As far as UFC president Dana White is concerned, the decision to remove TJ Grant and Nate Diaz from the official UFC rankings was a simple one.
They are not currently active.
White, during an interview on “UFC Tonight” Wednesday, discussed the issue. Both fighters were taken out of the rankings earlier this week, while former UFC champion Dominick Cruz remained in the bantamweight Top-10 despite being off longer than either Grant or Diaz.
“Everyone is talking about Nate Diaz being removed and so has TJ Grant, for inactivity,” White said. “Early on, we let Dominick hold the title for as long as we did. But it’s unfair for the guys who are staying active.
“When you have a guy like TJ and they have an injury, that’s pretty serious, so they get dropped. When they come back, they’ll get added back. The same for Diaz. He’s not taking any fights and we’re not sure when he will. When he comes back, he’ll be ranked again.”
Grant (21-5) has been out of action since a win last May over Gray Maynard. He was slotted for a title shot in the lightweight division, but a concussion suffered in training scrapped that. The Canadian has remained on the sidelines due to lingering effects from that injury.
Diaz (17-9) fought in November and stopped Maynard. He has publicly stated a desire for a new UFC contract, but just signed a deal in 2012 before taking on Benson Henderson for the title.
Meanwhile, Cruz (19-1) hasn’t competed since 2011 when he bested Demetrious Johnson. Officials stripped him of the title earlier this year after a groin injury took him out of a fight with Renan Barao to unify the belts.
During Wednesday’s edition of “UFC Tonight,” it was reported that former UFC fighter Chris Lytle is in talks to box Roy Jones, Jr. You might remember Jones as the person Anderson Silva most wanted to test himself against inside the squared circle.
Lytle retired from MMA in 2011 after submitting Dan Hardy. He went 5-1 over his last six fights, which spanned two years.
He found success inside the cage and the boxing ring, winning the Indiana Boxing Association light heavyweight title and defending it twice. Lytle, 39 years old, amassed a 13-1-1 record in boxing, including five straight wins from 2004-05.
That was his last boxing fight, though, as he shifted complete focus to MMA after defeating Omar Pittman in 2005.
Lytle is a firefighter and ran for the Indiana State Senate in 2012. He told Ariel Helwani that he would be “happy every second I was in there with him.”
Now, Jones’ resume is an incredible one. The 45-year-old posted a 57-8 record with 40 career knockouts, including a recent decision victory in Russia to win the WBU cruiserweight title.
In his career, Jones has defeated the likes of Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, John Ruiz, James Toney and Bernard Hopkins. He has held 14 world titles, spanning 160 pounds to 200-plus when he became the WBA heavyweight champion.
During the program, Chael Sonnen was asked his take on a potential Lytle-Jones bout.
“This is not his world,” Sonnen said. “If (Lytle) uses his jab, uses his footwork and has a perfect night. And Roy shows up sick, tired and injured, Roy still wins in the first round.”
Despite his clearance to begin training again in MMA. And despite the “wording” of UFC president Dana White stating a fight in 2014 would be possible for Anderson Silva, the ex-middleweight champion is focusing on other things.
Silva, who suffered a broken leg last December in a loss to Chris Weidman for the belt, told MMA HEAT that he has his priorities outside of the Octagon. Instead, he’ll work towards fighting again in 2015.
“I back for next year. This year, I no back for fight,” Silva said. “I have my plans. I have my family. I stay together my family. I work more in my academy in Brazil, so next year, I don’t know when, but next year.”
Silva (33-6) turned 39 years old last month and is coming off back-to-back losses at the hands of Weidman. It is the first such losing streak of his career, which dates back to 1997 when he debuted in Brazil.
While his doctor told him he is ready for contact, Silva is taking a different approach. Initially, the injury scared him, but he has already overcome that fear.
“My leg is perfect,” he said. “I don’t have nothing difficult. My doctor….(said) you’re ready for kick. You ready. I (won’t) be back until next year.”
Silva has kept fans in-tune with his rehab and road to recovery, posting several video and picture messages on his many social media outlets. So far, he has not targeted a certain fighter for his return bout.
During his career, Silva has defeated the likes of Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Demian Maia.
Marcio Tannure, a medical director with the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission, says that Vitor Belfort is cleared to compete in the country. Belfort has stated in recent interviews that he has worked his way off testosterone replacement therapy, a drug banned by both the UFC and the Nevada Athletic Commission.
“He can fight here, no problem, but can’t use TRT,” Tannure told MMAFighting.com. “Since he doesn’t have a license to use TRT anymore, he would be tested like any other fight.
“Every commission has its standards. I don’t know which test he did and what was the result, so I can’t talk about it.”
Belfort (24-10) was given a surprise drug test when he arrived in Nevada. The results of that test have yet to be released, but he was removed from a planned fight with Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title soon after. “The Phenom” insists he will be able to fight, and was even pushing for his shot at the belt over Lyoto Machida.
Back in 2006 while competing for PRIDE, Belfort tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone following a loss to Dan Henderson. That fight took place in Las Vegas, which has allowed many to speculate that obtaining his license to compete in the state could be an issue.
“Every time a fighter that tested positive in the past applies for a license in Nevada, (he) is tested again,” Tannure said. “We will adopt that here as well. This is an interesting criteria and we will also do it, but (Belfort) never tested positive here.”
If, and according to Chael Sonnen that’s still a big if, Wanderlei Silva makes it to their fight later this year, “The American Gangster” has plans for his next fight.
Sonnen, in an interview with Gracie Magazine that you can view in the video below, believes he needs to face Belfort before calling it a career. Sonnen has called out Silva, Belfort and all other Brazilian fighters over the years with comments regarding the country and their way of life.
“Vitor and I’s paths will cross. There’s two guys that, for my career to be complete, I have to fight,” Sonnen said, of Silva and Belfort. “The UFC will tell you the same thing. Sooner or later, that will happen.”
Sonnen also made several bold proclamations, calling himself the “highest paid fighter the UFC’s had,” but that he’s “not in this for the money. I’m not in it for the fame. I do believe a person should just be themselves.”
Sonnen and Silva are the head coaches on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 that is currently airing on Fight Pass.