Archive for the ‘MMA’ Category

Paige VanZant could be making the jump to the wrestling ring in the future.

The UFC fighter expressed interest in working with WWE “when the time is right” while speaking to TMZ Sports.

“That is definitely something that I’m interested in. I love the WWE,” VanZant said. “I think that I would for sure be a good WWE Diva. For sure. We’ll see if that opportunity comes – I would definitely go for it. If the knock comes on my door, I’m taking it.”

VanZant also sounds open to the idea of squaring off against former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in the WWE.

“That would be interesting,” she said. “I think they might have to allow some real shots – really real shots fired. You know, because why not?”

Rousey has yet to finalize a deal with WWE, though she and her agent were spotted dining with Triple H last week.

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A clash of top 10 strawweights might be headed to Brooklyn.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Felice Herrig are expected to square off at UFC 223 on April 7 at Barclays Center, according to Monday reports from MMAWeekly and MMANytt.

After failing to dethrone then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and tapping to fellow contender Claudia Gadelha at UFC 205 and 212, respectively, the fourth-ranked Kowalkiewicz rebounded from her first career losing streak with a lopsided decision over the debuting Jodie Esquibel at UFC Fight Night 118 in her native Poland this past October. She’d been attached to a February date with Jessica Andrade, but an illness reportedly kept her from signing on the dotted line.

The ninth-seeded Herrig has mounted a four-fight winning streak since returning from a 15-month hiatus in the summer of 2016, besting Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey – the latter victory coming via split decision at UFC 218 last month.

A main event has not yet been attached to the promotion’s second trip to Brooklyn, nor has the UFC formally announced the card.

It’s become quite clear Conor McGregor’s brand transcends mixed martial arts, but if his longtime coach, John Kavanagh, has it his way, the fighter will be stepping back into the Octagon this year.

Kavanagh, who was in the Irishman’s corner as he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, believes the next 12 months will be a successful venture, regardless of what avenue his fighter decides to travel down.

“I think 2018 will be another big year for us,” Kavanagh told BBC Northern Ireland on Sunday. “Exactly what that is, I don’t know yet. The plan is forming, but as they say, stay tuned. … My opinion, I’ll be pushing very hard for MMA. The boxing was a nice detour from what we’ve done, but mixed martial arts is my passion.”

While McGregor is still deciding what his next move will be – whether it be in the Octagon, a boxing ring, or wherever else life takes him, Kavanagh says the fighter has gotten back to training regularly recently and reminded the rest of the UFC who still owns the lightweight division.

“Conor’s still the champion. They can say what they want – I have his belt at home, actually,” Kavanagh said. “He’s still the champion.

“He’s making the decision on what makes sense for the next move. It’s kind of early days yet. We’re just watching how that has developed while he’s been away – he’s had other things on. Let’s see what happens in 2018. I’m excited about it, anyway.”

“If I have anything to do with it, he’ll be in the octagon this year.”

Mackenzie Dern’s designs on making the big show have come to fruition.

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom will make her first walk to the Octagon for a strawweight bout opposite Ashley Yoder at UFC 222 on March 3 in Las Vegas, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reports.

Dern, 24, debuted as a pro under the Legacy FC banner in the summer of 2016 and joins the UFC with a perfect record of 5-0, including three victories by submission. The decorated jiu-jitsu player most recently tapped Kaline Medeiros with a third-round armbar at Invicta FC 26 earlier this month – a bout she’d hoped to parlay into a roster spot in the world’s preeminent promotion.

Yoder, 30, will vie for her first UFC victory in three attempts after dropping unanimous verdicts to Justine Kish and Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night 102 and The Ultimate Fighter 25 finale, respectively.

A main event has not yet been attached to the March bill.

Miesha Tate is preparing for motherhood.

The retired former UFC women’s bantamweight champion announced early Tuesday that she and Johnny Nunez – a World Series of Fighting alum and two-time “The Ultimate Fighter” contestant – are expecting a daughter.

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The 31-year-old Tate last competed in November 2016 at UFC 205, where she dropped a unanimous verdict to Raquel Pennington and subsequently called it a career. She retired with a professional record of 18-7 and UFC and Strikeforce titles to her name.

Former NFL defensive lineman Greg Hardy says he’d be interested in playing in a revamped XFL – for the right price.

Hardy made the move to mixed martial arts in hopes of one day competing for the UFC heavyweight title, but told TMZ Sports he still loves football and would consider joining the XFL if it made a comeback.

“I’m an entertainer, I’ll say that, and I love the game of football. There’s nothing in the world like football fans, man. For drama, for support, for anything you’ll need in life, there’s nothing like football fans,” Hardy said. “So, if I got paid – ’cause we all know I gotta get paid to show up for football – but if I got paid, I’d probably be there, man.”

In the meantime, Hardy is preparing for his next amateur fight at a yet-to-be announced Legacy Fighting Alliance event in Dallas in February.

Michael Bisping had a very Michael Bisping-esque reaction to Georges St-Pierre’s resignation as UFC middleweight champion.

After St-Pierre’s recent relinquishing of the strap he took from Bisping by third-round submission last month, the Brit discussed the development on the latest edition of his “Believe You Me” podcast.

“He’s a prick,” Bisping said. “He’s a prick. God bless him.”

That said, Bisping didn’t outright condemn his former foe. In fact, while he admitted the optics of St-Pierre’s move weren’t particularly flattering, the former champ claimed GSP might have done him a favor in vacating the strap, using the convenient, albeit flawed, logic known as MMA math.

“In one respect, it’s good for me because – as an MMA fighter, as a boxer, whatever it is – if somebody beats you, you never want them to lose again because if they get beat, then the person that beat them, it has a negative impact on you,” Bisping said.

“Like, ‘Oh, they could have beaten me as well.’ So he’s never going to fight at 185 again, that’s good. I’m the only person at 185 he ever beat, nobody at 185 is ever gonna beat him. So cheers, Georges, thanks for that. But at the same time, it looks like a bit of a bitch move, you know what I mean? So there’s pluses and negatives.”

Before being stricken with ulcerative colitis, St-Pierre had cemented himself as arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time by stopping Bisping in his return from a four-year layoff. The two-division champ had previously stated he’d truly retire should he lose in his comeback.

Bisping claimed GSP intended to walk away all along, and applauded the move.

“He even said that. Remember he said in the press conferences, he said if he lost he was never gonna try again and he was gonna retire,” Bisping said. “I don’t know anything about Georges’ bank account but I’m assuming it’s pretty swollen, it’s got plenty of money in there.

“So he came back, he got another belt, made history, made a ton of money, made more than me, the prick, and good for him. It’s actually really smart. Why should he carry on fighting? Legacy is more important and he’s got a great legacy there. So from a business standpoint, it’s actually a really smart move.”

Despite expectations, rumblings, and Dana White’s disdain, St-Pierre’s next move remains a mystery, although he’d repeatedly stated middleweight was not his natural weight class and revealed his struggles in packing on weight.

With Robert Whittaker now holding the undisputed crown, the title picture can finally sort itself out, as the Aussie is set to defend the throne against Luke Rockhold in the main event of February’s UFC 221, a matchup Bisping co-signed.

“GSP’s retired, I’m out the picture, let them two fight for it, whoever wins, they become the champion and good for them.”