Daniel Cormier and UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who are set to face each other in the main event at UFC 182 on January 3rd, had an on-screen meeting during Saturday's UFC on FOX 13 event (Jones appeared via satellite).
To open up, interview host Joe Rogan questioned both men regarding their infamous press conference brawl in August.
"You know what, I think I would have," said Jones when asked if he would behave the same way given a second chance. "I've been in many staredowns and I've never had my throat grabbed, and the guy grabbed my throat and I had to stand my ground and let him know that I won't put up with nonsense like that. So, yeah, I think I would do it again."
Cormier responded: "Knowing that he probably would have come at me, I probably would have smacked him upside of his head instead of just pushing him away from me."
After suffering his fourth straight loss via first round submission at UFC on FOX 13 on Saturday, former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner announced his retirement as a professional mixed martial arts competitor.
In his preliminary bout against Drew Dober, Varner looked to take the fight to the ground with a belly-to-back suplex. Unfortunately the 30-year-old knocked himself unconscious when he executed the throw and his head collided with the canvas - ultimately leading to his submission loss.
"I haven't seen the replay, I don't really remember much," Jamie told the press in a post-fight media scrum. "I guess I knocked myself out throwing him. I remember going for the throw and the next thing I know I'm in a choke, so that's tough. I just can't keep up with these guys any more, man. My chin isn't what it used to be, my body isn't what it used to be, I'm just getting injured constantly."
Having led a career with 21 pro MMA wins and putting on numerous exciting performances - even in his losing efforts - the former WEC champ is hanging up his gloves feeling satisfied.
"I've done everything in this sport I wanted to do. I won a world title, I defended it, I fought on pay-per-view, I won lots of bonuses. I've done everything I wanted to do. The next step for me is to coach, and inspire and motivate new, young up-and-coming fighters and athletes; and hopefully make this sport better is the next move for me."
Moving forward, one thing Varner said he'd like to focus on is setting up a fighters' union.
"I think it's something that needs to happen," he said. "We are a mainstream, major sport now and if you look at all the mainstream major sports, they all have unions. They all have league minimums, some sort of retirement and all that kind of stuff. I think that's something that needs to happen for fighters because this is one of those careers that, when it's over, a lot of these guys don't have something else."
Though he says he hasn't yet approached any fellow fighters regarding a union, Varner does have at least two names in mind: outspoken brothers Nick and Nate Diaz. He adds that his desire to set up a union is not due to any personal issues with the UFC.
"I can think of two that would probably be on board and those are the Diaz brothers," said Jamie. "I'm pretty sure they'd be on board because they don't like the way things are going - the pay and all the sponsors. But UFC is awesome, man. They've done right by me, they've treated me really good. They gave me an opportunity. I had three losses in a row and they gave me a four-fight contract extension. I've known for a while that I wanted to retire and had I won I was prepared to cut off my gloves and put them in the middle of the ring."
He concluded: "I've done it all. I've been there, I've done it. I'm just ready for the next step. I want to have a family, I want to have kids, I want to be able to focus on my gym and I want to focus on the future of fighters."
Jamie Varner retires from pro MMA with a 21-11-1 (2 NC) record. He holds notable wins over Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone, Edson Barboza and Melvin Guillard among others.
The UFC visited Phoenix, Arizona for the first time on Saturday December 13th with UFC on FOX 13. The event was headlined by a battle of heavyweight contenders in Stipe Miocic and former champ Junior dos Santos.
With JDS having been out of competition since his October 2013 loss to current champ Cain Velasquez and Miocic never having faced an opponent of Junior's calibre, fans didn't really know what to expect heading into this fight. The result, though, was more than satisfying as both men fought hard for five rounds in what turned out to be a potential 'Fight of the Year' contender.
In the end, it was dos Santos who was awarded the decision win, although the 'unanimous' ruling doesn't do justice to just how back-and-forth this battle truly was.
Elsewhere on the card, Rafael dos Anjos dominated Nate Diaz en route to a unanimous decision win and heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Matt Mitrione secured big wins via stoppages due to strikes.
See the full results below:
Junior dos Santos def. Stipe Miocic via unanimous decision
Rafael dos Anjos def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision¬†
Alistair Overeem def. Stefan Struve via KO (punches)¬†
Matt Mitrione def. Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO (punches)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Claudia Gadelha via split decision¬†
John Moraga def. Willie Gates via submission (rear-naked choke)¬†
Ben Saunders def. Joe Riggs via submission (injury)¬†
Drew Dober def. Jamie Varner via submission (rear-naked choke)¬†
Bryan Barberena def. Joe Ellenberger via TKO (strikes)¬†
David Michaud def. Garett Whiteley via unanimous decision¬†
Henry Cejudo def. Dustin Kimura via unanimous decision¬†
The MMA community was stunned and shaken during last Saturday's UFC 181 pay-per-view broadcast when former pro wrestler CM Punk appeared alongside Joe Rogan to announce he had been signed to a multi-fight contract by the UFC.
