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As rampaging Australian middleweight contender Robert Whittaker edges closer and closer to a UFC title shot, Elliot Worsell checks in with George Sotiropoulos, a former lightweight contender from Melbourne who made his first UFC appearance some ten years ago.   Few names in mixed martial arts are as difficult to pronounce or spell as Sotiropoulos. It's pou not po. It ends with los and not lous. Yet, for a while, between, say, 2008 and 2010, the name Sotiropoulos was on the very tip of MMA fans' tongues. It was one said often, written often. It was one entered into the UFC lightweight title challenger sweepstakes. It even threatened to one day become a household name – well, in his native Australia at least.   “I once heard a comedian from Australia say if America can learn Schwarzenegger they can learn a Greek name,” says George Sotiropoulos. “He was right.”   Sotriopoulos is spoken and written less these days. That's because George has been MIA from MMA since August 2014 and because his hot streak from 2008 to 2010, though promising and memorable, ultimately failed to deliver him the UFC title shot many had started to believe was inevitable. Not only that, Sotiropoulos, a globetrotter who for nine years resided Stateside, is now back home in Melbourne about to open a gym, which is to say slowing down, coming full circle.   “I'm at a point in my life where I'm looking to settle down,” Sotiropoulos, 39, explains. “I travelled for so many years training and competing. I had this goal where I just wanted to train in as many different places as I could that were renowned. And I did. It was a bit of the good, the bad and the ugly.   “But I don't need to do that anymore. I think I'm as experienced as I'm going to get. I mean, you always learn new stuff, but it makes sense for me to have my own place. When it came to opening a place, I think I realised I wanted to come back to Australia and do it. But it took me a while to find a building and go through all the negotiations and the rigmarole. It's a fun time for me now, though. It's a new venture and I'm looking forward to starting it.”   That Sotiropoulos remains attached to something that has defined him and lifted his name comes as no real surprise. Nor is it a shock to hear of a return to the place where, at the age of 19, his mixed martial arts journey began on a random Friday night.   “I was at my friend's house, doing our thing,” he recalls, “and my friend says, 'George, I've got these fights from America. These guys fighting in cages.' I'm like, 'Put it on.' He put it on and as soon as he put it on I was like, 'What the fuck is this? It's amazing.'”   Sotiropoulos, at the time, was doing a degree in banking and international trading. He was, therefore, about as far removed from being a fighter as an Australian teenager can be. Not that it mattered. Upon setting eyes on Royce Gracie and his unconventional way of manhandling bigger opponents and forcing them to tap, George was sold. Education, something he valued and continued, soon faded into insignificance.   “It was like the clouds parted, the heavens opened and God shone his light on me and that was it,” he explains. “I didn't share it with too many people because they would have thought I was crazy, but I literally decided there and then, at 19, what I was going to do with my life.   “A couple of weeks later I walked to this Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy, only one of two in the country at the time, in my hometown. I thought, wow, this stuff is everywhere. Anyone can do it.   “I was at university and training jiu-jitsu. My schooling took precedence and I was working towards a degree. It was important to me to achieve that goal. But when I did it just didn't compare to the goal of fighting. I was obsessed with that. It was all I could think about.”   Sotiropoulos wouldn't turn professional as a mixed martial artist until 2004. Opportunities, he says, were anything but rife; early fights in Queensland led to assignments in far-flung places like Guam, Tokyo and Seoul. Indeed, it wasn't until he emerged on season six of The Ultimate Fighter that the name Sotiroupoulos started to resonate among mixed martial arts aficionados.   Yet, such is the mind of the well-travelled, high-performing athlete, it's not memories of time spent on The Ultimate Fighter or even subsequent UFC victories that linger. Instead, when asked to specify career highlights, Sotiropoulos' mind goes back further. Much further. It goes back to quieter, purer times; times few people witnessed, much less remember.   “I don't think people saw my best in the UFC,” he says. “There were fights I had that nobody saw. I had fights outside of the UFC where I performed really well.   “My two fights with Kyle Noke, for example, stand out. We spent a total of eight rounds fighting. That's eight five-minute rounds. That's forty minutes fighting. It was fun. He's a very tough, durable fighter. With him, I basically displayed every facet of the game. I did things in that fight and fought in a way people haven't seen from me since. I respect him. He showed me how durable he is. He's one of the strongest guys I've fought. That guy is tough as nails.   “My other favourite fight was against a gentleman by the name of Sergio Lourenco. He was a Brazilian guy. I think he was a Royler Gracie student. He trained with Cesar Gracie, the Diaz brothers and Jake Shields. All that crew. He was tough. I fought him in Guam in January 2006. We had a really good fight. I really liked that fight because it brought out the best in me. I was in some trouble, some of the toughest positions I was ever in, but I proved a lot to myself. It was definitely a fight that left an impression on me. It was a battle, a fun fight. Enson Inoue was impressed. I met him that night and as a result of that fight he invited me to Japan to fight two Japanese guys. One was Shigetoshi Iwase and that was a good fight. I performed well. He was a tough guy. As Enson said, 'He is no tomato can.'   “Then there was the fight with Shinya Aoki. That fight was kind of anticlimactic because it ended in a disqualification. He caught my foot, there was some battle to escape the foot-lock, and it ended as an anticlimax. There was a build-up and then nothing. I remember it feeling like a let-down.”   One thing Sotiropoulos did take from sharing a ring with Aoki, though, was a love of the rubber guard. It was something he saw his esteemed Japanese foe employ – many times, in fact – and something which would stay with George beyond their damp squib of a scrap in 2006.   “I had first seen Eddie Bravo using his guard techniques in 2001 when I attended Jean Jacques Machado's academy in Los Angeles,” he says. “He was still in the formative stages of his jiu-jitsu but it looked very unorthodox and that appealed to me.”   The rubber guard was to become synonymous with Sotiropoulos due to his frequent use of it while on the UFC roster; it was a branch of his aggressive, suffocating grappling style, a style which saw him secure impressive wins against the likes of Joe Stevenson, Kurt Pellegrino and Joe Lauzon.   In 2010, during the UFC's first venture into Australia, Sotiropoulos utilised a Stevenson takedown attempt in round two of their lightweight fight to showcase, in all its glory, the virtues of the rubber guard before a sold-out crowd of 17,000. Put on his back, George immediately reached for his left foot with his right hand, pulling it towards the shoulder of Stevenson, thus restricting the American's wriggle room and chances of posturing up. Seconds later, George turned it into an omoplata attempt, a move soundtracked by a great roar, and was soon punching Stevenson in the face. Finally, with momentum now on his side, Sotriopoulos used the cage to reverse position and wind up on top of Stevenson in side-control.   Just. Like. That.   “I did very well during that period,” says George, who recorded six straight wins in the UFC. “I was in a very good frame of mind. I had great dedication and focus and was on a rise. I worked very diligently. I really enjoyed that period.   “I read the synopsis to this movie, Vision Quest, about a wrestler, and that was kind of what I was doing – I had a vision quest. I didn't see the movie, I might have just read the synopsis, but the phrase stuck with me.”   He had a vision quest. He did very well. Emphasis on past tense, the assumption when a fighter begins to speak in these terms is that they are moving on with their life and that their new venture, be it the opening of a gym or something else, will herald the arrival of life phase two, three or four. This is true of Sotiropoulos, too. But what also becomes clear is how reluctant he is to leave phase one behind.   “I'm a martial artist for life and this is just another part of my martial arts journey,” he says.   “Do you consider yourself retired?” I ask.   “No,” he says, sounding almost affronted. “I don't.”   Evidently, three years for Sotiropoulos constitutes an interval rather than the end credits and a run of five consecutive defeats serves to represent a dip in form as opposed to an indication of a fighter on the slide. It's a positive, optimistic outlook, I suppose. The outlook of a fighter, some might say.   “If opportunities don't arrive, preparation meets opportunities,” George continues. “That's how I've always approached it. I've never had someone say, 'Hey, do you want to fight for ten grand?' That's a very bad mindset. It doesn't work that way. It works the other way round. You prepare, you prepare, you prepare. You go looking and those opportunities present themselves. That's more my mindset.   “I would never go into anything underprepared. I wouldn't accept anything if I wasn't prepared. It wouldn't even be a question. Well, unless Mr. (Dana) White came knocking on my door and said I'll give you a hundred million dollars to fight so and so. That would be the exception to the rule. You'd have to be a fool to say 'no'.”   It seems sensible to suggest that if a fighter wants to get out – truly get out – they need to create distance, essentially run away, from the sport to which they are drawn. But Sotiropoulos, suitably obsessed, a mixed martial artist, as he says, for life, is still immersed. The gym, the practices, the techniques, the students. For as long as this is his lifestyle, his universe, the thirst to fight will presumably remain unquenched.   “I love martial arts, I love fighting, I love training,” he says. “It's something I got used to doing. Even before I was fighting I was always training for a fight and staying active. It's definitely always on your mind. I exercise, I run, I lift, I do technique, I work on stuff. Not to the extent I once did – not to death – but it's hard to stop completely.”   Keen to get down to it, keen to put a number on it, I ask Sotiropoulos, 14-7, how likely it is we'll see him in a cage or ring again.   “Very possible,” he says. “Very, very possible.”   “A seventy-five percent chance?” I say.   He laughs. “That's a good wager.”

Artem Lobov might not have won the fight or the war tonight (April 22) in Nashville, but, in taking Cub Swanson the distance and sticking with him every step of the way, he proved the naysayers wrong and won a battle of sorts.   Unranked going into the five-round main event, Lobov was expected to be no match for Swanson; indeed, many questioned why Swanson, ranked fourth at featherweight, had decided to take the fight in the first place. Yet, though the scorecards suggested a one-sided fight (49-46, 49-46, 50-45), Lobov pushed Swanson all the way to the line and saw his stock rise in the process.   The Russian's intentions were clear from the get-go. He took the centre of the Octagon, measured Swanson with his southpaw left hand and let it go whenever he felt in range. Swanson, meanwhile, struggled to get to grips with Lobov's upright striking style in the early going and appeared content to circle, find his rhythm and bide his time.   This time and space allowed Lobov to establish himself in the contest. He grew in confidence. He considered his options. He also opened up with some aggressive left leg-kicks which reddened the legs of Swanson and kept the normally relentless American in his box.   Lobov wasn't just striking, either. He took Swanson down in round one and, though unable to progress any further than that, it was a sign yet again that the underdog was not only capable but a much better test for Swanson than many anticipated.   It's likely Swanson sensed this as well. By the end of round one he had switched it up, was pressing more, and seemed to realise success would come from pushing Lobov back and taking away his leg kicks and left cross. When he did this, when he had Lobov on the retreat, the complexion of the fight changed.   Round two was a better one for Swanson for this very reason. He continued his pursuit of Lobov, regained the centre of the Octagon, and had the Russian unsteady following a left hook.   This led to some clinch-work between the pair as they stayed close to one another and compared knees. Lobov then looked for a second takedown, but Swanson wasn't having any of it. He shook off the attempt and got back to working Lobov over. More knees followed, accompanied by short elbows, after which Swanson surprised Lobov by taking him down with a trip. From there he ended up in half guard and found success with some more elbows, before eventually winding up in mount and taking Lobov's back.   The situation appeared grave for Lobov at this point as he attempted to fend off Swanson's choke attempt. But he stuck in there, wriggled free and ended the round on his feet again trading hurtful-looking punches with Swanson.   Momentum had now shifted, though, and Swanson relished the kind of fight Lobov was giving him. This was fun to him, his face and his smile seemed to say. He'd exchange blows with Lobov and then stand still and grin at his opponent, stopping just short of licking his lips. It was heating up. Just the way Swanson liked it.   He stayed on the front foot for much of round three, landing big shots with his left and right hands, as well as an eye-catching wheel-kick, and managed to bloody his opponent's left eye. This was cause for concern for referee Herb Dean, who stopped the action and summoned a doctor to check out the severity of the wound, but there was never any doubt Lobov would continue. He was in the fight. He was making a name for himself.   Alas, the fight continued and Swanson's better variety remained the key difference between the two; where Lobov had only a straight and sharp left hand to his name, Swanson carried a full arsenal and an unpredictability that made him incredibly hard to read.   Swanson, 33, stayed one step ahead in round four, winning most of the sloppy exchanges short on technique but high on drama, and impressively breaking free from a clinch with a spinning back fist at one stage. He was also in the ascendency in the fifth and final round, when a left head kick landed on Lobov and a judo throw takedown slammed Lobov on the deck, allowing Swanson to scamper into full mount and once again land punches from the back.   Lobov, 13-13-1, as was his custom, bravely fought off a submission attempt and was quick to get to his feet. The pair then traded on the buzzer. Too little, too late for Lobov, he nevertheless finished the fight the way he deserved to finish it – on his feet, scrapping – and, in doing so, shocked scores of doubters around the world.   “This is my 21st fight between UFC and WEC, so I'm running out of opponents,” said Swanson, 25-7.   “I've got to fight guys like this that are willing to call me out and test themselves. I'm in a position now where I'm a veteran, so I have to fight these guys. I knew he was going to step up to the plate and it was a hell of a fight.”     Main card
   Cub Swanson defeated Artem Lobov via unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 50-45)   Al Iaquinta defeated Diego Sanchez via first-round KO (1:38)   Ovince Saint Preux defeated Marcos Rogerio de Lima via second-round submission (2:11)
   John Dodson defeated Eddie Wineland via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)
   Stevie Ray defeated Joe Lauzon via majority decision (28-27, 29-27, 28-28)
   Mike Perry defeated Jake Ellenberger via second-round KO (1:05)   Undercard
   Thales Leites defeated Sam Alvey via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
   Brandon Moreno defeated Dustin Ortiz via second-round submission (4:06)
   Scott Holtzman defeated Michael McBride via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
   Danielle Taylor defeated Jessica Penne via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)   Alexis Davis defeated Cindy Dandois via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
   Bryan Barberena defeated Joe Proctor via first-round TKO (3:30)
   Hector Sandoval defeated Matt Schnell via first-round TKO (4:24)

Home favourite Eduard Folayang delivered the performance and the result his fans were hoping for tonight (April 21) at the the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, as he stayed one step ahead of his game Malaysian challenger Ev Ting to grind out a five-round decision victory and retain his ONE lightweight crown.   Ting, five years Folayang's junior, played his part in the battle, pushing the champion hard, especially early, but Folayang's greater experience and work-rate ultimately paid dividends. He made the necessary adjustments following a whirlwind start and was, ultimately, content to pick Ting off with intelligent counter-striking from the outside, showcasing a vast arsenal of leg-kicks and elaborate spinning strikes.   In the end, this variety proved too much for Ting. The fight hit a rhythm, one which suited Folayang, 18-5, and it wasn't long before the Filipino fans in attendance – one of whom was boxing legend Manny Pacquiao – sensed their man was going to bring it home.   Always the busier, 32-year-old Folayang secured a unanimous decision victory after five hard-fought rounds.   “It means a lot,” the champion said in the aftermath. “I know a lot of you guys were discouraged the last time I was here (referring to a knockout loss he suffered in front of his Filipino fans in December 2014). I slept on the mat, and I know a lot of you felt sorry for me. But I needed to rise up in my circumstances. I needed to train well. I needed to pray a lot and prepare a lot. So this is it. This is the loss that you all witnessed two years ago. It is on my shoulders, and I would like to give it all back to you, because you came back again to witness how I returned. Thank you so much.”   Main Card results:   Eduard Folayang defeated Ev Ting via unanimous decision   Kevin Belingon defeated Toni Tauru via TKO in round two (2:27)   Honorio Banario defeated Jaroslav Jartim via KO in round two (1:31)   Christian Lee defeated Wan Jian Ping via TKO in round two (4:15)   Danny Kingad defeated Muhammad Aiman via unanimous decision   Stefer Rahardian defeated Eugene Toquero via unanimous decision   Xie Bin defeated Chan Rothana via submission in round two (1:46)   Preliminary Card results:   Gina Iniong defeated Natalie Gonzales Hills via unanimous decision   Michelle Nicolini defeated Irina Mazepa via submission in round one (2:11)   Robin Catalan defeated Jeremy Miado via split decision

