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  • LAS VEGAS – UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez is in fighter purgatory. He is, by all accounts, one of the 125-pound division’s very best talents and is 10-2 in his last 12 fights.

    The problem is, those two losses came against champion Demetrious Johnson.Joseph Benavidez celebrates after defeating John Moraga at UFC 187. (AP)Joseph Benavidez celebrates after defeating John Moraga at UFC 187. (AP)

    After a wildly entertaining unanimous decision victory over John Moraga at UFC 187 on Saturday, Benavidez – the No. 2 ranked challenger in the division – inched that much closer to a third fight with Mighty Mouse.

    Unfortunately, given Benavidez’s two performances against the champ – the last coming in 2013 via devastating first-round knockout – there aren’t that many people banging down the doors at UFC HQ demanding to see that trilogy.

    And Joe Benavidez gets that.

    “Well, I’m a realist,” admitted Benavidez at the UFC 187 post-fight press conference, “so, I know that logically it doesn’t make sense for me to go for the title right away. I believe in my skill 100 percent, that I can go out there and beat Demetrious Johnson and give him the

    Read More »from Joseph Benavidez stuck in no man's land despite another impressive win
  • Donald Cerrone lands a kick to John Makdessi that ended their fight. (AP)Donald Cerrone lands a kick to John Makdessi that ended their fight. (AP)LAS VEGAS – Donald Cerrone assured anyone and everyone who would listen that he wasn’t taking his UFC 187 late-replacement bout against John Makdessi lightly.

    If Makdessi’s broken jaw is any indication of Cerrone’s desire, then “not taking it lightly” may just be the understatement of the year.

    Cerrone dissected Makdessi with kicks to the legs and body for the entirety of their bout. When it was time for the “Cowboy” to send his fans home happy, at 4:44 of Round 2 to be exact, he went high with a kick to Makdessi’s jaw, breaking it. His opponent quickly retreated, waving off the action as Cerrone closed in for the finish.

    “I think I might finally get this title shot by default, huh?” Cerrone said post-fight after his eighth consecutive victory inside the Octagon. “I’m upset with my performance, but I always am. I don’t know what’s next. My manager probably won’t let me take another fight before I get a title shot so I guess we’ll just wait and see.”

    The win marked Cerrone’s sixth

    Read More »from Donald Cerrone breaks John Makdessi's jaw to close in on lightweight title shot
  • Andrei Arlovski (R) and Travis Browne trade blows at UFC 187. (AP)Andrei Arlovski (R) and Travis Browne trade blows at UFC 187. (AP)

    LAS VEGAS – For being former roommates, Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne fought like bitter enemies on Saturday night at UFC 187. The fight didn’t even make it out of the first round as former heavyweight champion Arlovski scored a first-round TKO over Browne and took one step closer to a career resurgence that just a few years prior seemed unthinkable.

    Arlovski has now rattled off three consecutive victories since his return to the UFC, toppling foes Brendan Schaub, Antonio “Bigfoot” Sivla, and now his former teammate at Jackson-Winklejohn in Browne.

    In what many will remember as one of the most action-packed rounds in heavyweight history, both fighters exchanged powerful flurries from the pocket. Arlovski kicked off the action, pressuring Browne against the cage and landing accurate power combos as Browne found himself on wobbly legs.

    Midway through the opening round Browne mustered a thudding shot of his own that floored Arlovski, but the 36 year old found his composure and rose

    Read More »from Andrei Arlovski knocks out Travis Browne in Fight of the Year candidate
  • UFC president Dana White went on Jim Rome's show on Wednesday to discuss UFC 187 and all things MMA. Since Saturday's event was supposed to feature Jon Jones, the promotion's struggling star was a natural part of the conversation.

    Jones, of course, was slated to meet Anthony Johnson in the event. But after being arrested for an alleged hit-and-run in late April, the UFC stripped Jones of his light heavyweight title and suspended him indefinitely.(Getty)(Getty)

    Now Johnson faces Daniel Cormier at UFC 187 for the vacant title and questions surround the division as to just what exactly the UFC has in store for Jones if and when he ever returns to the Octagon.

    But there's no speculation necessary as far as White and the UFC are concerned. If the pound-for-pound king returns, he will bypass any other would-be contenders and receive an immediate title shot.

    “No way. He comes right back and fights for the title,” White said. "After all, Jones is one of, if not the greatest fighter to ever live. And with

    Read More »from Dana White says Jon Jones will get an immediate title shot if/when he returns
  • Dana White is the president of the UFC and he is, by definition, a fight promoter. And while appearing on Jim Rome's show on Wednesday to promote UFC 187, White was doing what he does best.

    White and Rome were discussing the topics du jour on the show when Ronda Rousey's name came up. The promotion, to no fault of its own, has been unable to find suitable competition for Rousey during her historic tear. However, one name that has consistently been linked to “Rowdy” ever since her UFC debut is Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.Will Rousey-Cyborg ever happen? It appears to be up to Cyborg. (Getty)Will Rousey-Cyborg ever happen? It appears to be up to Cyborg. (Getty)

    Justino famously sent former women’s MMA star Gina Carano into retirement in 2009. She is widely regarded as the best female fighter not named Ronda Rousey, and she has been on an endless campaign in her attempt to secure a match with the 28-year-old UFC champ.

