GSP has no desire for rematch with Johny Hendricks: ‘He’s not the same anymore’

Georges St-Pierre has no desire to rematch Johny Hendricks because Bigg Rigg is no longer in his prime. Georges St-Pierre’s ninth and final welterweight title defense against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 was one of the most controversial bouts of the year.
St-Pierre, who will return to the Octagon after a three-year hiatus to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship in the Summer, beat ‘Bigg Rigg’ in a hard-fought split decision but many fans scored the fight for Hendricks.
Since then, Hendricks has struggled to generate the knockout power that made him such a dangerous foe and the Texan has gone 3-4 in his last seven fights. The former 170-pound champion recently snapped a three-fight skid after beating Hector Lombard via unanimous decision in his middleweight debut at UFC Fight Night 105.
GSP, 35, has no interest in a rematch with Hendricks despite the controversy in their 2013 bout because, in his own words, ‘the best Johny Hendricks’ is gone.
“I believe the best Johny Hendricks I’ve seen is gone,” St-Pierre said on the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast, per MMA Mania’s Ryan Harkness. “When he fought Jon Fitch, Martin Kampmann, Carlos Condit, when he fought me, I think this Johny Hendricks is gone. I didn’t feel the same pop, the same explosiveness. Maybe he’s going to prove it wrong at 185 maybe, but I feel he’s not the same anymore.”
The Canadian star didn’t completely rule out the idea of a rematch, but it will depend on how well Hendricks performs at 185 lbs.
“We’ll see what’s going to happen with him,” GSP continued. “Maybe if he bounces back like before. I believe he has the tools to go back to title contention for 185.”
St-Pierre is expected to take on Bisping during international fight week in July, although no official date or venue has been confirmed.

Source: bloody

Nate Diaz: Conor McGregor has ‘good chance’ to catch Floyd Mayweather in opening rounds

Nate Diaz believes Conor McGregor is capable of catching Floyd Mayweather with a hard shot in the first two rounds. If there’s one fighter who’s familiar with the intricacies of Conor McGregor’s boxing, it’s MMA fan favorite Nate Diaz.
The Stockton slugger has traded blows in the Octagon with McGregor for almost 35 minutes, beating the Irishman via second-round submission at UFC 196 and losing a majority decision in the pulsating five-round rematch at UFC 202.
When asked how he thought ‘The Notorious’ would fare against boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. — a fight that has been in the works since McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title at UFC 205 — Diaz was surprisingly complimentary of the 155-pound champion’s skills.
Diaz told CSN Fights that McGregor has a ‘good chance’ to catch Mayweather early but believes the fight is nothing more than a publicity stunt from both men.
“I think it is a publicity stunt but McGregor, when it comes to boxing, is good,” Diaz said on Wednesday (h/t Patrick McCarry of Sports Joe). “He’s got a good chance to make something happen in two or three rounds. If anything, he has two or three good rounds. He’s got an amateur style; he’s got good movement and good punches for six or eight minutes… He’s got a puncher’s chance, if anything.”
McGregor, 28, has excellent timing to compliment a devastating left hand, but ‘money’ is one of boxing’s pound-for-pound greats and is hailed as arguably the most defensively sound boxer ever to compete. The 40-year-old has been boxing since 1996 and has amassed a perfect record of 41-0, taking little to no damage in almost all of his fights.
Mayweather announced his retirement in 2015 after cruising to a decision win over Andre Berto but is willing to step back into the ring for a mega-money fight against McGregor.

Source: bloody

James Vick vs. Marco Polo Reyes slated for UFC 211

Another fight has been added to UFC 211.

James Vick vs. Marco Polo Reyes is slated to take place on the May 13 card in Dallas, MMA Fighting confirmed.

Vick (10-1) recently rebounded from his first professional loss when he defeated Abel Trujillo via third-round submission in February. Following the win, the Texas-native asked to fight at UFC 211, and the UFC obliged.

