UFC president Dana White has made public fights that were not yet fully signed, sealed and delivered. So he knows first-hand that premature announcements can come back to bite you.
As a promotion, the UFC has become accustom to rescheduling fights after injuries to the athletes. The latest, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, is forcing White to take a different approach to his game.
“We’re still working on a lot of stuff,” said White, during an interview with MMAjunkie.com. “Ever since Weidman went down and needed knee surgery, we’ve been moving things around and shaking things up. I’m still working on all that.”
“All that” includes a rumored Dan Henderson-Daniel Cormier bout, along with where Chael Sonnen-Wanderlei Silva will take place.
“A lot of stuff was getting announced prematurely and that drives me crazy,” White said. “There was a lot of premature stuff out there about fights that were going to happen. Most if it is not true because none of it’s done yet.”
Kenny Robertson’s first trip to Brazil was a perfect one, as the UFC fighter scored a submission victory over Thiago Perpetuo last month.
Competing in another country is nothing new for Robertson, but doing so in Brazil was. He’s previously fought in Canada and Finland, along with Puerto Rico.
“We were escorted to the event venue by security guards with automatic rifles, so that was different,” said Robertson, during a recent interview with FightLine. “I knew that I would get booed and had prepared for it.”
Taking on a Brazilian, Robertson (13-3) left the crowd stunned in silence after securing a rear-naked choke on Perpeuto in the first round. It was his second submission victory since signing with the UFC, and sixth of his career.
“There were still some boos but not nearly as many (after the fight),” he said. “I’m not sure if the crowd was more respectful or just quieted. Either way, I do respect how Brazilians get behind their native fighters.”
Robertson was coming off a 2013 decision loss to Sean Pierson. He is now 2-3 in five UFC appearances, with the other defeats being to Aaron Simpson and Mike Pierce.
A former wrestler at Eastern Illinois University, Robertson has turned himself into a well-versed expert when it comes to the submission game. He’s won fights via rear-naked choke, a modified kneebar, keylock and armbar since turning pro in 2008.
“Once I hit the mat, I’m just always thinking ‘improve position,’” he said. “I went for the rear-naked and had to adjust to a short choke. If you look, it’s not a rear-naked, it’s a short choke.”
After the fight, Robertson took a few extra days to relax and enjoy the weather in Brazil, as he said he “hung out with my wife and cornermen at the beach. It was nice.”
Two issues did come up once he reached the foreign country, though, involving his diet.
“Only having bottled water and no Subway sucked, but other than that, it was normal,” Robertson said.
Now back home in Ilinois, Robertson is in his “prep period.”
“I’m slowly getting back into training,” he added. “I don’t feel the need to call any one person out. I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.”
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson hasn’t given up on a career in pro wrestling.
Jackson, who returns to the cage later this year at Bellator: Alvarez vs. Chandler III against “King Mo” Lawal in the finals of the season 10 light heavyweight tournament, is planning to start training again after the fight.
“Finally got the pro wrestling ring up in the new gym,” he posted on Instagram. “Gonna start back training with my coach Chavo Guerrero Jr. after my next fight.”
Guerrero is a former WWE star who last competed for TNA, which is also the wrestling home of Jackson.
Tim Kennedy has only one real concern ahead of his Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale main event fight with Michael Bisping: putting on a show.
The two will meet in Canada on April 16, and Kennedy is worried that Bisping might not bring it.
“Bisping’s health concerns me and if he’s going to actually fight me that night,” said Kennedy, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “I have 25 minutes to put on a show. We’re the main event.
“I really want to give people what they expect, which is a good fight. But Bisping has to play along and fight.”
Kennedy was referring to recent eye issues that have kept Bisping on the sidelines. The military veteran has picked up three straight wins since a 2012 loss to Luke Rockhold for the Strikeforce title.
Last November, in front of his fellow military veterans, Kennedy did put on a show, finishing Rafael Natal in the first round.
“I’m there to win fairly,” he said, “by knockout or submission.”
Ever-aware of his surroundings, Kennedy doesn’t believe that all the pre-fight trash talk between himself and Bisping will hurt him heading into the bout. The two have engaged in several lengthy Twitter wars over the recent weeks.
“An emotional fighter isn’t a good fighter,” Kennedy admitted. “But I’m doing it because I think he’s easy to make fun of. He’s a jerk.”
A few more screenshots for the upcoming “EA Sports: UFC” video game have been released, including Nate Diaz and Dan Henderson.
The video game for Xbox and Playstation 4 is scheduled for a release this spring and will feature many of the top names in the UFC today. There is also reports of a surprise person being included in the game and available in several weight classes.
Check out the in-game screenshots and quick bios on Diaz, Henderson, Josh Thomson, Fabricio Werdum and Dominick Cruz.
Winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 5, and one half of the fan-favorite Diaz brothers, Nate Diaz made his professional fighting debut in the WEC at the age of 19. With a dominant ground game and top-tier boxing in his arsenal, Diaz not only finished all four of his TUF 5 bouts, but has since gone on to earn nine of his last 13 wins by submission. Most recently showcasing his standup with a Knockout of the Night win over Gray Maynard at The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale, Diaz will be looking repeat his bonus-winning performance the next time he steps back into the Octagon.
A true MMA legend, Dan “Hendo” Henderson, has squared off against the best-of-best in a pro career that dates all the way back to 1997 and is still going strong today. With 14 wins by KO/TKO it’s safe to say that Hendo has some of the heaviest hands in the UFC while also boasting one of the best chins. A fan-favorite who holds winning records in the UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce, Henderson most recently got himself back into the win column with a Fight of the Night comeback-performance in his rematch with fellow legend, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
One of the biggest threats currently throwing down in the UFC’s Heavyweight division, Fabricio Werdum is a true MMA veteran and boasts a professional career that dates all the way back to 2002. Riding a three-fight win streak since returning to the UFC in February of 2012, Werdum has most recently showcased his versatile skill-set with a KO win over Mike Russow followed by a submission victory over Minotauro Nogueira. Werdum ranks among the top five Heavyweights in the UFC.
A true MMA veteran, Josh “The Punk” Thomson’s professional fighting career dates all the way back to 2001. Boasting a well-rounded skillset and strong ground game, Thomson has earned finishes in 14 of his 20 career victories, with eight coming via submission and another six by way of knockout. Making his original Octagon debut back in 2003 at UFC 44, Thomson went on to spend time as the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion before making his return to the UFC in April of 2013 with a Knockout of the Night performance over Nate Diaz.
The UFC’s first-ever Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz represents one of the division’s most talented fighters, logging only a single loss in his professional career to rival Urijah Faber. An elusive fighter that deploys a mixture of boxing and wrestling inside the Octagon, Cruz also owned the WEC Bantamweight belt prior to becoming a champion in the UFC. Despite never losing his title during competition, Cruz has been plagued by a series of injuries that have kept him sidelined since 2011, eventually causing him to vacate his UFC title. Currently working his way back to 100%, Cruz will be looking to make his return to MMA in the near future.