Ronda Rousey, UFC Agree on New Contract: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is among the hottest commodities in all of sports, but the Octagon will continue to be her main focus for the foreseeable future.  
According to Fox Sports: UFC on Twitter, the 28-year-old superstar h…

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is among the hottest commodities in all of sports, but the Octagon will continue to be her main focus for the foreseeable future.  

According to Fox Sports: UFC on Twitter, the 28-year-old superstar has signed a long-term contract to remain with the UFC:

Rousey acknowledged the new deal Wednesday on ESPN’s First Take, and she also discussed what it means in terms of potentially taking on other athletic endeavors.

“I’m a UFC fighter. I just renegotiated. I have a lot of fights that I have in the UFC before I would be able to go do anything else,” she said, via Damon Martin of FoxSports.com.

There has been some talk regarding Rousey dabbling in boxing or even professional wrestling with WWE at some point, but the UFC ensured neither of those things will happen for now.

Rousey is scheduled to headline UFC 190 in Brazil against Bethe Correia, but the undefeated champ doesn’t seem particularly concerned about her opponent, per Fox Sports: UFC:

“Rowdy” has dominated the UFC ranks unlike any woman or man to ever grace the Octagon. Boredom setting in could be a concern, but it wasn’t enough to prevent her from re-signing.

Rousey is arguably the biggest draw in the UFC right now, and the company undoubtedly made a smart move by keeping her for the foreseeable future.

 

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CM Punk’s Personality Will Be Bigger Key to UFC Success Than Fighting Skills

Both MMA and WWE fans eagerly anticipate CM Punk’s UFC debut, but the build toward his first fight will have a larger bearing on his UFC future than the bout itself.
Punk became one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling partially due to his el…

Both MMA and WWE fans eagerly anticipate CM Punk‘s UFC debut, but the build toward his first fight will have a larger bearing on his UFC future than the bout itself.

Punk became one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling partially due to his elite in-ring ability, but even more so because of his unique personality, quick wit, sharp tongue and penchant for selling matches or events on the microphone.

He is arguably among the greatest talkers in wrestling history, and that is something UFC must take full advantage of in order to make him a crowd-drawing star.

As pointed out by his former on-screen advocate and current off-screen friend, Paul Heyman, on UFC announcer Bruce Buffer’s It’s Time podcast (h/t Nick Paglino of Wrestlezone.com), Punk’s gift of gab needs to be accentuated:

If CM Punk comes out of the gate swinging, and he shows the UFC audience exactly why he was such an idolized and revered personality in WWE—and if he gets his hands on a microphone—then I think whatever attraction he could be in that first fight will be doubled by his second fight, because he will then make more UFC fans, and not just crossover WWE fans. If he walks out and gets his face kicked in, and he doesn’t get a chance to talk, and he doesn’t put on a memorable performance than it’s a one-time-only deal.

Punk’s performance in the Octagon isn’t totally insignificant since he still needs to put on a show for the fans. But he can be an attraction whether he wins or loses as long as UFC removes the shackles and allows him to speak his mind.

Perhaps that got him into some trouble at times in WWE, but it is undoubtedly what endeared him to the viewing audience in the first place.

While there are plenty of differences between the arts of professional wrestling and MMA, they’re also more similar than they may appear to be on the surface.

In WWE, wrestlers need to look as though they have a legitimate issue with each other in order for fans to truly care about the match. The same can be said for MMA fights, which is something Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting pointed toward after the UFC 190 press conference between Ronda Rousey and Bethe Correia:

The competition in UFC is very real, but a little bit of embellishment during the lead-up to a fight can go a long way toward building interest. Nobody on the UFC roster is more adept at heating up a rivalry than Punk.

Even Punk himself has made mention of how getting a view of competitors outside the Octagon helps generate added excitement for a fight:

One of the best examples of that is former UFC star Chael Sonnen. While Sonnen enjoyed plenty of success with 29 wins in MMA, he continued to get placed in big-fight situations even though he went 3-4 over his final seven bouts.

That is because Sonnen was the best talker in UFC until Punk came around, and the fans either wanted to see him back up his tough talk or get his butt kicked. Either way, people were interested in watching Sonnen‘s fights.

Punk can achieve that same level of buzz if he embraces his professional wrestling roots and amplifies his personality in order to become somewhat of a divisive figure.

