UFC Challengers Odds Of Beating Champions By Division

June 12, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Although there isn’t really much of a formula these days for deciding who gets title shots in the UFC, the promotion is in a somewhat strange place where there is a clear-cut number one contender in almost every division. With many of these matches prepared to go down in the coming months, let’s take a look at the challengers who have the best chance of upsetting the respective champions in their division.

Women’s Bantamweight Championship – Challenger: Miesha Tate vs. Champion: Ronda Rousey

Upset Odds: +500

Despite the fact that everyone is laughing at the excuse that Tate won the first two rounds of her fight against Cat Zingano as reason enough to have her getting a title shot, it remains true. It’s probably also true that she’ll be a tougher test for champion Rousey come fight time. In the end, that’s likely going to mean very little as neither one stands a great chance. Tate has been in the cage with Rousey before, so she knows what to expect, unfortunately she knew what to expect the first time but still got arm barred for her troubles. At the end of the day, I think Rousey needs to stop trying to arm bar people at every opportunity. As we saw against Liz Carmouche, the ladies are figuring out how to escape and take advantage of it. Rousey needs to do the same and start throwing some new wrinkles at her opponents, expect it to start against Tate. Takedowns and top control en-route to a punishing stoppage in the second round, then we can all congratulate Tate on being the first woman to make it to the second round.

Flyweight Championship – Challenger: John Moraga vs. Champion: Demetrious Johnson

Upset Odds: +450

Moraga has been openly campaigning in the media and calling the champion “boring.” This isn’t really a bad strategy for him, since getting in the champ’s head is never a bad idea. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s going to get a fighter as well coached as Demetrious Johnson riled up too much. Moraga is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler and is a highly capable grappler, his striking is decent and he’s fast. The champion? He was a standout wrestler in high school, although he never translated that to NCAA success, however his striking is excellent and his hand and foot speed is second to none in the Flyweight division. Add to the fact Moraga has never competed in a five round fight before and Johnson excels in them and it’s going to be a long night for Moraga. Johnson is somewhat deserving of his reputation as a points fighter, but he moves in and out so quickly it’s hard to fault him for the strategy. I expect his output to actual increase as the fight goes on and as Moraga begins to fade late, I expect Johnson to really poor on the offense. Still, this one is probably headed for judge’s scorecards either way.

Interim Bantamweight Championship – Challenger: Eddie Wineland vs. Interim Champion: Renan Barao

Upset Odds: +450

Despite Wineland having a height advantage heading into this fight, he actually doesn’t have a reach advantage as both men possess a 70-inch reach. Wineland got this opportunity more as being the only one available who hadn’t faced Barao yet and is on a winning streak. The most important fights on Wineland’s ledger are his two recent losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. In both of those fights Wineland enjoyed some initial success in the striking department, but he was quickly figured out by the two of them. Against Urijah Faber, Barao was completely dominant. Wineland has proven somewhat susceptible to leg kicks in past bouts and in that fight Barao blasted Faber with kicks. I expect a similar game plan against Wineland. Hobbled and stiff, I expect that Wineland’s offense slows down and Barao starts picking up the pace. Barao wins with an impressive flurry somewhere around round four or so.

Featherweight Championship – Challenger: Anthony Pettis vs. Champion: Jose Aldo

Upset Odds: EVEN

This bout actually has a line on it already and Pettis is currently slated as a +130 underdog. However, I think this bout is close to a true pick ‘em. Against Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo began to tire and slow down as the fight went on and some people felt that Edgar may have done enough to win that fight. I’d consider Pettis a very competent striker, even more well rounded than Edgar. Pettis also has underrated grappling skills and has fought and excelled in five round bouts in the past. In addition, this will be the first time that the champion Aldo has faced a fighter who may be quicker and more accurate than anyone he has faced before. I actually like Pettis in this fight. He’s aggressive, he won’t be intimidated, he’ll likely have a size advantage and he’s shown an ability to control opponents on the mat before. It’s still a close and dangerous fight for both guys. But I’ll take Pettis via decision.

Lightweight Championship – Challenger: TJ Grant vs. Champion: Benson Henderson

Upset Odds: +250

Grant doesn’t seem to possess any amazing skills or freak athleticism, but he has completely run through the Lightweight division since making the drop. Add to that, no one has really looked at all impressive against him and you have to at least consider the chance that he upsets Benson Henderson in this fight. Henderson is a talented wrestler who employs strong game plans in his fights, however it’s going to be hard to game plan against a fighter who hasn’t looked weak in any of his Lightweight fights. At Welterweight Grant was dominated by smothering wrestlers like Johny Hendricks and Dong Hyun Kim.  Despite his stellar wrestling credentials, Henderson isn’t likely going to be able to smother him like those Welterweights, he simply doesn’t have the size to do it. Still Henderson is probably the more technical striker, although Grant hits like a truck, but Henderson’s speed is excellent and he’s going to be very tough to hit. I honestly don’t have a prediction yet, but I’m leaning towards the champion.

