Friday, April 19, 2013
Johny Hendricks, odd man out (again)?
By Brett Okamoto
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Cover your ears, Johny Hendricks.
UFC president Dana White told reporters on Thursday he’ll talk to welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre soon. The two haven’t spoken since St-Pierre recorded his eighth consecutive title defense over Nick Diaz at UFC 158 last month.
Expectations have been that St-Pierre (24-4) would face Hendricks (15-1) later this year, but White said that bout would go on hold should St-Pierre express interest in a long-anticipated, lucrative superfight with middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
“I am literally going to call Georges St-Pierre today and see what he wants to do,” White said.
“If Georges says to me, ‘I want to fight Anderson Silva,’ you think I’m going to go, ‘No, you’re not. You’re fighting Johny Hendricks’?”
Silva (33-4) is scheduled to defend his 185-pound title against Chris Weidman at UFC 162 in July. In yet another superfight wrinkle, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will defend his title against Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 next week in Newark.
White said he’s interested in any fight that involves two of the three champions, saying if both St-Pierre and Jones wanted Silva, “that’s a good problem to have.”
Hendricks would be the clear loser if St-Pierre opts to fight Silva next. The former collegiate wrestler is on a six-fight win streak and was already leapfrogged earlier this year by Diaz, who was coming off a drug suspension.
White said St-Pierre would not vacate the 170-pound title if he took the Silva fight, meaning Hendricks would have to wait or accept another fight.
“If [St-Pierre] lost, he could still go back down and fight Hendricks for the title.”
Mitrione fined, suspended -- but forgiven
UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione has been fined an undisclosed amount and remains suspended for comments made last week regarding transgender fighter Fallon Fox.
The UFC quickly suspended Mitrione following an appearance on “The MMA Hour,” where he referred to Fox as a “freak.” Fox is scheduled for her third pro fight in May.
Mitrione (6-2), who defeated Philip De Fries via first-round knockout earlier this month, spoke with UFC president Dana White following the incident and took responsibility for his actions -- but there is no timetable for his return.
“It’s up to us,” White said regarding Mitrione’s suspension. “I’m not mad at Mitrione. He did something stupid. He knows he didn’t handle it the right way.
“I’m sure he wants to know [when he’ll fight again]. We’ll let him know when we decide. He was fined, too. Enough to make him call me three times.”
• A Brazilian fan attacked UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen during an event last weekend in Las Vegas, according to White.
Sonnen, who challenges Jon Jones for the 205-pound title next week at UFC 159, was in Las Vegas to attend "The Ultimate Fighter" finale at Mandalay Bay Events Center. According to White, he was involved in a minor scuffle during the show.
“I don’t know if any of you guys saw this, but he was there shaking hands with fans and one guy says, ‘Chael! Chael!” White said. “Chael goes over there and the guy started swinging at him, trying to punch him. The guy goes, ‘I’m from Brazil!'”
Sonnen (27-12-1) was involved in a heated rivalry with Brazilian middleweight champ Anderson Silva from 2010 to 2012. He went 0-2 in two fights against him.
• Whether his teammate claims the UFC lightweight title on Saturday or not, Nate Diaz says he’s moving back to 170 pounds.
Diaz (16-8) meets lightweight Josh Thomson on Saturday. His teammate, Gilbert Melendez, will look to dethrone champion Ben Henderson in the night’s main event.
Regardless of the outcome of either fight, Diaz says he intends to move back to welterweight, where he compiled a 2-2 record from 2010 to 2011.
“I already fought everybody at lightweight,” Diaz said. “I don’t think there is anything for me in the lightweight division. I already beat everybody or fought everybody. The only person who beat me was Ben. What, I’m going to sit around and fight all the same guys again? That’s boring. There’s no motivation in that.”
• Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier still wants to fight UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones -- just maybe not as soon as he once thought.
Cormier (11-1) faces arguably the biggest challenge of his career on Saturday as he takes on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the night’s co-main event.
The former U.S. Olympic wrestler has been quietly shedding weight for a potential trip to the 205-pound division. Cormier’s teammate, Cain Velasquez, currently holds the UFC heavyweight title.
Cormier has publicly expressed interest in fighting Jones previously, but now says he’d probably want a test fight at 205 pounds first. The 34-year-old experienced kidney failure while cutting weight in 2008 but is confident he can make 205.
“At first, I was so emotionally tied to [fighting Jones],” Cormier said. “I’ve thought about it, and I wouldn’t be opposed to fighting one time down there just to see how my body reacts to the weight cut. It would be very difficult to fight him in my first fight, a five-round fight.
“What if I get in a fight and I can’t do anything but wrestle because my arms are tired and my body isn’t responding to the weight cut? I don’t want that guy to be Jon Jones. Seriously, can you imagine standing in with him and not feeling your best?”