Reyes (7-3) has won his last four fights in a row, including three straight in the UFC.

UFC 211, co-headlined by Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos 2 for the heavyweight title and Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade for the strawweight title, will take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Source: mmafighting

Mackenzie Dern: Ronda Rousey was never an inspiration, ‘I want to be bigger than her’

Women’s BJJ phenom Mackenzie Dern wants to surpass Ronda Rousey as WMMA’s biggest star. Mackenzie Dern is, without a doubt, the fastest rising women’s MMA star outside of the UFC.
Dern, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the highly touted Wellington ‘Megaton’ Dias, is widely considered the best female submission artist in the world and has won multiple BJJ world championships.
The 23-year-old grappling phenom made her mixed martial arts debut last year and has won two straight fights, beating Kenia Rosas via unanimous decision and locking up a beautiful imanari choke against Montana Stewart at Legacy Fighting Championship 61.
Fans have already begun to draw parallels between Dern and Ronda Rousey, expecting the MMA newcomer to reach similar heights as the UFC’s biggest female star.
Dern, though, says ‘Rowdy’ has never been an inspiration and expects to surpass the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion in popularity and accomplishment.
“I definitely didn’t look up to Ronda,” Dern told (h/t MMA Imports) in a recent interview. “Maybe it was just the personality part of it. I just never really connected with that type of personality. I’ve never met her in person, so I really don’t know how she is. She definitely opened the doors for women. When I saw everything that she was able to accomplish with her skills and everything else, it made me think that I could do this.
“I never looked at her as an inspiration. I want to be bigger than her. I want to be the best Mackenzie. I think I have a different image and I can be a different kind of role model. I have a different style to her, and I want to take that as far as possible.”
Rousey, 30, spearheaded women’s MMA into the mainstream with her unparalleled accomplishments and highly relatable personality, finishing eleven out of her twelve wins in the first round.
Recently, though, the Olympic bronze medalist was knocked off the No. 1 spot in brutal fashion, losing the bantamweight title via head kick KO to Holly Holm in 2015 and succumbing to a barrage of strikes from current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. It’s unknown whether Rousey will ever return to the combat sports arena.
Dern, who could very well be WMMA’s next big star, is scheduled to take on Katherine Roy (1-0) in a 120 lbs. catchweight bout later tonight at LFA 6. Dern offered up 20% of her fighter purse because the fight was supposed to be contested at 155 lbs.

Source: bloody

UFC Fortaleza weigh-in results and video: Belfort 186, Gastelum 185

Check out the results and video for the UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum weigh-ins. The UFC Fortaleza official weigh-ins are all wrapped up, and everyone made weight. Kelvin Gastelum was 185 lbs on the nose, while his main event opponent, Vitor Belfort, tipped the scales at 186. MMA Fighting was there to film the whole thing, and you can watch at the top of the page.
The UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum ceremonial weigh-ins air at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT, and the video can be seen at the bottom of the page.
Here are the complete weigh-in results for Saturday night:
Main Card (FS1, 10 PM ET)
Vitor Belfort (186) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (185)Mauricio Rua (206) vs. Gian Villante (206)Edson Barboza (155) vs. Beneil Dariush (156)Jussier Formiga (126) vs. Ray Borg (126)Bethe Correia (136) vs. Marion Reneau (135)Alex Oliveira (171) vs. Tim Means (170)
Preliminary Card (FS1, 8 PM ET)
Francisco Trinaldo (156) vs. Kevin Lee (156)Sergio Moraes (171) vs. Davi Ramos (170)Rani Yahya (136) vs. Joe Soto (135)Michel Prazeres (156) vs. Josh Burkman (156)
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 7 PM ET)
Rony Jason (146) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (146)Garreth McLellan (184) vs. Paulo Henrique Costa (185)

