Posts Tagged ‘UFC’

Don’t call it a comeback – at least not yet.

Long-retired ex-UFC light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell has repeatedly teased a return to the cage of late, and after being promptly voted off the latest season of “Celebrity Big Brother,” he told TMZ Sports on Monday he’s been training regularly in case the right opportunity arises.

“It’s still a possibility, for sure,” Liddell said. “So I didn’t want to get too far out of shape. I was in there boxing the whole time. There’s a lot of stuff that they didn’t show but I was just having a good time in there and staying in shape. I’m staying ready.”

As for who he’d like to square off with in a would-be comeback, the 48-year-old mentioned a pair of rivals and UFC alumni in Chael Sonnen and two-time conquest Tito Ortiz. Sonnen now competes under the Bellator banner, while Ortiz retired in January of last year.

“I’ve said it before in the news, Chael would be a good warm-up fight to get back into it. Tito would be great if he’d even consider fighting me. I hear he wouldn’t. He doesn’t want to fight me at all. He’ll fight other people but not me, of course.

“It depends on who they offer. I’m down for just about anything.”

Liddell claimed the UFC’s light heavyweight crown with a KO of Randy Couture in April 2005 and defended it four times. He hung up his gloves in late 2010 after suffering his third straight knockout loss in a dance with Rich Franklin at UFC 115.

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Ronda Rousey hasn’t been seen in WWE since surprising the crowd in January at Royal Rumble in Philadelphia, but fans won’t have to wait too much longer for her next appearance.

On Monday night, Raw general manager Kurt Angle announced that the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion will sign her contract with the brand during WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on Feb. 25.

The pay-per-view could also set up Rousey’s storyline for WrestleMania 34 on April 8. MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer reported WWE is trying to put together a tag-team match that would pit Rousey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.

The UFC has put the wheels in motion for its maiden voyages to Russia and Hawaii.

President Dana White confirmed as much Wednesday on “UFC Tonight,” revealing officials are ironing out a deal to visit the former location.

“Well, we’re going to both. The question is which one first. My whole team is over in London right now working on a Russia deal. They will come home with a deal in Russia,” White said.

“Which one will we fight in first? I don’t know, that remains to be seen, but obviously everybody’s on board to go work UFC Hawaii.”

The forays are little surprise, as the promotion boasts more than enough homegrown talent for cards in both locales.

White has shared his designs on invading Russia several times before, but only recently heeded Hawaii native and featherweight champion Max Holloway’s incessant campaign for a show in his home state. The UFC president previously cited the lack of a suitable venue for his reluctance to book an event in Hawaii, but appears to have come around. He did not attach a target date to either location.

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A pair of strawweights appear set to try to get back in the win column at UFC on FOX 29.

Michelle Waterson and Cortney Casey will clash on April 14 at Gila Rivera Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Greg Moore of azcentral sports reported Thursday.

Waterson’s UFC stint began with tapouts of Angela Magana and Paige VanZant, but took a turn for the worse in 2017, as she suffered a submission loss to current divisional queen Rose Namajunas in April before dropping a unanimous decision to Tecia Torres at UFC 218.

Casey – an Arizona native – has alternated wins and losses over her past four fights, most recently falling to Felice Herrig by split decision (also at UFC 218). The 30-year-old heads to Glendale with a promotional record of 3-4.

Lightweights Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje meet in UFC on FOX 29’s main event.

The UFC is currently discussing a welterweight bout between former WWE star CM Punk and Mike Jackson, targeted for June 9 when the promotion goes to Chicago for UFC 225, reports MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani.

Discussions are still in preliminary stages with no final decision made yet, though Dana White made it clear before UFC 220 that he was hoping to see Punk back in the Octagon soon.

Punk, also known as Phil Brooks, is a native of Chicago and has not fought since being dismantled by Mickey Gall in his UFC debut September 2016.

Jackson is also 0-1 in the UFC with Gall as his only opponent and has been prodding Punk for the last year with the hope of landing a fight with the big-name draw.

Michael Bisping has yet another suitor for his long-discussed retirement fight.

Former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida respectfully called the Brit out after edging Eryk Anders at UFC Fight Night 125 this past Saturday, and the 38-year-old said he was open to taking Machida up on the challenge during the latest edition of his “Believe You Me” podcast.

Bisping had first been attached to a swansong opposite Vitor Belfort and then Rashad Evans on the UFC’s March trip to London, but recently shot downrumors of an appearance on the bill. When discussing Machida as a potential dance partner for his final bout, the former middleweight champ claimed the parallels between the Brazilian and Evans made him an ideal candidate, but didn’t put a date on his last walk to the Octagon.

“The Machida fight is something as well that could potentially serve as a last fight,” Bisping said. “(It’s) certainly very similar to Rashad in many ways: he’s a former champion, had a long career and getting to the final stages of his career. He’s somebody that I haven’t fought and that I have a lot of respect for.

“He’s had a great career, so it ticks all the boxes from that standpoint, and that’s about it. As of right now, I’ve got to speak to the UFC and figure out what’s going on for myself. I’m not considering opponents or who they are. I’ve got to speak with Dana and the UFC guys and figure out what’s next and what’s happening in life.”

Despite the 18-month USADA-sanctioned ban tarnishing Machida’s track record, Bisping – a staunch opponent of PED use – was quick to heap praise upon his fellow champion, who snapped a three-fight skid with the split decision he earned over the previously unbeaten Anders.

“He just said we were supposed to fight a couple of times over the years, it hadn’t happened, and that, basically, he had a lot of respect for me, and I’ve got a lot of respect for Machida, I really do. As I said on Saturday, he’s one of the true last martial arts specialists and a real martial artist that competes in the Octagon, so I have respect for him. Of course, there was the whole steroid issue, so I don’t want to rehash Saturday’s show, but of course, there’s always going to be an asterisk over him.

“God bless Machida. Thanks for the call-out, we will see what the future holds.”

Both the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches were full of surprises, and the reaction in Philadephia was mostly receptive to these returns. For the men’s Royal Rumble, the biggest surprise was former WWE Champion Rey Mysterio returning after a three-year absence. Other surprises, such as Hurricane Helms and NXT stars Andrade “Cien” Almas and Adam Cole, also added to the excitement of the match. In addition to many former women’s stars returning, NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon was also a surprise entrant.

Regarding both Almas and Moon being a part of the Royal Rumble, Taz was “not a fan” of this decision by WWE due to them being the respective champions of NXT. He was also not a fan of the Bella Twins eliminating Sasha Banks, as seen in the Facebook Live video above.

“Let’s worry about the current talent, WWE,” said Taz. “That’s what we need to get over. Not the men and women that are from the past. That’s something I have a problem with, and I have a problem with doing what you’re doing to your two champions from NXT. They come off as small, and they come off as not being utilized the right way, and it hurts. It hurts them. It hurts them badly when that happens.”

Taz added that placing Almas and Moon in the Royal Rumble makes NXT look “bush league,” and there is no need to have them in there. He also stated that it is “bad booking,” and WWE should let NXT stand on their own. Taz was unhappy that the WWE Championship match started first, as well as reacted when Ronda Rousey appeared and pointed to the WrestleMania logo.

“It kind of takes the spotlight away from Asuka’s victory,” said Taz. He added, “But what did she win? I mean, you’re pointing, Ronda Rousey, I know how tough you are, but what did she earn? She didn’t beat anyone, she didn’t fight anybody here. I don’t get it.”