Welterweight Championship – Challenger: Johny Hendricks vs. Champion: Georges St. Pierre

Upset Odds: +225

Knockout power, that’s probably the one reason that most people think that this fight is so close. Hendricks has knocked out a high number of the Welterweight contenders and many people think that he’s going to be able to do that to GSP. Still St. Pierre is one of the most dominant champions of all time in the UFC and is a master tactician who will certainly have a plan to avoid the big power punches of Hendricks. It’s also important to note that Hendricks himself is an accomplished wrestler, who GSP may have a hard time wrangling to the ground. The other thing going for the champion is that in his most recent bout against Carlos Condit is that Hendricks faded in the third round and looked incredibly hittable, if he fades like that against GSP it’s going to be tough for him to win. I usually root against GSP, as I might be the one Canadian guy who isn’t a fan of the champion, so I’ll definitely be doing so again. But I’m not so sure Hendricks has it in him to take this one.

Middleweight Championship – Challenger: Chris Weidman vs. Champion: Anderson Silva

Upset Odds: +200

I think this might be one of the closest title fights of the summer. Anderson Silva has looked like an unbeatable champion for most of his UFC career, save for the couple of bouts against Chael Sonnen. The good news for Weidman, is that he’s a highly capable wrestler and grappler who is capable of pulling off a similar game plan. Anderson is capable from his back and has pulled off a number of submissions from his guard, but Weidman is much more submission savvy than Chael Sonnen and won’t be easily caught in a triangle. Anderson Silva is still one of the best technical strikers in the world bar none, and with every round starting on the feet, the onus will be on Weidman to drag the champion to the mat at least once a round. If he can avoid the punishing clinch game of Silva, he has a shot, but he’s still facing Anderson Silva and you can’t consider him to be an underdog.

Light Heavyweight Championship – Challenger: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Champion: Jon Jones

Upset Odds: +400

This bout isn’t yet confirmed, but the young and talented Swede is looking like the most likely challenger to Jon Jones’ title. Gustafsson has only one loss in the UFC and in his entire career and it came against Phil Davis, who himself is a highly talented wrestler. Gustafsson is a talented striker, one of the best in the division, but one of his greatest strengths is his height and reach, which he uses to excellent effect. Against champion Jones, he will actually be at a significant reach disadvantage, likely for the first time in his career. Against a striker as talented and as unorthodox as Jones is, I could see this being a problem for Gustafsson. One of his other strengths has been his improving wrestling and grappling skills, which he has been working on since switching his training to Alliance MMA with Phil Davis and company. However, against a dominant wrestler like Jones, his improvements aren’t likely to be enough to win the ground battle. It could be an exciting bout, but I think another dominant win for the champion is in store.

Heavyweight Championship – Challenger: Junior dos Santos vs. Champion: Cain Velasquez

Upset Odds: +175

Out of all of the Heavyweights in the world, Junior dos Santos probably has the best chance of dethroning Cain Velasquez, in fact he’s done it once already. However, in the rematch he was soundly beaten by Cain and was dominated over five full rounds. I am of the belief that the second fight is more closely linked to both fighters full potential than their first encounter and I envision the rubber match going in similar fashion to the second. Cain’s wrestling is top notch and he’s one of the most athletic fighters in the Heavyweight division, with the ability to physically control and impose his will on many fighters who are significantly larger than him. His striking has also made vast improvements, to the point where he is definitely one of the top strikers in the division as well. Dos Santos still holds the edge in a pure kick boxing bout, but the threat of takedowns and clinch games, swings the advantage back to Cain. The one lingering issue is that Cain’s chin hasn’t looked overly impressive throughout his career and he’s been rocked in some of his past fights, dos Santos is a big time heavy hitter, who can knock out even the toughest of fighters, as he recently proved against Mark Hunt. So you always have to consider dos Santos live in the fight if he’s standing, I just don’t think Velasquez will give him much room to operate. I think he crowds and controls dos Santos en-route to another dominant performance.

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Georges St-Pierre Says Anderson Silva Is Too Big For Super Fight

April 24, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Dana White needs to stop any future talk about Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva because it is clear GSP isn’t interested. Now if he wants to set his sights on GSP vs. Benson Henderson, he may have better luck according to the UFC welterweight champ.

The UFC president was at it again last week when he told the media that he was going to make another attempt to sign the Silva vs. GSP super fight. White said that he expected an answer from GSP last week but never followed up with the media on it. GSP on the other hand was glad to talk to the media on it and it isn’t happening, at least not now.

GSP is doing media for his new autobiography “The Way of the Fight” and sat down with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan on Rogan’s podcast to talk about the book. Of course the subject immediately shifted to Anderson Silva and GSP gave what I think is one of the most honest answers you’ll ever hear from a fighter that isn’t interested in a fight he doesn’t think he will win.

“Anderson Silva is very big,” St-Pierre said. “He’s 230 pounds. He’s a very big guy walking around, and I’m 190 pounds. It’s a lot of weight difference. If this fight happens one day, we’re going to have to decide what weight class and everything.”

Not all is lost. GSP told Rogan that if Silva can come down to welterweight, he’d take the fight.

“If he can make 170, he can weigh 170, I can weigh 170, and everything is fine.”

From the start of this Silva vs. St-Pierre talk, GSP has been rather consistent in his worry about the size difference between the two fighters. GSP has said numerous times that he would have to come up in weight and he isn’t comfortable with that. As a fan as much as I admire GSP I have said from the start that I felt Silva was too big for him. There is a big size difference there and as fun as the fight is on paper, MMA has weight classes for a reason.

