UFC Signs Network TV Deal in the UK

Posted by fightstalker on Wednesday Sep 9, 2009 Under Breaking News, UFC

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Less than six weeks after reaching a UK and Ireland television agreement with ESPN, the UFC announced Tuesday that UFC programming will land on network TV in the UK.

The UFC has signed a deal with FIVE, one of only five terrestrial networks in the UK and has a reach of over 30 million viewers. A part of the deal will also call for programming on FIVE’s sister channel, FIVE USA, which focuses on hour-long American dramas such as the CSI and House.

Airing on the free channel is a new weekly highlight show called UFC: Main Event on Sundays at midnight and FIVE USA will carry The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights on Saturdays three days after the US broadcast.

“This is a huge step for the UFC in the UK,” UFC UK President Marshall Zelaznik said in a statement. “We are delighted to partner up with FIVE – who are trailblazers in their approach to both sports and programming – and bring the best bouts and the world’s greatest fighters to the largest possible audience. We know we are going to create a whole new generation of UFC fans on FIVE.”

Live UFC pay-per-view and UFC Fight Night events will continue to air in the UK on ESPN, which like in the U.S., is a paid subscription channel.

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RICH CLEMENTI TO RETURN AT CAGE WARS IN BELFAST

Posted by fightstalker on Wednesday Sep 9, 2009 Under Featured, UFC

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UFC veteran Rich Clementi (33-15-1) will return to action Nov. 29 when he faces Peter Duncan (4-5) at Cage Wars Championship in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The U.K. based promotion has featured such veterans as Jeff Monson, Dan Severn, Cyrille Diabate, and Colin Robinson in its seven years of operation.

Two months removed from a shoulder injury, Clementi is anxious to get back in the cage.

“I’m aggravated,” Clementi told MMAWeekly.com. “Seeing Melvin (Guillard) headline the (UFC Fight Night 19) show, just the way things go down. The times I perform best is when I have that type of attitude.”

Clementi doesn’t know much about Duncan, but is more than confident he’ll emerge victorious on the fall card.

“He’s primarily an Ireland jiu-jitsu guy,” Clementi said with a laugh. “So, I’m pretty confident that this should be a good victory for me. But hell, look at my last fight. I thought the same thing. I picked a guy up to slam him and hurt myself and it got marked as a loss. It’s a crazy business.”

Clementi said his shoulder held up fine in the absolute division of a jiu-jitsu tournament held recently in his home state of Louisiana. Not usually keen on overseas travel, he made the exception for Northern Ireland.

“I’m not a big fan of Europe in general,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time over there in the military. But I was really impressed with Ireland in the times I went out there with the UFC, so I was really excited by the opportunity.”

In the meantime, Clementi is set to open a new Gladiators MMA school in Mandeville, La., with former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez, who recently moved to the southern state. The school opens in the second week of October.

Clementi said the Belfast event will be offered on pay-per-view.

“It’s kind of like a comeback fight for me,” he said.

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UFC Newcomer Jay Silva Still Doesn't Believe His Dream Has Come True

Posted by fightstalker on Wednesday Sep 9, 2009 Under Breaking News, UFC

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Two years ago, Jay Silva was just a nightclub bouncer in New York City who got into a lot of fights and liked watching MMA on television. Then a chance encounter with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 78 in Newark, N.J., led to him moving to California to begin his MMA career. Next week, he’ll make his Octagon debut when he steps in on short notice to face CB Dollaway at UFC Night 19 in Oklahoma City. Dollaway’s original opponent, Dan Miller, was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering an undisclosed infection.

FanHouse spoke to the Silva, who improved his record to 5-1 on Aug. 15 against veteran Ray Lizama, about his unique road to the UFC and how he plans on preparing for Dollaway. The full interview is below.

Ariel Helwani: How did you get into MMA?
Jay Silva: I used to be a bouncer in New York and I used to get into fights all the time. I met this guy, who was part of Renzo Gracie’s family, and he used to bounce with me. He always used to tell me to come train with them jiu-jitsu. One day I saw The Ultimate Fighter 1, and I thought, Man, I can do that; I can kick those guys a**. So I decided to go down there and start training. Next thing I know, I was fighting.

Why did you decide to leave New York for Los Angeles?
Because I met “Rampage” and he moved me here.