UFC needs fighters who can bolster the brand verbally, and there is no question that Punk is that guy. It is entirely possible that he won’t be a UFC-caliber fighter, but he can still make himself and the company a ton of money by showcasing his strengths.

 

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Ronda Rousey Believes She Could Beat Every Male UFC Bantamweight

No woman has come close to defeating UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey thus far, and the undefeated superstar is of the mind that she could have similar success against the men.
According to Luke Augustus of MailOnline, the 28-year-ol…

No woman has come close to defeating UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey thus far, and the undefeated superstar is of the mind that she could have similar success against the men.

According to Luke Augustus of MailOnline, the 28-year-old titleholder revealed on The Dan Patrick Show that she could potentially defeat the men in UFC’s bantamweight division.

I’m not offended. I really don’t think that’s serious. I consider it a compliment that people will even consider it. I never say that I’m incapable of beating anybody, because I don’t believe in putting limits on myself. So I mean, I would have to say if you’re just talking about what’s in the realm of possibility of what’s possible of who I could beat, well I could beat 100 percent of them. You can’t tell me that there’s a zero percent chance that I can beat anyone on the planet, so I’m never gonna say that.

Rousey is coming off a 14-second demolition of Cat Zingano at UFC 184, which has led to whispers regarding the possibility of the former Olympic judo medalist mixing it up with the men at some point.

Not everyone is convinced Rousey could compete with the opposite sex, though, including UFC fighter Derek Brunson:

Rousey has broken the mold and made women’s MMA a mainstream sport when most thought it couldn’t be done. With that in mind, she seems capable of doing almost anything she puts her mind to.

Any talk about Rousey fighting the guys is speculation at this point, but perhaps the question will be answered once and for all down the line.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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UFC 183: Winning Predictions for Silva vs. Diaz and Top Undercard Fights

After more than a year away due to injury, Anderson Silva will make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon when he faces Nick Diaz at UFC 183 Saturday night, but MMA fans have plenty more to be excited about as well.
In addition to Silva and Diaz…

After more than a year away due to injury, Anderson Silva will make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon when he faces Nick Diaz at UFC 183 Saturday night, but MMA fans have plenty more to be excited about as well.

In addition to Silva and Diaz locking horns, 11 additional undercard bouts will take place on pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass. Although there will be no titles on the line, every UFC 183 fight will be hugely important in terms of sorting out the contendership picture across multiple divisions.

Ahead of Saturday’s action-packed event, here is a full rundown of predictions for the biggest contests on the UFC 183 slate.

 

Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz

There is no doubt that Saturday night’s headliner is the middleweight clash between Silva and Diaz. With 59 career wins between them, they are two of the most accomplished fighters in recent memory. With both combatants riding two-fight losing streaks, though, some are questioning if they are on the decline.

Silva is 39 years of age and is coming off of a broken leg suffered against Chris Weidman. Nobody is certain how well he will rebound, but he is so confident that he is healed that he no longer desires to discuss the injury, according to Damon Martin of FoxSports.com.

“So, this is part of my life I won’t talk to any more because my leg’s good now,” Silva said. “I train hard now and everything is newer. I don’t talk any more on this because this is the past. Sorry.”

As for Diaz, he is only 31, but consecutive defeats at the hands of Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre have left him in flux. In addition to that, his erratic behavior leading up to Saturday’s fight could be a sign that he isn’t 100 percent up for the fight from a mental standpoint.

In addition to initially missing his flight to Las Vegas, Diaz decided against taking part in open workouts, per UFC on Twitter:

His behavior has been so flaky, in fact, that fellow UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy somewhat jokingly suggested that he would step up if Diaz doesn’t show up for the fight:

That shouldn’t be an issue since Diaz has been accounted for, but there is reason to wonder about his mental preparation for the fight.

Both fighters have question marks that they must overcome, and that is part of what makes this bout so intriguing. Picking a winner is extremely difficult, but there is something to be said about The Spider’s desire to bounce back from what could have been a career-ending injury.

Silva and Diaz will empty the tank and push each other to the limit; however, the Brazilian veteran will emerge victorious by decision in the end.

