Henderson vs. Shogun planned for UFC 139

nullDan Henderson disposed of one former PRIDE legend, can he do it again in his return to the octagon.

MMAWeekly.com is reporting that the current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion has agreed to return to the UFC to take on former PRIDE champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua have verbally agreed to face off at UFC 139 on Nov. 19, MMAWeekly.com has learned.

Independent sources confirmed the fight, which will stand as Henderson’s return to the organization after defeating Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce.

The bout will likely be the new main event for the card that saw its prior main event between heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and no. 1 contender Junior dos Santos get moved to the main event of the Nov. 12 UFC on Fox fight card.

This is an exciting addition to UFC 139 and likely could be a No. 1 contender’s match in the division after Rashad Evans takes on the winner of Jon Jones vs. “Rampage” Jackson.

It’s surprising that these two never met in PRIDE, as both were legends and champions in the organization.

Both men have one-punch KO power and formidable skills on the ground, with Henderson being a wrestling specialist, and Rua being a submission specialist.

Jones denies spying claims from Jackson

nullIt didn’t take long for Jon Jones to respond to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s accusations of spying.

According to MMAFighting.com, Jones took to the internet to deny the spying rumors.

Addressing Jackson directly via Twitter, Jones said he would never cheat because he has too much respect for mixed martial arts — and Jones suggested that makes himself different from Jackson.

“Just so you know, I’m not a person who looks for shortcuts in life. Unlike you, MMA is not something I do because of money,” Jones wrote. “It’s a way of life for me and I would never disrespect the integrity of that.”

It sounds like this issue may be more about Jackson’s camp and teammates rather than anything Jones is doing.

If Jackson can’t trust his teammates, it is going to distract him from being ready for Jones come fight night in September.

On a side note, this fight continues to pick up intrigue and is quickly developing into a nice rivalry that has left the Jones vs. Rashad Evans talk on the backburner.

Rampage Jackson accuses Jon Jones of spying

nullAthletes always want to get an edge.

In MMA, there are the old classics of greasing and PED’s, but it appears there may be a new method breaking into the fold.

UFC 135 headliner, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson did an interesting interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports in which he accuses light heavyweight champion and upcoming opponent, Jon Jones, of having a spy in Jackson’s camp.

Not only that, but Jackson also claims that he had a rat in his camp when he took on Rashad Evans.

Jackson said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Monday that he made up a story about having a hand injury last week. Yet, four hours after he mentioned the story in his gym, he said his manager received a call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva asking about it.

Jackson said he first became wary about a spy in his camp during the days prior to his May 29, 2010, fight at UFC 114 in Las Vegas with Rashad Evans. He said he injured his knee in training, but kept it quiet and let no one know. He was pleased when the injury never found its way into the media.

Yet, Jackson said that during the fight, Evans punched him repeatedly on the injured knee.

“In all my years of fighting, I’d never been punched in the knee before and I never saw anyone punch someone in the knee,” Jackson said.

These are some pretty strong accusations, but intriguing nonetheless.

If I were a member of Jackson’s camp, I would be pretty nervous right now. It’s like something out of The Departed.

Read the rest of this entry »

UFC 134 Recap: What’s left for Forrest Griffin

nullOne of the major stories to come out of UFC 134 Saturday night was Forrest Griffin suffering another KO loss, this time to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (AP Photo).

Griffin is now 2-3 in his last five fights, with all three losses coming by knockout.

Griffin didn’t look good at all in the fight, as he attempted some ugly high kicks that were very slow in delivery. His boxing has always been a strength for him, but it didn’t do him any good against Shogun.

Rua was able to tear right through him and leave us with another image of Griffin out of the cage before hands were raised.

Shogun is now back in the light heavyweight title picture while we are left to wonder what is next for the original Ultimate Fighter winner.

In the last few years, Griffin has now lost convincingly to two of the top light heavyweights and the middleweight champion.

His two wins were close decisions over the likes of Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin, who are also lost in the light heavyweight shuffle.

While a third match with Ortiz or a rematch with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson may make sense in terms of dollars, it seems pretty clear that Griffin will never contend for a championship again.

Top 10 Light Heavyweight Rankings

nullI waited a week to release my latest light heavyweight rankings as I wanted to see how the UFC 133 main event turned out.

Rashad Evans did as I expected and beat Tito Ortiz, but his performance was very impressive and it made me consider putting him on top of the list.

You have to consider the quality of opponents that Evans has over Jones. Granted, Jones has been unphased in any fight. But, he also hasn’t fought the best of the best throughout his career.

Still, I left Jones on top for now, but No. 2 is a lot closer than he was a few months ago.

1. Jon Jones (13-1): Jones will defend his UFC championship next month against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, in his biggest fight to date. Jones has yet to face any adversity, but a win over Jackson would prove that he can handle almost anyone in MMA. Wrestling will likely be the key in this one, as I don’t think Jones will want to slug it out with Rampage.

2. Rashad Evans (16-1-1): Evans bulked up in his time away from fighting and he looks like a determined fighter. He seems angry based on what happened with Greg Jackson and Jones, and it seems to have improved his skills as opposed to hurt them. Evans is next in line for a title shot. Only time will tell if he and Jones will finally square off.

3. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8): Rampage has had some issues away from the cage, having his trainer decided to leave camp over “creative differences.” Still, Rampage says he is ready to go. He will face a fighter unlike anything he has really seen. It will be interesting to see how Rampage plans to attack Jones at UFC 135.

Read the rest of this entry »