Source: bloody

Diggin’ Deep on UFC Fortaleza: Belfort vs. Gastelum – Main card preview

Get an in-depth look at the action on this weekend’s main card of this weekends UFC action, featuring a pivotal lightweight contest between Edson Barboza and Beneil Dariush. Typically, when the UFC runs a six-fight main card on a Fight Night card, there are usually two contests that don’t deserve their placement on the card. Hell, it happens with PPV cards every now and then too. Remember Cynthia Calvillo and Amanda Cooper making its way to the main card of UFC 209 last week? This week, there isn’t a contest that feels out of place. I’ll admit that Bethe Correia and Marion Reneau isn’t exactly a top flight women’s bantamweight contest, but Correia’s ability to get people to care about her fights – plus Reneau’s success as she nears the age of 40 – give it enough intrigue to justify it’s place on the card. Overall, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this card and very little has to do with the main or co-main event.
The main card begins on FS1 at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT on Saturday.
Edson Barboza (18-4) vs. Beneil Dariush (14-2), Lightweight
Easily the fight I’m most excited about on this card, Barboza and Dariush are battling it out to position themselves for a chance at… I don’t know what. We don’t know if Conor McGregor will ever defend this belt – let alone any belt – and Khabib Nurmagomedov’s weight cutting situation complicated matters further. Regardless of what they’re fighting for, this should be a good one.
Few specialize more in the striking department more than Barboza. His kicks may be the single most devastating weapon in the lightweight division. We’ve all seen the highlight of his spinning wheel kick on Terry Etim a thousand times to perfectly illustrate that point, though I’m willing to watch it a thousand more. He has also ended three contests – two in the UFC — due to a barrage of leg kicks that left his opponents unable to stand. Early in his UFC career, Barboza relied on those kicks as his primary weapon. Now they serve as a dangerous compliment to his boxing which has been honed under Mark Henry in recent years. He counters effectively while working behind a potent jab and has learned to stand his ground and throwdown when opponents try to pressure him at the right time, something he struggled with earlier in his career.
Dariush has also developed a very sound boxing game in recent years, though his wheelhouse comes from the BJJ world. A no-gi world champion, Dariush has few peers in terms of pure grappling. He was submitted last year by Michael Chiesa with a RNC, though a lot of that can be attributed to overconfidence by Dariush. Don’t expect the Iranian-born fighter to make that same mistake any time soon. When focused, Dariush is very technical with his guard passes who is at his best searching for chokes. His wrestling has come along relatively well too as he utilizes good timing to make up for his lack of explosion.
The question is whether or not he’ll be able to get Barboza down. Once upon a time, Barboza’s takedown defense was a major question mark. Not so much now. He has only been taken down once since 2014 despite having faced the likes of Gilbert Melendez, Tony Ferguson, Michael Johnson, Bobby Green, and Evan Dunham, all plus wrestlers. He’s even begun mixing in his own occasional takedowns, giving his opponents something else to think about.
Dariush’s standup is going to be the key as there is no guarantee that he’ll be able to get the fight to the ground. Though Barboza has responded better to pressure in recent contests, that is still the best option for Dariush to utilize successfully. Having been learning under Rafael Cordeiro, Dariush has the proper tools with a steady jab and a variety of kicks to implement it successfully. Though his clinch isn’t often thought of as a strength, Dariush is very dangerous from there too.
I’m sure most are writing off Dariush as Barboza is in the prime of his career with wins over former champions in Melendez and Pettis now on his resume. It would be foolish to do so as Dariush’s grappling far outstrips what Barboza has to offer. However, Dariush also has enough holes in his striking defense that I think Barboza will be able to land a hard shot to put the Iranian transplant to sleep. Either way, I expect this to be a hell of a contest. Barboza via TKO of RD2
Jussier Formiga (19-4) vs. Ray Borg (10-2), Flyweight
Excellent job by UFC matchmakers with this contest as Borg appeared to have a breakout performance against Louis Smolka to close out 2016. Is he on his way to a title shot? We may be able to get our answer if he can overcome longtime flyweight mainstay Formiga.
Easily the most accomplished flyweight that Demetrious Johnson has yet to dispose of, Formiga has seemingly been near the top of the division forever. It was all the way back in 2011 when Ian McCall beat him to claim the title as the world’s top flyweight. Despite it being six years ago, Formiga is still only 31-years old and has improved since that time. Though his striking and wrestling skills will never catch up to his world-class BJJ, they have become more than respectable enough that he has recent clear cut wins over Dustin Ortiz and Wilson Reis to go along with a split decision loss to recent title challenger Henry Cejudo.
Borg presents a far different kind of challenge than any of those other names present. Small for flyweight – despite him missing weight for the Smolka contest – Borg is the only one who poses as a legitimate challenge to Demetrious Johnson’s title of quickest fighter in the world. Few are better in transitions than Borg as it is almost impossible to beat him to a spot or avoid him getting to a dominant position. That isn’t to say Borg doesn’t have flaws. His strikes merely serve to cover distance on his takedown entries and he has been overpowered in the past by more powerful opponents.
Nobody will confuse Formiga for a powerhouse, but he is bigger than Borg and technically proficient enough to stuff most of Borg’s takedown attempts. He has also developed good timing on his counter punches and it will surprise no one if he is able to catch Borg with a hard right upon his entries. Despite the lack of respect given to his standup, Formiga can stun an opponent with his fists. Like Borg, Formiga exercises great top control. The difference is that Formiga relies more on technique and positioning whereas Borg simply beats his opponent to where they look to go.
