Kenny Florian ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if UFC 217 was George St-Pierre’s last fight

The former lightweight and featherweight title contender doesn’t see a higher note for GSP to ride off on than his win over Michael Bisping for the middleweight title. UFC 217 wasn’t just a high point for the UFC’s history of PPV events, the en-mass changing of the guard meant that several fighters claimed UFC gold from their rivals, carving out their own spaces in MMA history in the process. And while T.J. Dillashaw’s win had the extra layer of revenge to it, and Rose Namajunas got to put on the belt for the first time, it’s arguable that no one had a bigger night than Georges St-Pierre.
‘Rush’ returned from a nearly 4-year hiatus, away of mixed martial arts competition, on November 4th in Madison Square Garden. The former UFC welterweight champion had walked away from his title reign, still in his early 30s, already feeling the toll of more than a decade of high level combat sports competition. And he wasn’t just coming back from that layoff to take another fight, to see if he could still get the gloves on, but to take a title fight. A title fight in a division he’d never even competed in.
When Michael Bisping went to sleep, the result of a GSP-applied rear naked choke in the 3rd round, the building erupted. Fans widely greeted UFC 217 as one of the best events they’d ever seen, and Georges was at the center of that success. So, what else is there left to do?
That’s the question UFC commentary man – and former title contender – Kenny Florian has found himself asking, on a recent episode of his Anik & Florian podcast (transcript via MMA Fighting).

“I think for Georges, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last fight. Does it get any better than this? What is he going to accomplish here that’s going to elevate his status that much more? Does he need to defeat the 205-pound champion, maybe fight Stipe Miocic? Those aren’t realistic things. Even going up to 186, everybody doubted him. ‘This is going to be too much. Michael Bisping has been more active, he’s a bigger guy.’ I don’t know if it gets better than this.
“I think there was something that Georges wanted to prove to himself. I really don’t think, as much as Georges wanted to get what he felt he deserved, but I don’t think it was necessarily about the money. This wasn’t a Georges St-Pierre saying ‘Man, my bank account is low. I really need to get some funds here.’ It wasn’t about that. Georges is fine on money. I think more than anything else, he had something he needed to prove to himself. Being away for four years, I felt like he finished his career on top and wanted to come back and show everybody that in these days where USADA is kind of overlooking the sport, I want to come back and show what I can really do. At 170 pounds, he has already done it all. He wanted to do something different at 185 pounds and challenge himself. He did that against a phenomenal champion in Michael Bisping and I think that this is probably his last fight.”

That’s certainly not Dana White’s plan, however. The UFC president recently went on the record to tell fans that GSP would be returning to fight interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, sometime in the near future. And he’s got some leverage to hold the newly-crowned title holder’s hands over the fire, as St-Pierre revealed back in August that he was contractually obligated to defend the belt.
But, GSP sounded a little less than bullish on the idea of staying at middleweight in his post-fight victory speech, reiterating that it’s “not really my real weight.” His boxing coach, Freddie Roach, has since stated that he’d prefer to see GSP back down at welterweight. Things could get awfully messy if Georges decides to just hang them up again, instead.
Source: bloody

Conor McGregor on retirement: ‘I’m still very young from a damage-taking standpoint’

Conor McGregor appeared on RTE’s The Late Late Show on Friday night to promote “Conor McGregor: Notorious” and claimed he has no set date for his retirement.

According to the UFC lightweight champion, his exit from the sport will be determined by how much damage he has taken.

The Irishman said that the only time he was truly wobbled in a fight was in his first meeting with Nate Diaz, and other than that, he has taken no other heavy shots.

“I’m 29 years of age and I have climbed to the very, very, very top and with…not with relative ease…I’ve put in a lot of hard work,” he told Ryan Tubridy.

“I’ve put in crazy amounts of hard work and most people do not see the wars upon wars in the gym just to get to the fight.

“I’ve gone through strenuous camp, after camp, after camp, but still – compared to other people in the fight game – I’m still relatively undamaged.

“I’ve never been dropped. I was wobbled once. In the Mayweather fight, it was fatigue – I wasn’t wobbled, I didn’t see stars once.

“The only time I was ever wobbled once in a contest was in the Diaz 1 fight. And that’s it…it’s the only heavy shot I’ve ever taken.

“I’ve continued to climb and I’m still very young in the game. Although I’ve climbed to the top, I’m still very young from a damage-taking standpoint, so I will continue to see where it goes.”

McGregor continued, citing the “multiple contenders” that await him on his UFC return and insisted that he would still be competing for the next “couple of years.”

“I have multiple titles in the UFC,” said McGregor. “I have multiple contenders that are clawing at the top trying to get at me, so we’re in negotiation stages and we will see where we go.

“I will most certainly compete again for the next couple of years anyway and then I’ll see where it is.”

When pushed again, McGregor reiterated that he has no cut-off point in mind in terms of his retirement:

“I could cut it off yesterday, you know what I mean? I don’t really have a date and a time and an age because I use it from a damage-taking standpoint.

“How many blows have I taken? That’s the true danger in combat sport.”

Source: mmafighting

UFC Winnipeg adds Jan Blachowicz vs. Jared Cannonier, Sheldon Westcott vs. Danny Roberts

Less than six weeks out, two additional fights have been finalized for UFC Winnipeg.

Jan Blachowicz (20-7) is stepping in on short notice to fight Jared Cannonier (10-2) in a light heavyweight bout, replacing Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who was removed from the booking after being flagged for a USADA violation on Oct. 19.

This marks Blachowicz’s second fight in two months. He recently defeated Devin Clark by second-round submission at UFC Gdansk.