 

Tyron Woodley vs. Kelvin Gastelum

While Silva and Diaz will main event the UFC 183 card, a catchweight contest between Tyron Woodley and Kelvin Gastelum has a chance to steal the show.

The 23-year-old Gastelum is a perfect 10-0, but there is no question that Woodley represents his toughest competition to date. The 32-year-old T-Wood boasts a 14-3 record, with victories over big-name fighters such as Josh Koscheck and Condit.

Some extra intrigue has been added to the tilt as well since Gastelum didn’t make weight. In fact, he wasn’t even close, as he weighed in an incredible nine pounds over the agreed-upon limit, according to Mike Bohn of USA Today:

The bout will proceed as a catchweight fight, but it can be argued that Gastelum has a big advantage in terms of size and power. That may be true, but Woodley should have the edge in terms of quickness, especially with Gastelum ailing.

Per Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, Gastelum became ill and was rushed to the hospital due to dehydration Friday:

According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, everything appeared to be in order concerning Gastelum‘s health after getting checked out:

With that said, the hospitalization had to take its toll on him to some degree. It may very well be something that Woodley can take advantage of, and he likely won’t hesitate to do precisely that.

Gastelum can’t possibly be 100 percent, and Woodley will prey on that by knocking his younger opponent out in the second round.

 

Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann

In the preliminary card main event on Fox Sports 1, Miesha Tate and Sara McMann will go head to head in a women’s bantamweight fight as they both look to position themselves for another shot at Ronda Rousey.

Tate is the more experienced mixed martial artist, with a career record of 15-5, but McMann is a fighter on the rise at 8-1. As expected, Tate has been the much more vocal fighter during the lead-up to their meeting.

According to Martin, Tate has used her experience advantage to downplay McMann‘s ability to beat her in multiple ways.

When I see her fight, I see a lot of myself when I was less developed. Now I’m a little bit more well rounded, a little more seasoned to take a punch, to give a punch, I’m comfortable in the striking game now. I have a pretty well versed ground game. 

It’s interesting when I watch some of her footage and tapes and I’m like “I remember when I used to not be so comfortable on the feet.”  When somebody would hit me, I would be like “I have to wrestle, I better wrestle because I don’t think I can out strike them” and I see that in her a little bit.

While Tate acknowledged McMann‘s wrestling prowess, she may be underestimating it a bit too much. McMann was a freestyle wrestling silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games, and her excellence in that area has led her to a great deal of success.

Tate is riding a two-fight winning streak after losing three out of four, so she appears to be back on track. She hasn’t encountered anyone with the grappling excellence of McMann, though, which is why the 34-year-old former Olympian will persevere and win via decision.

 

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Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier: Latest Twitter Hype Before UFC 182

The light heavyweight bout between Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 is arguably the most highly anticipated fight ever, and there has been no shortage of hype leading up to it.
MMA fans have had an extra long wait for this contest since …

The light heavyweight bout between Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 is arguably the most highly anticipated fight ever, and there has been no shortage of hype leading up to it.

MMA fans have had an extra long wait for this contest since Jones was forced to pull out of the original fight at UFC 178. That has only served to build even more excitement, though, and things are finally set to come to a head Saturday in Las Vegas.

The importance of this fight is lost on no one, but it becomes even clearer when looking at the combatants’ respective resumes, as provided by Bleacher Report MMA:

In addition to that, Jones and Cormier simply don’t like each other. They have made disparaging remarks and even nearly come to blows, which is why so many fans can’t wait to see what happens when they finally get their hands on one another.

As seen in this photo at UFC 182 media day, there is no love lost between two of the best fighters the sport has to offer:

Jones and Cormier dislike each other so much, in fact, that they even argued during the UFC 182 fighter meeting, courtesy of UFC president Dana White Instagram account (Some language NSFW):

It is blatantly obvious that neither Jones nor Cormier are afraid to talk trash to each other, but they have both made their feelings known in the media as well.

Jones is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, but he’ll be facing an opponent who never lost. Cormier has deservedly received plenty of praise, however, Jones intends to make him seem ordinary, according to UFC’s official Twitter account:

Cormier clearly doesn’t like Jones, but he acknowledged that both he and his opponent are winners, and neither of them intend to go down at UFC 182:

At the same time, though, DC made it clear that Jones’ usual tactics of trying to get in the his opponent’s head won’t work on him:

From a technical perspective, this fight is quite appealing due to the fact that Jones and Cormier have very different styles. Jones is an excellent striker with some submission chops as well, while Cormier is a mat mauler who draws on his amateur wrestling experience.

