Alexander Hernandez explains how old mortgage career helped his stunning UFC debut

Alexander Hernandez defeated Beneil Dariush at UFC 222.

Alexander Hernandez knew it was only a matter of time before he got into the UFC. He also knew he’d probably have to do things the hard way — a random phone call leading to a short-notice fight against any manner of opponent or weight class, ranked foe or total unknown, lightweight or something higher, as has happened to hundreds of Octagon newcomers in the past. He actually expected the call to come sooner than it did; hailing from Texas, he eyed UFC Austin as his chance to introduce himself to the MMA world.

But things worked out better than he ever could’ve expected.

Two weeks after UFC Austin, Hernandez made his long-awaited Octagon debut in a short-notice matchup against lightweight contender Beneil Dariush at UFC 222. A top-15 foe on a pay-per-view card? Hernandez certainly couldn’t have predicted that. Nor could he predicted how the fight played out — a stunning 42-second knockout that immediately launched Hernandez into the official rankings of the UFC’s most talent-rich division.

It’s a fairy tale story, and even Hernandez admits there were some initial doubts about whether he could accomplish what he ended up accomplishing at UFC 222.

“Everyone’s human, so you have moments of doubt that kinda trickle through your mind, but you just have to wipe those out,” Hernandez said Monday on The MMA Hour.

“As that week continued to pass, I continued to evolve mentally. Mid-week it was, ‘I’m going to win this fight. This is mine. There’s no way we can lose this fight. This is my fight.’ By the end of the week, like I said, I was convinced that I was going to finish this fight in the first round. So there was a huge progression and evolution of my mental game, I guess, throughout that whole week, and my whole team, we just had a hell of a good little think tank in the back there and we were just progressing.”

With a 9-1 record and seven straight wins, Hernandez now suddenly finds himself poised to make big moves in the UFC’s 155-pound class. It’s an incredible feat for the 25-year-old, as well as a much-welcomed validation after Hernandez made the difficult decision to quit his full-time job as a mortgage loan officer in late 2017 to focus on his MMA career.

And in a strange way, now that his Octagon debut is behind him, Hernandez sees plenty of connections between the two jobs and how his former gig prepared him for his UFC future.

“It’s a business of building relationships,” Hernandez said. “You get really good at kinda rubbing elbows and telling people what they need to hear, then you also get really good at analyzing and managing some financial stats. So, first and foremost, it’s building relationships, and I got really, really good at shaking hands, convincing people that are twice my age — my parents’ age — that this 18-year-old looking kid, especially when I started, is trustworthy of closing the biggest financial purchases of your life. And with that, I developed a lot of speech skills, how to talk in front of a multitude of people, so that really transcended into the fight game and what I’m doing now, I feel like.

“It helped me out in confidence tremendously, man. I was more nervous for some of those speeches and things I had to hold and people I had to speak in front of and tutorials I had to teach, more so than I was in that UFC debut. So I’d say they really benefit each other and coincide, and I didn’t realize it at the time but I do now.”

That doesn’t mean Hernandez didn’t initially worry about his MMA decision.

Quitting a full-time career that Hernandez described as “lucrative” to commit to a volatile and uncertain future in mixed martial arts was far from an easy choice.

“I felt like I was falling apart,” Hernandez said. “I beat myself up for years on, kinda, ‘What’s the right direction with me?’

“I was putting so much in a boat, 15-hour days between juggling the two, so I kinda just decided I have my whole life to sit behind a desk, but I have a real finite window to chase this dream. Let’s seize it, and I’ll just be damned if I don’t. So I had to essentially sh*t or get off the pot, and I’ve talked so much sh*t to myself for so long, like, ‘Man, you can do this. If you just put everything into it, you can do it. You can do it. You can do it.’ So it was extremely liberating to make that decision, and then that was following by a ton of angst and anxiety, just laying in bed thinking, ‘This is all very real now. You’ve got to do it.’

“But it was obviously the best decision I ever made.”

Hernandez is now enjoying the fruits of his labor. His abrupt and violent rise was one of the most discussed stories to emerge from UFC 222, and plenty of eyeballs will certainly be paying attention to his next fight.

But with the spotlight also comes the critics, and Hernandez has heard his fair share of criticism on social media since his knockout over Dariush.

For the most part, that noise has centered around one thing: Hernandez’s opening sequence in the fight, and more specifically, the question of whether he faked a glove touch in order to get an early upper hand.

Hernandez made his point known on his newly-created Twitter account — namely that no, he was in no way trying to touch gloves with Dariush. He then elaborated on that point on The MMA Hour.

“If somebody waves for a glove tap and you address it, then yeah, you should absolutely respect that,” Hernandez said. “We didn’t do that.

