USA Today

LAS VEGAS — A week ago, Daniel Cormier weighed 225 pounds. Friday, he weighs 223 pounds. By next Friday, he'll be 219 pounds. In just more than a month, he'll weigh 215 pounds, where he'll begin his actual weight cut. And when he steps in the cage to face Rashad Evans at UFC 170, Cormier hopes to weigh 223 pounds or more.

Of course, he'll need to weigh 205 pounds in there at a very specific point—on Feb. 21, around 4:25 p.m. local time—and that's the thing that has everyone concerned for Cormier's well-being. Right now, the former Olympian is fine. He's comfortable. He's visibly smaller, leading fellow Fox Sports analyst Kenny Florian to make jokes about Cormier wearing skinny jeans. He is not wearing skinny jeans on this day in Las Vegas. But he looks well on his way to light heavyweight, and has arrived at his current weight solely through a changed diet. The hard part will come during fight week, when he's cutting from 215 to 205. 

Specifically, the hard part will arrive once Cormier nears 211 pounds. That's the number that got Cormier in trouble the last time he was this small, in 2008 when his kidneys failed during an attempt to cut for the Olympic Games, and it's a number Cormier acknowledges will play mental games with him. 

"I think once I get to 213 pounds, that's when I'm going to be like, 'Oh, here we go. I'm doing this again,'" Cormier says. "Mentally, I'm going to have to get past that 211 mark."

USA Today

Prognostication is typically a precision art.

When trying to peer into the future, it’s better to do it through a sniper’s scope than a wide-angle lens. Sometimes, though—particularly around the holidays—we soothsayers start feeling a little squirrely.

Why be content with boldly predicting what is going to happen at a single MMA show (like we normally do) when we could make a from-the-hip shotgun-blast at the entire next year?

2013 was wild, so what the devil are we to expect from 2014, anyway? Glad you asked. Here are our best guesses, as Bleacher Report MMA lead writers Chad Dundas (that’s me) and Jonathan Snowden make some bold predictions for the calendar year 2014.

USA Today

LAS VEGAS — Sara McMann would like to make one thing perfectly clear: She is grateful to Ronda Rousey for helping usher women's mixed martial arts into the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

"I am literally the first person to say that. Whether you like her or not, I absolutely agree," McMann says. "Dana White was adamant about not adding women to the UFC, even though women had been doing it for over 10 years. These women you see fighting now? They didn't just see Ronda Rousey and go, 'Oh, I think I'll start doing that.' They had been fighting for a long time. Cyborg, Gina Carano and tons of others.

"But we needed a catalyst. We needed someone to catch the UFC's eye, to let us do it on that stage. And she was it, and we do owe her a thank you," she continues. "Even if she was doing it for herself, all of our boats float a little higher when the water is raised."

McMann, who faces Rousey in the main event of UFC 170 on February 22 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, is confident in her chances to dethrone the best female fighter in the sport.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Hi there. Hope you had a great holiday season, full of presents and family and merriment. But now that we're past all that nonsense, it's time to get down to the very serious business of mixed martial arts.

You love making bold statements. We sure do. That's what Twitter is for, after all: bold statements that we aren't required to back up with facts or logic. With each installment of the Tweet-O-Rama, we ask you to provide us with a bold statement, and then we take turns debating said bold statement. It's a big ball of fun, and it's time to get started with the latest edition.

In this edition: our first celebrity Tweeter, Chad goes deep into his fantasy booking playbook and the boys debate steroids. All in a day's work. 

Remember, to get involved in the world-spanning party that is Tweet-O-Rama, you'll need to follow Jonathan, Jeremy and Chad.

AP Images

It must needle Dominick Cruz to know the latest episode in his seemingly endless, excruciating series of injury setbacks opened another door for Urijah Faber.

Anyone who has followed MMA’s lightest weight classes long enough to have seen either of their past meetings (in the WEC in 2007 and UFC in 2011) knows that Cruz and Faber don’t like each other.

By default, their feud stands as the most acrimonious in the short and otherwise fairly cordial history of the UFC bantamweight division. Even after Cruz avenged his earlier loss by thoroughly outpointing Faber at UFC 132, their business felt unfinished. We’ve always assumed their rivalry would be renewed one day, so long as Cruz wasn’t forced into early retirement by his own body.

Now, the two rivals are unexpectedly back in the news together, as both of them face different uphill climbs.

