Matt Hughes: A gateway to today’s MMA

nullWhen I think of Matt Hughes, I am reminded of quote from the classic movie Old School.

“I hate your guts, but damn do I respect you.”

I have never been a fan of the UFC Hall of Famer and former welterweight champion.

He has always been overly critical of other fighters while failing to evolve with the sport himself, in my opinion.

However, as he took to the octagon for perhaps the final time at UFC 135, I have to admit, I felt a little conflicted.

Though Hughes is not even a top 10 welterweight in my eyes, but his accomplishments are undeniable.

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UFC 135 Recap – Jones backs up the hype

nullJon Jones has been as impressive as anyone in his short UFC career, but on Saturday, he continued to impress.

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion ran through another opponent at UFC 135, beating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by submission in the fourth round to retain his title.

The first three rounds saw Jones dictate the fight with his long reach, especially with his kicks. Jackson was never able to get inside that long reach, but did show some good takedown defense in the fight.

Once the fourth round came, Jones caught Jackson with a big straight punch that seemed to stun Jackson. The fight then soon went to the ground and Jones quickly secured a rear-naked choke and forced a tap of Jackson. It was just the second submission loss of Jackson’s career and his first since 2001.

Jones seemed to only hurt himself in the fight as opposed to take damage from Jackson. He appeared to injure his feet from throwing a number of kicks at Jackson. Hopefully he doesn’t have a broken foot so he and Rashad Evans can face off sooner rather than later.

In the co-main event, Josh Koscheck knocked out Matt Hughes at 4:59 of the first round to get his first win in over a year. Hughes put on an impressive striking display in the early portion of the round but eventually got cracked, and that led to the finish.

Hughes hinted that Saturday’s loss could be his last fight, but didn’t say the actual word “retire”. I will touch more on that tomorrow.

For full UFC 135 results, check out the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Penn to now face Diaz at UFC 137

nullNow that the dust has settled in on the change to the UFC 137 main event, with Carlos Condit replacing Nick Diaz to face Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight championship, the next biggest question was who was B.J. Penn facing that night?

Penn was originally scheduled to face Condit in the co-main event, but UFC President Dana White said he was working on something crazy for Penn, and he hoped that it still take place at UFC 137.

Well, the UFC decided if it could move one fighter, why not just move the other.

Dana White released on his Twitter that Penn will now fight Nick Diaz in the co-main event.

This is crazy but here we go again! Penn vs Diaz 10/29 in Vegas

This should be a tremendous bout as both men have a warrior mentality and they will certainly leave everything in the octagon.

Diaz still gets his shot at a high-profile bout while Penn gets a chance to land a marquee win in the welterweight division.

I think from a matchup standpoint, the changes to both fights make each one more interesting.

Diaz removed for UFC 137 main event, GSP vs. Condit on

nullI see your Nate Marquardt and raise you a Nick Diaz.

In one of the most bizarre situations in UFC history, Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz has been removed from the main event of UFC 137 against UFC champ, Georges St. Pierre, after going AWOL on the company and skipping two press conferences in two days.

After missing three different flights to head to Toronto for a press conference to promote UFC 137 on Tuesday, Diaz stopped communicating with Dana White and the UFC and was nowhere to be found on Wednesday, for another press conference to promote the event in Las Vegas.

White announced at the beginning of the presser that Diaz was removed from the fight and co-main eventer, Carlos Condit, will take on GSP for the title.

Diaz’ trainer, Cesar Gracie, expressed his frustration with his own fighter to MMAJunkie.com.

“I don’t blame Dana White on this at all,” Gracie today told MMAjunkie.com  ”This is a professional company, and Nick is a 28-year-old man.”

“I’ve stuck up for Nick, even when he was wrong before,” Gracie said. “But he’s let a lot of people down. He’s let his team down. We all bought plane tickets to Vegas. We got hotel rooms booked, paid for. We’ve got all that, and Nick just decided not to go to something he’s supposed to. They’re paying him a lot of money, and in this economy where people don’t have money, he’s blessed. He should be thanking God every night how blessed he is.