“The initial gameplan was to charge him. And I said it in this Twitter post, to the sofa scrubs and just all these trolls, if you’re got someone in a four-point stance crouched like a lion, beaming through the windows of your soul across the cage from you, you better prepare yourself for a battle, not to pat some paws. And I wasn’t trying to fake anything about it. I’ve got long range and I think that I utilize it. My arm is my measurement for distance, so the whole plan was to charge the cage, to storm him and disrupt his cadence entirely with a hard teep to his soft belly, and then to set that range to the tempo and put it in my hands, make sure that I dictate the way the fight was going to move. So that all went according to plan and the glove tap was not in the plans.”

Because of the quick nature of his fight, Hernandez is already healthy and ready to embark on a busy 2018. His only injury from UFC 222 is a swollen left hand, the same hand he used to knock out Dariush. So once his hand returns to its normal size, he’s ready to continue his remarkable Octagon run against the best opposition the lightweight division has to offer.

“I’m pretty flexible with the ass-whoopings,” Hernandez said. “I could deal them any time of the year, so I don’t have a preferred date. But what’s most important to me is really just building up a brand, building the image, and getting that hype train fully mobilized. I certainly don’t want to squirm into another fight on short-term notice like this one. I think I obviously deserve to do it right this time and have a major impact on whatever card I’m on. So just by the looks of what the UFC has lined up, it looks probably more like in the summertime or just something in that range. But like I said, I’m pretty flexible.”

Source: mmafighting

Dana White, not Miocic, is Cormier’s biggest challenge in the UFC

Daniel Cormier vs. Dana White is the real super-fight of 2018. The stats are in for EA Sports UFC 3. And newly-released video game character Dana White is a serious threat to reigning light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who in the real world, is gearing up to face heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in the biggest challenge of his career at UFC 226.
But what if Stipe isn’t DC’s biggest challenge?
What if it really is Uncle Dana?
Cormier, the former Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix winner, might have his his work cut out for him against Miocic. But the real super-fight, the one opponent to push ‘DC’ to his limits and truly test his pound-for-pound standing and championship legacy, is none other than UFC President Mr. White.
The stats don’t lie: White, the UFC’s long-time head promoter, has the striking, grappling, stamina and health to give Cormier a serious run for his money in the Octagon.

Those statistics (as you can see in the image above) give Cormier the slight edge. But they don’t reveal the bigger picture.
You see, before his days as president of MMA’s leading promotion, 48-year-old White worked as a boxercise instructor and carried with him an intensity that had never before been seen on the local aerobics circuit. Dana’s gig as an aerobics instructor is shrouded in mystery, but we do know that his hands were amongst some of the best in the boxercise world at the time. That’s according to long-time friend and former business partner Lorenzo Feritta, who told the media in 2006 that White’s boxing skills were ‘unbelievable’.
Although there is no recorded footage of White ever stepping foot in the boxing ring, this picture sends out a clear message of intimidation to Daniel Cormier: ’You are entering a world of pain’.
Not only did White inspire the locals with his boxercise and reportedly ‘beat the living sh-t’ out of ex-UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz, but the famed MMA promoter proved, beyond any doubt, that he had the physical strength to match his tenacity in the ring.
In 2013, a determined Dana White repped an impressive twelve pull-ups in response to a fan comment from ‘J Mac Doug’ on The Underground. Doug, who is still in shock to this day, doubted the rumors of White’s Herculean strength and challenged him to do fifteen pull-ups. White fell short by three, but the body building powerhouse exceeded all expectations after having admitted that he hadn’t done a single pull-up in ‘probably fourteen years’.

Could Daniel Cormier rep twelve pull-ups after having been absent from the gym in well over a decade? Probably not.
Strength advantage: Dana White.
But there’s more to Dana than just boxercise and pull-ups; the combat sports personality has years of backstage, locker room experience and will have developed a unique psychological profile on most fighters on the UFC roster. White has seen the ins and outs of the MMA world, the personal highs and lows that come along with championship victories and crushing defeats. White will know Cormier better than he knows himself, so expect to see the head promoter push Cormier’s buttons in a way that Jon Jones never could.
Daniel Cormier was never my friend. – Dana White.
In conclusion, Cormier should, for the sake of his own legacy, ditch the Stipe Miocic fight and the multi-divisional championship aspirations that come along with it, and demand that his next title defense be against Dana White.
The only question that remains, is this: Dana White, ’do you want to be a f-ing fighter?’
Source: bloody

Zingano ‘grateful’ despite UFC 222 loss, eyes return at UFC Chile

Cat Zingano

With almost a two-year layoff between fights, it was going to take a lot to spoil Cat Zingano’s return to action.

Yes, the one-time women’s bantamweight title challenger dropped a split decision to Ketlen Vieira at UFC 222. And yes, it was her third straight loss, leaving her winless since defeating future champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 178 over three years ago.