These comments are also interesting in regards to what GSP’s current trainer and ex-manager have said in recent interviews. Both have said that GSP had a three-fight plan and that the plan was Diaz, Silva, Hendricks, and then retirement. GSP seemed to indicate that he would take the fight with Johny Hendricks next and stay at 170. Hendricks can now relax because it appears that he is getting his title shot.

Now that said, not all talk about super fights is dead. GSP told Rogan that a move to 155 pounds is something that he’d actually entertain. He told Rogan that the 155 pound fighters walk around at 190 which is what he weighs. UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has talked about wanting to fight GSP. Maybe Dana White and the UFC need to start working on the super fight that they can actually sign instead of chasing the ones they can’t.

GSP never said the Silva fight is dead, but unless the Spider is dropping to 170 (which he has said he’d do), it isn’t happening anytime soon.

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Jon Jones Says No Anderson Silva Fight In 2013

April 23, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Leave it to Jon Jones to crush the hopes and dreams of UFC fans. Just days after UFC president Dana White told the media that the UFC had plans for a Jones vs. Anderson Silva fight in the fall, Bones made sure to remind fans that super fights in the UFC are simply more myth than reality.

The ironic thing about super fights in the UFC is that these big dream fights are often talked about for years yet rarely ever signed. I’ll give the UFC credit for pulling off Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz after a couple of failed attempts but their inability to sign the mega bouts is a hump that the company just seem to get over.

In the case of Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones it appeared that there was some real activity here in regards to this fight actually being made. After saying no for almost two years, the Spider had a recent change of heart and has started talking openly about his desire to fight Jones. Dana White quickly hopped on that bandwagon and both he and the UFC middleweight champ even seemed to have a date in mind, the 20th anniversary event.

And then Jon Jones came along to remind you that dream fights in the UFC don’t happen that easily.

Jones is doing media for his upcoming UFC 159 headliner with Chael Sonnen and was asked about fighting Silva on Monday’s conference call.

Jon Jones has his eyes set on bigger fish than Anderson Silva. Jones is eyeing Tito Ortiz, specifically Ortiz’s record of five UFC light heavyweight title defenses. Saturday’s fight against Sonnen will tie that record. Jones wants to break it and according to the champ, that is more important than any super fight. Jones told the media that after Sonnen he wants to defend the title in November before entertaining super fights. When asked specifically about the Silva fight Jones responded, “I said what I said.”

Likable guy isn’t he?

Now I will say this before I declare the November fight dead with Silva. This could simply be a public negotiating ploy by Jones. Silva is saying yes, the UFC certainly wants it, so at this point Jones does have all the cards when it comes to negotiating. Jones has said no to fights in the past that wound up being signed, such as the one this Saturday. Maybe this is nothing more than a negotiating tactic.

Jones likes to call himself a “business man.” What kind of sane business man would pass up an opportunity to make the most money he has ever made by fighting Silva (on the anniversary show nonetheless) for a title defense against Lyoto Machida?

Jones is a wealthy man but he doesn’t draw big buyrates and he hasn’t been on top that long. He is preparing for a fight now that has less interest than any championship fight he has participated in on pay per view. The Silva fight would be a life changer for him. He can go chase Tito’s record after the Silva fight. Timing is everything and fighting Silva on the 20th anniversary show would give the UFC its biggest fight ever. If he is sincere, passing that pay day up for a record that quite honestly nobody really cares about is just insane.

This would also explain Dana White’s recent statements regarding Anderson Silva vs. GSP. That super fight (which White guaranteed) was dead. GSP was scheduled to fight Johny Hendricks and the company was looking at Silva vs. Jones for the fall. Out of nowhere White told reporters last week that the company was making another play for that fight and were waiting on GSP for an answer. Maybe Jones is serious and now realizing that they have no mega fight set up for the 20th anniversary show, the UFC went back to the GSP-Silva well?

There also has to be some responsibility placed on the UFC here. It is one thing when boxing dream fights can’t be made due to rival promoters. The UFC promotes all of these guys and yet fails time and time again to pull off these mega fights. Nobody is forcing these guys to fight so unless you have verbal agreements from these guys, it is time to stop teasing the public with talk of these mega fights that never deliver.

Georges St-Pierre: The Way of the Fight Book

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Anderson Silva, Not Johny Hendricks Could Be Next For GSP

April 22, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

I have always been a fan of Georges St-Pierre and found him to be a stand up guy. Yet his reluctance to fight the true number one contender is troubling, in addition to the UFC support behind it. It’s time fight Johny Hendricks or vacate the title and abolish the rankings.

It appeared coming out of UFC 158 that everything was on target for a big UFC welterweight championship fight. Johny Hendricks won his sixth fight in a row against elite competition in the UFC and was guaranteed the next fight with GSP by UFC officials. Several weeks later and an interesting comment later, that fight is no closer to taking place than it was before Hendricks stepped into the octagon with Carlos Condit.

UFC president Dana White made what I thought was a shocking statement last week. White told the media that the UFC were once again making a play for a Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva fight.

