***This week, Chuck Liddell has some critical words for Jon Jones and GSP, Ben Henderson explains facing Pettis isn’t as big of a deal as we might’ve thought, and a fight promoter refers to a female fighter as “cute”. Also, Bas debates Rousey vs. Cyborg, a tribute to Bruce Lee, some more trash talk between Ellenberger and MacDonald, and “Fat” Jon Jones! All this and much more, this week on Inside MMA Live!***
Inside MMA Live on AXS.TV report by Steve Te Tai
Originally aired LIVE Friday, July 19 at 9pm EST on AXS.TV
UFC change: Benson Henderson © vs. Anthony Pettis
TJ Grant is officially out of UFC 164 in August, and Anthony Pettis at is officially in for the inevitable rematch of the classic final WEC fight where Pettis executed the famous off the wall superman kick to Henderson from December 2010. Ron Kruck spoke with Ben Henderson about this. Ben heard the news via text from his manager and he said it sounds good. He knew at some point they would dance again, but not this soon. He describes Pettis as more unexpected and creative as opposed to Grant being more boxing based. After Pettis, he says he will face TJ.
For him, the redemption for his only loss in seven years was a step by step process and he felt he was redeemed by all of the wins since then and how he won against guys like Guida, Edgar, and others. He knows he doesn’t determine who he faces, but he has been looking forward to facing him. He admits it was an amazing kick but he is consoled by the belt he wears around his waist. He knows he’s not as creative as Pettis with moves like that, but what he does, he does well.
Cyborg destroys in Invicta
They show highlights of Cris Cyborg’s dominating win over Marloes Coenen to be the Invicta Featherweight champion from last Saturday. Bas says she had some nice takedown attempts but they were stuffed. Kenny believes Cyborg will be in the UFC at some point. Bas says Cyborg is undisputedly the best featherweight but can’t say best pound for pound. Cyborg has 12 wins and 1 loss to Ronda’s 7 wins and no losses, and Cyborg has two decisions and five first round finishes whereas Ronda’s were all first round finishes. Then Bas computes that Cyborg’s early fights weren’t against top competition, and if you add in Ronda’s amateur wins, their number of victories gets close. And if you put that all together he gives the edge to Ronda Rousey. Kenny speculates that Ronda and Cyborg will happen in the UFC at a catchweight. Bas says it would have to be at a catchweight but even that might be tough since she had to go completely naked at Invicta to just make 145. (Ronda would be foolish to move her weight up to face Cyborg, and with every high profile bout Ronda has and with every new female star that gets added to the mix the greater the leverage Ronda has to stay at her weight as bantamweight champ and Cyborg will have no leverage and will have to drop to 135 one way or another.)
They show clips of Chuck Liddell, Urijah Faber, Shane Carwin, Greg Jackson, and others talking about Bruce Lee and his status as the most influential person in martial arts history, as we approach the 40th anniversary of his untimely death in 1973. Bas Rutten says when he first saw Enter the Dragon in 1976 it changed his life, and most people around his age were impacted in the same way. Veteran MMA figure Matt Hume joins us from his gym in Seattle to talk Bruce Lee as Hume’s policeman father once trained with Bruce Lee in Seattle.
There were two Bruce Lee’s that he was told by his Dad and Taky Kimura (one of the few remaining true students of Lee), there was the actor and Bruce the martial artist. What we saw on film was different from what he taught. The Bruce Lee that his dad knew was the type who would take you in the garage and teach you right there on the cement. Hume says the philosophy that he took from Bruce was the idea of doing what works. Do away with things that don’t work, the traditional things, take what does and don’t be stuck in a style, and make your own style. “Enter the Dragon” is THE movie for Bruce Lee, and he figures Bas would agree as most people of their age acknowledge that movie as the most influential.
He acknowledges that his fighter, Demetrious Johnson just had his baby, and they show a picture, and they are doing fine.
This week’s clip shows Shane Carwin giving a pre-show pep talk to the fighters on a PFC MMA show in Denver, talking about their future and how the UFC will be paying attention to a couple of these fighters. Highlights include:
--Chino Montoya over Kris Hocum
--Tony Sims over Thomas Denny
--Pancrase from Japan had Shinpei Tahara over Hiroyki Abe
--New England Fights had Damen Owens over John Raio
--Invicta from KC had Miriam Nakamoto over Duda Yankovich (her nickname should be “Weird”)
Lion Fights President LIVE
Bas and Kenny join Scott Kent, the president of Lion Fights on the Nokia Plaza balcony. (He looks like a cross between British actor Tom Wilkinson-Falcone from Batman Begins- and Fedor Emelianenko or in general a character from a Guy Ritchie film.)
He is surprised at how fast Lion Fights Muay Thai has caught on in only the last couple years. Their next show is virtually sold out, and becoming involved with AXS.TV is a big part of it. The show is on LIVE on AXS.TV on July 26 from Las Vegas. Kent talks about Yodsanklai Fairtex being the greatest kickboxer of his generation and they have him signed to face Chike Lindsay, the best middleweight in America, in the main event along with some women fights too. He wants to give Americans the opportunity to rise to the level of the other great fighters of the world. Scott Kent describes Tiffany Van Soest as a promoter’s dream, she’s “cute”, she’s articulate, she’s wise beyond her years, and a good aggressive fighter.
Kent came from the casino business from the past 25 years, and with his contacts in Las Vegas he was approached by folks in the Muay Thai community to introduce MT in the same leagues as other combat sports in America. He turned 50 and he had a Jerry Maguire moment and dedicated everything to this. They show graphics to explain the primary differences between Lion Fight, MMA, and kickboxing. Where MMA allows elbows, knees, clinch strikes, ground strikes, and throws, kickboxing only allows knees and clinch strikes, but Lion Fights is the same as MMA except for ground strikes. Which means you can use elbows and throws/trips which you can’t in K-1. Lion Fights was just a name he came up with and there’s no deep answer or history to it.