Where did you met “Rampage”?
I met “Rampage” at UFC 78. He sat in front of me and his best friend sat next to me. I always liked “Rampage,” and was like, Wow, I can’t believe it’s “Rampage” Jackson. I was a big fan of his, so I went and asked for a picture. So “Rampage” looked at me like he didn’t really want to take the picture and was like, ‘Oh, ok.’ And I hated him for that. I was like, Who does this guy think he is? There were a lot of people asking to take pictures and he was trying to pay attention to the fights, but I didn’t understand that.

Then I was sitting next to his friend — I didn’t know it was his friend — and we were taking bets on the fight, and he was like, ‘Are you from here?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Oh, man, I want to go out tonight. Do you know any spots?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I work as a bouncer in New York, so I know all the spots. Where do you want to go?’ He said, ‘Take me out,’ and I said, ‘OK.’ We switched numbers, and next thing I know, he calls me a half an hour later and says, ‘Hey, is it alright if I bring some friends?’ I didn’t know he was bringing “Rampage.” Next thing I know, he showed up with “Rampage,” Dan Henderson, Jason “Mayhem” Miller. When “Rampage” came out of the car, he gave me a big hug, and I thought, This guy is weird. But that’s it. When we got into the club, we started talking and got along really good, and he was like, ‘Come down to train with me. I’m always down to train with new people.’ Next thing I knew, he called me to come train with him in California. So I went there, we got along good, and next thing I knew we were like best friends. He then asked me to move to California, and here I am.

What do you make of Jackson agreeing to appear in the new A-Team movie, thus postponing his fight against Rashad Evans?
I think it’s good for him, man. I’m really happy for him. He’s doing what he likes to do; he’s passionate about movies. He always wanted to do movies.

Some people believe that fighters should be fighters and actors should be actors …
Because they’re not fighters. When they get in the cage and fight and see how hard it is, or train every day and see how hard it is, then they’ll change they’re mind. You’ve got NBA players who want to be singers and rappers who want to be athletes. And now you’ve got MMA fighters who want to be movie stars. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

So how did this new deal with the UFC come about?
Man, [his agent] Kenny [Pavia] got it. I went to spend the weekend in New York, and next thing I know Kenny called me and said, ‘I got great news for you.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, OK, what is it?’ And he just told me I was going to be fighting in UFC. I didn’t believe it. I said I was only going to believe it when I signed the contract. I just went to sign the contract and I still don’t believe it. I just worked so hard to get here and I am finally here. I’m just going to believe it when I’m in there, in the Octagon, on TV. That’s when I’m really going to believe it.

Is there a part of you who wishes you could have more time to train for your UFC debut?
Yeah. I wish I had more time to show my skills, but I fought on Aug. 15 at “Call to Arms,” so I’m still in pretty good shape. I could have been in better shape because I took some time off, but I’m going back to training right now. Before that, Cheick Kongo, who’s right here, he’s like my big brother, we’re always training together. We’re not training hardcore, but we’re training. I don’t care. A fight for me is a fight. The worst case scenario is getting knocked out — that’s all. I don’t think he’s going to win anyway. I wish I had more time, but sometimes it don’t happen that way.

Did you expect to get a shot in the UFC this early in your career?
I’ve been working at that for a long time, but I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know.

Would you have rather had a few more fights under your belt before getting the call from the UFC?
Man, I think I’m ready right now. I know I can be a really good fighter. You guys ain’t see nothing yet. But I know I’m ready for the UFC because this is what every MMA fighter is working for.

Dollaway lost his last fight in 55 seconds. Are you expecting to face a desperate fighter next week because if he loses he might be on his way out of the UFC?
Yeah. I feel sorry for him because I know he’s going to lose. I think CB is a great fighter, man. I don’t know CB, and if you’re not a fighter that I like, I don’t watch your fights. And CB is not one of the fighters that I look up to, so I’ve never seen his fights. I’ve seen a little glimpse of his fights when they’re on TV, but he’s not one of the guys that I pay attention to see how they fight. And even now that I know I’m going to fight him, I never do research on my opponents because I want to go out there and fight my fight. If you learn too much about your opponent your going to be worried about what you are going to do to defend yourself. I don’t want to think about him and I just want to fight my fight. … For me, there are two ways [this fight can end]: I’m getting knocked out or he’s getting knocked out. But we’re not going to go to a decision. I never liked going to a decision and I don’t plan on going now. So hopefully I will knock him out.

