(Henderson, seen here making Shane Roller rapidly consider cutting to featherweight at WEC 40.)
No, we are not jumping on the Nate Diaz bandwagon. Not yet, at least.
In a recent interview with MMAJunkie, current UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson resentfully admitted something that no athlete is ever quick to declare: He ain’t getting any younger. And because of this, it is getting harder and harder for a massive lightweight such as “Smooth” to make the required cut for each of his title defenses. How much weight does he cut? Henderson didn’t reveal the exact number, but several close sources claimed that the lightweight champ normally resides around the 180-pound mark often up to just a few days out from fight night. It’s a massive, draining cut for any athlete to undergo, and as we’ve seen in the past, can have devastating effects on the human body. Henderson is no different, and acknowledged that he has struggled to deal with the cut as he has gotten older:
When I was in college and wrestling, I would wrestle all day long and not get tired. I remember wrestling hard for five hours – literally five hours hard – and be just fine. I would eat friggin’ Taco Bell, be fine, and wrestle again.
I’m growing, but as far as maturing and getting thicker, I think I’m getting older right now, and it’s getting harder for me to lose the weight … and it’s harder for me to keep the weight off.
Henderson’s UFC on FOX 5 opponent, Nate Diaz, is no stranger to the difficulty of weight cutting, having moved up to welterweight to fight on several occasions but finding much less success there. The same could be argued for Henderson, who stands at a mere 5 foot 9 and would hold a distinct size disadvantage were he to move up in weight. But according to Henderson, it is only a matter of time until the choice is no longer an option.
UFC light heavyweight Vinny Magalhaes, his spiritual leader Eddie Bravo and middleweight light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen should just go ahead and form a trolling-themed old-school pro wrestling stable with one another already. Chael’s verbal and written nonsense are well documented, as is Bravo’s weed-induced outlandish comedy/self-promotion.
For his part, Vinny has shown every indication that he’s learned a lot from both of them after studying Jiu Jitsu with Bravo and being in camp with Chael. The Brazilian is no stranger to going on The Underground and writing attention-grabbing posts that are often tongue in cheek.
Ahead of helping Sonnen prepare for his recently announced April title fight against Jon Jones, however, Vinny has turned up the troll volume. In a recent interview with Aaron Tru, Vinny managed to insult Jones and Vitor Belfort, as well as back down from a recent twitter request of his to fight Phil Davis. Check out Tru’s video interview for the Davis back-tracking and more. Here’s a choice nugget where Magalhaes professes his undying faith in Chael Sonnen’s submission abilities (?):
(We’re sorry, Stephan, but unless those things are actual guns, you’re getting your ass kicked tonight.)
In the days leading up to UFC 153, many of you (and by you, we mean the entire MMA Interwebz) had some less than favorable things to say about the pairing of Stephan Bonnar and Anderson Silva. As if the bookies hadn’t told us all we needed to know, the general consensus among fans seemed to be the evening’s main event was a “travesty, a sham, and a mockery” that “blasphemed the great sport of MMA” and was a “completely meaningless squash match” whose “insulting pairing” would be reflected in “the abysmal pay-per-view numbers it receives.” And those were the favorable comments.
But for every fifteen of you complaining, there were apparently five or more of you who were forced to stifle your true excitement over this matchup like a pedo at a tee-ball game, because if the early numbers are any indication, squash matches featuring unstoppable killing machines are the new superfights. According to several reports, the pay-per-view numbers for UFC 153 are in the range of 340,00 to 410,000 buys. These numbers not only exceeded expectation, but are not that far below September’s squash match of the month featuring Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort, which managed to clear over 450,000 buys despite having those little guys that no one cares about fighting in the night’s co-main event.
(It’s the fight *business*, okay? It’s not the fight let’s-be-best-friends-and-attend-the-Paranormal-Activity-4-premiere-together-and-share-a-large-Sprite-and-”accidentally”-brush-hands-during-the-scary-parts.)
Could Anderson Silva be shifting his stance on a potential superfight with Jon Jones? In a new interview with SporTV, the Spider actually makes that match sound like a possibility for the first time, but only under specific circumstances — namely, if Jones accepts the fight first, and the fight is held at a catchweight, and his middleweight belt isn’t on the line. Still, that’s progress, right? Here’s Silva’s quote:
“People are talking about [a Silva/Jones superfight] so much that… I don’t have this ambition, this (fight) doesn’t motivate me, especially since they have other athletes in my team, such as Lil’ Nog, Maldonado, Feijao, Caldeirao (Wagner Prado), that are in his weight class. My weight class is 185, my belt is of that weight class. But people are talking so much about this, and we are employees of the UFC.
Of course, I could be saying that I don’t want it, but what if he goes out and accepts the money Dana is proposing for him to fight? It will be hard (not to accept it). It’s not the money that motivates me to fight, I fight because I like it. So, I don’t know. I wouldn’t like (to fight him). But if it’s going to happen, it would have to be at a catchweight. The belt shouldn’t be at play. I already have mine and I don’t want a belt to be left at the side.”