“And instead, he’s not getting on a plane to go to Vegas. I’m extremely disappointed. He’s done a lot of stuff, but this is the worst of it. If I were him, I would be begging Dana White to get my job back and work your way up to a title shot at some point.”

“I’m not a psychologist,” he said. “I personally think there’s some kind of social anxiety happening here with Nick. Dana said, ‘You’ve got to play the game this much.’ And this isn’t even playing the game. This is about being a man and being responsible. And Nick has done neither in this situation.

“He’s a great jiu-jitsu guy. He’s a great fighter. I’m saying this because I care deeply about the guy. He’s one of my black belts. But in this situation, he is 100 percent wrong, and he got what he deserved.”

There are so many side stories to this happening, but clearly the main one is the odd behavior of Diaz. I sincerely hope he is of good physical and mental health, but he has a lot of explaining to do.

He has certainly blown the greatest opportunity of his pro career and may never step foot inside a Zuffa cage or octagon again.

Carlos Condit may be a tougher opponent for St. Pierre, but we will break down that fight another time.

Also lost in the mix is that B.J. Penn is now without an opponent, as he was set to face Condit at UFC 137 in the co-main event.

Diego Sanchez out of UFC 135 with broken hand, Koscheck says he is in

nullWell a summer of injuries that plagued the UFC is starting to force its way into a stacked fall lineup.

According to UFC President Dana White’s Twitter account, Diego Sanchez is out of his co-main event bout with Matt Hughes at UFC 135 due to a broken hand.

White indicated that the UFC is searching for a replacement for Hughes, but just moments later, Josh Koscheck posted this on his Twitter account:

Oh ya 19 days then or something like that!!!! Either way it looks like I am in to fight matt Hugh if he takes it????

The blow is tough for Sanchez, who had won his last two bouts to improve to 23-4 in his career. A fight with Hughes gave Sanchez a chance to pick up a win over a Hall of Fame fighter and really put a stamp on his career. Sanchez was coming into the fight as the favorite to win.

Hughes (45-8) hasn’t fought since last November when he was KO’d by BJ Penn in 21 seconds. There don’t seem to be a lot of options left for Hughes in the octagon, but a fight with Koscheck wouldn’t seem too favorable for him.

Koscheck hasn’t competed since UFC 124 last December when he lost to Georges St. Pierre and suffered a broken orbital bone. Koscheck indicated he would be returning to action in November as a middleweight. Apparently plans have changed. Koscheck has the skill set to beat Hughes as his wrestling is on par with Hughes and his striking is far superior.

UFC 135 takes place Saturday, Sept. 24 from Denver.

Shields to fight Sept. 17 despite loss of father

nullI am not the biggest Jake Shields fan in the world.

But, I have to give the guy a lot of credit.

Shields will stick with his upcoming bout against Jake Ellenberger on Sept. 17 despite losing his father, Jack, at the age of 67 on Tuesday.

MMAFighting.com first reported that Shields would be fighting in a few weeks.

Jake Shields has decided to go through with his Sept. 17 fight against Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 25 following the recent death of his father and manager, Jack Shields. MMA Fighting confirmed the fighter’s decision with UFC officials.

GracieFighter.com broke the news of Jack Shields’ passing on Tuesday. He was 67 years old.

No word just yet on the cause of death. According to Sherdog.com, Shields died in his sleep on Monday at his Sacramento, Calif., home.

“Lost my father manager and one of my best friends today!! R.I.P jack you will be greatly missed and loved by many,” Shields was quoted as saying on the Web site.

I am fortunate to still have my father alive and well, but just the sheer thought of him passing away is enough for me to not want to do anything the rest of the day.

I am sure this is a tough time for Jake and I wish him my best as he goes through this period. I also give him a lot of respect for taking the fight with Ellenberger. It is a dangerous fight for him but I am sure he will have a lot of support going into the contest.