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Manuwa explains how a foot temporarily snuffed his career, and who he doesn’t want to fight when he returns.

Jimi Manuwa hasn’t been active since Alexander Gustafsson ended his 14-fight undefeated streak in March. He meant to be, but his foot wouldn’t cooperate, forcing him to pull out of a fight with Mauricio Rua on November 8th. In this interview with Michael Morgan of #WHOATV, Jimi explains why he doesn’t regret delaying his return to the UFC and allowing Ovince St. Preux to destroy Shogun in his stead.

“I feel like I made the right decision in the end, because before I went to Sweden for my training camp, I hurt my foot sparing. I went to Sweden and I was kind of limping, nursing an old injury that I had from kicking and sparring and that caused stress on another part of my foot.”

He knows that now, but the source of that pain started as a proper Swedish mystery. Initial x-rays were inconclusive. But when the UFC funded an MRI scan in London, “it revealed a quite bad stress fracture.” In the past, Jimi fought with a broken rib, and with stitches in a foot. This time, he decided to follow his doctor’s advice, and he withdrew.

When Manuwa does return, there are only three people in his light heavyweight class he would like to avoid: current or former training partners Rampage, Alexander Gustafsson and Phil Davis.

“It’s a respect thing for me,” he says. “I wouldn’t like to fight someone who I’ve shed blood with and shed sweat with and helped and they’ve helped me and everything. I think it’s a respect thing. There’s lots more people I could fight.”

Of course, Jimi has already fought Gustafsson. But he can’t take that back now. No retroactive disrespect intended.

Watching Hardyz Boyz vs. The Young bucks is awesome; watching with Kevin Steen on commentary is Rawesome

If you ever wanted to see Jeff and Matt Hardy get super kicked in the face than you have stumbled upon a pro wrestling oasis of chin checking. The pro wrestling world has watched over the years as The Hardy Brothers have been put through tables by the Dudley Boyz and bashed with dual chairs at the hands of Edge and Christian.

A perfectly placed super kick would serve as the cherry on top of delicious sundae made from the disdain Matt and Jeff have accumulated with pro wrestling fans over the years. Only in pro wrestling could a team booked as baby faces for most of their career garner enough animosity for a hate based dessert treat.

Angry sundaes are a dish best served via YouTube. From New York state indie promotion Northeast Wrestling (NEW), Matt and Jeff Hardy take on The Young Bucks. The match-up makes for a cool clash of tag team wrestling eras. One of the leading tag teams of the Attitude Era versus maybe the most accomplished tag team on the indie scene over the last several year lives up to the hype.  Matt and Jeff Hardy come into the match in great shape while The Young Bucks fast paced flash move set really brings out the best in their older opponents.

Bonus nugget for the video is the fact you get former Ring of Honor champion and current NXT signee Kevin Steen heeling it up from the color commentary position. "Mr. Wrestling" hypes up The Young Bucks and unloads on the Hardys in a style that would make Bobby "The Brain" Heenan proud.

Come for some throwback Hardy high spots and stay for some amazing Young Bucks tandem moves. And lots of super kicks. So many super kicks!

We talked with 'The Predator' Desmond Green about retiring Miguel Torres and his move to Tristar

Recently I was sitting at my computer trying to beat the world record time for completing Mario Brothers 1 when I got an email from Titan FC asking if I’d be interested in talking with their latest killer, Desmond “The Predator” Green. I responded “YES” as quick as my arthritic fingers would let me. We traded some emails and settled on a Skype date at a time when Mr. Green had some down time which happened to be 2:30pm.

I waited anxiously for the call, and when 2:31 hit I got up like a moron to get a get a glass of water and came back to see 1 missed Skype date on my laptop screen. “I’m such an asshole,” I thought to myself, but called Mr. Green back anyway hoping he’d answer. The video chat was accepted and I was welcomed by a warm smile and a sincere message that my absolute need for a glass of water was excusable. I apologized profusely to the new Tristar Gym athlete who said of his upcoming fight “I’m not stepping out of that cage unless I win.”

Congratulations on your most recent win. How does it feel to retire Miguel Torres?

Is he really retiring now? It’s kind of bittersweet. I wish I would have been able to fight him a little earlier; that would have been great. That way I could have got a little more respect. But, I think he still had some fight in him. I think it was a good fight. It feels great to knock him out.

Tell us about your recent move to Tristar.

