UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones puts on a strong front when it comes to the constant booing he normally receives for fights.
For whatever reason it may be, Jones is consistently targeted as the “heel” in his fights from the time he beat Mauricio “Shogun” Rua until recently at UFC 172.
Of course, it helped that “Bones” performed the Ray Lewis pre-game entrance dance and that his brother formerly played for the Baltimore Ravens. But still, the arena – at least on this night – was pro-Jones.
And he enjoyed it.
“It was just great to have the crowd on my side again,” Jones said during the post-fight press conference. “It has been a long time since I’ve had cheers. It was just great. I was living it up. I figured Ray Lewis would be there, a lot of Ravens would be there, so I was just playing it up and practiced that dance all day; and aced it, I hear.
“The people of Baltimore, they still love Arthur, they still respect him a lot. Arthur gets a great reception here. It’s great to see that the love is still there. And obviously it trickled into my world, too. I got a lot of respect, and a lot of cheers, which made me feel amazing. I really do appreciate it. I mean the boos I’ve learned to live with, but it’s so rewarding to get some love and respect for once.”
If the rumors of Jones-Alexander Gustafsson II going down in Sweden come true, you can bet Jones won’t have a single voice cheering him on other than his team or family in attendance.
Check out Jones’ Lewis-impersonation in the video below.
Bethe Correia made an impact at UFC 172 when she topped Jessamyn Duke.
However, it was her move after the bout that made the biggest headlines, as the Brazilian signaled one down, three to go with her fingers. That was in reference to the “Four Horsewomen,” a group of female fighters led by UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
The quartet also consists of Duke, The Ultimate Fighter alum Shayna Baszler and recently-turned-pro Marina Shafir.
“They were tweeting me and provoking me all the time,” said Correia, in a post-fight interview with MMAjunkie.com. “One of them is called a weapon in Brazil, and I just want to say I’m bulletproof.”
Duke’s nickname, “The Gun,” was what Correia was referring to. She is now a perfect 8-0 in her career with two wins inside the Octagon over Duke and veteran Julie Kedzie.
Douglas Lima showed the world what he is capable of at Bellator 117, destroying the leg of Rick Hawn and becoming welterweight champion.
So, what’s next for Lima?
He immediately mentioned talk of a possible move to middleweight following his victory over Hawn, but believes that – despite a tough time cutting weight – he can defend his 170-pound belt “some” before he is forced to move on.
“I’m definitely thinking of moving to middleweight,” said Lima, during an interview with FightLine. “But, we’ll see what happens. I need to defend my title some.
“I don’t know how much longer I can make 170. It’s miserable.”
Lima (26-5) is now riding a five-fight win streak, all of which have come via finish. He earned the season eight title by dropping Ben Saunders with a head kick last September, and dominated Hawn for the better part of eight minutes before the fight was stopped.
The rigorous training camp and weight cut is forcing “The Phenom” to take some time off and enjoy his riches.
“I’m exhausted,” he admitted. “I’m taking my wife and daughter to Jamaica to relax some. It’s time to enjoy my family and get back to work as soon as possible.
“My favorite part (of life now) is the good food!”
Lima had a chance at becoming Bellator champion in 2012 when he faced Ben Askren for the title. He was unsuccessful in knocking Askren off his pedestal, the fighter has since relinquished the belt and moved to ONE FC.
While some feel Askren remains the “uncrowned” Bellator champion since he never lost the title, that is not something Lima has control over changing. All he can do is defend the belt to the best of his abilities.
“Some people say I’m not the real champion because I didn’t beat him and I respect that,” he said. “Askren left undefeated; I can’t hate on that. I respect him. He beat me up for five rounds.
“But now I’m the champion and it’s all I care (about). I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me. Say whatever you want to say, but I’m the champion now. I’m here to stay.”
His resume now boasts the Bellator title, a stint as Maximum Fighting Championship welterweight champion and two Bellator tourney wins. He owns 23 stoppage victories, including a dozen by knockout or TKO.
His boss, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, believes he is the best welterweight in the world. As a fight fan, Lima makes sure to watch all the other 170-pound fighters, so where does he rank himself?
“I put myself up there,” he said. “I’m definitely not the best, but I’m training hard to be. I just want to fight the best and move up in the ranks.
“I watch all the 170 pounders. I’ll fight any of them, I would love to fight the Top-5 in the world, but we are not in the same organization.”
Instead, Lima might have to settle for a champion vs. champion contest with Bellator middleweight titleholder Alexander Shlemenko. The fight-idea sounded good to Rebney, and Lima has no hesitation.
“I would love this match up,” he said. “Shlemenko is very tough and durable, and he’s been on top forever, finishing everybody. I respect him a lot and I do see myself against him down the road.
“I just got to keep winning. Hopefully by the end of the year…..you never know…..”
For now, Lima will focus on becoming the greatest Bellator welterweight champion of all-time. His title win has given him a new beginning in the sport, and he’s looking to capitalize on it.
“I thought about the title every day since the first time it didn’t work out for me,” he said. “I knew one day I was going to get it. I trained so hard and got so much better and, finally, I did get it.
“But now I think of defending (the title) forever. So a new chapter begins.”
If you are a boxing fan, you know that Floyd Mayweather is set to meet Marcos Maidana on Saturday inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Mayweather will put his undefeated record on the line vs. Maidana, along with his WBC and The Ring welterweight titles. The WBA welterweight title will also be on the line.
Mayweather (45-0) defeated Saul Alvarez last September, while Maidana (35-3) has won each of his last four, including three finishes, since a 2012 loss to Devon Alexander.
Courtesy of Showtime, check out episode one and two of “All Access” in the videos below. It features a behind-the-scenes look at both fighters as they prepare for battle.
UFC president Dana White provided updates on Nate and Nick Diaz this weekend following UFC 172, and it sounds like we might be seeing a Diaz inside the Octagon again soon.
Nate Diaz was in attendance for the show in Baltimore, working the corner of Yancy Medeiros, who lost to Jim Miller on the main card.
White told reporters following the press conference that “I think Joe Silva” talked with Nate Diaz, and stated that “Nate said he’s ready to fight, so, he told Joe to call him.” White did add that he did not directly talk with Nate, who called him and the promotion out over his current contract recently.
As for Nick Diaz, White said he has had no contact with him for weeks.
“Nick’s got a lot of money. I think Nick’s going to kick back until he has to fight,” White said.
Nick Diaz announced his retirement following a loss to Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title. He made demands of $500,000 per fight to return to the Octagon.