Happy Friday, guys and gals. It’s been a week of bustling activity in regards to MMA news, but we’ve got a few more headlines for you to check out before the weekend kicks off. In today’s top stories, Antonio Rodrigo ‘Big Nog’ Nogueira talks title aspirations, UFC on Fuel 10 gets ramped up in Brazil, and jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia focuses on his bread and butter. We’ve also got UFC President Dana White firing back at Jon Fitch over his criticism of the UFC. Here goes:
• Nogueira says he’s still got what it takes to be a top heavyweight and is not looking to slow down just yet. ‘Big Nog’ has accrued a lot of MMA mileage over his lengthy career and many fans worry for his health, but Nogueira is as tough as they come. He’ll be looking to test himself Saturday night against fellow BJJ whiz Fabricio Werdum.
• Maia is arguably the best jiu-jitsu fighter in the UFC today and is often hailed as “Royce Gracie 2.0”. He says his recent success at welterweight is due to a renewed emphasis on BJJ, and it certainly showed up in his dominating wins over Rick Story and Jon Fitch. Maia fights Josh Koscheck at UFC 163, and a victory will likely land him in the driver’s seat for a shot at the UFC welterweight title.
• Fitch, who is now a part of World Series of Fighting, called the UFC a “hostile work environment” on yesterday’s media call. Dana White responded in trademark fashion (read: lots of cursing), citing that Fitch was paid over $300k in discretionary bonuses during his time with the promotion. White may be correct, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that job security in the UFC is hard won. Fitch’s main gripe was that in the UFC, a 4-fight deal can become a 1-fight deal in short order, and I don’t think White really addressed that in his rant.