Posts Tagged ‘Greatest’

With a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title shot opposite Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 on Sept. 10 staring him in the face, mixed martial arts (MMA) mainstay Alistair Overeem will have the opportunity to forever solidify his legacy in the sport.

Unlike Overeem, who currently competes in the best promotion in the world, MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko has never fought in UFC. According to “The Reem” during UFC 203’s media lunch earlier this week (transcribed by MMA Fighting), “The Last Emperor” shouldn’t be considered the greatest heavyweight of all time because of that reason only.

“He’s a friend of mine,” said Overeem. “I like him as a person. I never had anything negative with him, even when we were supposed to fight and he declined. But at the time that he could test himself — and he had several occasions — he turned down the UFC. And the UFC is where the competition is at. He declined to do that.”

Emelianenko, 39, is widely considered one of the best fighters to ever compete by going undefeated under Pride rule from 2002-2006. However, his return to MMA hasn’t been all that impressive over the past few years.

“I think he messed it up with Strikeforce and he totally messed it up in coming back,” added Overeem. “He fought Maldonado, Maldonado is a light heavyweight. Fedor is a heavyweight. And he actually lost that fight, right?”

While Overeem may be right that Emelianenko’s return to the sport hasn’t gone the way many people may have thought, the Russian heavyweight has certainly done enough to be called the greatest of his kind. Overeem is probably better off spending his time gameplanning for Miocic.

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After what’s been “the worst run” of her career, UFC bantamweight Jessica Eye is optimistic about her upcoming home state challenge.

Set to face Bethe Correia (11-5 MMA, 1-4 UFC) in the same card as friend and teammate Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio, a “pumped” Eye (11-5 MMA, 1-4 UFC) went into detail about important additions to her fight preparation.

“After my lackluster performance against Sara McMann, who was a friend of mine and I think that kind of screwed up my ability to fight the way that I needed to,” Eye told MMAjunkie Radio. “I went to a sports psychologist because I knew the Cleveland card was coming, I knew they were going to want me on it. I’m a huge star here along with Stipe, Cleveland adores both of us so much.

“I started seeing a sports psychologist. Probably the greatest decision I’ve ever made in my life and I wish I’d done it sooner.”

Eye and Correia meet on the featured FS1 prelim of UFC 203, which takes place Sept. 10 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. In the main event, heavyweight champ Miocic looks to defend his title for the first time, against Alistair Overeem.

With only one win in her previous five octagon outings, Eye knows her moment is not particularly favorable. But, taking the home state advantage into account, the bantamweight believes the conditions are perfect for a career turnaround.

“I get to bring myself back on track in the place that started with me,” Eye said. “The place that made me realize I wanted to fight and showed me that I had an impact. I’m pumped, it’s going to be amazing, I’m so excited for Cleveland. We’ve been waiting such a long time just for some of the attention we’ve been getting, between the Monsters, the Cavs, even the Republican convention which brought so much to our city.

“Now the UFC is finally coming here, and during the warmer season, which is awesome, because people would hate it if they came in the cold time. It’s just awesome, I can’t wait for people to see why we love Cleveland so much and why it’s so electric and why I can’t wait just fight here and just pound the crap out of Bethe in my home town and just get back on track.“

Fighting on the same card as a close friend can be mentally tricky. But, in this particular case, Eye sees no added nerves in stepping into the octagon only four fights before Miocic. In fact, with the corner logistics figured out, she believes being there will actually help.

“We’re splitting the corners up in a way that we know will work for the both of us,” Eye said. “And to be honest, I don’t think Stipe is nervous for me and I’m not nervous for him. We’ve fought in Cleveland – I probably fought in Cleveland 15 times.

“You know, I feel like I’m less nervous because I’ll be right there. These other times I’m not in the back, I don’t get to see him fight there, I don’t get to see him weigh in there, you know he’s out of town and I’m here. I just feel like there’s no nervousness about it this time, it’s weird.”

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