Daniel Straus had hoped to successfully defend his Bellator featherweight title and, in doing so, even the score with Patrício 'Pitbull' Freire. Instead, tonight in Uncasville, Connecticut it went the other way, the title and the four-fight series, as Freire submitted Straus with a guillotine choke in round two to once again claim Bellator gold.   The Brazilian was already ahead in the Straus-Pitbull series, of course, having defeated his American rival twice – once by decision, the other by submission – but he had also dropped a five-round decision to Straus in November 2015, a result which saw him relinquish his Bellator featherweight crown.   He was eager to make amends, therefore, eager to once against establish his dominance, and set about doing just this in round one of their Bellator 178 headliner via a stream of well-picked right hand counter punches. These shots got Straus' attention early and let him know he wouldn't have things all his own way in part four. They also demonstrated just how well these two men now know each other. No need for a feeling-out process, the two familiar featherweights got down to it from the get-go and, despite there being two decision results among their series of fights, there was a growing sense this fourth and perhaps final fight would be ended within the scheduled distance.   So it proved in round two as Pitbull, his back pushed against the cage by Straus, abruptly executed a standing guillotine, locked it in, and then dropped to the floor and pulled guard to tighten the squeeze. Straus, in a panic, having assumed he was in the driving seat, realised the gravity of predicament and tapped quickly. Just 37 seconds had elapsed in the round.   With that, the title changed hands all over again and Patrício 'Pitbull' Freire, 26-4, can finally, once and for all, claim bragging rights over a great rival.   “I was just waiting for the right moment,” Freire, 29, said after the fight. “It's a dream come true. I told my son, it's a gift for him.”   Bellator 178 main card results:   Patricio Freire defeated Daniel Straus via second round submission (0:37)   Saad Awad defeated Ryan Quinn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)   Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defeated Jessica Middleton via first round submission (2:15)   A.J. McKee defeated Dominic Mazzotta via first round knockout (1:15)

