UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber goes down Saturday night in Las Vegas, and in case you’re feeling some MMA fatigue after five consecutive weeks of events, let us remind you — this card has the potential to be a real son-of-a-bitch. Familiarize yourself with the lineup here, and get your juices flowing again by watching some career highlights from the fighters on the card. Enjoy…
(Ryan Bader vs. Keith Jardine, UFC 110, 2/21/10)
(Melvin Guillard vs. Dennis Siver, UFC 86, 7/5/08)
According to Ortiz, the UFC was ready to let him go after his UFC 121 loss to Matt Hamill, but instead urged the former UFC light heavyweight champion to follow in the footsteps of longtime nemesis Chuck Liddell and retire to save them the trouble of sending him to the unemployment line. Tito says he basically begged Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta for one more kick at the cat and they begrudgingly agreed, throwing him in against a young lion in Ryan Bader at UFC 132.
“Dana White and Joe Silva [the UFC's matchmaker] told me they wanted me to retire, but I knew I still had the fight inside me. I pretty much begged for my job, to show how much I want to fight, but I still have it in my heart to compete, to fight,” he told the UK Telegraph. I told them I want to still fight against the top guys, I want to put on a show. I’ve just turned 36, but when they put me against the top guys, I think I can still compete.”
Okay, so it’s not the next UFC event on the docket — that would be this Sunday’s UFC Live: Marquardt vs. Story show — but we might as well start getting hyped for the next pay-per-view card. UFC 132 goes down July 2nd in Las Vegas, featuring a bantamweight title fight, a fan-friendly matchup of sluggers, and Tito Ortiz‘s ongoing quest for redemption. The extended video preview does a decent job of explaining why you should care, but as is usually the case with these things, the hype is based on a series of well-worn fight cliches. Lets run ‘em down…
“I’m not the same fighter I was then. Things are just different. It’s not the same anymore.” (Dominick Cruz)
When Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber first met in March 2007, the California Kid was the WEC’s reigning featherweight champ and the promotion’s first home-grown star. Cruz was a promising contender, but he was still a little green, and wound up getting choked out in under two minutes.
Cruz hasn’t lost a fight since, and now the roles are reversed; he’s the reigning champion (now at 135 pounds), looking to stave off a title challenge by his old rival. Admittedly, Cruz is a much better fighter in 2011 than he was four years ago. His footwork has developed into a dynamic, utterly unique style of controlled chaos; his integration of boxing and wrestling has become seamless, and maddening for his opponents.
The reason that “I’m not the same fighter” is a lame cliche, even when Cruz says it, is that it implies your opponent is the same fighter. Which he’s not, obviously.
(At that moment, Bader’s whole life flashed before his eyes, and the part about fighting Tito Ortiz at UFC 132 made him say, “No way, you gotta be shittin’ me!”)
Guess you have to give Ryan Bader partial credit for admitting to MMA Weekly on Friday that one of the reasons he wanted to fight Tito Ortiz was to erase from his mind the nightmarish memories of his UFC 126 fight with Jon Jones. On the other hand, we have to kinda call disingenuousness (aka bullshit) on the way Bader sort of tries to make it sound like this bout just fell into his lap (as we recall, he specifically called Ortiz out) and saying that he took the fight because he’s “an MMA fan” who just wanted to take on a legend. Check it out:
“Although it’s a step down in competition from Jon Jones and (Antonio Rogerio) Nogueira, I got a chance fight a guy like Tito, a legend of the sport, and we took it,” Bader said. “It’s almost like a novelty fight for me going in there and (fighting) a guy I grew up watching. I’m a fan and a fighter. I want to be a part of his legacy and vice versa. I want to have Tito Ortiz in my win column.”
According to TMZ, Ortiz crashed his Toyota Scion into a wall and then later took out Never Back Down starDjimon Hounsou’s car as well. The “Fueled by Fame” event takes place next weekend. What are the over/under on “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” crashing his car during the race and having an extreme case of whiplash forcing him out of his July 2 UFC 132 bout with Ryan Bader?
“Screw the rankings, records are for DJs,” Hardy tweeted on Sunday, as part of a Twitter barrage expressing his frustration with losing a “boring” fight to Anthony Johnson at UFN 24. Once again the whole “mixed” part of mixed martial arts bit another standup-oriented fighter in the ass as Johnson first toppled Hardy with a head kick, then dominated him with his wrestling skills en route to a unanimous decision. After the trio of losses, Hardy’s job was saved only by the fact Dana White “fucking loves that kid” (his words) and now Hardy just so happens to fancy a matchup with one of the throw-downiest guys who ever threw down, yet doesn’t have a ton of knockout power. Must be coincidence.
Anyhow, after the jump we took the liberty of condensing Hardy’s irritation into one easily-digestible quote. Plus, find out what fights Johnson and Johny Hendricks also envision for themselves …
The fight will likely be Ortiz’s last chance to prove the UFC that they should hold on to him in spite of the fact that he has not won a fight in the past five years or in any of his past five fights. UFC president Dana White has said recently that he thought about letting “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” go after his loss to Matt Hamill in October at UFC 121, but decided to give Ortiz, who still has some drawing power, one more kick at the cat.
When Tito Ortiz tweeted the message above Wednesday night rumors began swirling that the injury-plagued former UFC light heavyweight champion may be walking away from the sport of MMA in spite of an impending UFC 132 bout with Ryan Bader.
It now looks like “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” was referring to his relationship with former adult film actress Jenna Jameson and not his mixed martial arts career when he said he was out.
When asked last night about what Ortiz meant by his cryptic message, the mother of his twin two-year-old sons, Journey and Jette, played coy.
It looks like Ryan Bader will getting the fight he wants for his next bout.
Bader mentioned last month in an interview with ESPN on the heels of his UFC 126 loss to Jon Jones that before he retires, he would like to square off with Tito Ortiz and according to MMAWeekly he will get his wish.
“I would want to fight Tito Ortiz,” Bader told ESPN.com. “Just because I grew up watching him. I want to have one of those guys on my résumé like a Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell. Purely out of respect, he’s one I’d like to fight before my career is over.”
Both fighters confirmed the bout was a go on Twitter today, but did not name a date or venue. The MMAWeekly report states that the pair will square off at UFC 132 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV.