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Jon Bones Jones-Shogun Rua UFC 128 Fight: Is Jonny Too Overconfident?

It’s clear that the UFC anticipates Jon Bones Jones becoming the next star in the sport based on the way they’ve promoted him for his UFC 128 clash with Mauricio Shogun Rua. They aired a special on Jones on Spike TV Thursday called “In the Moment” showcasing Jonny’s path to the title. Did they do the same with Shogun? Not that I saw. They also made an impromptu decision to give Jones a title shot when Rashad Evans got hurt despite him having less than two months between fights.

It’s pretty clear that the UFC is hoping Jones wins so they can continue to market him, and there’s little doubt that Bones is an emerging star. But is he getting too overconfident prior to the fight?

We’ve talked before about Jonny’s mental approach to dehumanizing opponents before facing them in the ring. It’s a brilliant approach, and it certainly has resulted in success in the octagon. But does this mental approach include already signing autographs as “Jon Jones Champion 2011″ before he’s already won? If that’s just part of his mental visualization then I can understand it, but it also can be a sign that he’s too overconfident to the point he may not be properly prepared.

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Nate Marquardt Calls Michael Bisping a Total Punk, Wants to Shut Him Up

Nate Marquardt is preparing for his fight Saturday against Dan Miller and he’s making some headlines along the way. The middleweight contender became the latest fighter to express hostility towards British fighter Michael Bisping and he did so with serious words.

Marquardt told MMA Fighting, via MMA Bay, how much he’d love to beat up Bisping. “I would love to fight that guy just to punch him in his mouth and shut him up. That’d be nice. He’s an a**, he’s a total punk, just no respect. I don’t like Bisping.”

The animosity towards Bisping comes from the aftermath of Michael’s win over Jorge Rivera. Rivera had pissed Bisping off during the week leading up to their fight with mocking videos. After Bisping won the fight, he spit at Rivera’s corner, resulting in discipline from Dana White.

Bisping lost respect from many fighters and fans after the move, and even had notorious bastion of high moral standards Chael Sonnen upset with him. I know it doesn’t get much lower than spitting on someone, but at least it’s helped raise Bisping’s public profile. Now we need to get him in the ring so we can watch other fighters whale on him.

Big Foot Silva Wants to Send Brock Lesnar Back to Pro Wrestling

Antonio Big Foot Silva took another shot at Brock Lesnar, and this was a powerful one. Following Zuffa (the UFC’s) purchase of Strikeforce, Strikeforce heavyweight contender Big Foot Silva told MMA Junkie he was looking forward to potentially competing in the UFC. Specifically, he said he was looking forward to whooping former wrestler Brock Lesnar.

“I’d love to fight Brock Lesnar and send him back to pro wrestling” Silva told MMA Junkie. “I don’t accept the fact that [he's] ranked No. 2. It’s not personal; I don’t know Brock. It’s just professional.”

Bloody Elbow points out this isn’t the first time Silva has taken in a run at Lesnar. Back in November, he called Brock a “fake fighter” and said he was inferior to several other fighters.

Lesnar’s next fight in the Octagon will be against Junior Dos Santos, but if he comes away victorious I’d love to see him in the ring with the monstrous Brazilian. Hey, Big Foot’s coming off a pounding of Fedor Emelianenko. Show me a win Lesnar has that’s more impressive.

Royce Gracie May Return to Octagon for UFC Rio

The possibility of Royce Gracie fighting on the UFC Rio card has existed since plans for the UFC to go to Brazil were made, and now it looks even stronger. The Hall of Famer and winner of UFC 1 may come out of retirement to fight on the card that will likely be held late in August in Rio de Janeiro.

Gracie’s manager Mike Kogan told MMA Junkie “I think we’re going to make a deal. We have plenty of time, so there’s really no problems. It’s just a matter of getting it nailed down.”

Kogan added that he and Gracie have talked about a retirement fight (oxymoron?) for the past year, but he noted that the UFC could decide against putting Gracie on the card given that no deal has been made.

If Gracie is to make a return, it certainly would be surprising. The 44-year-old hasn’t fought professionally since the middle of 2007 when he tested positive for steroids following his win over Kazushi Sakuraba.

UFC and Strikeforce Will Merge Eventually Following Purchase: the Good and Bad

There was a monstrous announcement made Saturday that will change the MMA landscape. Dana White told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that UFC’s parent company, Zuffa LLC., has come to an agreement to purchase Strikeforce. This is easily the biggest news since the UFC bought Pride back in 2007 and it can mean many things, both good and bad, for MMA.

Let’s start with the good. The best part of Strikeforce being purchased by Zuffa is that all the fighters for both organizations are now owned by the same company. White stressed in his interview that everything will be “business as usual” and that the organizations will remain separate. He repeated that contracts will be honored, and that Strikeforce will continue to run as it has.

But that won’t last long.

As soon as fighters’ contracts are up and TV deals come to an end, Strikeforce will no doubt be absorbed by the UFC.

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Herschel Walker Interested in Wrestling too

Herschel Walker won his second career MMA fight in January despite being 48 years old (he turned 49 on March 3rd). The legendary athlete won the Heisman Trophy at Georgia in 1982, was a two-time USFL rushing leader, had half a team traded for him in the NFL, and is now a good MMA fighter. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he also was an Olympics bobsledder. But if you thought he’d be slowing down at all this late in life, you were wrong. If and when his MMA career ends, he may consider a future in wrestling in addition to the comeback he’s considered in football.

Walker was backstage at Raw on Monday night in Dallas as a guest of Mark Henry. In an interview with WWE.com via Wrestle Newz, Walker said he’s been a wrestling fan for years. “I watched wrestling before I even knew what football was. In fact, I always wanted to be a wrestler. … I’ve watched these guys for a long time and I respect them a great deal,” Walker said. “If Vince McMahon wants me in there, then maybe I could do it.”

Maybe he was playing to the audience somewhat, but Walker also said that he watches Monday Night Raw over Monday Night Football during the season. It sure sounds like he’s a dedicated fan. Now if you’re wondering if it could work, I think so. Walker is a superhuman God. He is a rare physical specimen and he captures my attention no matter what he’s doing. Throw him in any ring and I’m watching.

Dan Henderson Still Getting it Done at 40

Dan Henderson beat Rafael Feijao on Saturday night in Columbus to win the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title. Fighting his third bout since leaving the UFC after a knockout of Michael Bisping at UFC 100, Hendo put his incredible punching power on display, flattening Feijao with a devastating right hand a minute into the third round.

Though MMA has legends like Randy Couture who was still fighting at age 47, it’s mostly a younger man’s sport. That’s what makes Henderson’s knockout of Feijao so impressive — he hasn’t lost an ounce of punching power at age 40.

The same overhand right termed the “H-bomb” that made Feijao hit the canvas is the same one Henderson used to floor Bisping earning him Knockout of the Night. It’s also the same right hand that made Babalu Sobral’s head bobble on the ground in their December fight, and it proves that even though he may be susceptible to punches and takedowns himself, Henderson has a chance at a knockout in any fight.

The question is where he goes from here.

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