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Tag: Matt Hughes

TUF or WTF?: A Season-by-Season Retrospective of The Ultimate Fighter


(Thanks to tufentertainment.net for the fitting logo.)

By Nathan Smith

With the recent announcement that Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin have been named as the coaches for the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter series, the MMA universe immediately launched into a full-blow orgasmic ticker-tape parade complete with tons of flying confetti and a marching band belting out death metal tunes. Once I heard the news, it was as if my life instantaneously turned into a beer commercial and the entire Potato Nation was invited. There was a rad pool-party, barbeque, a plethora of hotties, endless alcohol, and an overall quest for fun.

Well . . . . . actually, none of that happened. In fact, when word spread that Nelson and Carwin would helm the next season of TUF, it was officially filed under “WTF?” Judging from the comment section, most of the CP brethren didn’t care for the choices either. TUF is coming off a season that saw the ratings dip lower than they ever had, which could partially be blamed on the move to FX and the dreaded Friday night time slot. Regardless of the variables for the ratings drop, something drastic needs to be done, but is anybody really convinced that Carwin and Nelson are the answer to TUF’s slow and painful demise? Let’s start from the beginning and take a look back to see if this runaway train can be coaxed back onto the main rail.

The Season That Started it All 

The inaugural season of TUF featured future Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture as the competing coaches who would go mano y mano at the PPV after the season finale. For fans of the UFC, that was good enough for most to initially tune in for the Fertitta-funded experiment. It still remains the best crop of young talent and personalities to ever grace the show; future stars like Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Josh Koscheck, Chris Leben, Diego Sanchez, Mike Swick, Kenny Florian, and Nate Quarry were all complete unknowns vying for stardom in a fledgling sport. You mix in the whole “fatherless bastard” angle and the show was off and running even before the awe-inspiring climax between (pre TRT) FoGrif and The American Psycho. Even before that, we were treated to the greatest speech of all time that has since been condensed into a few words. “Do you wanna be a fighter?” Though there were other memorable moments from the seasons that followed, Zuffa should have quit while they were ahead because it would never be this good again. The unrefined personification of immature talent, undeniable aspirations and gonzo-sized balls oozed from the boob tube during every episode.

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CagePotato Roundtable #14: Who Was the Greatest American Fighter in MMA History?


(Little known fact: The original version of America the Beautiful contained a fifth verse about Don Frye’s shorts.)

In honor of our country’s 236th birthday, we’ve got a special CagePotato Roundtable discussion for you guys: Who was the greatest American MMA fighter of all time? Because let’s face it, America is exceptional, and we produce the best goddamned fighters in the world. SORRY LIBERAL MEDIA, I SAID IT. Enjoy, and if you have an idea for a future Roundtable topic, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com. And hey, be careful with those bottle rockets, okay?

Ben Goldstein
 

What do MMA legends Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, Kazushi Sakuraba, Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, and Mark Coleman have in common? They all started their careers within 11 months of Dan Henderson‘s professional debut in June 1997. And where are those guys now? Retired, pretty much retired, retiring this weekend, completely washed up, close to retirementretired, and retired unless Herschel Walker picks up the phone. Meanwhile, Hendo is preparing for his next title fight in September. Does the TRT help? Sure, though I don’t think you can credit Henderson’s heart, balls, and H-bomb power to a little hormonal help. (You also have to give some props to the Jam Gym.)

I’d stack Dan’s accomplishments up against any other fighter in this roundtable discussion — the unprecedented two-division title reign in PRIDE, the five single-night tournament sweeps, the stunning knockouts of Wanderlei Silva, Michael Bisping, and Fedor Emelianenko — but what makes him America’s MMA G.O.A.T. is his incredible longevity. Dan Henderson has been a top-ten fighter longer than anybody else in the history of the sport. I can only think of two other MMA fighters who started their careers 15 years ago who are still considered viable stars, and neither of them are American: Vitor Belfort, whose career was plagued by long stretches of injury and inconsistency, and Anderson Silva, who’s a freakish exception to any rule.

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Oh, The Horror: Is Renzo Gracie Headed Back to the UFC?

At what point in a fighter’s career is it considered cruel and unusual punishment to allow them to compete? Sure, Randy Couture fought until he was 47, and Dan Severn is still beating up any homeless person that accidentally stumbled into the cage for a pint of Guinness and a pat on the back, but those gents are simply the exceptions that prove the rule. Guys like Ken Shamrock, on the other hand, are doing nothing more than shortening their lifespan each time they step into the ring, and for what? An attempt to recapture some former glory, or a feeling of youth? We know it damn sure isn’t in the hopes of recapturing a title, but then again, a passion is a passion, and if an obviously past their prime athlete wants to continue fighting at the detriment of their own health, who are we to say otherwise? It’s up to the promoters to cut them loose, not the fighters, and as we’ve seen in the story of Scott Hall, sometimes it is these very promoters who seem unable to make that distinction.