    Both White and Rousey want the fight. Currently, Justino is signed to the all-women’s promotion, Invicta, with the UFC footing the bill. It is assumed that if Justino can make the bantamweight limit 135 pounds

    Read More »from Dana White: Ronda Rousey vs. 'Cyborg' fight would sell 2 million PPVs
  • Michael Phelps checks his time in the 200 freestyle in a preliminary race at the Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Charlotte, N.C, Friday, May 15, 2015. Phelps qualified fourteenth with a time of 1:51:44. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)Michael Phelps checks his time in the 200 freestyle in a preliminary race at the Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Charlotte, N.C, Friday, May 15, 2015. Phelps qualified fourteenth with a time of 1:51:44. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)Michael Phelps turned in his worst performance since the 2000 Olympics over the weekend. He placed third, seventh, ninth, ninth, and 11th in his five events at a Pro Swim Series stop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    According to NBC, it was the first time Phelps has not placed first or second in any events at a single meet since the 2000 Olympics. Failing to make the final heats in the 100m free or 200m individual medley, he told media at the event that he missed swimming against his usual rivals. 

    “What I want most is to be racing the competition I need to be racing,” Phelps said. “Not taking away anything from the B heat, but I want to race Ryan [Lochte] and those guys.”

    Phelps said he was frustrated, that he felt like his legs weren’t connected to his upper body, his dolphin kicks were “horrendous,” his freestyle stroke was “pretty garbage” and that he had to reassess “a bunch of stuff.”

    “After seeing the performance of some of the people that we’ve seen this weekend, I think it’s

    Read More »from Phelps has worst performance since 2000, calls it 'garbage'
  • LAS VEGAS - Jon Jones and Donald Cerrone have been training partners at Jackson-Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque New Mexico for almost five years. Both have had their share of individual triumphs and failures inside and outside of the Octagon over the years, but they are currently on opposite ends of the MMA spectrum.

    Cerrone is on a seven-fight win streak heading into his fight this Saturday at UFC 187 against John Makdessi. If Cerrone is successful, a lightweight title shot is all but assured. "Cowboy" is riding an unprecedented run of in-ring activity and fans have understandably come along for the ride.

    Conversely, Jon Jones is currently suspended by the UFC after his alleged involvement in a felony hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque in April that left a 25-year-old pregnant woman with a broken arm. After hearing the news and citing multiple infractions to their UFC fighter code of conduct, the promotion stripped Jones of its light heavyweight title – a championship he previously

    Read More »from Donald Cerrone empathizes with Jon Jones, says it could have been him
  • LAS VEGAS - Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone meets John Makdessi on Saturday in a lightweight feature bout at UFC 187 at the MGM Grand. If Cerrone wins, it would mark his eighth consecutive victory and will all but assure him a lightweight title shot against Rafael dos Anjos.

    Saturday will also mark Cowboy's 28th fight for ZUFFA – the parent company that owns the UFC and Cerrone's prior employer, the WEC – and under the recently leaked details involving the exclusive Reebok/UFC apparel sponsorship, Cerrone is set to make $20,000 each time he steps in the cage.

    The system is based on a tier structure that pays an athlete on their championship standing and total number of fights. Payouts vary anywhere from $2,500 - $40,000. The fighter will wear a Reebok uniform inside the cage, along with one UFC-mandated sponsor to accompany it.'Cowboy' Cerrone gets his arm raised after a win. (Getty)'Cowboy' Cerrone gets his arm raised after a win. (Getty)

    The Reebok deal will officially go into effect at UFC 189 in July and will mean the end of multiple, fringe sponsors clogging up a fighter's shorts with countless ads.

    Read More »from Donald Cerrone says he stands to lose $60K per fight with new Reebok deal
  • Japanese figure skater Mao Asada speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Monday, May 18, 2015. Olympic silver medalist Asada will attempt a comeback to competitive skating after taking a year off from the sport. Speaking at a news conference Monday, Asada said she misses competition and decided by herself to attempt a comeback. (Kyodo News via AP) Japanese figure skater Mao Asada speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Monday, May 18, 2015. Olympic silver medalist Asada will attempt a comeback to competitive skating after taking a year off from the sport. Speaking at a news conference Monday, Asada said she misses competition and decided by herself to attempt a comeback. (Kyodo News via AP) After a year off from competition, three-time world champion Mao Asada announced Monday morning that she's coming back to the sport. 

    ''As time passed, I realized that I missed competing and wanted the sense of fulfillment again,'' she said. ''I'm practicing every day to get back into competitive form again.''

    The Japanese skater captured silver in Vancouver in 2010. She finished sixth in Sochi.

    Asada would have been the heavy favorite in 2006. Only 15 years old at the time, though, she missed the Olympic age cut-off by less than a month. By 2010 there was no stopping South Korea's Kim Yuna, who won in Vancouver by a margin of more than 20 points.

    Despite the final score, Asada remains the only woman to land three triple-axels in a single competition.At the 2014 World Championships, she set a new world record for ladies' short program score.

    Asada, 24, said she hasn't yet thought about the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

    ________________

    Danielle Elliot is a writer

    Read More »from Mao Asada announces comeback
  • There has been plenty of reaction to the UFC’s apparel sponsorship with Reebok and most of it hasn't been positive.(Getty)(Getty)

    The deal, which pays fighters anywhere from $2,500-$40,000 depending on championship status and tenure, will see Reebok serve as the official uniform for athletes competing inside the Octagon. Along with it, fighters won't be able to wear previously acquired sponsor logos in the cage.

    Fans, fighters and pundits have all criticized the UFC and Reebok for what many perceive as just another way for the companies to make money – while the athletes get the raw end of the deal.

    The UFC says otherwise. They say the rumored $70-plus million dollars that Reebok is giving them will go straight to the fighters. In the process, the UFC gets a sleek, clean uniform that falls in line with most leagues in professional sports.

    Heavyweight Brendan Schaub took to Twitter to voice his displeasure while addressing a fan that asked about the Reebok deal.

    Read More »from Dana White, Brendan Schaub butt heads over Reebok deal

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