But given the setbacks that Zingano has faced outside of the cage, the 35-year-old fighter was focused on all the positive aspects of fight week regardless of how it ended.

“I had fun. I had a good time,” Zingano told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour on Monday. “From the weigh-ins, from the whole fight week, everything just kind of fell together and I felt strong, I felt confident. I missed all of it and I loved that I missed it. That meant a lot to me to miss it.

“I walked through so much to just get here and to stay here and to still be on top of my game and to still be training. Camp went as good as possible, a couple of catastrophes here and there just like life goes, but whatever, I was just excited to get there.”

Injuries have limited Zingano’s cage time for the past few years, with just one fight each in 2015, 2016, and 2018 (in fact, Zingano has not competed more than once in a calendar year since 2010). And that’s to say nothing of the personal tragedy that befell her and then seven-year-old son Brayden on January 2014 when Zingano’s husband Mauricio committed suicide.

Viewed through that lens, it’s understandable that Zingano finds satisfaction inside the Octagon, even if it means going three hard rounds with a dangerous contender like Vieira.

“She’s very strong, she’s smart, and she beat me with class, and I’m really grateful for getting three five-minute rounds,” Zingano said. “I’m really grateful that I got all of that time back in there and I’m glad I got to fully experience in it and have it shown to me again what we’re doing in there. It makes me excited to maintain and it makes me excited to get in there and do it again.”

As for when again will be, Zingano stated that she suffered hardly any physical setbacks in the UFC 222 loss and feels healthy enough to return soon. She’s scanned the UFC calendar and is keeping an eye on the organization’s upcoming trip to Santiago, Chile.

“The last couple of days I asked for opinions and possibilities as far as the May 19 card in Chile,” Zingano said. “I know it’s far in distance, but not far in time and I just kind of want to keep the ball rolling and keep moving and see who would be game to go at that time. That one sounds good to me, but I haven’t gotten any confirmation on that.”

At the moment, the only thing that Zingano can control is her training and what happens next when she steps into the cage. Her last three losses have come at the hands of Vieira, Ultimate Fighter 18 winner Julianna Pena, and the once indomitable Ronda Rousey, so it’s unclear whether the matchmakers will continue to book Zingano against top contenders or find an opponent against whom the odds are more favorable.

Regardless, you won’t catch Zingano campaigning for an easy fight or looking back at the bouts that have slipped through her fingers.

“It was a split decision. I think if they would have said I won the fight, I would have felt like she got robbed. I would have been very disappointed to hear that. I think she won,” Zingano said. “I felt good, I was sad, I went in the back, I had myself a good cry… I feel like I’m grateful for those rounds. I’m grateful I got 15 minutes out there to knock the dust off and now I’m back. Now I’m here. If that’s what it took for me to get back in there — it was, again, a No. 1 contender fight or another title fight-level of fighter, everyone I’m fighting is undefeated when I get my hands on them. Everyone I’m fighting is in the top-5. It’s not like I’m out here trying to finagle some crappy fighters and get easy wins. I want the best-of-the-best.

“Yeah, it’s a bummer, but this is all part of my journey. This is all part of what I’m doing, where I’m going, and I believe that. I really, really believe in the person that I’m working to become. If that means I have to lose a few fights and it means I have to learn this way then whatever. Life has been way harder at way different times and it’s just all part of the journey, it’s just all part of what I’m trying to do here.”