I moved to Montreal about two months ago; after I got released from Bellator. It was a blessing in disguise. I got hooked up with Titan Fighting Championship, Jeff Aronson reached out to me, he was real genuine. He said he wanted to keep me active, help my career out, which he did. He hooked me up with Alchemist [Management], who got me out here at Tristar. I’ve been training out here since my last fight. It’ll most likely be a permanent move for training.

What’s the environment like at Tristar as a new guy?

It reminds me a lot of my college wrestling days. I stay in the dorm, they have dorms up here for us fighters. I stay with the fighters. So everybody’s got the same agenda. We all got the same goal. It’s real family-oriented.

You’re taking on Steven Siler on December 19th for the Featherweight title. Siler’s on a bit of a losing streak, what sort of training are you doing to make sure that losing streak continues?

Honestly, I’m not doing anything different. I’m just doing my regular training schedule—my three workouts, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, two on Tuesday and Thursday, and one on Saturday. I been taking Firas Zahabi’s classes every day, and then just doing my strength and conditioning. I’m going to ensure I get that W by just outworking him [Siler]. I feel like I could out-beat him in every situation we’re in.

What does Desmond Green do to relax?

(laughs) I like to watch TV.

Who are some of your MMA heroes?

My number one hero was always Georges St. Pierre; that’s why it’s such an honor to train here, and with him; it’s surreal. Growing up, since 2006, I’ve been watching Georges St. Pierre. My second, is Anderson Silva. I love the way they fight. But you know who I really love to watch fight, is Jim Miller. He’s a ‘go-er.’ He’s a hardnosed, tough-ass guy. I love Frankie Edgar, I love watching him; cause he’s a ‘go-er.’ Even though one day I’m probably going to have to give him a little whoopin’.

What’s something about you that will surprise us?

Definitely once they start to talk to me; they see how down to earth I am, how genuine and smart I am. I kinda got that ‘Thuggish-look,’ I got the tattoos on my neck, the dreads and whatnot. But I’m real chill! I like to have fun, make jokes and laugh.

Recently Daniel Straus had to cut his dreads to make weight, would you ever do such a thing?

No! I run so hard knowing in the back of my head I gotta make weight so I don’t have to cut my hair. I’m stingy. I don’t want to give up my money, either though (laughs). So I’m going to make weight.

Before signing with Bellator, you used to part-time at Wal-Mart, do you have any funny stories from that?

Uh, naw. It’s just cool being a fighter and working. All of my bosses used to let me roll in like ten minutes late. It’s not that they were scared of me, but, it’s like when everyone knows you’re a fighter, they think you got a short temper; but not me. If they yelled at me for being late, I’d just say ‘Oh, shit. Sorry, guys,’ and it wasn’t a thing.

What’s on your ideal pizza?

Aw, man, okay! Number one, bacon. Lots of bacon. Pepperoni. And more bacon.

If you could be sponsored by anybody, if for nothing else but the free products, who would it be?

Probably, YMCMB. It’s Birdman and Lil’ Wayne’s music crew. They got a nice clothing line, (laughs) I love clothes.

If you could start in any comic book movie as the superhero, who would it be?

Superman—he’s the best! He’s “Superman!,” he’s the guy.

How close do you feel to your old wrestling roots? Do you feel like your game’s evolving, or is wrestling still your predominate weapon?

I’ll always be close to my wrestling roots. That’s my bread and butter. In all of my fights, so far, I haven’t had to utilize my wrestling like that. But I always keep it on the back burner, cause I know once I pull my wrestling out it’s a guaranteed win. I can go out there and wrestle anybody and hold them down. So that’s always going to stay close to my heart.

Who or What inspires your fighting style?

A little bit of Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. I like the way Georges is technical, and grinds. He mixes his wrestling with his striking. And then I like the way Silva just flows. Whatever he gets, he’ll take.

Who’s your favorite video game character of all-time?

I would have to go with Sonic! Sonic the Hedgehog!

Throwback Thursday: Enjoy the Brief Reign of Emmanuel Yarborough, Godfather of Ground and Smother

If you weren’t watching MMA in the 1990s, you missed the sport’s true classical period. It was MMA’s Arthurian Age, when real-life giants and men with magical golden mullets roamed the fightscape. It was during this enchanted period, that a 600-pound man like Emmanuel Yarborough could enjoy absolute victory for a few brief seconds, ruling from a whimpering mountaintop made of his opponent’s face.