Why wouldn’t you want to watch tape on your opponent? I can’t understand how that would do more harm than good for you.
I let my coaches do that, and even when they do that, I don’t want them to tell me. They’re going to train me according to my opponent. If I see my opponent fight, I’m going to start thinking about what I’m going to do. … So might as well not pay attention to what he is going to do and just go out there and do what you want to do.

What will you do to prepare for this fight considering it’s just a week away?
Basically, I’m going to do whatever I do for all my fights. I’m doing more strength and conditioning for this fight because it’s short notice and I know he has been training for a long, so he’s in good shape. I just want to make sure I’m in really good shape, too. So basically, I want to focus more on strength and condition and just be ready for the fight. I don’t want to gas in the fight or give people any excuse. I want people to see the real Jay Silva. Otherwise it’s going to be messed up because you’re not going to have the chance to see the real Jay Silva because it’s short notice. But I’m not making any excuses. I took the fight because I wanted to take the fight and I took the fight because I knew I can win this fight.

What’s it like training with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles?
Man, the guy is amazing. He’s such a nice person; he’s so good. He’s just amazing. I’m a big fan of Freddie Roach. When I got out there, I didn’t have any money or anything, and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ And he held pads for me and helped me with training. You know, he believed in my like “Rampage” did. He said, ‘You know, you’re going to be good and I want to be there when you get there.’ So for me, it’s amazing. A guy like that taking his time to come and help me, it’s just amazing. … And I’m the only MMA fighter who goes there every single day. People think I’m a boxer because I go there every single day.

Do the MMA fighters get to train with the boxers?
We train with all boxers. The good thing about Freddie Roach is that Wild Card is a boxing gym. There’s no such thing as MMA. If you step in there with your MMA knees and kicks, they look at you and say, ‘Listen, this is boxing. So if you want to do your MMA, get out of here. This is strictly boxing.’ So you train with everybody.

Will Roach be in your corner for this fight?
No, Freddie won’t be in my corner. My other boxing coach, Eric Brown, will be in my corner. Freddie has some expo to do or something, so he couldn’t make it. Hopefully next time.

For those who have yet to see you fight, which fighter would you compare your style to?
You gotta see my style and then you’re going to tell me.

So no comparison out there?
I’m Jay Silva and I got my own style. You got to see it, man. You know, I don’t want to compare myself to this fighter or that fighter. No, I got my own style and you got to see it. After you see it, you’ll be like, ‘Wow, you were right.’

What would be your dream match in the UFC?
(Laughs) I don’t want to say, man.

Why not? Why are you shy all of a sudden?
I’m not shy, it’s just … I don’t know, I’m an up-and-comer. I can’t pick fights — I just want to fight.

Well, there are a lot of good fighters in MMA with your last name. Will people soon have to talk about you when discussing the best Silvas in the sport?
I will be in that mix pretty soon, you’ll see. Mark my words.

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DOS SANTOS PLANS TO OUTBOX CRO COP AT UFC 103

Posted by fightstalker on Wednesday Sep 9, 2009 Under Featured, UFC

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It’s been a quick trip up the ladder for UFC heavyweight Junior Dos Santos. He was a virtual unknown in America when he took on ground wizard Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90. One right uppercut later, Dos Santos was on the map, flooring Werdum in 81 seconds.

UFC president Dana White said betting lines changed days before the fight when people caught a glimpse of Dos Santos hitting pads.

The 25-year-old native of Salvador, Brazil, breezed through Stefan Struve in 54 seconds at UFC 95, and was scheduled for further seasoning against Justin McCully at UFC 102. Then, in July, one call changed everything.

“I got a call from the UFC offering me Cro Cop (at UFC 103), which blew my mind,” Dos Santos told MMAWeekly.com. “It took us a few days to sort out everything, and the UFC kept pushing, and we decided that we should take the fight.”

Regardless of the pressure that would rest on his shoulders, Dos Santos couldn’t turn down the opportunity to face the feared striker.

The fight takes place Sept. 19 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, second billed to Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort.

“I like the challenge and I like the fact that it’s such a big idol in the sport,” he said.

And when you have the Nogueira brothers and Anderson Silva in your corner, it helps to keep nerves at bay.

Dos Santos believes a victory will put him in line for a title shot, though he’s in “no hurry” to get one.

At Blackhouse gym one balmy day in Gardena, Calif., Dos Santos ran a gauntlet of conditioning and striking exercises, culminating in an ice bath he wasn’t too happy about. On the mitts, he practiced rapid-fire combinations as his trainer walked him down. He expects those combinations to come in handy against Cro Cop.