Source: mmafighting

UFC London: Fights to Make

All the best, most interesting, and unquestionably coolest fights the UFC should book, following their latest event in London, England. UFC London delivered exactly as advertised. A Fight Pass card full of relative unknowns looking to make statements with exciting fights. Now if the UFC could just differentiate that from FS1 and FOX and occasionally PPV cards they’d really be on to something. Alexander Volkov announced himself as a new potential title challenger. Jan Blachowicz showed that he’s more than just a gatekeeper to getting a LHW ranking. And a few top prospects experienced serious hype derailment.
To figure out exactly what all that means and what the UFC should do about it, I’ll be using the classic Sean Shelby/Joe Silva method of fight booking. That means pitting winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured talent against one another. If you’d like to take your own shot at fantasy match-making glory, leave a comment below starting with, “As soon as the hand is facing the sky, I crank that neck and cash that check.” I’ll pick one winner from the responses to join me next time.
This week’s winner is BE reader Gugaber.
Gugaber here, I’m an Australian Daytrader who has followed the sport ever since picking up UFC Undisputed for PS3 on a whim back in 2011 in the bargain bin. Strange place to start my fandom, but I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve got 5 or so years of No-Gi BJJ experience in the books, along with some spotty striking experience and way too much experience as an armchair fighter. I’m @Gugabed on Twitter, and run one of the most consistent MMA-handicapping services on the side (24% ROI ain’t no joke).
Gugaber – An underwhelming victory over a great name, and one that should put him at the front of the line for a title shot against the winner of DC/Miocic. Sadly, this is the modern UFC, and I’ve got my suspicions that an exciting win from either Blaydes or Ngannou/Lewis could easily jump over Volkov’s claim due to the lack of highlight reel moments in his run. HW’s top 10 is pretty underbooked at the moment. Volkov/Hunt could work as a keep-busy if DC/Miocic doesn’t happen for a while, but the title shot should otherwise be his.
Zane – I hope the UFC doesn’t skip Volkov over for Blaydes or Ngannou, just because Volkov has definitely more than earned his seat at the table and his signature win here is a much bigger accomplishment than Blaydes beating Hunt. The bigger factor standing in his way, in my opinion, is the potential for a DC win over Miocic. I’m not saying it’s gonna happen, but if it does, that likely means a drawn out second fight and some potential shenanigans as DC tries to balance defending two belts (or gets stripped of one). If Miocic wins, go ahead and book Miocic vs. Volkov. If Miocic loses to DC, then book Volokov against the Blaydes/Overeem winner to determine a top contender.
Gugaber – A rather disappointing result from Werdum. The eye seemed to sap his cardio faster than fights against Tybura and Overeem did, along with his puzzling contentedness to just relax in Volkov’s guard rather than going for position and/or submission. Still, he’s clearly got something left in the tank, even if retirement should probably be coming sooner rather than later. I’d say he should take a step back from the sport for a few months, evaluate his options and then figure out how to go forward. Werdum/Blaydes (Assuming he loses to Overeem) or Werdum against the loser of Oleinik/Albini would both make sense, and be fresh match-ups in a static division.
Zane – Win or lose for Arlovski against Tuivasa (if that fight is actually happening), I’d be very interested in seeing Werdum rematch Arlovski and try to get an old UFC loss back. Plus it seems like the natural next step for Arlovski if he’s really going to keep winning fights. I’d also absolutely be up for seeing Werdum rematch Cain Velasquez, but planning on booking a fight with Velasquez just feels like a pipe dream. Werdum vs. Arlovski II is the bout that I most want right now.
Gugaber – Good performance from Blachowicz, though I’m a little surprised Manuwa did so little in the third with the fight in his reach. Blac’s the closest thing to new blood we’ve got in the LHW top 10, but I think it’d be better to line up the next challenger with a rematch for #1 contender status. Latifi/Blachowicz headlining a European UFN this September, or on the undercard for whichever card Cormier/Miocic lands on would make a lot of sense.
Zane – I guess that Latifi rematch makes sense, but Latifi is one of the only other new faces at the top of the light heavyweight division. And if Blachowicz beats him again, I don’t really feel like fans are going to have gotten the best use out of both men in a very rare position. I’d like to see Blachowicz fight Volkan Oezdemir, especially given how hard Jan is to KO, but Oezdemir might be fighting Glover Teixeira at UFC 224. I’d also be surprisingly interested in Blachowicz vs. Shogun, but booking Shogun is like booking Cain. Great when it happens, but nobody should plan on it. Instead, I’ll say book Blachowicz against OSP. If he can stay hard to KO, he should be able to beat a wildly inconsistent talent like OSP. If he can’t take it, then it’s a readjustment to what we already thought we knew about Blachowicz as a non-contender. I’d also be totally fine with Blachowicz as an introduction fight to LHW for Luke Rockhold if the UFC can’t book Rockhold vs. Gustafsson.
