Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its long-awaited return to Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., this past Saturday night (Dec. 14, 2013) with UFC on Fox 9: "Johnson vs. Benavidez 2," which featured several exciting fights and career-defining performances.
Becoming somewhat of an unofficial poster boy for UFC's rise with the FOX deal, Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his title for a third time this year, savagely knocking out Joseph Benavidez in a rematch of their previous encounter in the Flyweight championship tournament little more than one year ago. "Mighty Mouse" clocked Benavidez with one shot and followed up brutally to set the record straight in the main event (watch video highlights here).
All fingers point to another title shot for "The California Kid," as outstanding non-title fight record with a submission over top bantamweight prospect Michael McDonald. Indeed, a third title fight in UFC does not seem so ludicrous now for the Team Alpha Male leader (watch video highlights of Faber's fight-ending guillotine choke here).continued his
Before all the mixed martial arts (MMA) action unfolded inside the Octagon, there were promotional appearances to generate awareness for -- and interest in -- a trip to the Outback. Fighters said this and that, answering questions galore when all they really wanted to do is be left alone and not be bothered.
MMAmania.com does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event. But, as we've done before, let us look at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage on Saturday night.
"When I lost, I thought it was life or death. I'm never going to feel that disappointed or crushed again because I put so much on that, so the fact that I could kind of let that go, there is no fear. It is a brand new fight for me."
--Talking to the press before his flyweight title rematch, Benavidez spoke about the disappointment he had in the first fight and how he was able to brush it off. Expecting a whole new outcome in their second meeting, Benavidez was viciously knocked out by Johnson in a flash. And although it was a brand new fight, he lost in the worst way possible. Despite feeling gutted right now, hopefully Benavidez could overcome the obstacles once again for his sake.
"I want it for myself. Legacy, whatever, I don't have time to look at legacies or any of that crap. I'm here to fight. I love what I do, and that's why I do it. And I want to be the best, and that's why I train like I do."
-- Urijah Faber does not feel like he has to win a UFC championship to cement his legacy; however, if he wants to be remembered as one of the best ever, it is somewhat essential (ask someone like Dan Henderson). Nonetheless, Faber looks poised to challenge the winner of his arch rival Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao after they lock horns at UFC 169 in February.
"I've got to be honest, I don't like the guy. I haven't really disliked very many people that I fought. The way he thinks he's going to run through me, he's cocky -- just don't like it. I just don't think he's fought anybody of my caliber. He's got a big head on his shoulders, he talks a lot, but we're going to see Saturday night what happens."
-- Chad Mendes was able to overcome Nik Lentz, battling through a sinus infection to take home the decision win despite his troubles after the first round. It was nice to see the beef squashed between the two professionals immediately after the final bell, but leading up to this fight, we saw a side of "Money" we are not used to seeing.
"Obviously I'm very confident -- I wouldn't have accept the fight. There's no doubt he's a good fighter. But I truly think I'm one of the best fighters in the world, and if I didn't say that, and if I didn't believe it, then why the hell would I be there?"
-- Lentz was not shy in chirping his opponent ahead of their main card bout, and even if he came up short in a losing effort, he proved he could hang in there with the best in the world. However, his assessment of competing against the likes of Jose Aldo is a little premature.
"I am very proud of my abstinence. There was a time when it was not even in my vocabulary -- I've lived on both sides of the fence. I know what God says, and I decided that's what I'm going to do because that's what God says. Being on this side of the fence, I just see that my life is better for it."
-- Michael McDonald raised a few eyebrows when he proclaimed himself abstinent for a few years now. Fighters have their different opinion when it comes to pre-fight sex, however, "Mayday" did not see what the big fuss was about. Either way, who knows if sex would have helped him defeat Faber in the co-main event. In fact, it is probably not worth the speculation, either.
That concludes our somewhat "sexy" UFC on FOX 9 edition of He Said What?!?! ... until next time, Maniacs.
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