Yes, I admit I’ve slanted this preview in favor of Formiga. I do expect him to win after all. That doesn’t mean I’m not giving Borg a fair shake. He can easily win if his speed is too much for Formiga to overcome, a viable possibility. However, Borg hasn’t been able to beat an opponent with a decent wrestling game yet and Formiga’s is very good. Should be a fun contest… if you enjoy grappling. Formiga via decision
Bethe Correia (10-2) vs. Marion Reneau (7-3), Women’s Bantamweight
Who would have thought there would be the slightest chance that Correia would ever be able to climb back up into contention after being dismantled by Ronda Rousey 19 months ago? Given the lack of depth at bantamweight – potentially depleted further depending on who jumps to featherweight – she could be right back into the mix with a win here.
Reneau shouldn’t be ignored either as she does own a victory over strawweight title challenger Jessica Andrade. It’s just that it is kind of hard to see her advancing further than she already has given that she turns 40-years old later this year. Regardless, she does have a few advantages on the more renowned Correia that could lead to her upsetting the Brazilian in her home country. Reneau is a better athlete. She has a four-inch reach advantage. And she has the superior ground game. Add those things up and more often than not you’ll emerge the victor.
Despite all of those disadvantages, Correia is the favorite with sound reasoning. True, she hasn’t shown a very deep ground game nor much of an inclination to take the fight there with one takedown over her six UFC contests. What she has is terrific takedown defense and a very technical boxing game that is still improving. It’s easy to forget that Correia’s pro career began less than five years ago as she rose to prominence so quickly. She operates at a fast pace, replete with slick combinations, well-timed counters, and complimentary leg kicks. She doesn’t have a lot of power, though her pace is enough to wear out her opponents for a late stoppage.
Reneau has improved her striking skills, mostly operating behind a jab with the occasional front and round kick. Despite the advancement in her standup, she can’t compete with the volume or technique of Correia and will likely try to get the fight to the ground. Given Correia’s takedown defense and Reneau’s own shallow takedown skills, it will be tough for her. Reneau is strong in the clinch, using head positioning and underhooks to control and wear her opponents down. That would be her best chance to get the smaller frame of Correia to the ground where Reneau’s superior submission skills and economical ground strikes could come into play.
While Correia is at the physical disadvantage, I can’t recall a contest in the UFC where she has had the advantage. Well… maybe the Shayna Baszler fight as Baszler was at the end of her rope. The point is, Correia is used to outworking and outsmarting her opponents to pick up the win. Reneau is a tough challenge, presenting a blend of brains and brawn that Correia has yet to overcome. I still think the Brazilian will be able to pull it out, but just barely. Correia via decision
Alex Oliveira (16-4-1, 2 NC) vs. Tim Means (26-7-1, 1 NC), Welterweight
Following a controversial ending to their contest at the end of the previous year, Oliveira and Means rematch in Brazil to settle the score once and for all. If it goes down the way of the first bout before the ending, we’re in for a treat.
Oliveira deserved a victory by the letter of the law as he was clearly a downed opponent when Means nailed him with a pair of knees to the head. Nonetheless, it was declared a no contest and a no contest it will be. At least it has taken the focus off of his botched weight cut against Will Brooks…. Regardless, Oliveira has made welterweight his permanent home, so he shouldn’t have any more issues with his weight cut. The physically gifted Brazilian usually has a reach advantage and this contest will be no exception, though he’ll only have an inch on Means. Oliveira prefers to stay on the outside and pick apart his opponents with a jab and rangy kicks. He attempted to do so early in the first contest, but was unable to do so due to Means’ pressure. Instead, he resorted to fighting in close quarters where Means is at his best.
It isn’t that Oliveira is poor in the clinch. He’s very good from there as he uses his natural strength to bully his opponent a wrack them with knees to head and body. It’s that he isn’t nearly as technical as Means and it showed. After years in the fight game, Means has become one of the best at forcing his opponents against the cage and delivering punishment. His elbows aren’t quite at the level of Matt Brown, but they are just a step below and still capable of ending the fight. He also pushes a fast pace, forcing his opposition to expend a large amount of energy. Oliveira likes a more measured approach, so the pace will be an excellent early indicator of which way the fight is going.
Oliveira did have some success in dragging Means to the ground, but was unable to keep him there. That stays true with the traditional narrative of Means as he either makes his opponents pay a severe price for trying to get him down or pops right back up if their efforts prove successful. Oliveira’s success in getting opponents to the ground was either against lightweights or unproven talents. He hasn’t shown great takedown defense either. It isn’t that Means is a takedown artist, but he does hit the occasional reactionary takedown and has shown submission ability too.
I picked Oliveira heading into their first contest, but I’ve got to reverse course this time. The fight was going at a pace more suitable to Means with Oliveira struggling to implement his offense in any one area. He did have some success – his spinning back-kick to the gut of Means comes to mind – though not enough to convince me he can make the necessary adjustments against Means. Regardless of how it plays out, I expect it to be a good one. Means via decision
Source: bloody

