Fightin' Words

A mixed martial arts blog about UFC, Bellator and other MMA promotions and fighters.

Vitor Belfort and the UFC rankings paradox

Vitor Belfort arrives at the sixth annual Fighters

(Credit: Getty)

Vitor Belfort won all three of his fights in 2013 by head-kick knockout. Not too shabby for the now 37-year-old Brazilian fighter who first debuted in 1997 at UFC 12.

Since returning to the UFC in 2009, Belfort has fought four times at middleweight, twice at light heavyweight and twice at a catchweight (195, 197 pounds). He's 6-2 in that span, with both losses coming in title fights (one in...

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What happened to the UFC light heavyweight division?

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, right, trades punches with Rashad

(Credit: AP)

The second biggest weight class in the UFC is looking mighty thin these days.

Once the most glamorous division in the world's most prominent mixed martial arts promotion, the UFC's light heavyweight division lacks depth. Part of that can be attributed to the normal ebb and flow of fighters (and sports in general), as well as the expansion of other weight classes.

Also, don't underestimate...

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Glover Teixeira deserves his UFC title shot

Glover Teixeira, top, from Brazil, fights countryman Fabio

(Credit: AP Photo Felipe Dana)

The title shot legitimacy of Glover Teixeira is often met with disdain or negativity. Why? Well, for one, that's what MMA fans do. (Ask Chris Weidman . . . after he won the title.)

And second, they say Teixeira has yet to fight a top-10 light heavyweight in the UFC.

Both of those points are true.

Both of those points aren't much of an argument to make in claiming Teixeira doesn't...

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Frank Mir remains focused on UFC title

UFC heavyweight Frank Mir poses at Jackson?s Mixed

(Credit: Getty)

At age 34, loser of his last two fights and 0-3 in his last three title fights, it's fair to wonder where Frank Mir is at in his career.

Is he a title hopeful still, or is it about "the big fights" for the former UFC heavyweight champion? Mir is certainly not the first fighter to face such a question.

"I don't concede to the fact to just try to put on great fights," Mir said on the UFC 164 conference call earlier this week. "An outcome of my drive is to actually work back towards a title. I don't see it as a situation where that is no longer within my grasp."

Mir is ranked No. 6 in the UFC's heavyweight division, and his opponent next Saturday -- Josh Barnett -- is ranked No. 10. He looked sluggish in a decision against Daniel Cormier last April and was knocked out in the second round against then-champion Junior Dos Santos in May 2012.

It is not inconceivable to think that Mir (16-7) is just a few fights away (perhaps as few as three?) from another title shot. Some things would have to go his way, sure, but in MMA, if you stick around long enough, it can happen. All it takes is an injury or two to another fighter and then, well, you know the deal.

"The training I'm doing now to where I'm at in life and stuff, being only 34 years of age, I don't really see it as an issue to concede to the face that, 'Oh, I'm only going to fight for it to be an entertaining fight, just add it on to a card," Mir said. "That's just not where I'm at in my life."

The winning and losing of Roy Nelson

Roy Nelson celebrates his win over Cheick Kongo

(Credit: AP)

The disconnect between UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson and its president Dana White goes back to the very first episode of Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter."

When White sad he had something big planned for that season, the former IFL champion Nelson figured it meant him. Six minutes and twenty seconds into that season of "TUF," Nelson let it be known he was wrong.

"Dana...

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Chael the champion? It almost happened at UFC 159

Chael Sonnen fought Jon Jones at UFC 159

(Credit: Newsday/Mario Gonzalez)

NEWARK -- The man who used to call himself the champion and walk around with a championship belt without actually winning a title fight nearly earned the ability to rightfully call himself "champion."

Chael Sonnen was 27 seconds away from winning the light heavyweight title at UFC 159 on Saturday at the Prudential Center.

Not necessarily because he was dominating Jon Jones....

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UFC 159: Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo

Roy Nelson celebrates his victory over Mirko Cro

(Credit: AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

NEWARK -- Roy Nelson continues to defy conventional wisdom about physical appearance in mixed martial arts.

A heavyweight fighter who looks more like a bar room brawler than he does a mixed martial artist, won his third straight fight by knocking out Cheick Kongo at UFC 159 on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.

Nelson landed a huge overhand right that dropped Kongo (28-8-2), then...

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UFC 159: Phil Davis stands, Vinny Magalhaes loses

Phil Davis, from the United States, reacts after

(Credit: AP Photo Felipe Dana)

NEWARK -- Many nice words have been said about Phil Davis and Vinny Magalhaes, just by people other than Phil Davis and Vinny Magalhaes.

These two light heavyweights spent the run-up, ok the past several months, taking every opportunity afforded them to hammer the other guy with words.

On Saturday at UFC 159 in the Prudential Center, they used their fists and legs to do the hammering....

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UFC 157: Brendan Schaub neutralizes Lavar Johnson

Brendan Schaub was a contestant on Season 10

(Credit: /Spike Photo)

Two straight first-round knockouts derailed heavyweight Brendan Schaub's promising start to his UFC career.

With Lavar Johnson -- a man with 15 of his 17 wins coming by KO/TKO -- standing in front of him at UFC 157 on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif., Schaub understand the basic math. Getting Johnson off his feet reduces the opportunity of one of those meat hooks connecting with Schaub's face to...

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Still watching the King Mo knockout

King Mo arrives at Spike TV's 6th Annual

(Credit: Getty)

Late to the party on this one a bit, since I passed out on the couch Thursday night. But watching the Bellator fights the following night, I was treated -- like many of you were -- to a fascinating knockout of King Mo Lawal by Emanuel Newton.

Who?

Emanuel Newton and his spinning back fist, thrown blindly and landing flush to the face of King Mo, the prohibitive favorite to win the Bellator...

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