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Eric Jamison/Associated Press

The idea of Gina Carano returning from Hollywood to take on Ronda Rousey for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship is no longer in the realm of fantasy.

Instead, it is reality in progress. UFC President Dana White has made no secret of his desire to bring Carano into the UFC for a big-money fight against his golden goose. Carano has not competed since a 2009 loss to Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. After that loss, she turned her attention to Hollywood and the film industry.

Her inactivity doesn’t matter, however. Not when there is money to be made. And even though Carano is undoubtedly undeserving of a title shot from a pure sports perspective, the allure of raking in cash will be too much for White and the Zuffa brass to ignore. White is somehow selling the idea of Carano deserving a title shot because of all she did for women’s MMA, but that is a ludicrous claim.

Rousey vs. Carano, if it comes to fruition, is a fight made for money and nothing else.

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USA Today

Even if you don’t consider Jon Jones the greatest light heavyweight of all time, you must admit he’s getting close.

Since winning the championship from Mauricio Rua in 2011, Jones has defended the championship seven times. He smashed the previous record of five, held by Tito Ortiz, and has become the UFC’s all-time light heavyweight wins leader.

The next record Jones is pursuing belongs to Anderson Silva, the man many consider to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time. Silva won the UFC middleweight championship from Rich Franklin on October 14, 2006. Over the next seven years, Silva would defend the title 10 times before losing it to Chris Weidman in July 2013.

Jones needs three more title defenses to tie Silva’s record. He needs four to claim the record as his own. Today, we’ll take a look at his potential path to tying and then breaking Silva’s record. If he does so, he will likely be unanimously considered the greatest fighter of all time.

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USA Today

For approximately the 1 millionth time during his run as MMA’s most scrutinized fighter, Vitor Belfort wants us all to know everything is cool with him.

Belfort—who withdrew suddenly from a scheduled title shot at UFC 173 after the Nevada Athletic Commission banned testosterone replacement therapy back in February—says he's ready to return.

"I did all the tests that Nevada requires," Belfort told MMAFighting.com’s Guilherme Cruz over the weekend, with all the panache of a man who refuses to comprehend the nature of his own position. "I did it on my own, and I passed them all. There is nothing in my system anymore. God has blessed me. I’m ready now, and I’m waiting."

Except, not so fast.

NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar told Fox Sports' Mike Chiappetta on Wednesday that his office hasn’t heard from Belfort, and that there are still some significant regulatory hurdles that need to be cleared before the embattled former UFC champ is allowed back in the cage.

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USA Today

Conor McGregor is nearing a return to the Octagon. It is a tangible thing; even though McGregor won’t yet step in the cage for over two months, we can already feel the tremors emanating from Dublin, where McGregor resides and where he’ll face Cole Miller in the main event of a UFC event in July.

We can feel it because McGregor has started talking again. Not that he ever stopped to begin with, of course. If there is one thing McGregor never stops doing, it’s talking. The Irishman hasn’t competed in the UFC since last August, but you’d never know it by the amount of screen time he gets.

Like Chael Sonnen, McGregor is a man known for just saying whatever comes to his mind. The difference is that with Sonnen, we all feel like we’re part of the joke. Sonnen isn’t winking at us specifically, but there’s a playfulness to his antics. He knows he is playing a game. We know he is playing a game. He knows we know he is playing a game. And so everyone plays along and has a grand old time.

McGregor is different. He’s got all of the obnoxiousness of the best Sonnen material but none of the charm. There are no winks, no sly smiles. McGregor is convinced that rich rewards come to those who talk the loudest.

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John Amis/AP Images

It’s strange to think there’s a fight Jon Jones can’t win.

Because of his transcendent talent, we have a tendency to talk about Jones only in superlatives.

On Saturday at UFC 172, he ended Glover Teixeira’s nine-year, 20-fight win streak with the ease of a man checking items off his grocery list. If he emerges unscathed from 2014—potentially adding victories over Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier—it’ll be time to seriously consider whether he’s the greatest MMA fighter of all time.