Mackenzie Dern wants to follow in Conor McGregor’s footsteps, eyes two UFC belts

Mackenzie Dern is about to step inside a cage for her third professional MMA fight, but has already set high goals for her career.

The jiu-jitsu wizard takes on Katherine Roy at Friday night’s LFA 6 in San Antonio, Texas, and has already established what she wants for her run in the sport: win a pair of UFC belts and retire before she’s 30 years old.

“I’ll try to follow (Conor) McGregor’s footsteps,” Dern told MMA Fighting on Monday. “The best in the world always have goals to achieve.”

Dern competes as a strawweight, and the second belt she’s mentioning is in case the UFC creates the flyweight division for women in the future. Her bout at LFA 6 will be a 120-pound catchweight, that was arranged after she informed the promotion that she wouldn’t be able to cut down to 115 pounds.

“I think that if the UFC has a 125-pound division, I’d like to fight in that division too, see if I feel good there,” Dern said. “But I think that my height is for 115. But I need to get used to keeping my weight closer to 115. My body is different than the other strawweights.”

Aiming to make history in mixed martial arts, Dern, who is one of the best grapplers in the history of jiu-jitsu, says that she wants to be remembered when she stops competing.

“I never wanted to be just another one in jiu-jitsu,” Dern said. “Maybe there is someone in jiu-jitsu with more titles than me, but I try to be someone with a different style. I want to be remembered. We stop competing one day and all this hard work can’t be forgotten. I’m not saying that being the champion is easy, it’s actually pretty hard, but I want to be remembered and become a Hall of Famer in MMA as well.”