If Georges says to me, ‘I want to fight Anderson Silva,’ you think I’m going to go, ‘No you’re not – you’re fighting Johny Hendricks. We’ll talk about that later’?

White then told the media that St-Pierre would not have to vacate the title to fight Silva. White said that the plan would be for GSP to move up and then move back down and defend the title against Hendricks.

Come again?

I am so sick of this proposed Silva vs. GSP talk. Remember when Dana White guaranteed that he was going to make the fight happen after GSP vs. Condit? Either move on or don’t say another word about it until you have bout agreements signed by all parties. It’s freaking pathetic already.

But what about Hendricks? I’ll admit that I was in favor of the UFC passing Hendricks over for Nick Diaz in regards to GSP’s last fight. That was probably a mistake and Hendricks proved me wrong when he came out victorious over the former interim champion. At this point enough is enough. The guy just beat the former interim champ, won his sixth in a row, and has been promised the next fight with GSP. It’s time to do what is right and give the guy his title shot.

The UFC introduced rankings a few months back. Dana said at the time that the rankings wouldn’t have influence over match making which begs the question as to why even have them in the first place. I know FOX wanted them but what’s the point if they mean nothing. If Hendricks has to sit again and wait I say abolish these rankings altogether, at least at welterweight. There is zero credibility if this happens.

I don’t know what happened because the plan seemed fairly clear the last few weeks. Chris Weidman would fight Silva, GSP would fight Hendricks, and then Silva would fight Jon Jones at the 20th Anniversary event. How we got back to GSP vs. Silva is a great question. Considering the fact that GSP has a movie coming up and probably wouldn’t be fighting until the fall, a fight with Silva would require Hendricks to sit out a year or more for his title shot. It’s just ridiculous.

Again I get it and the UFC has made it perfectly clear that this is a business. Unfortunately this company has lost more credibility in the last year because of this. I think at this point there are enough people excited about seeing Hendricks fight for the title that the idea of putting the fight the off seems bizarre. Is the UFC worried that Hendricks will beat GSP and thus want to shoot the GSP vs. Silva fight now? It sounds like a dumb question but when you really look at the big picture, why else would they steal the guy’s title shot that they have promised him twice?

Hendricks may have to show up at GSP’s camp to get his title shot after all.

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Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Or Retirement For Nick Diaz

April 04, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The AARP must be tired of hearing from Nick Diaz. Diaz has retired and un-retired more in the last 2 years than Terry Funk has in a decade. According to the latest report Diaz is indeed retired, unless of course the UFC offers him their two biggest guns.

Diaz announcing his retirement is not a new thing. Diaz has been using this retirement chip to get what he wants going back to when he retired in Strikeforce to become a boxer only to sign with the UFC for a fight with Georges St-Pierre. Diaz is playing this hand again and like last time, will come out of “retirement” for a fight with GSP or Anderson Silva.

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani broke the news on UFC Tonight. Helwani talked directly to Diaz’s attorney Jonathon Tweedale who told Helwani that his client is retired but maybe not for the right price.

Right now Nick is retired, unless he gets rematch with Georges St-Pierre or the big Anderson Silva fight. Apparently if he doesn’t get those, he’s going to remain retired.

What makes this a bit different from Diaz’s other retirements is that a) he is going public with his demands and b) they aren’t coming from Diaz. Quite frankly it is almost an identical play off of the WWE angle where Paul Heyman announced Brock Lesnar was retiring but would come back for a match with Triple H.

I am a Diaz fan, always have been, but I have to admit that he lost me after the GSP fight. He talked a lot of trash for the last several years about what he would do and how he would do it to St-Pierre. I paid my $60 and I watched a guy come into this fight uninspired and dominated for a great deal of the fight. It is one thing to go down fighting. It is another thing to go down uninspired. I won’t get fooled again.

Unfortunately Diaz’s demands come at a time where I think the majority of the MMA world feels as I do. When Diaz teased his retirement before, we all wanted to see the GSP fight and begged the UFC to make the fight. I don’t know about you but I have zero interest in a rematch here. There was nothing to this fight that left me wanting to see more. I am not saying it was a bad fight. I am just saying it was a decisive fight, Nick had his shot, and it’s time to go earn another one.

This is also coming from a guy that openly mocked the idea that he may not even pass the drug tests coming out of the fight with GSP. That was another deal that lost me. I will root for Diaz in the octagon and I think he did have a bit of a case with his first suspension. But when you tell me two days before the biggest fight of your life that you aren’t even sure you’ll pass the drug tests, well I no longer have your back as a fan.

Diaz received what will be by far his biggest payday ever as a fighter for his last fight. For a guy that has done nothing but complain about money for the last three years, I don’t know why he would walk away during his prime earning time as a fighter. Those windows don’t last long if you don’t win and he is now 0-2 in his last two fights. I won’t even get into the idea that the guy may or may not owe a boatload of money on back taxes.

Timing is also everything here. UFC fans don’t want to see GSP or Silva fight Diaz in the immediate future. Both fighters have bigger opportunities and fans are licking their chops at either a mega fight between the two, Silva vs. Jon Jones, and even Johny Hendricks vs. GSP. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to see Diaz vs. GSP or Silva jump to the front of that line. In other words unlike last time, the UFC will have zero public pressure to acquiesce to Diaz’s demands.

