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ufc rankings

Cub Swanson’s sixth straight win has left him in the position of next contender to the UFC featherweight title, at least according to the official UFC rankings. The rankings were released on Monday.

Swanson earned a decision over Jeremy Stephens this past weekend, moving past Frankie Edgar and Ricardo Lamas. He is now No. 2, behind only current contender Chad Mendes to Jose Aldo’s reign atop the division.

Stephens, despite the loss, moved up to No. 10 at 145 pounds.

Brad Pickett, Takeya Mizugaki, Bryan Caraway, Alex Caceres, Nik Lentz, Conor McGregor, Michael Johnson, Bobby Green, Mauricio Rua, Fabio Maldonado and Andrei Arlovski all moved up in their respective divisions.

nate diaz

Myles Jury took a bit of a page out of the book of Nate Diaz, posting on Twitter Sunday that he has already accepted a fight with the former No. 1 contender.

“Nate Diaz I respect u a lot, BUT… I confirmed to fight you & have been waiting on you for a week,” Jury posted. “Are we getting after it or what?”

The 25-year-old alum of The Ultimate Fighter has won all five of his UFC fights, including a recent decision over Diego Sanchez. He has a submission win over Chris Saunders an a second round knockout of Ramsey Nijem to his credit.

Diaz, meanwhile, has been adamant that he wants a new contract to return to fighting following a win over Gray Maynard. He negotiated a deal prior to his world title fight with Benson Henderson, which he lost via decision.

ufc fight night 44

Jon Anik doesn’t hide his emotions when it comes to discussing the sport he covers.

Anik, who will be joined by Brian Stann tonight to call the action at UFC Fight Night 44 from San Antonio, recently discussed the card with FightLine.

The event features a headline bout between featherweight contenders Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens, but there are plenty of other reasons to tune in, according to Anik.

“The co-main event, with Nico Musoke and Kelvin Gastelum, is a special fight for me,” Anik said. “Not a lot of people are familiar with Nico, but he stepped up on short notice and got the ‘Submission of the Night’ against Alessio Sakara.”

Musoke has won both of his UFC fights, scoring a decision vs. Viscardi Andrade earlier this year in Brazil. He is 12-2 overall and will be facing the unbeaten Gastelum (8-0), a winner on The Ultimate Fighter.

“I think Nico is smart enough to realize the intensity that Gastelum brings (is dangerous),” Anik said. “He’s just 22. If you don’t get to him early, he is going to be a hard guy to beat.”

Another main card bout will see Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira face off against Andrew Craig. Ferreira (7-3) was a winner on TUF: Brazil, but suffered a knockout loss to CB Dollaway this past March. Craig (9-2) is 1-2 in his last three overall, but holds wins over Chris Leben and Rafael Natal.

“When Mutante is one, he is a guy who can be featured on FOX Sports 1 main cards and pay-per-views for years to come,” Anik said. “It will be interesting to see how he responds to the knockout loss.

“Craig is a hard guy to put away, but I think Mutante has a treat opportunity. This has ‘Fight of the Night’ written all over it with two guys who can take damage and dish it out.”

Anik made sure to not forget about the main card opener, as Joe Ellenberger will finally make his long-awaited UFC debut against James Moontasri. Ellenberger is the brother of Jake Ellenberger and owns a 14-1 career record.

“A rare blood disease kept Joe out of competition and he has been dealing with getting five or six different opponents,” Anik said. “I expect his best foot forward. Here is a guy who has had so many struggles, but is realizing his dream and kicks off five free hours of fights on (FOX Sports 1).”

Ellenberger was diagnosed with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a disease that has just about 8,000 known cases in the U.S. He has gone through numerous changes in opponents, including scheduled fights with Frank Trevino, Johnny Case and Bryan Barberena.

FightLine will have complete coverage of the card, including live play-by-play of the action.

ufc fight night 44

Cub Swanson will get the opportunity to cement his status as the next contender to the UFC’s featherweight title on Saturday night when he faces Jeremy Stephens in the main event of UFC Fight Night 44.

Swanson, coming off elbow surgery but riding a five-fight win streak, told “UFC Tonight” earlier this week that he plans to take it to Stephens.

“I’ve always said maybe I don’t hit that hard, but I’m pretty accurate,” he said. “I keep a gnarly pace and it doesn’t matter how I’m getting the W’s.”

Swanson (20-5) last fought in July, finishing Dennis Siver. Of his five most recent wins, four have been finishes, including three within the opening two rounds of action. That’s something he plans to do again this weekend.

“I prepared for five rounds early in my camp, but I’ve forgotten about that now,” Swanson admitted. “I’m just preparing for two rounds because that’s all I need.

“It ends with his missing me because of my head movement and me taking it to him.”

Swanson has fought both current UFC champion Jose Aldo and contender Chad Mendes inside the WEC cage. He was finished by Aldo in 2009 via TKO and lost a decision to Mendes a year later.

However, he feels his track record and current run more than make him a worthy contender for the winner of that August contest.

“This would be six wins in a row for me,” he said. “I’m on point, looking sharp. I’m hungry and it’s my time.

“This is 11 years in the making and it’s about time I get the title shot.”

ronda rousey

A trio of UFC champions have been nominated for ESPY Awards. Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones and Chris Weidman are all entered into various categories.

Rousey, the UFC female bantamweight champion, is up for “Best Female Athlete” and “Best Fighter,” while Jones is also part of the “Best Fighter” category.

Weidman is included in the “Best Upset” category for his first victory over Anderson Silva. The middleweight champion returns to action next Saturday against Lyoto Machida, the same night Rousey defends her belt vs. Alexis Davis.

Jones, the light heavyweight titleholder, is scheduled to put his title on the line against Alexander Gustafsson later this year.

The ESPYs take place JUly 16 and air on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET. Voting is conducted online and winners are determined by fans.

Joining Rousey in the female category are Maya Moore, Mikaela Shiffrin and Breanna Stewart. The five up for top fighter include Jones, Rousey, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Andre Ward.

In the “Best Upset” category, Weidman is joined by Mercer’s win over Duke in the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, along with Connecticut’s run to the NCAA title.

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