Gugaber – Well. That’s Manuwa’s ceiling defined. His UFC Career’s been a little odd, between his first winning streak being made of 4 consecutive doctor stoppages, and his wins mainly coming over the chinnier end of the division. It’s probably time for him to take a step back and have some fun action fights, which means that Manuwa/Rua would make a lot of sense. Rockhold/Manuwa for Rockhold’s 205 debut could also make a lot of sense.
Zane – Manuwa really is in a weird spot. A top shelf action fighter who just doesn’t quite seem like he can take the action side of fighting anymore. Still dangerous but extremely in danger at the same time. I’d be pretty fascinated to see what he could do with Misha Cirkunov. Cirkunov has had his own problems with durability, but was looking good on the feet before getting subbed by Glover Teixeira. That won’t be a danger against Manuwa and his own grapple-wrestling game should come into play for him. If not that, then yeah try and book that Shogun bout once Shogun is healed for the Battle of Aging Action Stars.
Gugaber – A decent win, but not something that you’d expect from a guy that’s hyped up to the degree that Duquesnoy was coming into the UFC. I had it for him 29-28, but Ware was clearly given to him as a highlight reel victim. A little bit confusing from the UFC, since Ware went to war with O’Malley and there are easier wins around at BW. Uh…. Soukhamthath? Put him on the O’Malley trajectory? Iuri Alcantara could also be a fun match-up between Iuri’s power and Duquesnoy’s striking technique.
Zane – There are still very clearly fights that Duquesnoy will win in the UFC. He’s an interesting, creative, technical talent. But, his Octagon career so far has shown more gaps than strengths. As pointed out, Ware was very much the sacrificial win here, and it was a questionable win. Physicality has been a problem for the ‘Fire Kid’ and that’s not a problem he can easily sort, especially since gassing has been a problem too and that’s something more muscle or a bigger weight cut likely wouldn’t help. I’d say he should get a fight with Manny Bermudez. Bermudez’s wunderkind grappling style makes him hyper dangerous, but it’s otherwise a fight Duquesnoy should take over. Operative being “should.”
Gugaber – A fairly workman performance from Edwards. Can’t see the Till call-out working out for him, since I don’t think the UFC’d give Till a grinder at this point in his career. I’d be surprised if Edwards broke through into the top 10 at WW at this point, but there’s a logical match to make when it comes to testing those credentials. Donald Cerrone’s always down for a fight, and Edwards-Cerrone’d be a winnable contest for both men. Fights with Neil Magny and Dong Hyun Kim’d also make a lot of sense in providing that top 10 gatekeeper bout.
Zane – I don’t like falling to Neil Magny as a first choice for most things. But I think he’d be the right choice here. An experienced, diverse, rangy fighter at the top of the division that Edwards matches up really well with, but who could absolutely just be too scrappy and capable for him to handle. The Cerrone fight isn’t a bad idea too, but I’m pretty much down to see Cerrone fight anyone. So the rare good Magny matchup feels like an opportunity to pounce on. See if Edwards can out-wrestle more fighters on his way up the ranks, or if he ends up having to rely on his powerful, but low paced kickboxing instead. Leon Edwards vs. Neil Magny.
Gugaber – A close, but fair decision win. I don’t think he’s putting enough emphasis on his wins to catapult up the rankings, but LW’s a deep division. Give him another LW journeyman, and see if either can start stacking up the wins. Alan Patrick would be an interesting fight, between Patrick’s physical dominance and Johnson’s superior technical striking. See if either can put a stamp on their victory and start picking up the momentum to breach that next level.
Zane – Johnson does feel like just the right kind of fighter to get the bouts no one else wants. An experienced vet who works a slow counter game, but can take the fight anywhere if needed. Plus he’s someone not afraid to speak truth to power, which is a good way to get stuck with tough fights in the UFC. To that end, Alan Patrick is a dude people definitely don’t want to fight, as is Leonardo Santos, or Islam Makhachev. Of all those, I gotta agree, the Patrick fight makes the most sense.
Gugaber – Great Upset finish by Henry. He seems to have found a ‘niche’ as spoiler for fun striking prospects, but nobody could call that performance boring. Dawodu came in with serious perceptions of his potential as a prospect, but Henry might have snatched that momentum. Mid-level FW’s pretty deep with fun action talents. How about a third fight with an exciting stand-up talent? Guan Wang would be a fun main card match-up for an Asia card later this year.
Zane – I gotta think Henry would do extremely unkind things to Guan Wang in front of a home crowd. He’s just too tough, willing to throw, and able to be opportunistic for a powerful-but-limited talent like Wang. I’d love to see Henry against someone like Ryan Hall, or maybe Arnold Allen if he can get his visa sorted. But eventually, I really like a fight between Henry and Brandon Davis. Davis isn’t great at handling guys who can move well out at range, but Henry is just the kind of in-close brawler to play into Davis’ extremely high output striking style. Add in that Davis is just well rounded and scrappy enough to make Henry really work for opportunities and you’ve got the recipe for a 15-minute all-action war.
OTHER BOUTS: Ware vs. Zahabi, Sobotta vs. Jingliang, Byrd vs. Marquez, Phillips vs. Wilkinson, Roberts vs. Griffin, Enkamp vs. Touahri, Dawodu vs. Peterson, Craig vs. Oleksiejczuk, Ankalaev vs. Prachnio, Ray vs. White, Sosnovskiy vs. Golm, Godbeer vs. Asker
Source: bloody