Is Diaz serious? I don’t think so. All the guy has ever done is fight. I don’t see him walking away from a loss and calling it a career. I think this is a Hail Mary that he has little to no shot at completing.

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Anderson Silva Fight Could Be Next Says GSP’s Trainer

April 02, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It’s on, it’s off, it’s on, it’s off, and now it could be back on again. That is the story of Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre. While GSP has publicly shown little interest, a new report says that he is not only interested, but the Spider may be his next opponent.

If I read one more tease about this Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre fight I am going to throw my computer out the window. Everyone in the UFC has teased this fight over the last few years except one guy, Georges St-Pierre. The UFC welterweight champion appeared to be the only holdup in making this fight happen. According to his trainer, GSP has come around.

GSP’s trainer Firas Zahabi either never got the memo, let the cat out of the bag, or is doing some slick negotiating on behalf of his star pupil. Zahabi recently revealed to that all of the talk about Johny Hendricks vs. GSP may be premature and it is Silva vs. St-Pierre that could be next for the champion.

“If he fights Hendricks, I think (GSP) could fight for longer. He could have more fights after that. If he fights Anderson Silva, I could really see that being his last fight. He’ll retire after that because there won’t be a bigger fight for him to do, I think, anymore in his career.”

Zahabi goes on to tell Sherdog Radio that he believes that win or lose if St-Pierre fights Silva, that the fight would mark the end of the champion’s career. Zahabi said that once GSP moves up in weight for the fight that “he’s never coming back down” and will probably end on that note.

The only one not excited about this revelation has to be Johny Hendricks. Hendricks is probably livid after hearing those comments. Hendricks took a backseat to Nick Diaz at UFC 158 and was promised a win over Carlos Condit will move him to the front of the line. While he could still fight for a vacated title (should GSP leave the division with a Silva fight), it isn’t the same thing as fighting GSP. It’s fight he has earned and a pay day he won’t get fighting anyone else at welterweight.

I don’t care what the UFC says, if GSP wants to fight Silva next, Hendricks is going to have to wait. At the end of the day this is a business, as the UFC has proven time and time again. Even the biggest Hendricks supporter has to come to grips with the financial bonanza a Silva vs. St-Pierre offers the UFC over Hendricks vs. GSP. It’s not fair but it’s just the way it is.

This also brings back to Anderson Silva. Silva is signed to fight Chris Weidman in a UFC middleweight title defense this summer. Silva has been talking about a potential Jon Jones mega fight at the 20th anniversary event in November. What does the UFC do? Personally I’d like to see a Jones vs. Silva fight, let Hendricks fight GSP, and then match GSP and Silva up. It’s a great dilemma to have if you are the UFC.

And somewhere Johny Hendricks continues to fume.

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Ex-Manager Says GSP Dreams Of Anderson Silva Fight

March 21, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Just when you thought Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre was dead it is brought back to life. Yet the fighter bringing it back to life is ironically the one who keeps turning it down. According to a report GSP is dreaming of fighting Silva and plans to do so before retiring.

UFC president promised to make the fight happen and has failed to deliver. White was adamant during the Condit vs. GSP promotion that St-Pierre’s next fight would be against Silva. Well here we are several months later and both fighters look further apart than ever. However, a recent report that was published shortly before UFC 158 indicates that there still may be some life left in this super fight.

The source of this news is GSP’s ex-manager Stephane Patry. Patry who no longer manages GSP so keep that in mind, recently revealed GSP’s three-fight plan which ends with the UFC middleweight champion. Patry says that not only does GSP plan on fighting Silva, but he dreams about it. Here is what Patry said thanks to a translation by MMA.TV regarding the third and final chapter of this master plan.

But what is the 3rd chapter of the plan drawn up by Georges St-Pierre himself? Yep, you guessed it – it is Anderson Silva. Stop believing he does not want to face Silva, Georges dreams of the clash. He dreams to retire at the peak of his glory in being recognized as a legend, as the greatest fighter of all time. And to do that, it must be considered the best fighter on the planet “pound for pound” … Why not super fight now? Because George has a well-established plan for the rest of his career, and he will follow it to the letter. There are now many stars to align so that the plan remains perfect … He must defeat Nick Diaz on Saturday night, defend his title once more against the winner of Condit-Hendricks, and then prepare for a clash of the titans.

If this is true than St-Pierre is keeping the best poker face in MMA. GSP has shown little to no interest publicly when asked about fighting Anderson Silva. Initially he appeared receptive but he has gotten more reluctant with every interview since the fight was first discussed. From all accounts I have read from GSP himself, he has very little interest in this fight. Needless to say this would be a complete about-face by St-Pierre.

It should be noted that GSP’s camp is denying this whole idea of a three-fight master plan. GSP’s trainer Firas Zihabi told Mike Chiapetta that he thinks this whole idea of a master plan by GSP is not true.

I have nothing bad to say about Stephane,” he said “I don’t think Georges probably said that in that way, the way it was written. I read the article. It was very strong. I don’t think Georges thinks that far ahead, honestly. He would not overlook Diaz. That’s part of the lesson he learned once upon a time against [Matt] Serra, and I think it’s so ingrained in George’s brain, he’d never make that mistake again. I don’t think you can get Georges to say that.

