Daniel Cormier: Cain Velasquez aiming to make ‘longer, sustained run’ upon return

UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier confirms teammate Cain Velasquez has been back in training, and plans to be more active upon his return. Over the last four years of his career, Cain Velasquez has fought a mere four times. He was supposed to face Fabricio Werdum in a rematch at UFC 207 in December last year, but was forced off the card due to a back injury.
During Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier revealed that his teammate has been back in training. Velasquez himself also confirmed it through a photo he posted on social media.

Great workout with the team @AKA_HQ pic.twitter.com/Y8ibJwubsr— Cain Velasquez (@cainmma) December 7, 2017

Cormier also admitted that Velasquez may have overtrained, which led to his constant injuries. But this time, team AKA promises that the former heavyweight champion will remain more active than he was in recent years.
“When you start dealing with some of the injuries that Cain has had, and I’ve seen this since wrestling — backs and necks and all those types of injuries — man, it takes time to recover,” Cormier told Ariel Helwani (via MMA Fighting). “And I think, for a long time, Cain may have pushed himself when he should’ve rested, and I believe this time he’s actually taken the time to try to let himself heal, and I feel like this will be a chance for him to make a long, sustained run, much longer than he really has over the course of his career.”
Cormier adds that it was as if Velasquez was never sidelined, as they pick up from where they left off in the gym.
“He’s back to training, and it hurts, but nothing’s felt better for a long time,” Cormier said of his recent training experience with Velasquez. “It does suck to have to go in there and work with Cain because he’s so much better than everybody else that’s ever been around, but it’s good to have him, man.”
“Just seeing him back doing what he loves to do, it’s amazing as a friend and as a fan of mixed martial arts, because if Cain gets back, you guys know what he does for the heavyweight division. He makes for some very, very interesting and fun fights.”
Velasquez last saw action in July 2016 at UFC 200, where he won via first-round TKO against Travis Browne, along with the Performance of the Night bonus.
Cormier’s interview begins at the 1:32:32 mark of the video below.

Source: bloody

‘Frustrated’ Sheymon Moraes wants to quit Uber driver gig to focus solely on MMA career

Frustrated UFC featherweight Sheymon Moraes wants to become a full-time MMA fighter, and talks about being an Uber driver to make ends meet. Following in on the footsteps of TUF Brazil 1 champion, Cezar Ferreira, UFC featherweight Sheymon Moraes has also been spending his time driving around the streets as an Uber driver, in order to expand his income.
As Sheymon explained to Combate, he doesn’t think he did too badly against Zabit Magomedsharipov, considering he was coming off a 18-month layoff.
“It was so frustrating, because I was really prepared,” Moraes said. “I think it was the best training camp of my life. I knew I had a tough guy in front of me, but I was very confident. Unfortunately, my body just shut down during the fight. I’ve been out for almost 18 months. I think that’s what the problem was. I had no timing, no rhythm, as if I had 50 rubber bands holding me back. Still I didn’t do so bad for a guy who was almost out for two years.
“I faced a guy who’ll soon be in the top-5, and he was active, fighting all the time. I don’t think he was able to do anything against me. He didn’t hurt me. Even though I couldn’t fight, I never felt his strength. Every time a round ended all I could think was ‘sh-t, I can’t fight.’ That was the worst part, because I couldn’t show how much I evolved. It broke my heart, you haven’t seen the true Sheymon yet.”
Now, Sheymon wishes to put his Uber days behind him, so he can invest all of his time into his MMA career.
“I need to remove some stress from my life, things that have been getting in the way, so I can show them the true Sheymon,” said Moraes. “One of those things is having to drive to pay my bills. Lack of money sucks. Having to juggle training and driving sucks. I even hurt my back due to driving for 12 hours straight, sleeping only five hours a night and going to the gym right after.
“Those things stress me a little, and they take away my focus. They pressure me into wanting to earn more money. All I had in my mind was that I needed the bonus. Even between rounds, I’d have my coaches talking to me, but in my mind all I could think was ‘You need that bonus.’ Now I’m going back to my family, and I’ll just spend some time training, with no pressure. I want to come back as soon as possible and erase that loss. I want to fight at UFC Belem. I was never one to pick opponents and I won’t, I just want to get in there, have fun and erase that loss.”
Sheymon Moraes (9-2) debuted at UFC Fight Night 122 in Macau, China, on November 25. He was finished by Zabit Magomedsharipov in the third-round.