Pennington: Nunes vs. Cyborg talks ‘pi**ed me off’

Raquel Pennington

It’s a good thing that the matchmakers decided to make Raquel Pennington’s title shot official, otherwise they may have had to face her wrath.

“Rocky” is booked to challenge women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 224 on May 12, a meeting that has been in talks since Pennington emerged as a top contender by outpointing Meisha Tate at UFC 205 back in November 2016. However, some doubt was cast on the matchup when UFC president Dana White expressed interest in pairing up Nunes with Cris Cyborg after the latter’s most recent one-sided title defense.

While the UFC eventually decided to go with the expected pairing of Pennington and Nunes, the fact that White even considered putting it on standby didn’t sit well with Pennington.

“I have to admit I was frustrated with it and I started making calls right away because I don’t find that very fair at all,” Pennington said Monday on The MMA Hour. “I think I’ve definitely earned this spot and I think that fight deserved to be mine. So the fact that they’re just wanting to see a superfight really pi**ed me off given the fact that Cyborg’s in a completely different division and then you’re trying to take the champion from our division and create this huge superfight.

“You just want another girl with another name or two Brazilians? Like, what’s happening here? So there was a lot of frustration there, but it’s kind of one of those things that it’s not really in your control so why let it bother you so much?”

Fortunately for Pennington, as far as she knows, the plan has always been for her to compete for the title next. She and Nunes were actually in talks to fight at UFC 219 to close out 2017, but Pennington was injured in a hunting accident that left her unable to compete.

That injury to Pennington’s leg actually came on the heels of a trio of surgeries to her shoulder, wrist, and mouth, which explains why the 29-year-old logged zero minutes of Octagon action last year. She has remained at the top of the 135-pound rankings due to her win over Tate, a former UFC champion, which was the fourth straight in a run of victories that includes one-time title challenger Bethe Correia and current strawweight standout Jessica Andrade.

Pennington believes that she put in the work to secure her spot, but understands why officials would be interested in a meeting between Nunes and Cyborg.

“The part that bothers me is the fact that Cyborg’s in a completely different division,” Pennington said. “She’s at 145, she’s not in our division, and all of us who have been working hard, who have been sitting here waiting for this position or me, myself, coming back from injuries, I feel I have definitely earned my position. I’ve sat here and I’ve grinded my way to the top and done things, it hasn’t been an easy career for me. So I feel like this is something that I definitely deserved and to just all of a sudden, another fight in a completely different division, ‘Oh well, we’re going to make a superfight,’ I don’t get why all these superfights or these interim titles and all this stuff is happening.

“For me, it kind of feels like the worth is being taken away a little bit, I guess you can say, from the championship belts and stuff like that, just because so much stuff is being thrown around and sometimes it feels more of entertainment than it does for sport. But at the end of the day, whatever’s bringing money in for them and like I said, there are some things that are out of your control and you’ve gotta just kind of go with the flow of it.”

Asked if she’d be open to fighting Cyborg herself, Pennington didn’t dismiss the suggestion, but her focus appears to be solely on capturing the women’s bantamweight title. If anything, she’d rather the UFC make an attempt to build a women’s featherweight division instead of continually plucking from the 135-pound roster.

“Everybody brings a different challenge to you and Cyborg, yeah, she’s built a reputation for herself. She’s known as the most dangerous woman on the planet,” Pennington said. “She hasn’t lost since 2005 and she’s going out there and she’s destroying girls and she has this 145-pound division and I don’t like to take credit away from anybody or anything, I feel like everybody deserves their position, but for me right now I honestly don’t feel like the 145-pound division makes a whole lot of sense because they’re not bringing in any athletes.

“So it’s like they’re pulling people out of the 135 division and whatnot, but speaking for myself, Cyborg, she’s just another female. Yeah, she’s a little bit heavier, I walk heavier normally, so it wouldn’t be something that I’m gonna say that I’d push to the side, I’m more than definitely willing to go out and fight her one day.”

Source: mmafighting

Boxer dies after TKO loss in Canada

Another athlete has passed away after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a professional boxing match. David Whittom, of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, passed away on March 16th after a 10 month long coma (per CBC News). Whittom, was placed in a medically induced coma in May 2017 after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a boxing match at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He was 39 years old.
Whittom, who was born in New Brunswick, faced Gary Kopas of Saskatoon in his final match. That fight was being contested for the Canadian Professional Boxing Council’s cruiserweight championship.
“It was a war,” said fight promoter Brandon Brewer, when talking to CBC News. In the latter stages of the fight, Kopas gained the upper hand, repeatedly landing heavy blows to Whittom’s head. In subsequent interviews Kopas revealed that during the 10th round he questioned the referee, Hubert Earle, about whether or not the fight should continue; based on the damage Whittom was taking.