The one thing I have noticed consistently with GSP over the last few years is that he really does testy when he is asked about future fights. He is very careful, at least publicly, not to look ahead past any fights. Looking ahead at a three-fight plan would appear out of character, especially when he was preparing for Nick Diaz.

It also doesn’t make much sense. If there is one thing that has been proven in MMA it is that these kinds of master plans rarely materialize. Someone loses, someone gets hurt, someone has a contract issue, etc, etc. If he really does dream of this Anderson Silva fight as he says, you’d think he’d want to get to Silva before Jon Jones or even Chris Weidman do. A super fight with Silva won’t have the same luster if either one comes in with a recent loss.

GSP is certainly taking a big gamble if this truly is his master plan.

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UFC 158: GSP vs. Diaz Results and Takeaways

March 18, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Another weekend gone by and with it another UFC Pay Per View is in the books. UFC 158 rocked the PPV airwaves and likely did excellent numbers for the UFC as it was headlined by one of the most anticipated fights of the past couple of years as Welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre breezed through his title defense against Nick Diaz. Although it’s too early to discuss the potential number of PPV buys UFC 158 did, it is likely going to be deemed a huge success for the UFC. What we don’t have to speculate about is the live gate, as the Canadian fans proved that once again the sport of MMA is loved in Montreal. The Bell Centre reported an attendance figure over 20,145 all contributing to a $3.7 million live gate.

Although those people that initially shelled out $60 for the Pay Per View were likely frustrated and disappointed with their purchase after the first two main card bouts, the three Welterweight fights that closed the show certainly delivered. Jake Ellenberger continued his climb towards the top of the Welterweight division with an impressive Knockout of the Night award winning performance against the always-tough Nate Marquardt. Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks engaged in an absolute war that is my candidate for Fight of the Year so far, in a number one contender’s bout. And to cap off the night GSP dominated Nick Diaz for most of their 25-minute affair all the while his hometown fans chanted obscenities at Diaz and cheered their local hero.

Lightweight Bout: Mike Ricci defeated Colin Fletcher via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

This was a bout between two TUF second place finishers and Mike Ricci got the job done in front of his home crowd. Despite gaining a dominant victory, Ricci certainly can’t be overly happy with the victory as the bout was a rather slow and plodding affair. Across all three rounds Ricci used a more well-rounded and accurate striking game, along with takedowns and excellent top control to batter his opponent. In the end there was little doubt about who the victor was, but in the action-light opener, you got the feeling that Ricci could have done more.

What’s next for Ricci? Despite the win, Ricci wasn’t overly impressive. He was definitely dominant, but he was never really close to finishing the fight and the bout was slow paced. He’ll need to step up his game if he wants to make it far in the Lightweight division, but it’s going to have to be baby steps for him. Fellow TUF veterans Francisco Trinaldo and Mike Rio are competing in May in Brazil, the winner of that fight could be a good test for Ricci.

What’s next for Fletcher? Unemployment probably. He’s looked fairly unimpressive in his two UFC bouts so far, so he deserves to be cut. But he is British and he does have a big personality and the UFC might decide to keep him around for their European cards. Feed him to someone like Paul Sass or Daron Cruickshank on a free car in Europe and let him get someone’s career back on track before he goes.

Middleweight Bout: Chris Camozzi defeated Nick Ring via Split Decision after Three Rounds

For three rounds Nick Ring kept his hands down, danced around the outside and tried to use his speed advantage to pick apart his opponent. If you listened to the commentary from Rogan and Goldberg, you’d believe that he did it as well, but the judges thought differently. Camozzi was rewarded for moving forward, despite taking a few shots on the way in, but he did manage to land some punches of his own, especially in the second and third rounds as Ring began to slow. Despite the close Split Decision neither fighter really impressed in this one, but Camozzi does get the W.

What’s next for Camozzi? Many people have already called for this one, but I’m inclined to agree with the mainstream media on this, Camozzi should fight Brad Tavares. Both Middleweights have been impressive since their runs on The Ultimate Fighter and they are both ready to try and break out of the middle-tier of fighters in the Middleweight division. They both just got big wins, they’re both TUF veterans, no reason not to match them up.

What’s next for Ring? He hasn’t lived up to all of the potential people thought that he had after his shortened season on The Ultimate Fighter. Despite what many people thought was a rather lackluster fight, Dana White seemed impressed with this one on Twitter and gave both Ring and Camozzi ‘Much respect’ on his Twitter, so I guess he’s not likely to be cut. Despite the props from the boss, he’s still going to drop down the rankings. Bouts with Daniel Sarafian from TUF: Brazil or Japan’s Riki Fukuda would make sense.

Welterweight Bout: Jake Ellenberger defeated Nate Marquardt via Knock Out (Punches) at 3:00 of Round One

Marquardt and Ellenberger took the center of the cage quickly, but it was Marquardt who got the first edge as he chopped away at Ellenberger with leg kicks. Marquardt managed to use those kicks to set up a few nice combinations and scored with a few of them. Nearly midway through the round Ellenberger countered a kick and landed a combination that dropped Marquardt to his knees against the cage. Ellenberger swarmed his hurt opponent with follow up punches, including a huge right hand that dropped Marquardt face first into the mat unconscious as the referee stepped in to stop the bout in the opening round.