Source: bloody

Edson Barboza believes he’s ‘ready to be’ UFC champion, disregards Conor McGregor as LW champ

Edson Barboza talks about the current UFC lightweight title mix and his upcoming fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Edson Barboza believes he has finally matured as a fighter who is ready to fight for an UFC title. As he told Combate, Barboza claims that when he steps in the Octagon on December 30th to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov, fans will watch the best version of himself to date.
“You can expect the best Edson Barboza that has ever stepped into the Octagon,” he said. “I’m training a lot. I know my time is now. I’m ready to be an UFC champion, you’ll see.
“I’m number three in the rankings and I see Tony Ferguson as the actual champion. I always make this very clear. It doesn’t matter whether or not Conor McGregor comes back. I don’t know if he is coming back or not and I don’t care. All I hope for is that whoever wins my fight with Khabib, becomes the next one to fight Ferguson for the belt.”
Barboza is on a three-fight winning streak, with wins over the likes of Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, and Beneil Dariush. He is expected to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 219, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The card will be headlined by a women’s featherweight title fight between champion Cris Cyborg and former bantamweight champion, Holly Holm.
Source: bloody

Nicco Montano has someone in mind for first UFC title defense other than Valentina Shevchenko, PVZ

Nicco Montano is learning fast that being on top makes you a big target.

The UFC’s newest champion has been a titleholder for just over a week and already some of the promotion’s famous names are looking to rip the belt from her waist. One-time bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko has stated she is targeting Montano’s flyweight crown (though Shevchenko did suggest she has no issue with having to win a No. 1 contender’s bout at 125 pounds first) and strawweight star Paige VanZant is also campaigning for a future flyweight championship opportunity.

While Montano understands the demand to see her first defense be against a credible opponent, she balked at the notion that she might be scared to face her more well known adversaries.

“I laugh it off,” Montano said on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “Some people don’t have the best attitude or sportsmanship, especially when it comes to fighting. But I feel like – like I’m not scared, I’m absolutely not scared, but I definitely think that they should be able to show what they can do at ‘25 before getting a chance to fight for a title. ‘Sarge’ (Sijara Eubanks), even though she didn’t make weight, we can’t forget she made the weight three times in a six-week period (during the Ultimate Fighter 26 tournament). So she can make the weight. It was just a hard process right after the show, everyone went home, went back to their regular diet so their body wasn’t used to it after that six-week period and then it was kind of hard to bounce back given the amount of time that we had.

“I’m definitely not scared because it’s the name of the game. You want to fight the best so that you can prove to everybody else that you are the best, but right now the best is not Shevchenko at ‘25. She hasn’t fought at that weight. It’s not Paige VanZant, she hasn’t fought at that weight either. So I think it’s pretty silly and I’m a person who wants fair fights and so I just don’t think they are deserving of it right now.”

Since debuting with the UFC in December 2015, Shevchenko quickly established herself as one of the 135-lb division’s most dangerous fighters. She holds wins over Holly Holm, Julianna Pena, and Sarah Kaufman, with her only two Octagon losses coming to current women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko lost a razor-thin five-round split decision to Nunes in a title fight at UFC 215 this past September.

VanZant doesn’t have the in-cage accomplishments of Shevchenko, but she has mainstream cachet that few on the UFC roster can match, due to her appearances on reality show competitions like Dancing with the Stars and Chopped. Like Shevchenko, VanZant is also coming off of a loss, having been submitted by Michelle Waterson in December. The 23-year-old makes her flyweight debut this coming January when she takes on Jessica Rose-Clark.