Ready to enter a MMA cage for the third time, Dern already has an idea of how long her career will last.

“I don’t think about fighting MMA for many years,” she said. “I don’t feel like doing like Miesha Tate, who fought MMA for 15 years, getting punched in the face. I entered MMA in the right time. I’m young. I’ll never be able to leave jiu-jitsu. I feel that one day, when I conquer everything I want in MMA, jiu-jitsu will be there for me to come back and inspire the young generation. That’s why I made this transition to MMA now. It’s the right time. Do MMA for five or six years and I’ll be fine.”

“If I can win two belts by 27, I’ll stop (fighting) earlier,” she continued. “I want to win the belt and defend it, but I wanna know the right time to stop fighting. The best in the world always set new goals, but we never know when is the right time to stop. We always want more. I wanna know when it’s time to stop. I’m really comfortable with my decision to go from jiu-jitsu to MMA now, and I hope to do the same in MMA as well.”

Dern’s opponent on Friday is 1-0 prospect Roy, who made a transition to mixed martial arts after a successful career in boxing.

“I’m expecting that she will try to put some pressure because she’s a boxer, but I’m anxious for this fight,” Dern said. “I watched one of her MMA fights, but I’m not at that level where you can watch a fight and see if she’s good or not. But we’re super confident on the ground.

“She’s the first MMA fighter I’m facing that has less experience than me, but she’s a Golden Glove champion so she’ll come to use her hands. Nobody tried to put pressure over me yet, and I think she will try to do that. But I think it’s gonna be a great fight.”

Unlike her previous MMA fights, when Dern scored a decision win and an impressive submission under the Legacy FC banner, the jiu-jitsu wizard flew to Rio de Janeiro to train with one of the best MMA athletes in the world.

“Every camp has been different,” Dern said. “This time I stayed in Brazil two months before the fight, but once again I didn’t completely stopped competing in jiu-jitsu. I fought the European championship, a superfight at Fight 2 Win. I kept mixing it up, MMA and jiu-jitsu. The one thing that changed and was great is that I was able to train with Jose Aldo and his striking coach Emerson Falcao to learn different things and evolve as an athlete. It was really nice.”

Source: mmafighting

Defense begins Christy Mack cross-examination at War Machine trial

The fourth day of the War Machine trial saw Christy Mack cross-examined by the defense attorney.  Christy Mack returned to the stand on the fourth day of the so-called War Machine trial to complete the prosecution’s questioning and take part in the defense’s cross-examination process.
Thursday’s session at the Clark County courtroom began with Mack answering a handful of questions as the key witness to the prosecution’s case. Once Deputy District Attorney, Jacqueline Bluth completed her presentation, the stage was set for the cross-examination process to begin.
Defense Attorney Jay Liederman led the cross-examination, which covered a wide range of topics, including Mack’s relationship with ex-boyfriend Jon Koppenhaver, the extent of her liver injury, and the frequency of her meetings with the Clark County District Attorney’s Officer, which, according to, aimed to suggest that Mack was being coached. He even asked about her increase in Twitter followers and line of emojis, which he noted features icons of Mack with facial injuries. The defense could suggest that Mack had profited off her near-death experience.

Mack emojis with bruises. @News3LV— Antonio Castelan (@AntonioNews3LV) March 9, 2017

Following a 90-minute recess, Liederman resumed his presentation and asked a series of short questions relating to various pictures of Koppenhaver and Mack in photoshoots, as well as at Bellator events (to highlight Mack blowing a kiss at Koppenhaver). Some showed Koppenhaver biting Mack’s ear. At one point, the defense presented a picture of Koppenhaver’s arm around Mack and asked if he was choking her in it.
“I wouldn’t consider that a choke,” said Mack. “For all intents and purposes, he is just resting his arm on my shoulder.”
The defense then asked Mack about a nude photo she had texted Koppenhaver the night of the attack, showing the jury that there had been contact between the two hours before the alleged assault. Mack confirmed the interaction, though didn’t know if the picture shown was the one she sent him.
Koppenhaver is on trial for 34 felony charges, including attempted murder, kidnapping and various counts of sexual assault. The fighter pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts.
The cross-examination will resume on Friday.
Source: bloody