What’s next for Ellenberger? That was definitely a statement fight as he completely thrashed a very tough and durable Nate Marquardt (in face Anderson Silva is the only other fighter to stop Marquardt via strikes.) He deserves a top contender and there is definitely plenty of choices at Welterweight. Top contenders like Rory MacDonald or Demian Maia would make sense. But I think the best choice might be a top contenders bout against the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Tarec Saffiedine.

What’s next for Marquardt? He probably fell out of the top 10 with the knockout loss, but he’s still a tough fighter who will allow the UFC to gauge the talent of up-and-comers and middle of the pack Welterweights who they think might be ready for a step-up in competition. A bout with Siyar Bahadurzada could be interesting if they agree to fight for the rights to use the nickname ‘The Great.’ Also intriguing could be a bout against Stephen Thompson.

Welterweight Bout: Johny Hendricks defeated Carlos Condit via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

I will spoil nothing of this fight, because you simply should go and watch all fifteen minutes of it. Back and forth striking action, big takedowns, slams, suplexes, flying knees, head kicks, huge bombs, this fight had everything that a good MMA contest should have. It’s just a shame these two didn’t have two more rounds to keep scrapping.

What’s next for Hendricks? At the end of the day, Hendricks won this bout and gets his shot against GSP. He apparently broke his hand in this fight, so he might need some time off to heal, but he’s getting a shot at the championship and he deserves it.

What’s next for Condit? He’s going to be employed for life. Knowing he would probably need a finish, he went out and threw everything he had at Hendricks in that final frame trying to steal the fight back. He’s lost two straight, but they were to the champion and number one contender so there’s not a lot of shame in that. At the top of the division there’s only a lot of rematches and only the Diaz one makes sense. I’d rather see him take a slight step back in competition and have some exciting bouts to get him back on track. Bouts with BJ Penn, Amir Sadollah or Mike Swick could prove to be exciting slugfests and could probably get Condit back on the winning track.

Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St. Pierre defeated Nick Diaz via Unanimous Decision after Five Rounds

 GSP gonna GSP, that’s about all there is to say about this fight. It definitely wasn’t ‘the worst beating the octagon has ever seen’ like he claimed it would be, but it was fairly one-sided. Georges stood with Diaz more often than I thought he would and although he struggled at times, he handled himself fairly well in the stand up and didn’t allow Diaz to get into any kind of a rhythm at all. On the ground it was complete and utter positional domination. Diaz had a number of tricks that he tried, but no matter what he did rolling for knee bars, scrambling to the bottom, giving up his back to try and create space for scrambles, none of it worked. GSP controlled the action on the mat every time it went there. This fight wasn’t without some notes though, as GSP looked decidedly more fatigued by the end of this fight, than I have seen him in previous fights. By midway in the third round, GSP was beginning to glance up at the clock and looked to be slowing down. In fact it showed in his performance as several of his takedowns in the final two rounds were stuffed by Diaz, something that wasn’t even close to happening during the opening two rounds.

What’s next for GSP? Johny Hendricks engaged in a war with Carlos Condit in the co-main event and earned himself a title shot. Dana has said that he expects the bout to take place in Vegas once Hendricks heals from a hand injury he suffered during the Condit fight.

What’s next for Diaz? In the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan he teased retirement, but by the time the press conference came around he was asking for a rematch and offering to fight Anderson Silva, so it’s hard to say what’s on Diaz’s mind. If he passes the post-fight drug test and decides that he still wants to fight, there are a number on interesting bouts in the 170-pound division for Diaz. Diaz isn’t getting back in for another shot at GSP any time soon, so you might as well give him decent match ups against guys who will brawl with him and try to use him basically as entertainment value. Bouts against primarily strikers would be in the UFC’s best interest if they pursue that option. Martin Kampmann expressed interest in fighting Diaz and that’s a fight I’d like to see. The loser of the upcoming Dan Hardy vs. Matt Brown fight at UFC on FOX could also be an excellent choice for a brawl.

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Nick Diaz Says He Has Never Paid Taxes

March 18, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Nick Diaz has lost his mind! Shortly after announcing his retirement at UFC 158 Diaz showed up at the post fight press conference and made challenges to everyone from Anderson Silva to GSP. Yet it was what Diaz said about his taxes that is making news.

I have always thought that Diaz was crazy like a fox. I was wrong unless Diaz has a master plan when it comes to fighting the Internal Revenue Service. Diaz has made a lot of wild statements the last several days. But showing up to a press conference and announcing you have never paid taxes may be have been the most insane yet.

Diaz showed up late to the presser after telling the UFC that he wasn’t coming. In this case he probably should have followed his instincts. The presser was classic Diaz from challenging Anderson Silva to claiming that Georges St-Pierre (who just said complimentary things about Nick) has “no punching power”. Somehow or another he got onto the subject of taxes.