Until Shevchenko and VanZant pick up wins at 125 pounds, Montano is leaning towards fighting Eubanks, her originally scheduled opponent for the TUF 26 Finale. Eubanks and Montano both emerged from TUF 26 as surprising finalists by knocking off several flyweight notables including Roxanne Modafferi and Barb Honchak, but Eubanks was removed from their bout two days before fight night when she was hospitalized due to weight complications.

Montano would instead go on to Modafferi (stepping in as Eubanks’s replacement) by unanimous decision to become the UFC’s first women’s flyweight champion. Having shared the trials and tribulations of the TUF house with Eubanks, she still wants to make a showdown with her castmate happen.

“I’m a pretty fair fighter and I do think that Sarge can make it,” Montano said. “I would like it to be Sarge, I think she deserves another chance. She made it through six weeks of hell doing that. I was there watching, I was there partaking in that six-week period, so I know how much heart she has and how much she’s wanting this.

“I unfortunately can’t see Shevchenko or Paige VanZant through the process of making ‘25 or wanting this belt, but I just feel like Sarge is a little more deserving for sure.”

Source: mmafighting

Aljamain Sterling on Moraes KO loss: ‘I wish I could stop that shot as soon as I reached for it’

The ‘Funk Master’ hit a major road block on his path to title contention in the bantamweight division, in the form of Marlon Moraes’s knee. But, he seems to be recovering well. The fight game is not kind. One day an athlete is gaining momentum and making headway toward a shot at a UFC title. The next they’re looking up at the lights wondering what just hit them. For Aljamain Sterling that day was this past weekend at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega. Sterling took on recent UFC acquisition – and former World Series of Fighting champion – Marlon Moraes in a bantamweight bout of top ranked contenders. Things did not go well for Sterling.
The Serra-Longo talent ended up on the receiving end of a brutal KO, just one minute into the first round. The result of a takedown attempt that Moraes timed perfectly, with a kick that put the Brazilian’s knee right on the jaw of the ‘Funk Master.’ Sterling was carried out of the Octagon on a stretcher.
But, while the KO caused a scary scene in the moment, it doesn’t seem to have had too many prolonged effects.

Hats off to Marlon. Thought I timed the TD perfectly and he was able to land a nasty knee. Sucks to be the nail, but this is the fight game. I’m ok for all those asking — Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) December 10, 2017

Nor does it seem to have overly dampened Sterling’s spirits, as he joked about his involuntary KO posture on Twitter.

Lol I really did do the dab. Got damn internet is forever undefeated Sheeeeit this joke gonna be around for eternity…This is the fight game. I’m just glad I got thick skin and I can still do what I love! ❤️— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) December 11, 2017

Lol will note this.— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) December 11, 2017

Sterling did, however, make it known that if he had the chance, he wouldn’t mind having done things a little differently.

Bruuh. I watched it and man did i wish i could stop that shot as soon as I reached for it. I partially said, “And at this moment I realized..I fucked up”. Crazy. But the everything after that knee was a blur. But yea, rough for sure.— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMaster_UFC) December 11, 2017

The loss ends a two fight winning streak for Sterling, having beating both Renan Barao and Augusto Mendes this year – after dropping a closely fought split decision to Raphael Assuncao in January. And for Moraes, the win puts him right in title contention – after a similarly close split decision loss to Assuncao in his UFC debut. Moraes has now won two straight fights, having defeated former flyweight title contender John Dodson just back in November.
Unfortunately for ‘Magic,’ the top of 135 is currently on hold, as T.J. Dillashaw works to get a fight with Demetrious Johnson, and the winner of Jimmie Rivera vs. John Lineker seems likely to be ahead of Moraes in line. Still, there are no guarantees TJ vs. DJ gets made, and fans can never bet on the winner of a top-contender bout coming out healthy and ready to fight. It could very well be that Moraes ends up first in line if Dillashaw wants to fight sometime in the near future.
Source: bloody

John Danaher: GSP not fighting again is a ‘definite possibility’

Georges St-Pierre’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach, John Danaher, claims that the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion may never fight again after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

St-Pierre vacated his title last week insisting that he needed to “focus on his health”, with interim champion Robert Whittaker being named as undisputed champion in his place.