Bellator rising star and amateur wrestling phenom Ed Ruth has grown accustomed to taking fights on short notice early on in his young career; both of his professional fights came within a month of each other.   Not only was the notice short, the fights were also short. Ruth, in total, spent less than five minutes accumulating two early TKO victories.   Now, after yet another last minute opponent adjustment, the three-time division 1 national wrestling champion from Penn State is scheduled to step back into the Bellator cage tonight (April 21) to face David Mundell on the undercard of Bellator 178.   Tony Reid caught up with Ruth before pro fight number three.   Tony Reid: You are 2-0 with two first round stoppages and both those fights came in less than one month's time. You are down to fight anybody at any time in any place. With the most recent last minute opponent change and all that goes with it, how does that affect your game plan and mindset going into the fight with David Mundell?   Ed Ruth: I like it better this way. It frees up my workouts. It allows me to work out the way I want to and not have to think about what my opponent can or can't do. It gives me a chance to focus on my strengths. It also allows me to strengthen my weaknesses. As it comes close and starts boiling down to fight time I just focus on the things I can control. I feel more comfortable going into a fight that way.   TR: One of your fights you took on five days' notice. Where does that mentality come from?   ER: With the way I have been training and the time I have put in I really feel like I prepare myself for anybody. My lifestyle lends itself to that, too. When I come home from a fight I'm not sitting around on the couch. There is never really a point where I am out of shape. I always feel like I can step in to the cage any time. I like working out and staying in shape. Even if I'm not there working on MMA I will still go to the gym and run on the treadmill or swim. I'm just an active guy. As long as I am in great shape I can step into the cage and fight.   TR: You have a bright future in the sport - you are just scratching the surface. What does the future hold for you in Bellator as far as stepping up in competition?   ER: I look at it like a video game and I want to level up as fast as possible. I want to face that top competition and have confidence that I can stand in there and compete with the best jiu-jitsu players, the best boxers and the best shoot fighters in the organization. I don't want to feel like my progress is slowed. If my progress is slow that means I'm not training right. I want to be a handful for anyone I step into the cage with. I feel like I am getting better. I enjoy that. To progress, obviously, I can then make more money. I will become a better fighter. I become more exciting. To me, progression is everything.   TR: Being an east guy that's cool with a quick turnaround, how fun would it be to get on the Bellator NYC card at Madison Square Garden?   ER: Oh, man, if there is any way for that to happen I really want it to happen. MSG is a dream for most fighters. All fighters should have the dream to fight as MSG. MSG and Las Vegas are two of the greatest places to compete in combat sports. Everybody pays attention to that stage.