Officials also announced a welterweight bout between TUF: Nations finalist Sheldon Westcott (9-3-1) and Danny “Hot Chocolate” Roberts (14-2). Injuries have kept Alberta-native Westcott on the shelf since his last fight on January 2016, a TKO-win over Edgar Garcia, while Roberts is looking to end 2017 with another victory after knocking out Bobby Nash at UFC Glasgow this past July.

UFC on FOX 26 takes place at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Dec. 16.

See the updated card below:

Source: mmafighting

Hindsight – UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre in retrospect

Though there was no doubt UFC 217 was the biggest event of 2017 going into it, but it didn’t feel like it had the gravitas is deserved heading into it. Most MMA fans would even admit they were indifferent to Georges St. Pierre’s return to the cage. Regardless of how the event was promoted – or not promoted – it will no doubt enter the pantheon of all-time great events. Only thrice previously had an event featured three title fights. This time marked the first time there were three title changes in the same night. I’m not saying that won’t ever happen again, but I got a feeling it will be a long time before we do.
Here are my thoughts on UFC 217, with every fight and fighter involved broken down. The format is simple. The first bullet covers what was expected to happen and an attempt at a brief summary of what did happen. The next two bullets cover my thoughts on each fighter, how they did, and where they might be headed from here with the winner being covered first.
Ricardo Ramos defeated Aiemann Zahabi via KO at 1:58 of RD3

Expectations/Result: The opening bout of the evening was a barn burner between Ramos and Zahabi. Ramos mixed jabs, low kicks, and the occasional flying knee with takedowns to catch Zahabi by surprise in the first round before the younger brother of Tristar MMA’s famed trainer Firas found his range in the second to even up the fight at one apiece. The final frame opened with them trading wildly, Zahabi backing Ramos against the fence. Ramos responded with a spinning back elbow that caught Zahabi on the chin, leaving the Canadian stiff as a board on the mat.

Ramos: I picked Ramos with hesitation as I felt Zahabi’s robotic approach wouldn’t be able to handle Ramos’ unpredictable nature. Ramos mixed everything up in the first round and looked great, coming out on the better end of all the exchanges. I don’t know if he just didn’t know what to do in the second round or if he became exhausted, but he didn’t do much of anything in the second. Once Ramos returned to throwing volume, he dragged Zahabi into a brawl, an environment Ramos was better suited for. There were holes in Ramos’ defense, but overall the performance was very encouraging.

Zahabi: Zahabi is very technical, but he doesn’t appear to be anything special physically. That’s why I worried about the fight degenerating into a slugfest. He looked great in the second round when Ramos was more predictable, timing his counters perfectly with his jab. When Zahabi has an opponent he can easily strategize for, he’s going to be a handful. When he doesn’t know what’s coming, he doesn’t have the tools to adapt. I struggle to see him breaking into the top 15 in such a deep division.

Curtis Blaydes defeated Aleksei Olenik via TKO of 1:56 of RD2

Expectations/Result: One of the better prospects the heavyweight division has seen in some time, Blaydes was a sizeable favorite over the ancient Olenik. Nonetheless, there was a contingent – myself included – who believed Olenik’s guile and savvy would catch Blaydes with a hook or a choke out of nowhere. Instead, Blaydes was in control from the first minute. Olenik did land some offense with his heavy hooks, but Blaydes always had the advantage, whether it was securing takedowns or landing his own heavy punches. The fight ended in a curious manner when Blaydes attempted an illegal soccer kick that grazed Olenik’s ear. When the doctor investigated Olenik, he called off the fight… though not because of Blaydes’ kick. Instead, it was determined Olenik was incapable of continuing due to the damage incurred before the illegal strike, giving Blaydes an odd victory.

Blaydes: This was a far more encouraging showing from the talented youngster than his previous contest with Daniel Omielanczuk. Blaydes timed his level changes well, securing takedowns every time he attempted one. Even more encouraging was his striking, showing progress in his jab and some heavy clinch offense. What he did lack was any sense of defensive acumen as Olenik landed most of his heavy strikes at will. Then again, Blaydes is still young in the sport. He should improve given more experience in the cage. Expect him to be a name in title talks before the end of 2018.

Olenik: It’s a bit of a bummer Olenik came out on the short end of the stick given the unlikeliness of his recent success. Despite the loss, Olenik did have some success against Blaydes. He was aggressive in his submission attempts from the guard when Blaydes was trying to pound on him, though it only delayed the inevitable. What was truly encouraging was his success in the standup. He hurt Blaydes a few times as the youngster didn’t seem to know how to attack the old man given his awkward gait and unorthodox angles. Though the end of his career will be coming soon – and there is no doubt this contest expediated the process – Olenik should still pose a danger to youngsters looking to advance up the ladder for a little while yet.

Randy Brown defeated Mickey Gall via unanimous decision

Expectations/Result: Most analysts were predicting Gall would get Brown to the ground and eventually find a submission. While most of the contest was spent on the ground, it was Brown who took the fight to the ground. Brown hurt Gall on the feet early in each round, spending the first and third in top control while delivering some vicious elbows that opened up Gall. The second started like the other two, but Gall reversed Brown, Gall spending most of the round in top position. The lone round wasn’t enough though, Brown earning the upset victory.

Brown: Given it had been 9 months since we had last seen Brown, it’s clear he’s been working on his ground game. While no one is saying it’s about to turn into his greatest strength, he made a statement by beating Gall where Gall was supposed to have the advantage. The win does put Brown back on track as a prospect worth watching, though he is still a long way from reaching his full potential. It will be interesting to see how he does against more proven competition.