Despite the fact that most assume Cormier has a significant advantage when he and his opponent are grounded, Jones wants to prove that he can excel in that area as well, per Jon Anik of Fox Sports 1:

Jones is favored to defeat Cormier, according to OddsShark, but this has the feeling of a bout that could truly go either way.

With that said, James Lynch of Sportsnet leans toward Jones due to the fact that he has a more versatile skill set than his undefeated counterpart:

Regardless of who ultimately wins the fight, though, there is no doubt that this rivalry has been great for the sport. Jones and Cormier are both elite competitors, and they have done a great job of generating interest in UFC 182.

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Snowden believes that Jones vs. Cormier is a fight that every true MMA fan absolutely must watch:

Similarly, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com feels as though this particular contest is a perfect example of why UFC has become so popular over the years:

Jones and Cormier have a lot to live up to based on the lofty expectations for their clash, but both fighters always seem to be up to the challenge.

They have an opportunity to elevate their company and their sport to another level if they perform to their potential, and every indication is that they will do precisely that.

 

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Hendricks vs. Lawler 2 Results: Winner, Scorecard and Analysis from UFC 181

 “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler atoned for the past in a big way Saturday night as he defeated Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks via split decision at UFC 181 in a highly anticipated rematch.
MMAJunkie tweeted out the result:

From the very outset is was app…

 “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler atoned for the past in a big way Saturday night as he defeated Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks via split decision at UFC 181 in a highly anticipated rematch.

MMAJunkie tweeted out the result:

From the very outset is was apparent that these two were looking to pick up right where they left off at UFC 171. Lawler’s frenetic pace to start the bout was matched by Hendrick’s combinations and wrestling as the round progressed. 

Hendrick’s ability to put together combinations in the stand-up department wasn’t limited to just the first round, either. The former All-American wrestler continually strung together combinations while also utilizing more takedowns than his first effort against Lawler. 

However, it was Lawler who was landing the more powerful blows. And that made all the difference. 

Hendricks beat Lawler in a unanimous-decision classic at UFC 171 in March to win the UFC Welterweight title, but Lawler obviously learned from that loss, which resulted in him seizing UFC gold for the first time in his career.

The 31-year-old Hendricks fell to 16-3, while Lawler improved to 25-10. Lawler has been on a tear aside from his UFC 171 loss to Hendricks, and he entered Saturday’s bout with all the confidence in the world, according to UFC’s official Twitter account:

After losing to Hendricks at UFC 171, Lawler went on to beat both Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown in decisive fashion. Despite the fact that he fell to Hendricks previously, the 32-year-old veteran was of the belief that things would be much different at UFC 181, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports.

I’m looking to make it one-sided, plain and simple. My coaches have done a good job of preparing me in a lot of situations that Johny is really good at. I feel powerful. I’m a better fighter than the last time. I’m stronger, I’m faster and I’m more technically sound. I’m looking to dominate. I’m not looking to go back-and-forth with Johny.

As seen in this video of their initial meeting nine months ago, courtesy of UFC United Kingdom, Hendricks had a game plan for defeating Lawler and managed to execute it:

Lawler was confident that he would be able to flip the script Saturday night, though, and it turns out that he was prophetic in that regard.

As sure as Lawler was that he would perform well at UFC 181, Hendricks felt the same about himself. During the lead up to Saturday’s clash, Hendricks discussed the notion that he was making strides with each passing fight, according to UFC on Twitter:

Unfortunately for Hendricks, that momentum came to a screeching halt. He was quickly developing into one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and while that may still be the case, Lawler certainly exposed some deficiencies.

Both Hendricks and Lawler are solid draws at this point, and there is little doubt that other fighters are lining up to face them. With that said, it is difficult to imagine Dana White and UFC passing up Hendricks vs. Lawler III.

They have already put on two exciting fights and proved to be evenly matched, so both Hendricks and Lawler deserve an opportunity to prove who the better fighter is once and for all.

There is no question that Lawler has knocked Hendricks from his perch for the time being, but this epic rivalry is just getting started.

 

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