Speaking Monday on The MMA Hour, Danaher insisted that St-Pierre would need time to decide if he would return to the Octagon in what he described as a “life-changing decision.”

He stressed that the former champion’s reaction to his medications would play a big part in the decision.

“That is a definite possibility,” he replied when asked if St-Pierre’s competitive career could be over.

“I don’t want to say yes or no because it’s not my decision, really. These are deeply personal decisions that Georges has to make. More over, they have to be made not as spur of the moment decisions.

“These are life-changing decisions, so they will have to made on the basis of Georges’ reaction to the medications that he’s taking for ulcerative colitis.

“From what I understand, the standard medications for ulcerative colitis take some considerable amount time to take effect – anywhere from three to eight months – before you’ll even notice any changes. We have to see how he reacts to his medication regiment and make a decision based on that.”

Danaher stated that St-Pierre would have to have the right motivation to fight again at this point. He cited GSP’s somewhat disputed win over Johny Hendricks as a contest that he did not believe that he had the right motivation for.

“What I don’t like to see is people fighting because they think they have to,” he said. “This is a very, very hard sport. I don’t think many people are aware of the rigors of what goes on in a championship level fight camp.

“It’s not for the faint of heart, and if you’re not 100 percent committed to the project and it’s not something you positively enjoy doing at least in some way, you don’t have to love every aspect of it but there has to be some kind of deep feeling of enjoyment fulfillment – then I don’t believe you should get involved.

“I know one fight camp where Georges wasn’t mentally committed to it was the fight camp with Hendricks, where there were doubts about whether he wanted to be fighting anymore. That was probably the fight camp where he had the least motivation to get in there, as he normally would.”

The celebrated coach revealed that St-Pierre had every intention of continuing to fight ahead of the Bisping fight, but now that a medical issue has emerged his future is uncertain.

“Here (for the Bisping fight) there was tremendous motivation,” Danaher said.

“Georges was extremely enthusiastic about the fight and expressed a deep desire to comeback. But, there was a physical problem, which was making it difficult.

“Your first question was medically will he be able to comeback? The answer is we don’t know yet and we’ll see how he reacts to the medication. Your second question was psychologically is he in the game – does he want to do this?

“I know for a fact that prior to the Bisping fight the answer was yes. Since this medical problem has come up and become so prevalent and emerged so strongly in the middle of the last camp – it’s an open question at this point. It’ll be determined by how he reacts to the medication that he is on.”

Source: mmafighting

Gastelum says Robert Whittaker had to choose between him and Rockhold: He took the ‘easier fight’

Kelvin Gastelum believes UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker is trying to avoid a fight with him. Kelvin Gastelum is not too happy about being denied a title shot after his stunning first-round KO win over Michael Bisping at UFC Shanghai last month.
After making short work of former UFC middleweight champion Bisping, Gastelum immediately called out current interim champ Robert Whittaker, who beat Yoel Romero to win the title at UFC 213.
Despite Gastelum’s efforts, the UFC has booked Whittaker against Luke Rockhold for the official 185-pound title at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia.
According to Gastelum, who was originally supposed to fight MMA legend Anderson Silva last month (Silva failed an out-of-competition drug test and has been suspended indefinitely), ‘The Reaper’ chose the easier fight against Luke Rockhold.
“I knew Luke Rockhold and I were both in the front-running for this fight,” Gastelum told Duane Finley of FloCombat in a recent interview. “I was then told Robert Whittaker wanted the tougher fight and he picked Rockhold. In my opinion that is the easier fight because I feel I’m the toughest fight for anyone in this division. I think Whittaker took the easier fight by going with Luke.”
The 26-year-old talent believes Whittaker is avoiding a fight with him because of their past sparring sessions.
“He’s [Whittaker is] absolutely worried about me and for good reason. He and I have trained together in the past and know what the other is all about. We know what the other brings to the table.”
Rockhold, 33, lost the MW title to Bisping last year but rebounded with a win over former WSOF multi-weight champ David Branch at UFC Fight Night 116.
Gastelum, though, doesn’t think Rockhold is deserving of a title shot due to his inactivity in the last two years. The Californian spent over one year on the sidelines after being knocked out by ‘The Count’ at UFC 199.
“The situation bothers me a little bit with him choosing to fight Rockhold over me. Luke has pretty much been out for two years then comes back and fights David Branch, who wasn’t even competing in the UFC a year ago. He beats Branch and gets the title shot so I don’t know what that says about [the UFC] but it’s not good.”
Despite being denied a title shot, No. 6 ranked middleweight contender Gastelum is still in good spirits and is happy to keep accumulating highlight reel finishes.
“It feels good to stack up these highlight reels,” he laughed. “Before every fight, they put together these highlight reels and I just keep adding to it. I’ll get one and think it’s cool then I’ll get another one in the next fight. It’s just me proving to the world what I already know. I can knock out anyone in my division and probably submit anyone as well. I can do it all and I’m going to keep proving it.”
Gastelum was recently accused of turning down a fight with the top-ranked Yoel Romero by MMA manager Malki Kawa, but the Ultimate Fighter 17 winner has hinted of nothing of the sort.
UFC 221 features Whittaker vs. Rockhold as the headlining championship bout and takes place next month, Jan. 20 at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.