There's a sense beating Artem Lobov on Saturday night (April 22) is the closest Cub Swanson will ever get to putting hands on former UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. If you can't beat him, beat his training partner. Or something like that.   Lobov, of course, is a close friend and sparring partner of McGregor, while Swanson is a featherweight contender who, like everyone else ranked between featherweight and welterweight, would love nothing more than the chance to fight the Irish cash cow currently dangling two combat sports - MMA and boxing - on a string.   For now, though, Swanson, 33, will happily take what he can get. That means Artem Lobov and a date in Nashville, Tennessee for UFC Fight Night 108.   The fight marks Swanson's first of 2017, following a busy 2016, which is reason enough, I suppose, for the American to take it, reason enough for him to risk his number four ranking against an unranked featherweight. He also gets to unmask a man he believes wouldn't be a UFC featherweight if it wasn't for the McGregor connection.   Lobov is a 30-year-old Russian now based in Dublin, Ireland with 12 career losses to his name. He has 13 wins working against the L-column, but, even so, it's no stretch to say the SBG fighter represents a step-down for Swanson when stacked against the featherweights the Californian has previously faced and toppled. It's for this reason many have questioned the logic behind Swanson going ahead with the fight; reasonable risk, low reward, Swanson, they say, should be looking ahead, not behind him.   Still, for Lobov, it's a hell of an opportunity. Unheralded, he is coming off back-to-back wins, the last of which was against Teruto Ishihara in Belfast, and has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Beat Swanson, a man coming off a 2016 'Fight of the Year' thriller with Doo Ho Choi, and he claims the biggest win of his 13-year MMA career. Better yet, he steps out of McGregor's sizeable shadow.   “Cub has been one of those guys that I've looked at for a long time and thought, 'He would be a great fight for me; it would be a fight,'” Artem told UFC.com. “You don't see many fights anymore, and I feel that with Cub, it would be one of them. It would be a good one for the fans, a great one for me to be involved in, and I feel that it would go down in history as one of the greatest fights of all-time potentially.”   Swanson, 24-7, would likely shoot a sideways glance upon hearing this last line. Not that he wouldn't welcome another 'Fight of the Year' contender, more that he believes he's a level or two above Lobov and that the greatest fights of all-time typically require some sort of parity between the two competitors involved. This, at least on paper, is different. Indeed, Swanson, the heavy favourite, believes Lobov has got the fight not because he deserves it but because he begged for it – and not even politely.   “It's funny – I've got to respect his guts to want to shoot up so high, to take a fight like this, but, at the same time, I think the way he's doing it is disrespectful,” Swanson said to UFC.com. “A lot of the guys that have been around for a while don't appreciate it. I don't mind if you talk crap about me if you say something that is true. What am I going to say if it's true? But if you start saying blatant lies, that upsets me.   “At this stage of my career, I don't have any problems with people, but, if I'm going to get paid a good amount of money to put a guy down that's been talking shit about me, I don't have any problems with that.”   It's not McGregor, Cub, but it's probably the next best thing.          