“I’m gonna go in there confident that my boxing is going to win the fight.”

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Mike Bisping to Return to Action at UFC 105

Posted by fightstalker on Tuesday Sep 8, 2009 Under Michael Bisping, Rumors, UFC, UFC 105

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Michael Bisping’s first fight back from his knockout loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 100 will be against Denis Kang at UFC 105 on Nov. 14 at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England, the UFC confirmed Tuesday.

Fellow Brit Dan Hardy has also been confirmed for the event in a welterweight tilt versus undefeated Korean superstar Dong Hyun Kim.

Bisping and Hardy are only the first two confirmed of many British fighters expected for the UFC 105 card with a main event still to be announced. The Ultimate Fighter 9 winners Ross Pearson and James Wilks are also expected to compete.

Bisping (17-2) lost a chance at a title shot in July and is hoping he can make up for the poor showing with a victory over the experienced Canadian.

“This is exactly the sort of fight I need to get right back up there and prove that I’m one of the top guys in the division,” Bisping said. “I’ve watched Kang’s fights over the years and he is very dangerous on the ground with his submissions and is also a powerful striker on his feet. Plus, he’s an explosive fighter. He can explode into a huge strike or takedown from nowhere, which makes him very unpredictable.”

Kang (32-11-1) was upsetted in his UFC debut in January against Alan Belcher but bounced back three months after with a unanimous decision win over Xavier Foupa-Pokam at UFC 97.

Hardy (22-6), who will seek out his four consecutive UFC win, left a bold statement for the Judo specialist Kim and potential future opponents.

“Kim is technically unbeaten and, while he’s been under pressure in his career, has always found a way to win,” Hardy said. “I will have to break him. He can control people on the ground with his judo and can land strikes. He can boss you on the ground for 15 minutes and that will be his plan. But I plan to put a beating on this guy that is so nasty and so one-sided it will be uncomfortable viewing for all the other welterweights in the UFC.”

Kim (12-0-1) is 3-0 in the UFC with one fight a split decision lost against Karo Parisyan that was later changed to a no contest due to Parisyan testing positive for painkillers.

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Martin Kampmann Unfazed By Recent UFC 103 Opponent Switch

Posted by fightstalker on Tuesday Sep 8, 2009 Under Breaking News, Martin Kampmann, UFC

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Prior to UFC 72, Martin Kampmann was on the verge of fighting Rich Franklin for a future shot at middleweight champion Anderson Silva. However, a knee injury forced him to withdraw from the bout. Since then, the 27-year-old worked his way up the welterweight division. He was supposed to fight Mike Swick at UFC 103 for a shot at current 170-pound champion Georges St-Pierre, but Swick pulled out late last week after suffering a concussion in training.

Kampmann (15-2) will now face UFC newcomer Paul Daley (21-8-2) on Sept. 19, but as he recently told FanHouse, no title shot will be on the line. Still, the Danish-born fighter, who most recently defeated Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Night 18 in April, is just excited to return to action. Check out the full interview below.

Ariel Helwani: When did you find out that Mike Swick had to pull out of the fight?
Martin Kampmann: I found out, I think it was, Thursday night.

Considering how much was on the line, what were the thoughts going through your mind?
Oh, I was very bummed. First, I just heard that Swick pulled out, so I didn’t anything about [a new] opponent yet, but they said would try to get a replacement. I was very bummed out. I was looking forward to fighting Swick and there was a title shot on the line, too. Of course it sucks. That was a fight I was looking forward to.

Swick has already said that he would be ready to fight in October. Would you have rather waited to fight him then so you can get the title shot?
No, I’m ready to fight right now. I’ll fight Paul Daley — I’m happy he stepped in. After I beat him, I’ll fight Swick.

Is the No. 1 contender spot still on the line?
I think it’s just a regular fight. I don’t think there’s a contendership status anymore. Paul Daley is a tough a** fighter, but you know, he don’t have the same recognition that Swick does here in the U.S. He hasn’t made the same kind of name for himself in the UFC, so not to talk anything away from him, because he’s a real tough guy and dangerous opponent, so I’m not underestimating him, but he don’t have the same name recognition.

