Welcome to the Thursday edition of the roundup. In today’s top stories, Anderson Silva talks about how his UFC career almost didn’t happen, Bryan Caraway picks up a fat bonus check, and Cat Zingano lands a spot in what is perhaps the most exclusive training camp in MMA. Plus we keep an eye on the Mark Hunt situation and speculate on a possible replacement opponent for Junior Dos Santos. Here are your headlines:
• Silva says he almost retired from MMA after his Pride contract ended but the Nogueira brothers talked him out of it. Seven years and 16 wins later, I think we can safely say that “the Spider” made the right decision. Anderson is set to defend the UFC middleweight championship for the 11th time against Chris Weidman at UFC 162.
• Caraway says he has no remorse about receiving a $65,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus in light of Pat Healy’s positive marijuana test, and says he “hates weed… cannot stand it… [and has] zero tolerance for people that do it.” I can’t say I share Caraway’s passionate disdain for the devil’s tobacco, but at the same time, Healy presumably knew the rules before hand and decided to use it anyway. At the end of the day, whether Healy’s punishment was justified will likely divide opinion and is certainly a debate worth having.
• Zingano has presumably started training at top MMA gym Black House, as evidenced by her new profile on the team’s website. Black House is home to some of MMA’s greatest fighters, including Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Junior Dos Santos, the Nogueira brothers, and Jose Aldo. Zingano is set to challenge UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey in her next fight, so this move will no doubt help make sure she is ready to go come fight night.
• Despite optimism from UFC officials, Hunt’s visa issues are still unresolved at the moment, so Roy Nelson has offered to be on stand-by in case Junior Dos Santos finds himself in need of an opponent at UFC 160. I tend to look at rematches as kind of meh but I think Nelson and Dos Santos are both better fighters than when they last fought. Assuming the fight materializes, a win for Nelson would almost certainly put him in range of a title shot.