This week, in a Throwback Thursday video special, we look back on a sit-down interview with 'The Count' himself, recently crowned UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.

Former UFC women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey is gracing the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. But rather than donning their model in the traditional swimwear for the magazine, SI took a different approach.

Let the dice decide which 145lb’er is king by playing FO’s fantasy featherweight game – fun for all the family!

One Championship bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes' story of his rise through MMA is one of the most inspirational stories in a sport filled with inspiring characters. Hear him tell of his journey in this new video.

British UFC veteran Dan 'The Outlaw' Hardy will swap the Octagon for the Atlantic ocean as a crew member of the Great Britain team for its 5,300-mile month-long opening leg of the famous Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, from London, England to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

UFC welterweight champion 'Ruthless' Robbie Lawler is among the most destructive fighters in his division, so it's no surprise he's a big fan of action movies. Lawler explained his love for action-packed blockbusters in a recent interview with Fighters Only.

If a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter then Tom Breese may have to be accompanied by a parental warning sticker when he makes his walk to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night London tomorrow night.

The former light heavyweight champion starts his rebuilding process in Ireland this weekend, and tells FO he's ready to run through late replacement opponent Brett McDermott en-route to regaining the Bellator title belt.

Ahead of this weekend's Bellator card in Belfast, Northern Ireland, FO caught up with the latest young irish sensation, unbeaten James Gallagher, ahead of his featherweight scrap with Israeli Kirill Medvedovsky.

Fedor Emelianenko, the greatest heavyweight in MMA history, returns to the cage this weekend at Bellator 172, headlining the main event in San Jose, California against Matt Mitrione. Yesterday, ‘The Last Emperor’ went head-to-head with the MMA media…

Matt Mitrione gets the opportunity of a lifetime to claim the biggest scalp in heavyweight MMA this weekend when Russian icon Fedor Emelianenko returns to the cage for their Bellator 172 main event in San Jose, California. Yesterday, Mitrione met with some of the MMA media to explain how he’s prepared for the biggest fight of his career…

Ahead of Saturday night's PPV event in Brooklyn, New York, Fighters Only went toe-to-toe with light heavyweight 'Killa Gorilla' Jared Cannonier as he closes in on his potential breakthrough fight against former title challenger Glover Teixeira.

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The phone rang. This fighter always picked up. He did so, I think, out of kindness, politeness and eventually routine. But, make no mistake, Terry Etim never, ever wanted to be the story. Even when he was the story, when an eye-catching knockout or submission win rightly placed him front and centre, he didn't necessarily want to talk about it, his lines forced through gritted teeth. “Put it in your own words,” he'd beg me whenever I bugged him for an interview. “You'll be able to say it better than me anyway.”

Sage Northcutt's unbeaten MMA run came to a surprising end this past weekend when he tapped to replacement opponent Bryan Barberena's modified head-and-arm choke.

Conor McGregor became only the second fighter in history to hold onto the 'Fighter of the Year' award when the sport’s biggest stars defended on Las Vegas last night for the IX Annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards.

Veteran UFC Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer's voice is synonymous with some of the most memorable moments in MMA history. In an FO exclusive, Buffer speaks on his history with the sport's top promotion and reveals some of his personal favorite announcements.

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