Catching up with Chuck
Legendary Chuck Liddell talks to Ron Kruck about fighting kickboxing and MMA for twenty years. The biggest change since retirement is that he always had something coming up. And since then he has to move on and adjust to not having something to train for, and he just finds things to focus on. If there was one fight that he wishes he had, he immediately goes off on Tito Ortiz, and wishes he had just taken the fight. He remembers begging Dana White before he signed on to do TUF against Tito, that if Tito wasn’t going to fight then he didn’t want to do the show at all. And soon enough, Tito was already talking about backing out the very first week. That was the one he wanted to go out on since it would’ve been an easy win and a chance to knock Tito out one more time.
His biggest problem with MMA these days is guys playing it safe. He understands why coaches and managers want it, but he doesn’t want to watch a guy beat someone for four rounds and then ride him out for a 5th round. Have fun, knock people out, submit him, just try to finish him. He loves GSP and is a great fighter but wishes he’d open it up a bit more since he doesn’t want to tarnish his legacy. Ever since he got knocked out by Matt Serra he’s been playing it safe. He said this about Jon Jones when he didn’t take the fight on short notice against Chael. He didn’t buy the excuse he wasn’t training to fight a southpaw since Chael is not a slick southpaw. He’s supposed to be the best 205 in the world and he’s worried about someone who just lost two fights at 185? He understands not taking fights on short notice, but this was after completing a full camp. Chuck says trust me if I’ve been through a full camp and come out healthy I’ll fight anybody rather than fight nobody and not get paid. That’s one of the reasons he retired is because if he kept fighting he’d have to start playing it safe and he didn’t want to bore people by changing his style like that.
Jake Ellenberger LIVE
Jake Ellengberger faces Rory MacDonald at UFC in a significant welterweight bout where Dana White has stated the winner “maybe” getting the next title shot. Jake joins us on the big screen from his gym in Huntington Beach, CA, looking like he literally just finished training all sweaty and out of breath.
He doesn’t like the word “maybe” and he’s just taking this one fight at a time and focusing on Rory. He doesn’t spend a lot of time studying Rory, and while he has a good jab, he focuses more on what he does and he won’t be showing any surprises.
He’s a different fighter since his loss to Aaron Kampmann, and one sure makes more adjustments from a loss than a win. Since then he worked more on his speed and knows to not look past anyone. He believes the opponents of Rory give him too much respect. He’s been in this position a thousand times and trains with the best fighters in the world. He doesn’t believe his experience advantage will be a big factor since Rory has had a lot of big fights too, and figures it’ll come down to strategy. He’s been working on stuff specific to Rory for the past four months.
He’s done a bit of trash talking on Twitter lately which he does mostly for laughs. For Rory he only needs to connect once and his night will be over and Rory will eat a canvas sandwich. The only strategy is to get the fight to where he’s comfortable. He’s worked on his speed to avoid his jab and get inside. His power means nothing without speed. Whether you talk or don’t talk, you have to perform under the lights and that’s what he’s going to do next weekend. (In general you get the sense he doesn’t like Rory MacDonald and should be an intense weigh-in and fight.)
Bas says Jake is a great wrestler with KO power, but Rory is the crisper striker with better combinations, and it will be hard for Rory to take Jake down, so he’ll need to wear him down and slow him. Ellenberger has always flew under the radar and has weird power.
Chris Weidman Day
They show the new UFC Middleweight champion was honored with “Chris Weidman Day” in his home area in Long Island, NY. They had big posters and he posed with fans and wore a nice suit and an extra shiny belt. Hempstead, NY presented him with a special championship belt for his relief efforts since Hurricane Sandy.
Weidman says he is excited for a rematch since people talk about Anderson Silva like he’s a mythical figure like Bruce Lee who can beat up seven guys at one time. He’s anxious to show this was no fluke and he’s better. His strategy will be similar, if there’s openings to take down he’ll take them, and if there’s openings on their fight then he’ll take them.
Fallon Fox Fights
Fallon Fox’s next fight will take place at CFA in the featherweight finals against Ashley Evans Smith in Coral Gables, FL on October 12. The winner will get $20,000 and the championship.
Nelson “signs” to fight Cormier
Roy Nelson has signed to fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 166 in October in a handwritten note scrawled from a notebook from Daniel Cormier. This won’t count of course until Nelson gets a new contract from UFC. If this happened it’d be on the undercard of Cormier’s teammate Cain Velasquez rubber match with Junior Dos Santos.
Jones vs. Gustaffson
On September 21, Jon Jones will attempt to set a UFC Light Heavyweight record by defending his title for a sixth consecutive time. His opponent Alexander Gustaffson says he is living the dream the bout he’s always wanted. He can’t wait. Jones is one of the best in the world and he wants to be the best and prove everyone wrong.
Jon Jones posted on his Twitter account a “before” picture of him shirtless and looking sort of pudgy. Bas doesn’t think it’s a big deal because he doesn’t have to cut yet, but hopes he’s still been training because some fighters take a full break for six weeks or whatever.
Upcoming MMA shows
--July 26, Lion Fight 10 (AXS.TV)
--July 27, UFC on Fox 8 (Fox)
--Aug 16, RFA 9 (AXS.TV)
--Aug 23, Legacy 22 (AXS.TV)
So like Bas always says, Godspeed and party on!
If you don’t get AXS.TV or missed the show, you can watch a replay on Tuesdays at 1am or you can see extended video highlights. You can also follow Inside MMA on Twitter and Facebook.