It happened on April 26th, 1998, in Yokohama, Japan. Yarborough’s relatively tiny opponent Tatsuo Nakano was sprawled to the mat during the opening seconds. And like a gigantic piece of Saran Wrap made of human skin, Emmanuel soon made a perfect seal over Nakano’s mouth and nose with his stomach. After the fight, Tatsuo cradled his face in his palms, no doubt deeply affected by the annihilating horror of being entirely enveloped by human flesh.

It was Yarborough’s only victory, but it was a big one. And to be fair, that loss a few years earlier probably never should have counted. After all, low blowing anti-hero Keith Hackney punched Emmanuel at least 23 times in the back of the head before he surrendered at UFC 3. Now that we know head injuries are real things, we’ll let the loss slide.

Unfortunately, the giant’s reign was brief. Just three months after Emmanuel was sitting like an enlightened combat guru atop Nakano’s cheekbones, he met his 169-pound foil. That man, Daiju Takase, must have watched film of the Najano fight before the two met at Pride 3. A master strategist, he avoided putting his face directly underneath Emmanuel’s stomach. His brilliant game plan paid off. He punched, Yarborough tapped, and Bas Rutten chuckled. Three colossal months of sizeable glory came to an end.

Much has changed in twenty years. Rumbling dinosaurs like Yarborough might as well be extinct now. As it turns out, modern athletic commissions won’t sanction fights with 430-pound disparities. But why? Presumably, it’s because a much larger opponent has a dangerous competitive advantage. But does he really? Or course, Nakano might mumble “yes” from beneath 200 pounds of fat and digestive organs. But what about Takase? At the least, he would most certainly say, “Not necessarily.” I’m going with the little guy on this one.

With the weight of Sweden on his shoulders Alexander Gustafsson talks Anthony Johnson

Alexander Gustafsson is a glass half full kind of guy. In 2014 "The Mauler" has transformed into "The Optimist".

Lose a close but controversial decision to Jon Jones at UFC 165? You know what judges are people too and different opinions bring a fresh perspective to the sport.  Not get an immediate rematch with Jones and have your first fight in 2014 be on Fight Pass? Well at least Gustafsson got to main event a card in London. Plus he picked up a great highlight reel victory over up and comer Jimi Manuwa. 

Get booked in a rematch with Jones at UFC 178, tear your meniscus so you have you pull out of the fight and get skipped in line by Daniel Cormier? Gustafsson says when life gives lemons go make lemonade and then go knockout Anthony Johnson in front of 30,000 screaming Swedes in Stockholm.  The glass of lemonade-walkoff KO two piece combo meal could be a big seller at lemonade stands worldwide.  

Gustafsson sat down with our friends at KammakazeTV to talk every angle of his upcoming bout with Johnson. We'll also attach a neat Vine of Alex hitting the pads because we're all about entertainment.

 

The MMA world needs Kid Yamamoto and he will return at UFC 184 versus Roman Salazar

On December 31, 2007 Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto hit his fighting peak. In the co-main event of K-1 Dynamite 2007, Kid Yamamoto blasted Rani Yahya with punches and soccer kicks until the Brazilian slumped over in defeat. The soul stealing of Yahya moved Yamamoto to 17-1 in pro MMA and the 30 year old Japanese fighter was the uncrowned king of every cage fighting human being weighing less than 145 pounds.

After a three year layoff Yamamoto returns to the UFC's Octagon at UFC 184 in Los Angeles, California.  In his comeback bout Yamamoto is paired with unknown Roman Salazar. Already 0-1 in the UFC, Salazar doesn't even have a Wikipedia page attached to his name. With 0-3 record in the UFC, Yamamoto's final Octagon stand will take place on February 28th at the Staples Center.

Even in the twilight of his fighting career it feels like Yamamoto deserves better than the role of "UFC on Fox prelim warm body placeholder". Yamamoto began his UFC run in 2011, fought twice that year and dropped decisions to both Demetrious Johnson as well as Darren Uyenoyama. Yamamoto's last fight took place at 144 in Japan where he was upset and submitted by Vaughan Lee in February 2012.

The 26 year old Salazar stepped in for an injured Rob Font at UFC Fight Night 54 in Canada. Fighting on one week's notice, Salazar was choked out by Mitch Gagnon in his UFC debut.

