that pain because it kind of helps you prepare for the next one. Try to erase the loss."
"The Bully" was a stand out college wrestler but hopes that his punching power will make the difference against Diaz Saturday.
"He can take a punch. I can give a punch. He's going to take a lot of my punches," he said.
"Now it's time for me to end this trilogy with a spectacular knockout."
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