We’re rambling, of course, about the reports that BJJ/coaching legend Renzo Gracie is preparing for a second run in the UFC. At age 45.

Now, we’re not here to bash a freakin’ Gracie of all people for wanting to give the UFC another go, but this just seems like a terrible idea in every sense of the word.

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Friday Link Dump: Matt Hughes’s Latest Conquest, Bob Sapp’s Latest Humiliation, Three-Way MMA Insanity + More


(Look, he killed that thing fair and square, and whatever he decides to do with it is his business. / Props: The UG)

- UFC 146 Heavyweights Predict Strikeforce Grand Prix Final (Fightline)

Bob Sapp Continues to Find New Ways to Embarrass Himself (BleacherReport/MMA)

Three Guys Fighting MMA Inside a Pit Makes No Sense, But We Still Have Video of It (MiddleEasy)

Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir, and the Video Game Showdown That Wasn’t (MMAFighting)

- ‘Inside the Cage’ Unscripted #2: Casey and Cyrus Interview Pro Wrestling Legend Ricky Morton (MMAInsideTheCageTV)

A Weird and Nasty Shin Break During a Muay Thai Fight (BloodyElbow)

Fighter Babe Lauren Sugihara Returns to the Ring Tomorrow (Babes of MMA)

- The All-New “F*ck You” Pizza From Pizza Hut (WorldWideInterweb)

- Huey Lewis Is Not “Punk,” You Idiots (HolyTaco)

- The 7 Most Comfortable Cars to Have Sex In (MadeMan)

Sugar Makes You Stupid (MensFitness)

Diablo 3′s Botched Launch: 3 Reasons Gamers Should Care (GameFront)

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According to Dana White, BJ Penn and Tito Ortiz are “Definitely” Headed to the UFC Hall of Fame


(My qualifications? HERE’S my stinking qualifications!)

It looks like we’ll have to start drafting up new t-shirts to falsely promise you guys, because according to a recent interview with MMAFighting, UFC President Dana White was rather frank about his desire for both former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and former lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn to be placed in the UFC Hall of Fame in the near future. Though the jury is still out on whether or not Penn will return to the octagon following his hasty retirement in the aftermath of UFC 137, DW had nothing but positives to say about “The Prodigy” when asked on the possibility of his placement in the HOF:

Definitely. The thing about B.J. Penn is that what he brought to the lightweight division, there was a point in time when we first bought this company when people thought guys in the lighter weight divisions couldn’t be stars and couldn’t see pay-per-views and couldn’t cross over. B.J. Penn was definitely that first crossover guy for us. He’ll be back. It’s tough, when there are 16,000 people in the arena chanting your name, it’s tough to walk away from that. B.J. Penn is a fighter. You hear some of these guys, and Tito was one of these guys, he said he wanted to be famous. B.J. Penn is a fighter.

So there you have it, Penn will join long-time rival Matt Hughes, as well as Randy Couture, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Mark Coleman, Royce Gracie, Chuck Liddell, and Tapout co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis in that deluxe octagon in the sky. After a pair of unsuccessful title bids at 155, Penn won the welterweight title in his welterweight debut by defeating the then untouchable Hughes by first round rear-naked choke at UFC 46. Penn would vacate the UFC shortly thereafter, citing a lack of challenging fights, and would not taste UFC gold again until beating the ever-loving shit out of Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 to claim the vacant lightweight strap. He would defend the belt three times until being upended by Frankie Edgar at UFC 112.

When addressing the possibility of Tito Ortiz joining those illustrious ranks, White did not shy away from the pair’s well-documented rocky history, and in fact stated that, in retrospect, it helped make the UFC what it is today.

Hear more from The Baldfather after the jump. 

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Wednesday Morning MMA Link Club: Dominick Cruz Goes Hard, Tosh.0′s MMA Redemption, Ronda Rousey’s Violent Past + More


(Don’t forget: Submissions for our Urijah Faber t-shirt design contest with Punch Buddies must be sent to contest@cagepotato.com by the end of today. Good luck! / California Kid action figure via Ben S.)

Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere…

- TUF 15: Number One Pick Justin Lawrence Looks to Back Up the Hype Against Cristiano Marcello (MMA Mania)

- Inside Dominick Cruz’s Training Camp for UFC 148 Fight With Urijah Faber (Video) (Lowkick.Blitzcorner.com)

- Dan Hardy Wants To Fight ‘That Blood Thirsty Kill Freak’ Matt Hughes (MMA Convert)

- Remember the Guy Who Got Choked Out by a Girl? Tosh.0 Is Giving Him a Shot at Redemption (MiddleEasy)

- Jon Jones On Rashad Evans Having His Number: ‘He Doesn’t Even Have My Area Code’ (FightLine)

- Bryan Caraway Wouldn’t Be First Guy Ronda Rousey Has Beaten Up (Video) (5th Round)

- Jose Aldo Says He Will Move to 155 Pounds If Frankie Edgar Doesn’t Drop Down (BleacherReport.com/MMA)

- Josh Barnett Feels TRT Exemptions Don’t Make Sense (The Fight Nerd)

- Cameras Follow “Mayhem” Miller for Morgan Spurlock Documentary (Five Ounces of Pain)

- Hitman-TapouT Lawsuit Heating Up (MMA Payout)

- Mike Kogan Has Had Enough of Rampage’s UFC Complaints (Fight Opinion)

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CagePotato Roundtable #1: What’s Your Favorite Come-From-Behind Win in MMA History?