It seems as though some are interested in seeing Swick fight Matt Hughes next, and he recently tweeted about that. Do you think he may be looking past you now?
Maybe it’s because Matt Hughes is a big name and he’s the former champ. But he’s not the same guy he used to be, and maybe Swick thinks he can beat him. Maybe he don’t want to fight me because he knows I’m a tough fight.

Is it hard to get excited about this fight because you aren’t fighting Swick and the title shot isn’t on the line anymore?
No. You know, I was bummed out when I heard, but I’m over it now and I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to fighting Paul Daley.

When the UFC offered you a fight against TJ Grant in May, you told me it was a lose-lose situation for you because not many people knew who he was. Do you feel the same way about this fight?
I don’t know. I’ve been training hard for a fight, so I would be really bummed to not have an opponent after I’ve already had such a long, hard training camp. It wasn’t like I was in a training camp when I got the other fight offered. It was on fairly short notice, and now it’s just a guy pulling out. You know, injuries happen, and I don’t know what happened to Swick, but of course it sucks for him and it sucks for me too. But I think Paul Daley has a good name outside of the UFC. He’s got a good name in the European circuit where I fought earlier too, and he’s still got some kind of good name over here. He’s fought in EliteXC and a lot of the other shows. He’s a tough guy and not to be underestimated. But of course I think Swick would be a better name to beat.

Do you plan on watching a lot of tape on Daley leading up to the fight?
Yeah. I’m going to study a little bit of his stuff. They’re similar in regards to they’re both really good strikers and heavy-handed. So in that regard, they’re similar. But of course, one guy is a tall guy, another guy is a short guy, and they do different stuff, different moves. Daley kicks a lot more than Swick does, but on the other hand, he probably has a bit of a weaker ground game than Swick does. So you know, the fight is a little different, so I’m going to switch it up.

In Daley’s most famous fight against Jake Shields on CBS last October, Shields showed that he has some work to do on his ground game. Are you hoping to exploit that, as well?
If I get him down, I definitely feel like I got a big advantage. You know, people say that Paul Daley don’t have a ground game; I think he has a ground game. You know, when you’re fighting against Shields, he’s a jiu-jitsu black belt with a great ground game. It’s easy to make other guys look stupid because his ground game is really good. So I definitely expect Paul Daley to have a ground game, as well. I just think it’s not as developed as his striking game is.

Daley likes to talk a lot of trash. Do you expect to hear some of that in the next 10 days or so?
Yeah, he’ll probably talk trash. But if he’s got a big mouth and wants to talk trash, let him do it. It’s not going to help in him in the ring.

You’re from Denmark and he’s from England. We don’t often see marquee fights pitting two European fighters in the UFC. Does that make this fight seem extra special for you?
I haven’t really thought about it until you mentioned it, but now that you say it, yeah, it’s pretty cool. I think it’s a high-profile fight and it’s two European guys. That is pretty cool. We’re getting better, you know?

If you beat Daley, who would you like to fight next?
I don’t know. Let me beat Daley first and I’ll tell you about it. Of course, I would still like to fight Swick because that’s what I was looking forward to and I was very disappointed to see him pull out. Maybe we can make that happen.

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MAYNARD'S GOT THE PLAN TO BEAT HUERTA

Posted by fightstalker on Tuesday Sep 8, 2009 Under Featured, UFC

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As the lightweight division awaits the next title defense by champion B.J. Penn in December, the list of contenders is constantly growing. The choice for the next top 155-pound contender could be crowned on Sept. 16 when Gray Maynard goes for his sixth win in a row when he faces Roger Huerta at UFC Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma.

Maynard’s string of wins includes victories over Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller, and Rich Clementi. He’s hoping to tack Huerta onto the list in what could be the budding actor’s final fight with the UFC. It’s no secret that Huerta has expressed his desire to venture onto the silver screen and the fight against Maynard is the last on his current fight contract.

“I’m a guy I keep out of drama and stuff like that,” Maynard told MMAWeekly Radio when asked if he was brought in specifically to send Huerta packing. “So if there’s anything like that going on, I keep out of it. I don’t get involved with nobody’s stuff.”

If the former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor can get the win over Huerta, he would likely top the list of fighters to get a shot at the winner of B.J. Penn and Diego Sanchez, but Maynard says it’s still a long road before that happens.

“Of course I’ve got to get the win, cause if not I don’t get anyone,” he commented. “I’m just trying to keep going, keep in the gym a lot. I had a scope on my knee after my last (fight) and so I was out for three or four weeks, but I was right back in the gym about halfway through April, so I’ve got a lot to learn still. Whenever it happens, it happens.

