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USA Today

Andrei Arlovksi, world heavyweight title contender?

This seemed a ludicrous idea in March 2013, when Arlovski lost to former welterweight and future light heavyweight Anthony Johnson. Arlovski just didn't have what it took anymore. Not to compete at the highest level.

It seemed far-fetched even yesterday morning. Arlovski was scheduled to face Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva on the UFC's Fight Pass service on Saturday night, and a Silva win seemed a foregone conclusion. Even UFC commentators Jon Anik and Kenny Florian were in on the act: The storyline for Arlovski centered on whether or not he had anything left.

As it turned out, Arlovski did have something left. He melted Silva, knocking him out in the first round. It eliminated nasty thoughts of Arlovski's controversial (and terribly boring) split decision over Brendan Schaub in his last bout, and perhaps even served notice that a new (old) heavyweight contender had arrived. Indeed, Anik's push after the fight—perhaps spurred on by the voices in his head—was that Arlovski was a new contender in the heavyweight division despite being ranked 14th going into the fight.

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AP Images

I’d like to think a guy like Krzysztof Soszynski would be set for life.

A veteran of nearly 40 fights, Soszynski spent more than eight years in the trenches of professional MMA. He fought for several of the industry’s top promotions, including Strikeforce and the IFL, before mustering a three-year, nine-fight tenure in the Octagon.

I’m told it's difficult to measure how long the average UFC career lasts, but with a final record of 6-3, Soszynski was likely more successful than most. He was never champion (or even a top contender), but he won more than he lost and three times pleased his bosses enough to win one of the fight company’s performance-based bonuses.

In reality, though, I know Soszynski probably isn’t a wealthy man.

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USA Today

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Dana White doesn't like somebody, and he doesn't mind telling anyone who will listen exactly what he thinks.

It's that trait that made White one of the biggest stars in the UFC. Fighters come and go, but White and his over-the-top soundbites never stop. He's always there to tell you what is literally (figuratively) happening, and he's always good for an off-the-cuff response when you need one.

He's engaged in public spats with folks for years. Nobody is safe: other promoters, television network officials and even his own fighters. If you piss White off, there is a very good chance he'll tell everybody about it. Tito Ortiz is his most popular target, but White's ire isn't restricted to just Ortiz.

Now, White has a new favorite target: Ben Askren, the former Bellator welterweight champion.

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Rose Namajunas
Photo courtesy Fox Sports/UFC

It has been a long time since a season of The Ultimate Fighter felt like a big deal.

I am not telling you anything you don't know. This is not a revelation. The Ultimate Fighter has been stuck on "not interesting" for years. To tell you the truth, I long ago decided the show would continue sliding down into the pit where things that are no longer relevant go to die.

There, it would find itself in decent company, with the final two seasons of The Killing and every international variation of The Ultimate Fighter.

There are so many Ultimate Fighters that I can't even keep track any more. I understand they are talent development tools used only to build up new international stars. But as with the North American version in recent seasons, the actual talent level on the show has been marginal at best for a long time.

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USA Today

What's next for Ronda Rousey?

There was a time when the answer to that question seemed clear. Back when Rousey was in Strikeforce, we all assumed she'd sign with the UFC, fight a couple of people and then take on Cris Cyborg in a long-awaited grudge match.

We're still waiting and don't know if the grudge match is ever going to happen. There are times when it feels like it's just over the horizon, but most of us have become immune to hope when it comes to Rousey vs. Cyborg.

It gives us the same feeling we used to get when folks started talking about Randy Couture taking on Fedor Emelianenko. The same feeling we got when all those rumors of Brock Lesnar taking on Emelianenko began.

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USA Today

Clearly, getting kicked off Inside MMA was a win-win for Ben Askren.

If Askren had been wondering how to take his ongoing rift with UFC President Dana White to the next level, Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten were happy to squat down last Friday and give him a boost.

By prematurely pulling the plug on their interview with the outspoken OneFC welterweight champion, Rice and Rutten managed to let Askren say his peace while simultaneously propping him up as the exiled firebrand too hot for American TV.

And if you’re Askren, that’s exactly where you want to be.

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Jason Silva/USA Today

Ronaldo “JacareSouza rests his case.

Souza made his final push toward No. 1 contender status in the middleweight division on Friday, as he battered, fatigued and ultimately submitted Gegard Mousasi in the main event of UFC Fight Night 50.

Undefeated since Sept. 2011 and now the winner of four straight fights in the Octagon, there’s simply no denying he should be next up for the winner of Chris Weidman’s December title defense against Vitor Belfort.

I know it. You know it. Jacare knows it, too.

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I've seen a lot of MMA over the years. A lot. Putting together The MMA Encyclopedia, I watched footage from all over the world, from the despondently bad to the resplendently life-changing.

And I've never seen anything quite like the pull-apart brawl between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar at Bellator 123.

This segment was so bizarre, I didn't feel confident enough to discuss it alone. So, joining me round-table style, are Bleacher Report's lead MMA writer Jeremy Botter and MMA editor Brian Oswald. 

Snowden: The moment Spike TV cameras caught a glimpse of an overweight masked man sitting next to former UFC star Stephan Bonnar, I suspected something gloriously terrible was going to go down. And boy did it ever.

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Jason Silva/USA Today

I wrote earlier this week that Friday night's dueling UFC and Bellator cards were a throwback to the old Monday Night Wars in professional wrestling.

Some of you were angry with that assessment, because professional wrestling and mixed martial arts are two different things, and any mixture of the two is unthinkable.

But then Bellator 123 happened, and Stephan Bonnar and Tito Ortiz appeared in the cage with a masked man who ended up being Justin McCully. At that point, I'm positive many of you either loudly cheered or threw up on your coffee table.

It elicted strong reactions, either way. For some, it was the worst thing that ever happened. Me? I feel like it was actually pretty awesome but in the most terrible of ways. It was different. It wasn't good. And it sets up a fight between Bonnar and Ortiz that nobody wants to see.

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Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

UFC President Dana White likes to win. His goal, publicly stated, isn't just to be a successful mixed martial arts promoter. It's becoming a global force in the sports. "World f*cking domination," as he puts it. Nothing more, nothing less.

That drive has helped White to demolish the competition over the years. He, famously, used to keep a faux tombstone in his office. Every time a rival promotion died, a name was added to the dearly departed. Those who didn't go out of business because of their own stupidity, the UFC gleefully purchased, adding toys to a toy box already brimming with great martial artists.

No rival has withstood the rigors of MMA promotion for long. Successful boxing promoters, comic book entrepreneurs and online gambling provocateurs have all attempted to run a Pepsi to UFC's Coke. All have failed dramatically. 

All but Bellator.