Getty Images

The past few weeks, I'd been planning a trip to San Diego to spend a few days with the now-former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

I wanted to do a longer story on the final days of Cruz's training camp as he prepared to return from a very long layoff against Renan Barao, the man many already considered to be the best 135-pound fighter in the world despite holding an interim version of the UFC belt. Where Cruz was once considered a puzzle without a plausible solution, Barao is now a truly feared and well-rounded fighter who would be installed as a heavy favorite against any competition Sean Shelby threw at him. 

I wanted to delve into Cruz's mindset. Were there any nerves? Was there any doubt in his mind that he'd be the same fighter he was when he first went on the shelf back in 2011? Was he dismayed that Barao was installed as a sizable favorite despite holding an inferior version of his own championship? 

As I went about the process of preparing to report on the story, I had a nagging thought in the back of my brain: What if Cruz was injured again and had to pull out of the fight?

USA Today

It’s not really even an insult to call Ronda Rousey one-dimensional anymore.

Like any self-respecting fighter, she would likely bristle at that notion, but the truth is, she’s easy to figure out. There’s nothing wrong with being one-dimensional as long as that single dimension is so terrifyingly good that the rest of her division can’t decide if they hate or fear her.

Spoiler alert: She’s going to take you down and try to break your arm.

So far, it's been a recipe for unmatched success in the UFC women's bantamweight division. But let’s also be realistic here: Rousey is not as unbeatable as some pundits would have us believe. All it's going to take for her to get a true test is someone who can stay away from her Olympic-level judo game long enough to do damage on the feet.

Carlos Condit working mitts with Jackson's MMA striking coach Brandon Gibson.
Will Fox/TheFoxIdentity Instagram

"The Road" is a concept that has fascinated American writers for more than a century. 

Where western expansion—and later the railways—captivated great minds long before asphalt came into existence, the idea of following the winding ribbon to unknown destinations is a theme which has created some of the most remarkable work in American literature. While the motivations have varied from scribe to scribe, the tie that binds them all is the quest for some greater understanding of themselves and the world that moves swiftly around them.

Cormac McCarthy used such a theme to craft a Pulitzer Prize winning work of the same name in 2007 as he used the road to address the complexities of the relationship between a father and son as they attempted to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. 

Robert Pirsig tapped the muse of the road in his philosophical gem Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where he addressed the ability to increase the quality of life by adapting to the circumstances which are presented. The road is an ever-changing environment and the vehicle that carries us along the path has to be catered to. The intricacies of this process provides a constant education as we become better equipped to understand and deal with the world around us. There are numerous other themes in this particular work, but the journey ties them all together.

Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

After the run the UFC just came off in the previous year, there is going to have to be a lot of work put in to raise the bar higher in 2014.

Following a campaign where there was no shortage of "Fight of the Year" candidates, highlight-reel knockouts and unforgettable tilts is going to be no small task, but the UFC made its first steps of the new year on Saturday morning at Fight Night 34 at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

The card was also the debut event held on the UFC's newly launched digital network Fight Pass, the place where the organization intends to hold a handful of their global efforts going forward. While there are many reasons the UFC will be airing certain cards on their new on-line outlet, one of more poignant causes has to do with airing live events from countries on the other side of the globe.

The first preliminary fight on Saturday's card kicked off at 6:30 a.m. EST stateside and that is certainly an awkward viewing time slot for the American audience. In addition to the early start time, the card was light on names that would ring familiar with the fan base, which put the majority of the focus on the welterweight tilt in the main event between Tarec Saffiedine and Lim Hyun Gyu.

USA Today/Jayne Kamin-Oncea

By any metric, 2013 was a weird year in mixed martial arts.

After years of setting our watches by the UFC's welterweight and middleweight champions, both Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre disembarked for the great unknown. The world’s largest MMA provider continued to pack its schedule with more and more fight-related goodness, and its relationship with its biggest competitor (BellatorMMA) hit an all-time low.

New champions were crowned (Chis Weidman, Anthony Pettis), while some familiar faces (Robbie Lawler, Matt Brown, Vitor Belfort) reinserted themselves into the conversation. There were bad beats and drug cheats, as well as copious examples of bald men shouting at us from our TV screens, imploring us to open our wallets to purchase their wares.

Perhaps most importantly, women finally came to the UFC. Ronda Rousey was crowned bantamweight champion, and late in 2013 we got word that strawweights are on deck. They’ll be featured in an upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.