In his final swing at UFC glory, if Kid Yamamoto has any knockout pop in his hands or skull crushing power in his kicks left the time to unleash it would be at UFC 184. Sorry Roman Salazar but the MMA world has patiently waited for its first Kid Yamamoto UFC highlight GIF since New Year's Eve 2007.

UFC reminds everyone that interim champ Fabricio Werdum was once uppercutted to sleep by Junior dos Santos

Basking in the glory of his first taste of sweet UFC gold, interim heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum received a push notification on his phone. Werdum put down the key to Mexico City given to him by the mayor of Mexico City to check his phone. Oh look the UFC’s YouTube page uploaded another free fight to their channel, Werdum loves when they do that. Junior dos Santos vs. Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90 is now available for the internet to see. 
 
A lesser man would have changed the notification settings on his phone and tried to bite the key to the city out of anger (and to see if it’s made of chocolate), if the lowest moment of their professional career was uploaded for all to see. Now at the top of the UFC’s heavyweight mountain, Werdum will likely find motivation from re-watching his fight with JDS at UFC 90. Championship athletes are just wired differently than your average YouTube commentator. 
 
After JDS became the first human being to make Werdum take a mid-fight gaze at the ceiling lights, “Vai Cavalo” fell to 2-2 in the UFC and was unceremoniously cut from the promotion. With an 8-1 mark since UFC 90, Werdum is a better and more well-rounded fighter than the man who was defeated by an unknown at the time JDS.  
 
If Cain Velasquez is still on the shelf for most of 2015 and JDS is able stack back to back wins together then maybe Werdum will add another brick on his road to redemption. Werdum vs. Dos Santos II headlining a UFC card near you, tag line “this time it’s personal”. 

 

The Gracie Breakdown of Metamoris 5 is Infectious

The Gracie Breakdown videos are now a long-standing tradition in the world of MMA. Their enthusiasm is infectious, they just ooze with passion and excitement over the minutiae that happens in grappling situations in MMA. So of course when it comes to breaking down a Metamoris show they are like kids in a candy store.

So we present to you, the Gracie Breakdown of Metamoris 5, which happens to clock in at a whopping 33 minutes. The holidays have come early, alright?

Surfer Bro's Commentary on Rousey vs. Davis is Gnarly, Maaan

Look, I’m no expert on surfing culture, but I have watched Point Break about a million times, so that is my point of reference when it comes to surfing.

It is also my point of reference to being an FBI Agent and that at some point in your career you are going to need to say, “This is your fuckin’ wake up call, maaaan. I am an F-B-I agent!” to your surfer bro who wants to take you along while he and his bros rob a bank. Why rob a bank? Because that’s the only way to fund your endless summer of surf, babes and killer waves, bruh.

The rest of my knowledge of surfing comes down to a collection of awful terms that were appropriated for Super Mario World’s hidden “special worlds” that were as such; Gnarly, Tubular, Way Cool, Awesome, Groovy, Mondo, Outrageous and Funky. Obviously not all of these are surfing terms, but they summed up the 90’s so well. Anyway, Ronda Rousey destroyed Alexis Davis at UFC 175 and this surfer bro is all about it, maaaan.

So pitted.

Anderson Silva, He No Fight The Rock, Ees Normal

It’s difficult not to love Anderson Silva and see that him transitioning to a life outside of being the UFC Middleweight Champion could make for an entertaining time for all of us. He’s more open with the press, he’s more laid back, he’s not trying to project this image of being this unstoppable force anymore. He’s just Anderson and he’s all about being Anderson and ees normal.

I can only imagine what Anderson will be like in the future, if he’ll be in movies as the laid back bro who kicks everyone’s ass, if he does color commentating on fights or if he’s just like Chuck Liddell, hanging out at ringside and chilling with fans. I mean, sure, he has a billion fight UFC contract still, but we all know that isn’t going to happen and that it was in part a way to keep Anderson committed to the UFC after he is done fighting, which could be relatively soon considering his age.

Everyone likes to rag on TMZ for being, well, TMZ, but this interview with Anderson Silva shows how important it is for press outside of the MMA bubble to get a crack at asking MMA stars questions. People in the MMA bubble would see an opportunity to talk to Anderson Silva as a chance to ask about a potential rematch with Chris Weidman, about changing weight classes, about retirement. TMZ, though? They ask him if he’d rather take Beyonce or Rhianna out and, who will win between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather and, most importantly, if he’d fight Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

So, he wouldn't fight The Rock, but it'd be cool if they were in a buddy cop film together, right?

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