“The more time I can train and actually keep going I think it helps.”

One thing fans are guaranteed not to see after the bout between Maynard and Huerta is the Las Vegas based fighter asking for a title shot. He says that will never happen.

“I want it where they come to me and it’s like, ‘hey, we want this.’ I don’t want to have to ask, it’s like, ‘please Dana, Joe, give this to me, please,” Maynard said. “I hate asking for stuff. I’m not going to ask them for nothing. I want (them) to ask me, ‘hey, you’re doing great and it’s time.’ And of course I’ll say yes.”

First up though is the match-up with Huerta, who Maynard has studied quite a bit leading into this fight. Despite his opponent’s 12-plus month layoff, he feels he will be just as tough as always come Sept. 16.

“Huerta’s not a guy who’s technical, he’s a guy it’s all heart, and so (ring) rust on that, I don’t know if you have that too much. Huerta’s a guy who is all heart so I think he’ll be prepared,” Maynard stated.

The game plan for the upcoming fight is still under lock and key, but he knows the biggest rule when fighting Roger Huerta is to avoid getting sucked into his style of fight, which has been described as “brawl and maul.”

“You have to kind of check who he was going up against. You’ve got Clay (Guida), and he’s that type of fighter too. Everybody knew that was just going to be a crazy just dropping down, drag them out (kind of fight),” Maynard said about Huerta’s previous fights.

“Before Clay, I mean, he had some tough guys, but I don’t know if anybody had the time or the kind of skill to plan until of course Clay Guida, but his plan is to do the same thing as Huerta, just go in there, it’s all heart. Kenny Florian had a plan and so he did good, so I guess we’ll see.”

In his last fight, Maynard showed off the biggest improvement to his game when he out-boxed Jim Miller en route to a dominant decision win in March. He hopes to continue to develop all parts of his style to be the best fighter in the world.

“I just plan on trying to control it in every area,” Maynard stated. “You’ve got guys like GSP, he’s got it in all areas and we’re all trying to strive to get there. That’s the goal, to be good in every area and control it. Some guys try to be good, I want to be great in all areas.”

For the fight with Huerta, Maynard has worked with his regular crew at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, while working his boxing with coach Gil Martinez and jiu-jitsu with Robert Drysdale. At the end of the day, Maynard knows he’s got to put it all together to beat Roger Huerta.

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CARLOS CONDIT PLANS KO

Posted by fightstalker on Sunday Sep 6, 2009 Under CARLOS CONDIT, Rumors, UFC

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Former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit is set to return to the Octagon when he takes on newcomer Jake Ellenberger on Sept. 16 at UFC Fight Night 19, in Oklahoma City, Okla.

He enters this fight on the heels of an exciting split decision loss to Xtreme Couture’s Martin Kampmann this past April (marking his first loss in a near three-year stretch). Condit will look to rectify his position among the best in his class with a win over Ellenberger, who is as tough as they come, sporting a 21-4 record with wins over Jose Landi-Jons, Pat Healy, and Gil Castillo.

None-the-less, the loss to Kampann was still hard on the “Natural Born Killer.”

“It was pretty tough because I really felt that it was so close; it was a razor-edge decision and I feel like if I had done just a little bit more I could have pulled it out,” said Condit to the MMAWeekly radio crew. “So it was a little bit tough to swallow, but it just gives me some motivation for my next fight.”

Though the name recognition isn’t there for Ellenberger, who is a late replacement for respected veteran Chris Lytle, Condit is training just as hard in order to deliver another solid “Mad Max” performance.

“I hadn’t heard of him, but I’m not an MMA genius and I don’t know all the guys, so it doesn’t mean he’s not tough or well known,” said Condit. “I did have to get on the Internet and check him, but from what I’ve seen he’s pretty good.

“We’re all training hard. It’s been like thunder-dome down at the gym, so I think we’re well prepared.”

Prior to the bout with Kampann, Condit had made the conscious decision to move away from his New Mexico surroundings for a chance to train with Arizona Combat Sports, which houses some of the best wrestling affiliated athletes in the sport today, including UFC veterans Ryan Bader, C.B. Dollaway, and Aaron Simpson.

Many credit initial losses of UFC newcomers to the “UFC jitters.”