RIP David Whittom— Jean Philippe (@jee0026) March 17, 2018

Kopas said the referee allowed him to hit Whittom in the head a few more times, before jumping in and waving the fight off. “I was mad, but at the same time I was obviously pumped,” said Kopas. “I wanted to win there, but at the same time, I didn’t want to hit him again either.”
After the fight Whittom was checked over by medics before sitting ringside with his family to watch the next fight. Whittom’s trainer Francois Duguay said that when Whittom was speaking to the ringside physician, the boxer struggled to answer simple questions. “He didn’t respond very well to all the questions, like the date, which year we are, where we are right now, who’s that guy beside you?” said Duguay to CBC News.
Duguay said that after several minutes Whittom started to recognize where he was and the people who were around him. After some time at ringside, Whittom headed back to the dressing room. He took a shower and shortly after midnight he left the Aitken Centre.
Whittom’s friend Eric Moffat gave him a ride to his mother’s house, but quickly returned after Whittom complained of having a headache and feeling like he was “overheating”. Whittom was also nauseous, so his coaches decide to take him to Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.
At the hospital a CT scan revealed that Whittom had suffered a hemorrhage (brain bleed). With the resulting pool of blood exerting pressure on his brain, Whittom was placed into an artificial coma. Whittom turned 39 on March 10th, seven days before he died.
Whittom had a record of 12 wins, 24 losses, and 1 draw. Of his 12 victories, 8 came via TKO/KO. Of his 24 losses, half of them were TKO/KOs. In his penultimate fight, in March 2016, Whittom lost via first round TKO to MMA veteran Ryan Ford at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.
Since 2008, Whittom’s pro boxing record was 3-19. He suffered 9 TKO/KO losses over that time.
Whittom’s friend, and fellow boxer, Eric Martel-Bahoeli spoke with CBC’s French-language counterpart Radio Canada shortly after Whittom’s death. “He was passionate about his sport,” said Martel-Bahoeli.
“It’s not easy, it’s been 10 months that we knew he wasn’t well… It’s a shock, it’s extremely difficult. But at the same time, now that he’s dead, of course it’s hard, but in some ways I tell myself it’s probably better like that. But at the same time, we didn’t wish for that either. I didn’t want to lose my friend because of boxing.”
In October, the New Brunswick Combat Sports Commission conducted an internal review regarding Whittom’s fight with Kopas. That body found no wrongdoing or neglect.
Whittom’s death comes less than a month after British boxer Scott Westgarth died from a brain bleed after winning a 10-round decision in Doncaster, England. Westgarth was taken to hospital after collapsing in his dressing room after the fight. He died the next day at Royal Hallamshire Hospital. He was 31.
In December Swedish boxer Erik Skoglund, 26, also suffered a brain bleed. His came after a sparring session. Skoglund was given surgery and placed in a medically induced coma. He woke up in January and is now recovering at home.
Brain bleeds, which often feature a ‘lucid interval’ where the sufferer shows no visible signs of injury, were also the causes of death for former UFC heavyweight Tim Hague (who died after a boxing match in Edmonton, Alberta last June) and Joao Carvalho (who died after an MMA fight with Charlie Ward in Dublin, Ireland in April 2016).

Source: bloody

Fabricio Werdum issues statement after KO loss at UFC London

Fabricio Werdum

Fabricio Werdum isn’t letting his latest setback keep him down.

The former heavyweight champion was knocked out for just the third time in his 32-fight career on Saturday, succumbing to strikes at the hands of Alexander Volkov in the fourth round of the main event of UFC London.

He later took to Instagram to deliver a message to his fans:

Werdum wrote that he was grateful for his supporters, and though he is disappointed in the loss, he is keeping a positive attitude:

“I am fortunate to have happiness and determination in my heart and to be surrounded by people who respect me and who give me the energy that I need to continue my path of success.

“Thanks for the support and know that each one of you is very important to me!”

Werdum, 40, is now 3-3 in his last six fights. After losing to Alistair Overeem by majority decision at UFC 213 last October, he bounced back with consecutive victories over Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura before falling to Volkov in London.

Source: mmafighting

Francis Ngannou responds to Derrick Lewis: ‘I’m here now’

Derrick Lewis has taken a number of shots at Francis Ngannou over the last few weeks. Ngannou, meanwhile, has been largely radio silent.

Until now.

The heavyweight slugger finally responded to Lewis on Sunday. In a tweet, Ngannou said for someone to pass along to Lewis that he’s “here” and to have his manager get in touch with the UFC.

“Derrick has been talking some of his sh*t while I was off,” Ngannou wrote. “Can someone please let him know that I’m here now, so if he really wants me, he should send his manager to deal with @ufc.”

Ngannou (11-2) has not said much since his unanimous decision loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 back in January. The Cameroon native, by way of France, had won five straight — all five by finish — leading into that bout. Ngannou, 31, was thought to be the next big thing at heavyweight.

Lewis (19-5, 1 NC), meanwhile, has been calling “The Predator” out for a bit. The Houston native rebounded from a loss to Mark Hunt by knocking out Marcin Tybura at UFC Austin last month. Lewis, 33, has won seven of his last eight fights and is fond of making fun of what he believes is Ngannou lying about his age.