CagePotato Roundtable is a new recurring column in which the CagePotato writing staff (and some of our friends) share their opinions on an MMA-related topic, and hopefully inspire some discussion among our readers as well. For the inaugural installment, we took inspiration from Joe Rogan’s enthusiastic crowning of last weekend’s Tim Boetch vs. Yushin Okami fight as “the greatest comeback in the history of the UFC.” That’s debatable, to say the least — but isn’t everything? So what *was* the greatest comeback fight in MMA history?

Seth Falvo
When Joe Rogan first called The Barbarian’s victory the greatest comeback in UFC history, my first thought was “Come on, Joe, are you seriously the only MMA fan who hasn’t seen Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Bob Sapp?” That comeback exposed Sapp for the overhyped freak that he was while establishing the legend of Big Nog and his ability to come from behind to win fights. Hell, we at Cagepotato consider it to be the best freak show fight to ever come out of Japan. But in fairness to Joe Rogan, that fight didn’t take place in the UFC. So my second thought was “Come on, Joe, are you seriously the only UFC fan who hasn’t seen Mike Russow vs. Todd Duffee?”

What makes this comeback so great was the fact that Todd Duffee and Mike Russow were essentially photo negatives of each other. Before this fight, Duffee was destined to be the next big thing in the UFC’s heavyweight division, having just tied the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history in his promotional debut against Tim Hague. Duffee was on the cover of Muscle & Fitness, the poster boy for Muscletech and seemingly in every men’s magazine on the planet — no matter how loosely the content was related to sports. Meanwhile, Russow was quietly coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Justin McCully in his UFC debut and had more fat in his left bicep than Todd Duffee had in his entire body. Everything about this fight seemed like it was a squash match.

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MMA Yearbook Photo of the Day: Most Likely to Lick Your Blood

BJ Penn yearbook photo UFC MMA photos

When you see it, you’ll shit poi. Props: Reddit MMA.

Related:
- Couture and Cozad: True Players
- God Made Two of ‘Em

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Watch All of UFC 29: Defense of the Belts Right Here and Get Your Japan-o-stalgia On

Part 1

Part 2

(Props to Allfreefightvideos for the…uh…free fight videos.) 

The sixteenth of December in the year 2000 marked the last time the UFC made an appearance in the Land of the Rising Sun, and to celebrate, we’ve managed to pull some strings and dig up the entire pay-per-view event for your viewing pleasure. Because here at CP, we like to consider ourselves the cool step dads of the MMA blogosphere. Though we may not be around as much as we should, when we show up, you best believe we bring the nudie mags, cigarettes, and that funny smelling water that makes you all giggly and tired. Sure, your mom says it’s evil and thinks it killed your old dad, and sure, when you come to there’s change missing off the dresser, but at the end of the day, you’re just happy we brought you a gift, right?

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Booking Roundup: ‘Dan Hardy’s Comeback’ Edition


(We know Dan, he watches over us all.) 

It looks like Dan Hardy won’t be getting that fight against Matt Hughes he was angling for. And thank God, because we hear Hughes’ country breakfasts consist of Ovaltine and Total these days (we kind, we kid; they consist of grilled bobcat).  

After going 0-4 through 2010 and 2011, Hardy has been matched up with a perfect opponent to kickstart 2012, when he takes on UFC veteran Duane “Bang” Ludwig at UFC 146. Hardy, who has not fought since falling to a third round guillotine choke in Chris Lytle’s retirement bout in August of 2011, took some time off to refocus, train, and get pestered by drunken fans. Ludwig also saw his last fight end by way of guillotine, only he chose to adhere to the “tapping is for bitches” rule when he was choked out by Josh Neer at UFC on FX. The loss snapped a two fight win streak for Ludwig, his first since 2008, which included wins over Nick Osipczak and Amir Sadollah.

Although this wasn’t the match Hardy wanted, you gotta imagine he’ll be stoked knowing he’s taking on a fellow slugger with a limited ground game. But it will be interesting to see if Hardy follows a more subdued gameplan here. Like we said, the man’s dropped 4 straight, and another loss could mean his Zuffa career. Then again, the only reason that he is still in the UFC is thanks to his consistently exciting performances, so a snoozer against Ludwig seems unlikely. Let’s just sit back and enjoy what is sure to be a war, ladies and gentlemen.

In other UFC 146 news…

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