But that’s only half the story. The fact that some fans gagged a little bit when they read that last paragraph? Yeah, that’s the other half.

Chasing Down a Strawweight Dream

By on April 29, 2014

9,954 reads

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Jeremy Botter

LAS VEGAS — "When we call your name, come out to the center of the mat. If you catch a submission, let go. You know you got it, they know you got it, we know you got it. So just let it go and move on.”

Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, stands in front of a group of tiny women. He is clad in a black T-shirt, a baseball cap adorned with the UFC logo and a few days' worth of gray and black stubble on his chin. They are unanimously dressed in spandex of all types: short and black, long and colorful.

White is laying down the ground rules. He wants to see aggression. He does not want to see stupidity.

"Please do not try to hurt anybody. We just want to see you roll. Don't go crazy. You women are so f*****g aggressive all the time,” White says. “Just relax. Relax. It's all good. We know your record. We know who you are. Just get in here and roll.

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Andre Penner

Here’s a question for you: Does anybody know what is happening with Vitor Belfort?

It has been two months since the Nevada Athletic Commission voted to ban exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy. A day later, Belfort pulled out of his planned UFC 173 title fight against Chris Weidman. According to a report by Matt Erickson on MMAJunkie.com, Belfort released a statement saying that he didn’t have time to acclimate his body to a world without TRT:

Since that day, Belfort has been mostly quiet. He was replaced in the fight by Lyoto Machida. The fight was then moved to UFC 175 in July after Weidman suffered an injury. UFC President Dana White curiously blamed the media for Belfort’s withdrawal from the fight during a media session prior to UFC 171, as reported by Trent Reinsmith for Bloody Elbow:

This is silly, of course. Yes, TRT was a hot-button topic with the media. But White himself railed against TRT and said he was happy with the NAC’s decision to ban it. His finger-pointing at the media is complete nonsense. The media did not force the NAC to make their decision. It was made because TRT is essentially legalized cheating. It was a controversy that continued to grow, and it wasn’t going away.

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Tommy Gilligan/USA Today

The look on Glover Teixeira's face toward the end of his five-round fight with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones told the story of the fight. There was exhaustion. Amazement too. And, in the glint of the bright hanging lights, there was something worse—resignation.

Teixeira fought hard until the very end, but he never stood a chance against Jones. In his heart, after four rounds of fighting, he knew it.

The fight, remarkably, had played out exactly as it must have in Teixeira's dreams. Jones, perhaps foolishly, continuously put himself right in the power-puncher's sweet spot. Jones stood in a phone booth, both men against the cage, and he dared Glover to hit him with his best, testing his will against the challenger's.

And he won. Not just the fight, but all 25 minutes of it.

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Tommy Gilligan/USA Today

Jon Jones admitted he went off-script against Glover Teixeira on Saturday at UFC 172.

Not that you’d know it from the results.

While Jones said the game plan was to keep Teixeira at a distance and hunt for takedowns, at some point the UFC light heavyweight champion decided to chuck it all and go at his powerful opponent from the clinch, pressed against the fence at close range.

In the process, he sprinted headlong into Teixeira’s wheelhouse, forgoing his considerable reach advantage and dragging their main event fight into the only place where the 34-year-old Brazilian might have a chance to surprise him with a knockout punch.

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USA Today

Don’t look now, but the UFC’s light heavyweight division is in upheaval.

Not at the top, of course. Jon Jones did what we all expected him to do in easily beating Glover Teixeira in the main event at UFC 172 to retain his championship. But Jones may have a new contender, and it’s one none of us expected.

After Anthony Johnson’s dominant win over Phil Davis in the UFC 172 co-main event, it’s clear we have a new name alongside Daniel Cormier, Dan Henderson and Alexander Gustafsson.

I picked Davis to win. Most of us did. I figured Davis would be able to get Johnson to the canvas and grind out a decision. His wrestling is nearly peerless in mixed martial arts, and it was his absolute best path to victory.