An interview with UFC President Dana White

nullAs I mentioned yesterday, I had the chance to do an interview with UFC President Dana White on Tuesday afternoon to discuss this week’s UFC on FOX 7 event.

You can read the entire interview, which was done for Bullz-Eye.com, here.

Below are a few excerpts from the interview:

One of the things I was really excited about with this deal with FOX was being able to bring big fights back to free television. That has always been my goal since we bought this company. Coming off “The Ultimate Fighter” finale last weekend, every fight was sick, it was an amazing finale. We pulled 1.7 million viewers. We were the highest-rated thing on network and cable television with males 18-34. This fight on FOX is going to be a big one. Ben Henderson is defending his lightweight title again, this time against Gilbert Melendez, who is probably the toughest guy at 155 pounds that has never had a shot in the UFC. Everybody thinks this guy might be the best in the world, so we are going to find out on Saturday.

I have been thrilled with the Strikeforce fighters. A lot of bad stuff happened at Strikeforce. A lot of guys didn’t get paid for a while and these guys are hungry. First of all, they are happy to be back fighting and getting paid to do it. These guys want to prove to the world that they can fight and become the best in the world. The UFC is the place to do that. These guys have been fighting like maniacs, and I love it.

Gegard Mousasi wins in a no-win situation

nullGegard Mousasi faced the most dangerous situation he has faced in his MMA career on Saturday afternoon.

He faced an unknown opponent if his UFC debut and was expected to run right through him.

After preparing for months to face top UFC light heavyweight contender, Alexander Gustafsson, Mousasi would instead be forced to face Ilir Latifi after Gustafsson wasn’t cleared to fight after suffering a cut earlier in the week.

Latifi, a native of Sweden, where the fight was taking place, was making his UFC debut and trains with Gustafsson. So, Latifi had some insight on what to expect of his opponent, while Mousasi knew nothing of the man he was to face.

I give credit to Mousasi for taking the fight on such short notice, because he really had nothing to gain. Everyone expected him to win. A loss would have set his career back a great deal, especially in a crowded light heavyweight division.

Mousasi didn’t look overly impressive in a decision win over Latifi, which was to be expected, but he did escape a dangerous situation with a victory.

The win doesn’t propel the former Strikeforce champion into title contention in the UFC, but it at least gives him some experience and he can now focus on bigger things, perhaps a fight with Gustafsson.

Gina Carano on the red carpet

.Gina Carano attends the Cinema Society screening of ‘Haywire’ at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on January 18, 2012 in New York City. ….

Former Strikeforce fighter Gina Carano gets all decked out on the red carpet for her new film “Haywire” that opens this weekend. Get some of Gina’s reactions here.

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.

Top 10 Welterweight Rankings

nullThis week’s rankings turn to the welterweight division.

It has been a busy couple of months in this division as two of the top 10 suffered losses since my last 170-pound rankings came out.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 in this division.

1. Georges St. Pierre (22-2) – St. Pierre successfully defeated Jake Shields, but did so by decision. His performance wasn’t great, but it was still enough to end a lengthy win streak by Shields. Instead of moving up to middleweight, St. Pierre will now take on Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in October.

2. Jon Fitch (23-3-1) – Fitch is coming off shoulder surgery and is targeting a return in late 2011. He was originally pushing for a title fight, but is now looking toward a rematch with B.J. Penn. With the UFC implementing five-round main events for non-title fights, Fitch would seem to have the edge there as he got stronger as the first fight with Penn went on.

3. Josh Koscheck (15-5) – Koscheck has been on the shelf for a few months now as he recovers from a broken orbital bone. Koscheck should return in late 2011, and hopefully he can continue to show some solid skills when he gets back. A powerful striker and wrestler, Koscheck has the skills to win it all if he can do the little things to put together the whole package.

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