“Yeah hopefully we can get something done this year man,” Lewis told the Slip n’ Dip podcast recently. “Hopefully we can get something before he turns 50 on us.

Of course, Lewis also trolled Ngannou following his loss to Miocic.

Now, though, it seems as if Ngannou is ready to go. Perhaps “The Predator” vs. “The Black Beast” is indeed in the cards for this year.

Source: mmafighting

Covington mocks Werdum after KO loss at UFC London

Colby Covington took joy in Fabricio Werdum’s KO loss to Alexander Volkov at UFC London. You didn’t expect Colby Covington to bite his tongue, did you?
Following Fabricio Werdum’s crushing knockout loss to Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night 127 in London, England, Convington mocked the heavyweight veteran with a classic Simpsons line.

#ufclondon— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) March 17, 2018

Werdum, the former UFC heavyweight champion, was blasted with an uppercut by Volkov in the fourth round and laid out with two follow-up punches. Volkov, 29, extended his win streak to six and will storm into the top-five heavyweight rankings after shutting out one of the division’s most seasoned competitors.
Werdum, 40, got into a physical altercation with Covington last November, when ‘Chaos’ pressed charges against ‘Vai Cavalo’ after the Brazilian launched a boomerang at him outside a hotel in Sydney, Australia.

@FabricioWerdum attacks @ColbyCovMMA with a boomerang outside the hotel for UFC Sydney!— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) November 16, 2017

Covington had repeatedly disrespected Werdum’s home country of Brazil and referred to his countrymen as ‘filthy animals’. Werdum was fined $600 by the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney, New South Wales.
Covington, a top-three ranked welterweight contender, is notorious for online trolling. The 30-year-old posted major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in December and recently hurled abuse at Mike Perry’s ex-girlfriend after ‘Platinum’s’ loss to Max Griffin at UFC on FOX 28. The NCAA Division I wrestling standout is currently angling for a title bout with reigning welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, although ‘T-Wood’ doesn’t seem interested in the idea.
Source: bloody

The Weekly Grind: Conor McGregor celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, Nurmagomedov pranks Cormier

The life of a professional fighter isn’t all glitz and glamour.

As if getting punched, kicked, kneed, choked and twisted into a pretzel on a regular basis isn’t enough, fighters attract a general wackiness that makes their lives, well…interesting.

To commemorate these day-to-day hardships, slip-ups, pranks, and more, we bring you, “The Weekly Grind.”

Happy St Patrick’s Day ☘️☘️

A post shared by Dee Devlin (@deedevlin1) on Mar 17, 2018 at 2:58pm PDT


Everything happens for a reason

A post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on Mar 17, 2018 at 5:04am PDT


Hey @dc_mma what about this? #beltchangeyourFace #beHumble #dontblinkwithme

A post shared by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on Mar 16, 2018 at 2:46am PDT



@sportsdocben keepin me in tip top shape

A post shared by Rose Namajunas (@rosenamajunas) on Mar 14, 2018 at 12:15pm PDT

A post shared by Pat Barry (@hypeordie) on Mar 6, 2018 at 7:47am PST



Thank you @joerogan and @madflavors_world for the good times #iluhyou #yesssss

A post shared by Yoel Romero (@yoelromeromma) on Mar 12, 2018 at 3:46pm PDT



Wakanda forever!!! #blackpanther

A post shared by Demetrious Johnson (@mightymouse125) on Mar 13, 2018 at 3:00pm PDT








A post shared by Kevin Lee (@motownphenom) on Mar 13, 2018 at 8:18pm PDT



Solid night at The No Loves. Baby Kai is a handsome little guy!

A post shared by Urijah Faber (@urijahfaber) on Mar 14, 2018 at 12:04am PDT

This has been the best day of my life! Welcome to the World Kai Fisher Garbrandt!

A post shared by Cody Garbrandt (@cody_nolove) on Mar 12, 2018 at 6:51pm PDT


@roachcoach_baitsystem monster.

A post shared by titoortiz1999 (@titoortiz1999) on Mar 18, 2018 at 12:21am PDT





Strictly business. Always.

A post shared by Alistair Overeem (@alistairovereem) on Mar 14, 2018 at 3:16pm PDT


From motivated to motivator #thepredator #cameroon #team237 #batié

A post shared by Francis Ngannou (@francisngannou) on Mar 11, 2018 at 4:12pm PDT


The only way to live life #teamcg

A post shared by ᏟᎶ (@claudiagadelha) on Mar 17, 2018 at 4:12pm PDT




@akafights @shreveportma #jiujitsu #mma

A post shared by nickdiaz209 (@nickdiaz209) on Mar 17, 2018 at 10:51pm PDT





Source: mmafighting