"It's exciting to be able to have the energy to to put into something that's going to give me what I put into it back," said Punk. "This is all on me, if I put in 50 percent, I'm going to get 50 percent back. Obviously I'm going to put in 100 percent and get 100 percent back and I think that's great."
UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub suffered a tough loss at UFC 181 to top-five fighter Travis Browne. His friend, UFC commentator Joe Rogan, gave a harsh but honest assessment of Brendan's performance on a special live edition of The Fighter and the Kid¬†podcast.
"The reality of your skill-set and where you're at now, I don't see you beating the elite guys," Rogan told Schaub. "I don't see you beating Cain Velasquez, I don't see you beating Junior dos Santos, I don't see you beating Fabricio Werdum."
Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic established his legacy as one of the most exciting fight finishers in MMA history during his time in Japan's Pride FC promotion. Unsurprisingly, Cro Cop has a wealth of fascinating and amusing stories from his time fighting under the Pride banner.
Inside the Pride Icon issue of Fighters Only magazine (available now), Mirko shares some of those tales in an exclusive interview. Click the link above for a special preview.
Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza have reached the TUF 20 Finale to compete for the title of first ever UFC female strawweight champion. The event takes place on December 12th at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I've been saying it since we met, I've been telling everybody since day one; for years now," said Rose's fiance, former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry. "Keep your eyes open, Rose is coming up and when she gets here everyone's gonna know. This is gonna be a name that's gonna last forever. This is gonna go down in the history books." ¬†
Gina Carano will feature in the upcoming remake of hit martial arts movie Kickboxer, along with¬†Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista, former UFC 170lb champ Georges St-Pierre and the star of the original film, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The movie is expected to be released some time next year.
‚ÄúIt will be fun to watch Gina as the sneaky and dangerous temptress, a boa constrictor of this fighting jungle,‚ÄĚ said Radar Films CEO Ted Field. ‚ÄúWatch out kickboxers!‚ÄĚ ¬†
A new layer developed in the UFC lightweight title picture this past weekend after Rafael dos Anjos secured his third straight win with a dominant decision over former championship challenger Nate Diaz.
It previously looked as though undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov would be next to challenge current champ Anthony Pettis for his belt. However, Khabib is in the final stages of recovery from a knee injury¬†and, as Pettis supposedly wishes to remain as active as possible, it now looks as though RDA could be stepping up instead.
"Pettis texted me right after the fight and said, ‚ÄėWow, [dos Anjos] murdered him. I'm ready to go. I'll fight either one of them,'" UFC president Dana White said at the UFC on FOX post-fight press conference.¬†"I would say if Khabib is healthy right now, probably Khabib (gets the next shot). But he's not, so it's dos Anjos."
Unsurprisingly, Khabib wasn't best pleased by this latest development:
Nurmagomedov is currently ranked #1 in the 155lb division behind only the champ. As he defeated dos Anjos via unanimous decision in his last bout at UFC on FOX 11 in April, it's understandable why Khabib feels he is more deserving of the next shot - regardless of injuries.
Dos Anjos, meanwhile, is feeling positive that 2015 will be his year:
The inaugural UFC women's strawweight championship was on the line at the TUF 20 Finale on December 12th as Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas faced-off in the main event.
In the end, it was Carla who took the title.
Rose entered the contest as the favourite and, unsurprisingly, came out aggressive in the opening round. She looked good pressuring Esparza on the feet but the former Invicta FC 115lb champ was able to use her superior grappling to secure a total of three takedowns in the round, making it a close first stanza.
From round number two things began to tip heavily in Carla's favour, her experience shining through as she was able to take Namajunas to the canvas and keep her there, ending the round on top and landing shots. Finally, in the third, Esparza took Rose's back and secured the submission victory.
Also on the card, Charles Oliveira pulled off the upset in a featherweight co-main event against Jeremy Stephens and numerous grudges were settled between The Ultimate Fighter¬†season 20 contestants, including a prelim headliner in which Felice Herrig secured a win over Lisa Ellis.
See the full event results below:
Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas via submission (rear-naked choke)¬†
Charles Oliveira¬†def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision
UFC middleweight Mark Munoz is expected to return to competition in February at UFC 184. He was set to face Caio Magalhaes at the event, but Magalhaes was forced to pull out almost immediately after the fight announcement was made.
"Unfortunately, I won‚Äôt be able to fight," Magalhaes said. "I had a teeth pulled before my last fight and had an infection. After my last fight, I had another teeth pulled and it‚Äôs swollen, so I will have to undergo surgery next week to fix it. And I will probably lose bone around my teeth."
Caio stated he will be ready to fight around the end of March.
As for Munoz, his manager has said the UFC are currently looking for a replacement opponent to face him at UFC 184.
Munoz last fought at UFC Fight Night 41 against Gegard Mousasi. He lost the bout via submission in the first round. He is currently ranked #14 in the UFC 185lb division.
UFC 184 is set to take place on February 28th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.