Gall: Give credit to Gall where credit is due: he showed a lot of toughness and heart. He continued to search for submissions while Brown continued his attack from the top. However, he couldn’t end the contest when he had the top control, indicating his ground attack may not be all that it has been cracked up to be. His striking looked as bad as advertised, showing no progress since we last saw him almost a year ago. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working on it, but it does indicate that he may not have the instincts to become a solid striker. For now, the UFC needs to keep the kid gloves on Gall.

Ovince Saint Preux defeated Corey Anderson via KO at 1:25 of RD3

Expectations/Result: A difficult contest to predict as Anderson owns a far more functional game while Saint Preux has the explosion to end a contest at any moment. Anderson mixed takedowns and punching combinations throughout the contest, securing the first two rounds in the process. However, Saint Preux landed some heavy strikes in each of the first two rounds which either rocked Anderson or sent him to the canvas. A head kick almost 90 seconds into the third round from Saint Preux put Anderson out cold, giving Saint Preux his third straight win.

Saint Preux: There isn’t a more frustrating talent in the light heavyweight division than Saint Preux. He has flashes of brilliance – like he showed here – but he also struggles to put forth a consistent attack to regularly win decisions. Despite hurting Anderson badly in the first two rounds, he was behind on the score cards. Nonetheless, it isn’t a stretch to say Saint Preux has clawed his way back into the title picture despite having lost three in a row before his current win streak started. It wouldn’t be a stretch for him to get a title shot with one more win.

Anderson: Someway, somehow, Anderson continues to fall short every time the UFC offers him an opportunity to pick up a signature win. It’s a bit unfair to say he has a weak chin given he ate Saint Preux’s earlier strikes, but it is the third KO loss of his career. He may not have the requisite durability to develop into the contender we’d all like to see him become. Given his domination of the contest outside of those moments, it’s fair to say that’s the only piece missing. The most important thing for his development next is to get him a win after having dropped three of his last four. He’s getting a step down in competition next.

Mark Godbeer defeated Walt Harris via DQ at 4:29 of RD1

Expectations/Result: Given his continued improvement, Harris was a near-unanimous pick in the MMA community. Harris dominated the contest, mixing kicks and punches with a takedown, limiting Godbeer’s offense to almost nothing. As they climbed back to their feet, Harris threw a knee in the clinch intended for the mid-section… and got Godbeer in the groin. As Godbeer cringed and turned away, the referee attempted to step in, but didn’t do so fast enough as Harris launched a brutal head kick that connected before the ref broke them up. After Godbeer stated he couldn’t continue and a review of replays, Harris was DQ’d.

Godbeer: Who would have guessed Godbeer would be 2-1 in the UFC following his ugly debut loss to Justin Ledet? Yet here he is on a two-fight win streak. However, just as no one truly believes Matt Hamill defeated Jon Jones, no one believes Godbeer beat Harris. He looked bad here. Really bad. Even worse, some have questioned whether the blow actually hit him in the groin. In other words, he very well could have been looking for a way out. Nonetheless, the win gives the Englishman a bit more security in terms of his UFC employment. Sure, the UFC isn’t releasing anyone right now, but they’ve got to start trimming their roster at some point… right?

Harris: Despite the two losses in a row, Harris should still be considered an up-and-comer in the heavyweight division. He wasn’t ready for Fabricio Werdum last month and beat Godbeer from pillar to post before the DQ happened. He mixed up his offense brilliantly and did a great job avoiding Godbeer’s attack. Nonetheless, the smart thing to do would be to get Harris back on track with a win, lining him up against someone he’d be expected to get a win against as those two losses in a row aren’t going anywhere.

James Vick defeated Joseph Duffy via TKO at 4:59 of RD2

Expectations/Result: Though the consensus was that it would be a great scrap, most were leaning towards Duffy emerging victorious. The first round indicated as much as Duffy successfully mixed takedowns with his strikes, though Vick certainly landed his own fair share of offense in the round. Vick got his kicks going, keeping Duffy at bay with combinations, and limiting the offense of the Irishman. Unable to get anything going, Duffy rushed forward as the round was drawing to a close, only to eat a vicious uppercut that floored him. A series of hammerfists from Vick induced the referee to step in and call the contest with a second to spare in the round.

Vick: The biggest thing Vick has been lacking recently has been a signature win. Now he has one. He wasn’t great at controlling distance when he first entered the UFC, though he has steadily improved at doing so throughout his tenure. He had never done better than he had in this contest, maintaining his jab and kicks to keep Duffy at bay, waiting patiently until Duffy made a mistake. Given Vick’s massive frame for lightweight, that’s the strategy he should be utilizing for most of his contests. He said he wants a ranked opponent next and he’s certainly earned it. However, it’s worth noting he still leaves his head out there to be clipped.

Duffy: Duffy shouldn’t be condemned too badly for the loss given his solid performance in the first round. Duffy’s combinations looked sharp early and the takedowns were timed perfectly. Vick adjusted and Duffy couldn’t find a way to get past his range without eating damage in return. While Duffy is still a tough challenge for anyone in the division, this loss appears to set a hard cap on his ceiling. He can still break into the rankings, but he seems more likely to flit in and out of them the way that Francisco Trinaldo does.

Paulo Costa defeated Johny Hendricks via TKO at 1:26 of RD2

Expectations/Result: Though most believed Costa was going to run over the former welterweight champion, I expected Hendricks’ training with Jackson-Wink to revitalize his career. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Hendricks landed very little offense as Costa kept him backed up against the fence for most of the contest. From there, Costa picked apart Hendricks with all sorts of offense. Low kicks, high kicks, punching combinations, single punches, spinning kicks… just about anything you can think of. Hendricks visibly slowed as the fight progressed, the end coming less than 90 seconds into the second round.

