THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 9/15: Heavyweight Division heats up with Jones and Cain in news, Sonnen joins Bellator, Cerrone opponent, much more

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Jon Jones (artist Grant Gould © MMATorch)


The UFC Heavyweight Division has quietly turned into one of the more intriguing and entertaining divisions in recent days with a variety of captivating potential match-ups being thrown around including one newcomer and a champion moving up a weight class.

Earlier this week on Twitter, Jon Jones expressed interest in a fight with Stipe Miocic. He called the heavyweight champion “legit” and claimed he would be the “challenge of a lifetime” for Miocic. Then last night on UFC Tonight on FS1, Daniel Cormier threw his name into the hat and made a case that he is more deserving of a shot at Miocic than Jon Jones.

“Obviously he’d do well if he fought for the heavyweight championship, but the guy’s not eligible to compete,” said Cormier. “If they’re going to let a guy go up [a weight division] and fight in a fight, I’d do it. Why not me? I’m the one who’s here competing.”

Cormier’s case for the fight is solid but he also conceded he’s not interested in competing with his teammate and former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.

Velasquez has an argument for a title fight himself after blitzing Travis Browne in July, much more convincingly than Fabricio Werdum did last weekend at UFC 203. Velasquez, though, may not be willing to sit and wait for a title shot and said he’d be willing to fight Werdum in a bout rumored to be slated for UFC 207 on Dec. 30. Werdum beat Velasquez at UFC 188 to claim the title which appears to be motivation for Velasquez who claimed, “This one’s personal.”

Add in Josh Barnett as a wild card coming off a convincing win over Andrei Arlovski and there’s no shortage of interesting fights to make in the heavyweight division.

So far in our MMATorch Poll, readers overwhelmingly want to see Velasquez get the next UFC Hvt. Title shot. You can still VOTE HERE.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: The heavyweight division has been hit or miss for much of UFC’s existence. We’ve had unpopular, plodding champions like Tim Sylvia who lacked solid competition to perpetually injured champions in Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez who only defended their titles sparingly. Miocic is a breath of fresh air for the division, he’s a likeable guy with knockout power and has been able to stay healthy which will help keep the division rolling and lots of fresh and exciting matchups are emerging as a result. I don’t expect anything to happen with the Jones and Cormier moving up talk, but it’s still an interesting prospect. Cormier has a very solid case to move up and get a shot as he’s the current light heavyweight champion and he was undefeated at heavyweight with wins over top competition. He will likely want to stay out of Cain’s way, as he said, so I would only expect him to move up if and when Cain finds himself out of the title picture. If Brock Lesnar ends up only suspended for a year and is contractually able to fight again, he’s another huge wildcard at heavyweight.


-Bellator announced on Twitter Chael Sonnen has joined their company. Stay tuned for more on that…

-Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero, which has been heavily rumored for UFC 205 at MSG appears to be very close to being finalized.

-Another long-rumored bout between Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens is also slated for the show according to Combates in Brazil.

Kelvin Gastellum is slated to fight Donald Cerrone, also at UFC 205, after Robbie Lawler announced he wouldn’t be fighting at MSG in that previously slated match-up.

-Original UFC tournament winner Royce Gracie has filed for divorce from his wife of 22 years and is seeking spousal support according to TMZ. Gracie defeated Ken Shamrock in a fight for Bellator earlier this year.


-Jose Aldo was on Brazilian TV and said he’d be interested in fighting Anthony Pettis for the interim featherweight championship if Conor McGregor isn’t going to fight at 145 lbs. for his next fight.

-Dan Hardy, who hasn’t fought for years due to a heart condition, claimed he would return at 155 lbs if he does fight again in an interview on UFC Tonight.

Fight Announcement Round-Up:

-Liz Carmouche vs. Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 205, Nov. 12, New York City.

-Marco Beltran vs. Guido Cannetti at The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America Finale, Nov. 5, Mexico City.

-Gray Maynard vs. Ryan Hall at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale, Dec. 3, Las Vegas.

-Daniel Omielanczuk replacing Ruslan Magomedov against Stefan Struve at UFC 204, Oct. 8, Manchester.


Check out Dustin Poirier vs. Akira Corassani before Poirier fights Michael Johnson this weekend.

CATCH UP ON YESTERDAY’S NEWS DIGEST: UFC 203 draws big buyrate according to early estimates, big interest in Punk apparently, plus more news

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST: UFC 203 draws big buyrate according to early estimates, big interest in Punk apparently, plus more news

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