Despite UFC return, Georges St-Pierre still a part of MMAAA: ‘I am not a coward’

Georges St-Pierre may officially be back under the UFC umbrella, but that hasn’t changed his desire to see change in the sport.

St-Pierre stated unequivocally Monday on The MMA Hour that despite his Octagon comeback, he remains a committed member and supporter of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), the fledging association launched by he and and four other UFC fighters in November which seeks to level the playing field between the UFC and its athletes.

“A lot of guys are fighting and they’re still part of the association. One thing that I am not, I am not a coward,” St-Pierre explained. “And it’s not because I’m back in UFC that I’m going throw (away) all of these who had the courage to step up with me, and I’m going to let them down. I’m not like that.

“What I said was true, what I believe. I believe some of the fighters, they don’t have their fair share of the pie. And I still do believe it.”

St-Pierre, 35, was a founding member of the MMAAA, which launched last year with the support of fellow UFC fighters Cain Velasquez, Donald Cerrone, T.J. Dillashaw, and Tim Kennedy. The group announced its presence with a primary objective of bringing UFC fighters together under one association in order to improve the revenue disparity between athletes and the promotion, and ultimately negotiate a collective-bargaining agreement with the UFC.

Considering St-Pierre’s status as one of the most popular and successful fighters in the sport’s history, the former champion’s involvement with the MMAAA served as a signal to many observers that St-Pierre had given up his pursuit of finding common ground with the UFC in order to once again compete. But according to St-Pierre, that was never the case.

“I didn’t see the association as me not coming back,” St-Pierre said. “I see the association as something that could work with UFC for the benefit of the fighters. And I still believe it, as it is today. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for UFC. In long run, it would be a good thing. I believe fighters need to upgrade their status.

“The thing, too, is UFC is a business, and of course a lot of fighters, sometimes they’re not very well represented and they sign bad deals. It’s not the UFC’s fault if [fighters] sign bad deals. Sometimes it’s because they make the wrong choice themselves. If you’re in business and the guy is ready to sign for peanuts, that’s not necessarily the UFC’s fault sometimes. It’s the fighter’s fault. So I think it’s up to the fighters to take the initiative for themselves as well. It goes both ways. I think the association can be positive for both sides.”

St-Pierre speaks from experience when it comes to negotiating deals. The Canadian icon first announced his desire to return to MMA in June 2016, however it took more than nine months and a roller-coaster of ups and downs before a renegotiated contract could be finalized with the UFC.

St-Pierre said the deal he ultimately signed — a new four-fight contract that kicks off with a title shot against UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping — was a way for he and the UFC to meet in the middle of both parties’ initial demands.

“To tell you truth, how it is, it’s not exactly what we wanted,” St-Pierre said. “It’s a little bit below what we really wanted in the beginning. But for the UFC, it’s more than what they were ready to give me. So we’re both unhappy in a way, which is the middle ground and I guess it’s a good thing. It’s like a settlement in court, right? If both parties are unhappy, I guess it’s a good thing.

“That’s how it is,” St-Pierre continued. “And also the love for the sport, I was excited, I wanted to be back. The emotional side of it made me go for it. We accepted the deal and I don’t regret it. I’m happy. I’m happy with what I do. If you ask me if it’s what we wanted originally, no it’s not; it’s a little bit low, but it’s still very good money, it’s still very close, and it’s apparently higher than what they were ready to give me. So like I said, we both made concessions on each part, not only on the one side, but on both sides, and that’s why the deal was made.”

Source: mmafighting