Costa: Costa picked a hell of a time to look his absolute best. If he didn’t show every bit of his offensive arsenal in this contest, I’m dying to know what he has left in the tank. He also did a fantastic job of dictating range, preventing Hendricks from landing any significant offense. His ability to stuff Hendricks’ takedowns was encouraging too. The single time I can recall Hendricks landing a series of punches, Costa just smiled and laughed at him. Costa’s durability still hasn’t been tested very much, but that response is a very good sign that he owns the requisite durability to hover around the top of the division.

Hendricks: That was the last fight on Hendricks’ contract. Don’t expect the UFC to bring him back. Once a top-flight welterweight, his inability to control his diet forced him to make his way up to middleweight where his lack of length would inevitably doom him to fail in his attempts to climb up the ladder. Unless he were able to convince the brass he can consistently make 170 again – something no one believes he can do anymore – it’s difficult to see a reason the UFC would want to bring him back. Expect the Bellator roster to contain one more former UFC champion soon enough.

Stephen Thompson defeated Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision

Expectations/Result: There was a lot of excitement over this contest, with many expecting Masvidal to get a title shot if he could find a way to emerge victorious. Nonetheless, most expected Thompson to walk away with the W. Thompson used his knowledge of angles and range to pick apart his smaller opponent, knocking Masvidal to the mat on multiple occasions, even if just for a split second. Masvidal knew he was down on the scorecards entering the final frame and attempted to take the fight to the former kickboxer. It didn’t work as Thompson continued to counter him, putting together combinations while looking for the finish. In the end, he was forced to settle for a dominant decision.

Thompson: There isn’t anyone in the division with a better grasp of distance and angles, nor is there a fighter on the roster with a deeper arsenal of kicks. While we didn’t get the highlight reel we were hoping for out of Thompson, it was a dominant performance that reestablished him as a top welterweight. Not that anyone was doubting that, but his previous performance against Tyron Woodley was so bad that Thompson needed to remind fans what he is capable of. However, he isn’t going to get another title shot until Woodley is dethroned as no one wants to see them do the damn thing again. Thompson appeared to break his hand late in the fight, indicating it might be a while before we see him again.

Masvidal: What doomed Masvidal in this contest was Thompson having no need to fear Masvidal’s power the same way he did Woodley’s. Granted, Masvidal showed his signature durability and toughness, but at no point did it feel like Masvidal was in control or on the verge of pulling something out of his back pocket. It’s about time to end the discussion of Masvidal being a title contender. He finished Donald Cerrone and hung tough with Demian Maia, though those performances are looking worse and worse as time goes by. However, he still lost to Maia and his other victories at welterweight – Cezar Ferreira, Ross Pearson, and Jake Ellenberger – don’t do much to persuade anyone that he is elite. Granted, his losses at welterweight – Benson Henderson, Lorenz Larkin, Maia and Thompson – are a stout quartet. Still, the verdict is in: Masvidal may be top ten, but he isn’t elite.

Rose Namajunas defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk via TKO at 3:03 of RD1

Expectations/Result: Jedrzejczyk may not have been demolishing her opponents in her title defenses, but by the time 25 minutes had elapsed, it was clear Jedrzejczyk was superior to her opposition. Why would anything be different against Namajunas? Well… because Namajunas is the most explosive fighter in women’s MMA. Namajunas landed a big right two minutes into the contest, dropping the champion to the canvas, causing a panicked look to come over the champions face even as she avoided Namajunas taking her back as Jedrzejczyk returned to her feet. Jedrzejczyk tried to regain her composure, but before she could fully do that, Namajunas landed a left that again sent Jedrzejczyk sprawling to the floor. Namajunas continued the attack as Jedrzejczyk turtled up, eventually tapping to the onslaught from Namajunas.

Namajunas: While no one was denying the possibility of Namajunas becoming champion, I still can’t recall anyone predicting she would walk out of MSG with the belt around her waist. She has made statements about fear in the cage that left many questioning her mental toughness, but there were zero signs of fear. She knew Jedrzejczyk tends to start slow as she tries to figure out her opponent, leading Namajunas to attack before the champ could get into a rhythm. More impressive, she waited until another opening presented itself before unleashing her second assault, though she didn’t wait too long either. Truly a masterful performance from Namajunas. At 25 with a mere ten professional fights under her belt, it’s difficult to believe the is the best version of her. However, Namajunas doesn’t match up nearly as well with the likes of Jessica Andrade or Claudia Gadelha as she does with Jedrzejczyk. Predictions about how long Namajunas’ title reign lasts need to be withheld until we know who she is facing next.

Jedrzejczyk: I can’t say I was surprised Namajunas looked strong in the first round, but I was certainly surprised she stopped Jedrzejczyk. It can still be argued that Jedrzejczyk is the most dominant women’s champion the UFC has seen, but being unable to tie Ronda Rousey’s record for consecutive title defenses does hurt the argument. However, Jedrzejczyk has also shown a commitment to always trying to better herself. It’s hard to believe she won’t bounce back whether she comes back at strawweight or decides to try her hand at flyweight. In hopes of adding legitimacy to the new division, it is probably best for the UFC if she moves up to 125. Then again, she may get an immediate rematch. Regardless of what she does, it’s hard to see her not receiving a title shot again at some point.

TJ Dillashaw defeated Cody Garbrandt via KO at 2:41 of RD2

Expectations/Result: Though the consensus was that this was a very evenly matched contest, Garbrandt’s edge in power was expected to push him over the top. He demonstrated that power early, flooring Dillashaw with a hard right hand that sent him to the canvas, only to be saved by the bell to end the first round. Dillashaw settled down and listened to his coaches advice in between rounds, landing a head kick early in the second that sent Garbrandt down, though the champion scrambled back to his feet quickly. Garbrandt became more reluctant to throw, trying to pick his spots on the more active Dillashaw. Dillashaw’s activity paid off, cracking the champ with a right hook and immediately following up with ground strikes. Garbrandt wasn’t defending, forcing Dan Miragliotta to step in and declare Dillashaw champion for a second time.