“I can’t be jumping teams,” Diaz said at the presser. “I just have to do the best with what I have. You know what? I’ve never paid taxes in my life, no joke. And no one wants to hear that kind of talk and what’s going on with me. I might as well just be a kid. I’ve had fight after fight after fight after fight, and you don’t know what that does to somebody who didn’t graduate high school. Take it into consideration for a second what three fights a year will do to you your whole life. And the only time you have some time off, it’s not like it’s a vacation – everybody’s telling you you’re this piece of s—, you’re suspended, you ain’t fighting this guy, you ain’t fighting that guy, you have to come back and dance around a bunch of hard hitting people. It’s a rough sport.”

Wow! UFC president Dana White is not amused and is concerned about his fighter. White wants Diaz to pay his taxes immediately and get his act together.

“What’s sad is, he better go pay his taxes,” White said. “He came out publicly tonight and said he’s never paid taxes in his life? Holy s—. That’s sad. You wanna talk about sad? That’s sad. Somebody better handle that with this check and make sure that kid doesn’t end up with nothing. There’s a guy who’s Nate and Nick’s lawyer and seems like a decent guy looking out for them. I’ll probably give this guy a call and tell him, ‘Nick said he’s never paid taxes in his life, and you probably want to start working on that f—ing Sunday morning, not Monday morning.'”

You can watch the rest of the press conference below and hear Diaz incriminate himself among other things. This is serious business and if Diaz is telling the truth, he probably won’t be retiring anytime soon. He’ll need to stick around and pay what promises to be a very hefty bill to Uncle Sam.

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UFC 158 GSP vs. Diaz Results: GSP Wins, Diaz Teases Retirement

March 17, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

I don’t think anyone expected the Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC 158 main-event to be a loser leaves town match but it may have just been that. After suffering a dominating defeat, Diaz announced his likely retirement in an antic-climatic end to one of the UFC’s biggest grudge fights.

If you took a step back from all of the Diaz trash talk and fight hype, you probably had a good idea of how this fight was going to go. The highly anticipated GSP vs. Nick Diaz main-event turned out to be the fight you expected and that was unfortunate. Fans were paid off with the typical GSP ground and grind with a mix of standup in a fight that hardly lived up to the hype.

I don’t know if I’d call it a dominating fight by GSP or just a bad off night for Diaz, regardless GSP won the five-round decision. The first round saw GSP dominate Diaz with takedowns. The best action came as the second round closed and Diaz tried to get into St-Pierre’s face. The third round was Diaz’s best as he stopped multiple takedown attempts and had some striking combinations. Unfortunately that was about the best we saw from Diaz all fight. At one point Diaz just seemed disinterested walking around with his hands down. The only other highlight was Diaz hitting GSP after the bell late in the fight and being threatened with a disqualification. Other than that it wasn’t too thrilling.

Diaz and GSP immediately hugged after the fight. GSP called Nick the best boxer in MMA. Funny as he hardly seemed like anything close to it. GSP had a lot of complimentary things to say about Nick, although he didn’t invite him over for a BBQ. It was probably a little too respectful of an interview if you consider the fact that his opponent was just accusing him of being on steroids 48 hours ago.

Diaz on the other hand made noise of his own in his post fight promo. Diaz told Joe Rogan that he fairly confident that he is done with MMA.

“I want to thank GSP for giving me the credit that I like to think I deserve. I don’t think I got any more” on what’s next.”

Diaz then went on to say that he was tired of getting busted up. He told Joe Rogan that he made enough money from the fight that he hopes he can make some investments. He said he gave this a lot of thought over the last year he was on suspension. If he didn’t give a similar speech after his last fight I’d probably take him a lot more seriously. Unless Diaz fails a drug test I’d expect him back in the UFC.

The good news for St-Pierre is that he won the fight. The bad news is that he now has to fight a beast in Johny Hendricks. Hendricks defeated Carlos Condit in the co-headliner by unanimous decision in one of the best fights I have seen in awhile. Hendricks was a beast and is probably the most dangerous opponent GSP ever fought. I can’t imagine GSP bullying Hendricks on the ground and Hendricks will take the striking to GSP like nobody else. Hendricks challenged GSP in his post fight promo and told GSP that he was willing to bring a ref to GSP’s house to get it done. Hendricks thought he broke his hand during the fight so the eventual title fight may be delayed for awhile.

Full UFC 158: GSP vs. Diaz results and winners…
Georges St-Pierre (c) defeated Nick Diaz via Decision (unanimous)
Johny Hendricks defeated Carlos Condit via Decision (unanimous)
Jake Ellenberger defeated Nate Marquardt via KO (punches) in Round 1
Chris Camozzi defeated Nick Ring via Decision (split)
Mike Ricci defeated Colin Fletcher via Decision (unanimous)
Patrick Côté defeated Bobby Voelker via Decision (unanimous)
Darren Elkins defeated Antonio Carvalho via TKO (punches) in Round 1
Jordan Mein defeated Dan Miller via TKO (punches) in Round 1
John Makdessi defeated Daron Cruickshank via Decision (unanimous)
Rick Story defeated Quinn Mulhern via TKO (punches) in Round 1
T.J. Dillashaw defeated Issei Tamura via KO (knee and punches)
George Roop defeated Reuben Duran via Decision (unanimous)

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