Believe it or not, Potato Nation, but there was a brief moment in time when Chael Sonnen was supposed to rematch Forrest Griffin in his return to the light heavyweight division at UFC 155. You might not remember it due to the fact that upon announcing his change in weight class, Sonnen almost immediately skipped over Griffin to set his sights on Jon Jones, a decision that proved ultimately fruitful. Surprisingly, FoGriff seemed at least partially relieved not to be fighting that “boring” Sonnen fellow, but when he is made aware that he’s now been called out by Antonio “Lil’ Nog” Nogueira because of it, we imagine he’s going to wish he could still fight the middleweight wrestler with no KO power and poor submission defense who he has already beaten.
One thing you might recall is that Griffin and Nog were set to meet way back at UFC 114 before a shoulder injury forced the TUF 1 winner out of the contest. Griffin was replaced by Jason Brilz, who turned in one of the most respectable losses in UFC, nay, MMA history that night, coming up just short by way of split decision. Since then, Lil’ Nog has gone 1-2, dropping a pair of UD’s to wrestlers Ryan Bader and Phil Davis before beating the poop out of Tito Ortiz at UFC 140. Griffin is also coming off a win over “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” (I refuse to acknowledge this “People’s Champ” nonsense), albeit by another close decision in their trilogy-completing/Ortiz-retiring match at UFC 148.
TUF 17 coachesJon Jones and Chael Sonnen, along with UFC president Dana White and FX exec Chuck Saftler, hosted a media conference call yesterday in which they promoted the upcoming season and fielded questions from baffled reporters. It was a lively affair, marked by an unusually aggressive Jon Jones — Chael tends to bring that out of people — and some interesting revelations about the future of The Ultimate Fighter. Here are some highlights…
FX is moving TUF off Friday nights, and preparing for a war with Spike: “The show is going to move off of Friday nights,” Saftler said. “I can’t confirm the day right now, but it’s definitely moving off of Friday, it’s definitely moving to a weekday. There will be an announcement on that somewhere in the next 30 to 45 days. But I will say that Spike should watch their ass. Spike clearly has been dogging us for most of this year…by trying to create viewer confusion and scheduling old episodes against ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and trying to pass them off as new content. They’ll be off of the UFC game effective in January. They’re going to try to launch a new product, there’s going to try to launch their own reality show that competes with ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ or does a very similar thing with their Bellator product. We watched how they behaved, and we’re well aware of their behavior and how they’ve acted competitively…I’m not ready to commit to (scheduling TUF directly against the Bellator show on Spike), but we’re certainly going to be watching how they schedule, what they schedule and where they schedule.”
Jones vs. Sonnen “made sense,” according to Dana White: “Basically, we got the word when Jon went out and got his elbow checked, that he was out and couldn’t come back until April,” White explained. “So it made sense* for him to do The Ultimate Fighter. Why block up [the division]? Machida can fight. Dan Henderson can fight. Gustafsson and Shogun are going to fight in December. Everything will keep right on moving…These guys will both coach The Ultimate Fighter. They’ll fight when the season’s over, and then whoever’s next in line at 205 pounds can fight Jon Jones** next for the title.”
(This fan-made hype video was first posted to YouTube on September 30th. Wow. CletusDamVan must have read The Secret.)
Ugh, you guys, I had the worst dream last night. I was at home, but it was actually the house I grew up in, you know? I was watching TV, and suddenly all the lights went out. Dana White walked in through the back door. He told me — and here’s the freaky part — that Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen would be coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, and they’d actually be fighting for the light-heavyweight belt in April. I was like, “Why? Why are you doing this?” And he said, “Because I fucking hate you.” And when he said that, I realized it wasn’t Dana White, it was my own father. Then, my teeth started cracking and falling out one by one, and-OH MY GOD NO! AHHHHHHHH! THIS CAN’T HAPPEN! THIS CAN’T HAPPEN! [scene]
Look, we’re not alone in our utter distaste for this booking. Elsewhere on the Internet, pundits have called Jones vs. Sonnen (vs. TUF) a thinly-veiled money grab that reeks of desperation and sets a horrible precedent. But this matchup is now our reality, and we have to deal with reality on reality’s terms. Here’s a sample of the fallout and news updates that yesterday’s bombshell kicked up:
- Tweet of the Day, from Dan Henderson: “I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to shit talking school. @danawhite”. Dan and Chael might be bros from way back, but that clearly doesn’t make this news any easier for Hendo to swallow. It’s insulting, really. Henderson is still the most rightful challenger to Jones’s belt, but an ill-timed injury has apparently put him on the UFC’s “pay no mind” list. Don’t make us say it.
This is madness, pure and simple. Let’s look past the fact that Chael Sonnen has not fought at light heavyweight since his UFC debut way back at UFC 55, or the fact that he was supposed to fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 155, or that he is just coming off a loss to Anderson Silva, or that there is at least one legitimate contender in line before him, or that Dana White just got through telling us that the winner of Shogun/Gustafsson would likely receive the next title shot. Actually, we can’t look past any of that. In no alternate universe does this matchup make sense.
That simple phrase — seemingly based on nothing other than his own desire to promote the fight, and his long-standing belief that any fighter can be convinced to do anything if you put enough money in front of them — resulted in a predictable firestorm on twitter. There were the gullible UFC-marks who expressed their excitement for the match as if it was already booked, and the detractors who questioned if Dana could actually put it together.
Props to Reddit/MMA for capturing part of the ensuing tantrum…