Dillashaw: Just like Namajunas, most were saying they could see Dillashaw becoming champ, but few were picking him. Dillashaw’s performance wasn’t flawless, but in some ways it made his victory that much better. Recognizing that Garbrandt wasn’t falling prey to his stance switching or feints, Dillashaw eliminated a lot of his movement in the second round and Garbrandt struggled to adjust. Once he hit the high kick that floored Garbrandt, the dynamic of the contest was changed. Garbrandt wasn’t out of the contest, but his confidence had taken a hit which opened things up for Dillashaw. It all happened because Dillashaw was willing to listen to his corner. He called out Demetrious Johnson after the contest, though there is no guarantee that is what is next given Dominick Cruz and Jimmie Rivera are fighting before the close of the year in what appears to be a title eliminator.

Garbrandt: It’s hard to pinpoint what Garbrandt specifically did wrong. He was certainly more emotional than Dillashaw, refusing to touch gloves before the fight. However, he was also similarly emotional before the contest with Cruz when he originally lost the belt. He looked great in the first round too, nearly getting the finish before the first round came to an end. Perhaps it just comes down to Garbrandt getting caught, though I’d say that he became predictable as well. Dillashaw was able to counter Garbrandt’s counter on the finishing sequence. Regardless, Garbrandt is only 26-years old. It’s hard to believe he won’t receive another title shot before his career is over. In the meantime, he’ll need another win before he can get another title shot as he never successfully defended his belt once.

Georges St. Pierre defeated Michael Bisping via submission at 4:23 of RD3

Expectations/Result: GSP had been gone from the sport for four years. How in the hell could anyone know what to expect? Thus, there wasn’t any semblance of a consensus for who would win despite GSP undeniably being an all-time great. With a considerably bulkier frame at 185, GSP stalked Bisping down, landing hard shots and mixing in a takedown for a brilliant first round. However, the former welterweight champ slowed in the second round, allowing Bisping to swing the momentum in his favor simply by being the busier fighter. GSP attempted to rectify that in the third with an early takedown only for Bisping to open him up from underneath with slicing elbows. As they got back to their feet, GSP’s vision obscured by the blood, Bisping looked like he was about to take firm control of the contest. A single left hook changed all that, Bisping crashing to the canvas. GSP followed with brutal elbows that Bisping somehow survived. GSP let up just enough to give Bisping room to scramble up before snatching his neck from behind. Bisping struggled to escape, eventually going to sleep to give GSP his third title reign.

St. Pierre: While GSP looked better than expected, Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier were taking things way too far when they said he has never looked better. GSP in his heyday could push a nearly impossible pace for 25 minutes. This version was tired after about 6 minutes. Granted, he did have more pop in his punches than he ever has before, hurting Bisping on several occasions. He could end up adjusting to his new frame and becoming a legit middleweight… but good enough to hang onto the title against divisional behemoths like Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold? Got my doubts. I’ve seen many say he’ll get destroyed by Robert Whittaker should they square off, but it isn’t like Whittaker is much bigger. The young Aussie began his UFC career as a welterweight and GSP is considered to be one of the greatest strategists in the history of the sport. Admittedly, I’d favor Whittaker, but GSP can’t be counted out. Also, the possibility of him facing Conor McGregor? I don’t even want to discuss that. Translation: Can we stick to contests that make sense rather than supposed money fights that only muddy up division after division?

Bisping: To be fair, Bisping’s strategy wasn’t horrible. He knew GSP’s gas tank would be questionable and was swinging the momentum of the contest his way after a rough start. While the beginning of the end came with the left hook, Bisping displayed his toughness by surviving the series of elbows GSP threw at him after he hit the mat. However, I admit that I’m glad Bisping’s reign is over. Initially excited for him to gain the belt after years of striving for it, his refusal to face any actual contenders sabotaged the division. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy this contest – no way GSP moves up to middleweight if Luke Rockhold were still the champion – but this division has been suffering for a long time. Bisping has said he isn’t going to retire, but he doesn’t seem to have the motivation to fight anymore unless he’s getting a cash grab out of the fight.

Well, those are my thoughts. Until next time….
Source: bloody

Dana White: ‘I think the Brazilian people are tough enough to handle’ Colby Covington’s post-fight comments

It seem that UFC welterweight Colby Covington won’t face any punishment for his comments about Brazilian fans after all.

The welterweight contender defeated Demian Maia in the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo on Oct. 28, and went on to call the city a “dump” and Brazilian fans “filthy animals” in his post-fight interview. The crowd booed the American Top Team fighter, and some fans threw things at him as he was leaving the Octagon.

UFC senior vice president David Shaw told the media at the post-fight press conference that the company was “taking the situation with Covington very seriously” and “it’s something that we are not very happy about.”

A week later, though, UFC president Dana White spoke with reporters after UFC 217 in New York and said he “didn’t even know we came out” with those comments Shaw has made in Sao Paulo, and Brazilians shouldn’t take Covington’s comments personal.

“I mean, listen, at the end of the day this is the fight business and people say a lot of mean things,” White said (via Combate). “I think the Brazilian people are tough enough to handle a guy saying some stuff to them at the end of the day. This has happened before. I don’t remember where we were but Al Iaquinta told all the fans to go f*ck themselves and a lot of other things that weren’t very nice.