Having gone through his debut (let alone headlining an event at that), Condit is now geared up and ready to go for his next showing, hoping to expel any memories of the loss.

“It’s a pretty big thing doing your UFC debut and I was pretty nervous going into the fight,” said the 25-year-old. “A couple of days before I was pretty nervous, but as soon as I got out there and got in front of the crowd I just felt the same, just another fight. It felt good to hear the crowd roar and as for my next fight, I don’t feel as nervous. I got that first one out of the way and now I’m just ready to go.”

Though the UFC debut might get the best of most fighters, Condit isn’t anticipating Ellenberger would come out to fight half-heartedly. He’s just looking forward to doing what he and the fans have become accustomed to, another Condit-like performance, which win or lose promises to be exciting.

“I think 80 percent of this game is mental, if not more, and I’m not going to bank on that. I know that Ellenberger is a very, very tough guy and I’m expecting a war.

“I’m sure he intends to knock me out, I got a pretty similar plan as well so he can run his mouth, but we’re going to find out what’s up.”

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Anderson Silva’s next middleweight title defense will have to wait until next year.

The UFC’s longtime title-holder and one of MMA’s top pound-for-pound fighters will soon undergo elbow surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2009 fight season.

ESPN’s “MMA Live” mentioned the injury in a recent Twitter message, though Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, didn’t go into details when speaking to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Friday.

A source close to the event told MMAjunkie.com earlier in the week that UFC officials at least briefly considered the idea of Silva taking the headline spot at UFC 105, an event that takes place Nov. 14 in Manchester, England. The show airs via tape delay on Spike TV, and a Silva main event (whether against Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt or another opponent) would have likely scored huge ratings for the cable station.

Silva, though, will shut down for the rest of 2009, though details of the surgery were not immediately known. He’s targeting a likely early 2010 return to the cage.

Silva (25-4 MMA, 10-0 UFC), undefeated with a record 10-fight win streak in the UFC, most recently topped Forrest Griffin in a lopsided UFC 101 co-main-event fight. Silva battered the former light-heavyweight champion in a non-title fight and has now posted stoppage victories in 12 of his past wins.

When he does return to competition, Silva is likely to face either Henderson or Marquardt. While both basically have been promised title shots, a fight between the two top contenders could be a possibility while Silva is sidelined.

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World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight titleholder Jamie Varner will be watching the WEC 43 main event between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Ben Henderson closely, but doesn’t think he’ll have any problems defeating the eventual winner. Varner will likely face the winner early next year.

If Henderson defeats Cerrone on Oct. 10, Varner will likely have to utilize his wrestling ability, but believes he’s the better all-around fighter. “I wrestled Division I. I was an All-American. I took second in nationals. I was a good wrestler. I’m a better wrestler than Ben Henderson is,” he said on a recent edition of Tapout Radio.

If Cerrone’s hand is raised in San Antonio, Texas, Varner stated, “The game plan is to do exactly what I did last time, which is to kick his ass, the same as last time.

“My boxing, I was a national champion in boxing. I fought Golden Gloves when I was younger. I was a pretty good boxer, a pretty good wrestler. I’m not really too worried about what Ben Henderson has to bring or the Cowboy,” added the Arizona Combat Sports trained lightweight. “I see both of those fights ending the same way with my hand raised and the belt wrapped around my waist.”

Varner has been sidelined due to injuries, since defeating Cerrone by Technical Decision in January. The fight was stopped in the final round when Cerrone landed a knee that was determined to be illegal, but incidental, and Varner was unable to continue. A grudge was born and neither has been shy about launching insults at the other.

Cerrone calls out Varner every chance he gets and if he is able to get past Ben Henderson, he’ll get his rematch.

“Cowboy’s first fight after he fought me was against a guy (James Krause) who it was his debut in the WEC. He beat that guy, which was kind of a garbage fight,” said Varner. “His next fight is going to be against Ben Henderson on Oct. 10 in San Antonio. If he wins that fight, then he’ll fight me.

“He has to earn it because he lost that fight,” he added. “He lost a decision and even though it was an illegal knee, it still went to the judges’ scorecards. He lost that fight, so he has to win one more fight if he wants to fight me ever again.

“I would be more than willing to give him a rematch. I would be happily and readily available to give him a rematch if he gets through Ben Henderson. Even if he doesn’t get through Ben Henderson, he can come to my gym if we have a problem. We’ve got a cage there too. It doesn’t matter to me.”

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