Source: bloody

Shevchenko prepping for flyweight, but ‘sure 100%’ that she’ll fight Nunes again

One of the bantamweight division’s top contenders is moving down to 125 lbs, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t be back to 135 to settle a score. For many, following the latest season of the Ultimate Fighter, the current flyweight champ isn’t so much the new face of the division, as she is someone who’s keeping the belt warm. Not to slight Nicco Montano, but the 28-year-old sporting a 4-2 record has yet to gain a fraction of the experience – and still lacks much of the polish – of former bantamweight title contender Valentina Shevchenko.
‘Bullet’ may only be a year Montano’s senior, but a long kickboxing and Muay Thai career, and a 14-3 record in MMA have made her one of the most technical and poised talents in women’s mixed martial arts. Shevchenko is coming off a close, split decision loss to Amanda Nunes, at UFC 215 back in September. And while she was just a hairsbreadth from being the new bantamweight champion, she’s decided to make the drop to flyweight (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“Of course, to me it’s number one to fight for the title again, but now at 125,” Shevchenko said in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour. “It doesn’t matter to me if i have to have one fight before it. I will do it. But my main goal is to be the champion. It doesn’t matter. I moved from 135 to 125, my goal is still the same – to be the champion.”…“I feel like fighting with the same-sized opponents, I will be able to show more technique from me and more skills,” she said. “This is what I want to show, a beautiful fight, beautiful technique and good heart.”
Shevchenko noted that she had accepted an offer to fight Paige VanZant in her flyweight debut, but the former strawweight and Team Alpha Male talent had apparently turned down the offer. Instead, current reports have Shevchenko getting her first bout at 125 against promotional newcomer Priscila Cachoeira, on the upcoming UFC Fight Night card in Belem, Brazil. Cachoeira had been scheduled to fight Lauren Murphy on the TUF 26 Finale, before visa issues saw her pulled from the card.
It’s a high-risk fight for Shevchenko to take, as Cachoeira is a promising, but entirely unknown prospect. However, the reward for winning would likely be the next shot at the flyweight title. Shevchenko is far and away best positioned to be the new division’s top contender. All that doesn’t mean that the Kyrgyzstani-born athlete is leaving the bantamweight division behind for good, though. After all, she still has to wrap things up with Nunes.
“Of course, it’s on my mind every time,” Shevchenko said, in reference to her recent title fight loss. “We have unfinished business with Amanda. But now, my focus is 125 and after I sure 100 percent that we will come back and speak with her again.”
Shevchenko vs. Cachoeira is not yet official. UFC Belem takes place on February 3rd, at the Mangueirinho Arena. A middleweight bout between Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith is expected for the event. A main event has not yet been announced.
Source: bloody