“Obviously, we don’t like it and we frown upon it and we talk to these guys about stuff like that, but fights get very emotional, you know? It happens. I don’t think the Brazilian people should take it personal.”

Covington improved his MMA record to 13-1 with his win over Maia in Brazil, and has campaigned for a shot at welterweight champion Tyron Woodley after winning five straight.

Source: mmafighting

Artem Lobov: ‘I don’t deserve a UFC contract’ after loss to Andre Fili

After his second straight loss courtesy of Andre Fili, Artem Lobov feels like he doesn’t deserve to stay in the UFC. UFC featherweight fighter Artem Lobov entered the UFC as part of Conor McGregor’s team at the 22nd season of the Ultimate Fighter in 2015. Since then, he only won two of his six fights with the company, and incurred his second straight defeat against Andre Fili in Poland late last month.
Most fighters would have been released from the UFC roster with that kind of record, and this is exactly what Lobov feels after his loss to Fili.
“Now that I have lost to Fili — and this is no disrespect to him — but now with two losses in a row, and the last loss was not exactly to the best guy out there, I feel like other people in my situation would be cut,” Lobov told MMA Fighting. “If someone didn’t deserve to be in the UFC, in the past I was always the first guy to tell them, so now I feel like I don’t really deserve a UFC contract.”
“It’s only fair that I get cut as well.”
Lobov previously called for a release from his UFC contract to fight retired former world boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi. But apparently, “The Russian Hammer” also has other plans outside of boxing.
As for fighting under the most prominent MMA organization in the world, Lobov simply feels it is not for him.
“It’s not just boxing I’m considering, it’s K-1 too,” Lobov said. “That’s something I’ve always liked. When I first fought in K-1, I knocked out a guy in two minutes. That’s something that might appeal to me too.”
“I bring in the hardest sparring partners you can imagine and I’m going through the guys,” he added. “Honestly, I’m destroying people in sparring, but for some reason I haven’t been able to show my full potential in the UFC.”
“I’ve said what I said about the UFC, but another thing is, I really want to fight as much as I possibly can. This two fights a year thing, that’s not for me.”
Source: bloody

T.J. Dillashaw says Team Alpha Male’s in-cage trash talk helped him recover after UFC 217 knockdown

T.J. Dillashaw recaptured the UFC bantamweight title this past weekend at UFC 217 with a highlight-reel, second-round knockout of his former teammate Cody Garbrandt. However, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing.

A now two-time bantamweight champion, Dillashaw was forced to overcome early danger when he suffered a knockdown in the closing seconds of round one, having eaten a hard right hand from Garbrandt. Thinking quickly, Dillashaw latched onto a desperation single-leg takedown attempt and avoided further damage until the horn. Reflecting back on the sequence on Monday, Dillashaw revealed that he “definitely” was rocked by Garbrandt’s punch, however he also had a little bit of inadvertent help clearing out the cobwebs between rounds from his former Team Alpha Male teammates in Garbrandt’s corner.

“I walked back to the corner and I heard their cornermen being jerks, just like they’ve been the whole camp, saying they’ve got my number,” Dillasaw explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “‘We’ve got your f’ing number, Dillashaw! We’ve got your f’ing number!’ I heard that. As soon as I heard that, I turned back to my corner and was like, ‘Alright, let’s get our sh*t together.’

“I kinda hit my hands together and I was like, ‘Alright, I’ve gotta change it up.’ So I sat down in the corner and just listened to (coach) Duane (Ludwig). He’s the one looking from the outside in. That’s why he’s in my corner, he’s got great eyes and we changed up the tempo. We decided to come out for the second round a different fighter.”

The enmity between Dillashaw and Team Alpha Male isn’t anything new. The two sides have been warring publicly for years now, stemming from Dillashaw’s split with the Sacramento-based team in 2015 to continue learning until the tutelage of Ludwig. And according to Dillashaw, the post-knockdown trash talk he heard from Garbrandt’s cornermen at UFC 217 wasn’t an isolated incident.

“I could hear them talking sh*t the whole time, actually,” Dillashaw said. “Stuff like when I’d a leg kick or something, like, ‘You’re too slow! T.J., you’re too slow! All you’ve got is a right hook!’ All of this stuff, just trying to just continue, just continue to break me, you know?”

Dillashaw said that bad blood didn’t stop after the fight. While he and Garbrandt embraced inside the Octagon after his second-round victory, Dillashaw said that only one of his former coaches and teammates at Team Alpha Male approached him backstage once the dust had settled.

“In the back, the one guy who was willing to come up to me and shake my hand was (Team Alpha Male coach) Justin Buchholtz,” Dillashaw said. “All of the other guys still seemed pretty bitter. They put a lot on this. They put their whole legacy of Team Alpha Male behind Cody. They put a lot of pressure on that guy to live up to what they wanted him to be, and I didn’t feel like that was really fair to him either. But they put all of their eggs into Cody, and I smashed them. I smashed their dreams. I smashed who they were, and they’re all bitter about it.”

In the aftermath of the fight, Dillashaw explained that the constant back-and-forth between the two sides had long grown wearisome for him. For more than two years, Team Alpha Male members attacked Dillashaw at every turn. Not surprisingly, that animosity increased tenfold in the lead-up to UFC 217, with Garbrandt even releasing an old clip of him knocking down Dillashaw in a sparring match in the gym on the Friday before fight night.

But despite everything that has happened between the two sides since their split, Dillashaw said UFC 217 felt like just those old gym sparring sessions once he and Garbrandt started throwing leather.

“To me, he was the same guy,” Dillashaw said.

“This sport, one of the things is you’ve got to very well-rounded, and I think that’s just something he doesn’t have. I think more people are going to take advantage of it. If he continues to fight, we’ll see more and more of that. He’s a really good athlete, he’s good at what he does, and the guys that he’s fought have played into his game. So I’m not saying he’s plateaued, but I just don’t think he has grown that much. He hasn’t showed me that he’s [gotten] better other than what he’s good at.”

Despite their post-fight embrace, Garbrandt continued his assault on Dillashaw at UFC 217’s post-fight press conference, calling Dillashaw “a piece of sh*t teammate” and insisting that, “I’m still the better fighter in there and I’ll show that in the rematch.”

At this point though, with the belt back in his possession, it’s all just noise to Dillashaw. The 31-year-old two-time champion noted that “of course” he wishes the beef was squashed more after the fight, but he also isn’t wasting any time worrying about it.

“I’m not one who looks for the drama,” Dillashaw said. “I’m not one who wants to hate on anybody. I didn’t leave because I hated anybody. I didn’t want all of this bullcrap. So yeah, I was hoping it would get squashed a little more than it was, and they’d be a little more mature about this whole thing and be professionals. I was hoping it was more about him hyping it up, but I guess that’s how he feels, so whatever, man. I’m not too worried about it. He’s going to have to fight. We have a very tough weight division.

“He will be around, but he’s going to have to have some tough fights to even get back to me, so who knows if I showed his weakness. You know, I don’t think he actually has a chin. Even Cruz hit him a couple of times and wobbled him, and Cruz is no power puncher. So I think if people aren’t that scared, he drops his hands — always dropping his hands, they’re real low. That’s why I caught him with a head kick. Every time he throws a punch, he drops his opposite hand. He gets away with being fast and having power, so I think he’s got a long road ahead of him.”

Source: mmafighting

Morning Report: Kenny Florian wouldn’t be surprised if this was Georges St-Pierre’s last fight

This past Saturday at UFC 217, Georges St-Pierre etched his already legendary name even farther into the history books when he became only the fourth man to win belts in two different UFC weight classes. St-Pierre won the middleweight title from Michael Bisping with a third-round submission concluding an over year-long process of getting St-Pierre back in the octagon. But now that the former welterweight kingpin has returned to claim another belt, what remains for St-Pierre to do?

Not a lot, according to UFC commentator Kenny Florian. Speaking recently on his Anik & Florian podcast, Florian said that winning the middleweight title scratched the MMA itch for Georges St-Pierre, and now that he’s done it, GSP might just walk away from the sport once again.

“I think for Georges, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last fight. Does it get any better than this? What is he going to accomplish here that’s going to elevate his status that much more? Does he need to defeat the 205-pound champion, maybe fight Stipe Miocic? Those aren’t realistic things. Even going up to 186, everybody doubted him. ‘This is going to be too much. Michael Bisping has been more active, he’s a bigger guy.’ I don’t know if it gets better than this.

“I think there was something that Georges wanted to prove to himself. I really don’t think, as much as Georges wanted to get what he felt he deserved, but I don’t think it was necessarily about the money. This wasn’t a Georges St-Pierre saying ‘Man, my bank account is low. I really need to get some funds here.’ It wasn’t about that. Georges is fine on money. I think more than anything else, he had something he needed to prove to himself. Being away for four years, I felt like he finished his career on top and wanted to come back and show everybody that in these days where USADA is kind of overlooking the sport, I want to come back and show what I can really do. At 170 pounds, he has already done it all. He wanted to do something different at 185 pounds and challenge himself. He did that against a phenomenal champion in Michael Bisping and I think that this is probably his last fight.”

Much of the speculation surrounding St-Pierre’s return has centered around what would happen if he managed to win the middleweight title. Rumors have run rampant that GSP would fight any number of opponents such that St-Pierre had to affirm that if he won the title he would be contractually obligated to defend it against the No. 1 middleweight contender, in this case Robert Whittaker.

But a fight with Whittaker, while meritorious, lacks the panache needed to pique St-Pierre (now the de facto second-biggest star in the UFC) interest. According to Florian, GSP is now in the stage of his career where defending against challengers doesn’t do much to help build his final legacy. At this point, Florian posits, the only fight “big enough” to be worthy of St-Pierre, also happens to be one that lacks in-fight drama, a battle with the biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor.

“Can he fight? Absolutely. He proved it. This is still a Georges St-Pierre who can do it all and do it all a very high level. He’s one of the best competitors I’ve seen in all of professional sports and if he wants to continue to fight, I think he can beat a Robert Whittaker. I think there’s a fight against Tyron Woodley if he wanted to.

“Obviously, there’s that Conor McGregor guy who might make things interesting but I know for Georges he doesn’t really want to go down in weight too much. He feels like he’s already done it all at 170 pounds and he did it in an age where the welterweight division was just ridiculous, and I think going down against 155 pounds, I don’t know if he really feels Conor McGregor is a challenge to be honest. Going against a much smaller guy and having the takedown skills that he has . . . He’s gone against a lot of other great strikers in his career, and I don’t think Conor McGregor is gonna be big enough or has the wrestling prowess to stop the takedowns of a Georges St-Pierre.”

St-Pierre’s endgame in returning to fighting has long been rumored to be in chasing the biggest superfight in UFC history against McGregor. But St-Pierre denies this notion and UFC President Dana White insists St-Pierre will face Whittaker next. But with all the options available to him at this moment, St-Pierre is taking it easy and enjoying “the best night of my career.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Best. Georges St-Pierre called UFC 217 the “best night of his career.”

Comeback. Urijah Faber says he would “have to consider” a comeback against T.J. Dillashaw if offered.

Mental warfare. Rose Namajunas says she beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk “at her own game” at UFC 217.

Tap. Joanna Jedrzejczyk says she did not tap to strikes at UFC 217.


VIDEO STEW

UFC Countdown.

BJJ Scout on UFC 217.

TTTHS.

Yoel Remix can gain new life.

Chael doubling down on saying Chuck has denied the fight.

TJ sticking to his plan.


LISTEN UP

The Co-Main Event. Discussing UFC 217 and GSP’s GOAT status.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC 217, GOAT, and Poirier-Pettis.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Joanna taking the loss well.

Czas z rodzinką | Family time #thestrawweightqueen #joannajedrzejczyk #floridalife #family #familytime #fun #vacation #holiday

A post shared by Joanna Jedrzejczyk (@joannajedrzejczyk) on Nov 6, 2017 at 1:19pm PST

Dillashaw.

#staygold #ufc217 Told you MF’s #bmt

A post shared by tjdillashaw (@tjdillashaw) on Nov 6, 2017 at 5:54pm PST

Anderson feeling the love.

Brunson.

Twitter convos.

Rory.

what will @phenomlima look like after these shots? @legionath @everlast

A post shared by Rory “RED KING” Macdonald (@romac_gorilla) on Nov 6, 2017 at 11:52am PST


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N/A.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2009: Fedor Emelianenko stopped Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Emelianenko vs. Rogers.

2015: Vitor Belfort knocked out Dan Henderson with a head kick at UFC Fight Night 77.


FINAL THOUGHTS

That’s all for today folks. Take it easy and Conor bless.


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.

Source: mmafighting

Urijah Faber: Coming out of retirement to fight T.J. Dillashaw ‘sounds like fun’

If there is one fight that could make Urijah Faber come out of retirement, it would be against former teammate T.J. Dillashaw. After a notable 13-year professional run, former WEC champion and UFC veteran Urijah Faber decided to hang up his gloves. Despite not being able to capture UFC gold. “The California Kid” is still a respected figure in MMA, particularly as one of the pioneers of the lighter weight classes.
Faber last fought December 2016, capping off his career with a win against Brad Pickett in his hometown of Sacramento. But at 38 years of age, he feels like he still has some fight left in him, just like many retired competitors do.
During Monday’s MMA Hour episode, Faber stated that a fight against current bantamweight champion and former teammate T.J. Dillashaw could actually get him to come out of retirement. But at the same time, it is not something he would just jump into right away.
“I was in a Metro PCS Q&A and someone was asking me, ‘What would it take to bring you out of retirement?’” Faber said (via MMA Fighting). “I said, ‘The biggest dollars,’ and a girl said, ‘If T.J. calls you out after this fight, would that bring you out of retirement?’ And I just said, ‘That sounds like fun.”
“It’s unbeknownst to me if anyone’s asking for that, calling for that, or offering that. I haven’t heard it. I would have to consider that if they came and talked to me.”
“There’s one thing I know for sure is, I’m not afraid of a good fight and I enjoy it and I like making money,” he continued. “But I would hate for that to be the focus rather than Cody getting back in there and getting his shot to redeem himself, because he’s been the guy who’s been there on the front lines. He’s been the guy who’s been putting in the time to be the world champion right now, and I’ve retired.”
Speaking of Cody Garbrandt getting the title shot to redeem himself, Faber is not rushing for it to happen immediately. But he is certain that a part two will take place some time in the future.
“I doubt there will be an immediate rematch, if T.J.’s not talking about it and it was a finish in the second round, even though there was a close finish in the first,” Faber said. “I would love to see that immediate rematch, but there’s no rush. Cody’s just turned 26. He’s just getting stability, he’s just buying his house, he’s got his wife and his kid on the way. I don’t think there’s a rush.”
“Would he be ready and willing and excited to have a rematch right away? Sure. But either slow play or do it right away, they’re going to fight again. I think they both know that.”
Source: bloody

Roach ‘very happy’ with Georges St-Pierre’s boxing, but prefers him back at a lower weight

Freddie Roach says GSP would perform better at a lower weight class. Legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach cornered a UFC event for the first time this past weekend. His pupil in Georges St-Pierre took home the middleweight belt, hurting Michael Bisping twice on the feet before eventually choking him out.
Roach says he enjoyed the new experience, and was also glad with what he saw from GSP’s hands on that bout.
“I was a little concerned (that he was fatiguing). It was obviously a fast-paced fight, and he did box very well in the first round and I was very happy with it. Bisping is a very tough opponent, he came back in the second round,” Roach said on The MMA Hour.
“He started countering our right hand with his right hand, so that’s where I saw the left hook would work because he is a little bit lazy bringing it back.”
As for St-Pierre seemingly slowing down a little in the second round, Roach doesn’t think it was the ring rust, and attributed it to him still not being used to his much bigger frame at middleweight.
“He was maybe getting a little bit tired,” he said. “I think moving up a weight division, I am not sure that’s his best weight division or if we will fight there again, but we will see where it goes.”
“I think it was the weight that got to him. He’s not used to carrying that much weight and he fatigued a little quicker than usual. Again, we will work it all out and get together with the whole team and discuss what the next best move is for Georges.”
There are certainly a lot of factors to what St-Pierre’s next bout is going to be, especially from a promotional standpoint, as White is pushing interim champ Robert Whittaker to be next in line.
If Roach was to be asked though, he prefers it if St-Pierre drops back down in weight as that’s where he would perform the best.
“I won’t make that decision myself. I will need help with the other guys. I need their input as well, but Georges’ input is the most important,” he said. “I think I would like him to go to a lower weight division — back to the weight that he’s more comfortable in and more used to.
“But the thing is, that might not be available at this point. We have to make that out with the promoter. With the UFC, usually with what they say, goes.”

Source: bloody