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UFC's Rachael Ostovich 'Grateful' to Fight After Domestic Violence Attack

1/17/2019 12:06 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich says she's "grateful" to be fighting on Saturday night --  after a domestic violence incident in November nearly derailed her MMA career. 

"I'm feeling so grateful to be here," Ostovich told us in NYC ... "There was a point where I wouldn't have been here."

As we previously reported, Ostovich suffered a broken orbital bone when she was allegedly attacked by her MMA fighter husband in their Hawaii home on Nov. 18. 

Ostovich initially pulled out of her fight with Paige VanZant due to the severity of the injuries -- but after she was cleared by another doctor, she asked Dana White to be put back on the card. 

Ostovich says she's received a ton of support from a bunch of UFC fighters -- including VanZant.

"She's an amazing person and she's been very supportive and I love that," Ostovich said. 

We also spoke with Paige who says she has a TON of respect for Ostovich -- but the bottom line, when the cage door closes ... they're going to war. 

Dana White Responds to Ariel Helwani 'I Don't Give a Sh*t What He Thinks'

1/17/2019 10:28 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Dana White isn't taking kindly to being called "tone-deaf" over his decision to book Greg Hardy and Rachael Ostovich on the same UFC fight card ... saying, "I could give a sh*t."

... and it didn't stop there. 

First, some backstory ... 

Both Hardy and Ostovich are fighting at the big UFC on ESPN event on Saturday night -- which drew heavy criticism from ESPN's main MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani, who sounded off Wednesday. 

"I found this decision to be incredibly tone-deaf, to put it mildly," Helwani said on ESPN.

FYI, Hardy was found guilty of domestic violence by a judge in 2014 -- but the conviction was thrown out in 2015 when he appealed to have the case go in front of a jury ... and his accuser stopped cooperating with prosecutors.

Ostovich suffered serious injuries in an alleged domestic violence incident back in November. She claims her husband (who's also an MMA fighter) snapped and beat her ruthlessly.

Helwani and others have expressed concern over having them fight on the same card -- so, when we saw White in NYC on Thursday morning, we asked for his thoughts. 

"I don't give a sh*t what Ariel Helwani thinks," White said ... "Who the f*ck is Ariel Helwani to question anything that we do."

"I think we've done a pretty good job in 20 years. I could give a sh*t what he thinks, or anybody else for that matter."

So, why are they on the same card? White says they're both on the UFC roster and it was bound to happen at some point.

White has previously said he spoke with Ostovich about booking Hardy on the card and claimed she was cool with it. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov Conor Doesn't Deserve Rematch 'He Don't Do Nothing!'

1/16/2019 4:42 PM PST
Breaking News

Khabib Nurmagomedov has a message for Conor McGregor -- Want a rematch? Get in line. 

The UFC superstar touched down in Australia with his crew on Wednesday where he was swarmed by local media and fans. 

Khabib was super cool with everyone -- taking selfies and talking with people -- but the headline here is the trash-talk directed at McGregor. 

One of the reporters asked if Conor should get the rematch -- to which Khabib smirked and said, "Rematch for what?!"

The reporter brought up all the talking Conor did before their fight at UFC 229 back in October -- Khabib again shot back with an insult.

"Before last fight he talked too. But, when we go inside the cage, he don't do nothing."

Of course, Khabib mauled Conor before McGregor tapped out in the 4th round

Despite Khabib's position, UFC boss Dana White told TMZ Sports he IS working on the rematch and it should go down in 2019 ... if everything goes according to plan.

The two had been trading barbs on social media recently -- with Khabib posting a video clip showing him strangling McGregor with the caption, "You will live with this shame all your life #tapmachine."

UFC's Henry Cejudo Blasts T.J. Dillashaw 'I'm Gonna Behead That Snake'

1/16/2019 7:58 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

UFC champ Henry Cejudo says T.J. Dillashaw is OUT OF HIS MIND if he thinks he's gonna be the first "Champ Champ Champ" ... saying he ain't even gonna make it out of January with two belts. 

Of course, Cejudo and Dillashaw are set to do battle on Jan. 19 for Cejudo's UFC flyweight title -- and when we told Henry about T.J.'s plans to win 3 belts in 3 weight classes this year, Henry ripped the guy. 

"I think T.J. Dillashaw is dehydrated ... he ain't thinking straight," Cejudo tells TMZ Sports

"I'm gonna behead that snake."

Cejudo ain't no punk -- he dethroned Demetrious Johnson back in August at UFC 227 ... ending Mighty Mouse's legendary streak of 11 straight UFC title defenses.  

In fact, Henry says once he gets through Dillashaw, he wants a rematch with DJ -- which would be complicated since Johnson was just shipped from the UFC to the ONE Championship promotion in the first MMA trade in UFC history. 

By the way, we also asked Cejudo for an update on the Olympic gold medal he lost in a fire back in 2017 -- and it sounds like he's on track to get an official replacement soon. 

Remember, before he was a UFC champ, Cejudo won gold in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. 

T.J. Dillashaw Gunning for 3 UFC Belts ... Champ Champ Champ?!

1/15/2019 11:35 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

You've seen "champ champs" in the UFC -- but never a "champ champ champ" ... which is why T.J. Dillashaw wants to be the very first fighter to hold THREE belts at the same time!!!

The UFC's reigning bantamweight champ is gearing up to fight Henry Cejudo on Jan. 19 at UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ for the flyweight title ... and if he wins that bout, T.J. says he's got eyes on Max Holloway

Of course, Holloway is the reigning featherweight champ -- so, if T.J. can get through Henry and Max he would be the first triple title holder in the history of the UFC. 

Despite his big career goals, Dillashaw says he's laser-focused on beating Henry first -- and says he knows Cejudo is scared.

"He's just praying that I don't make weight," T.J. told the guys at TMZ Sports ... "He's praying that I'm weak."

Dillashaw says he believes he can be the greatest UFC fighter of all time -- and can't wait to prove it on the big stage. 

There's more ... we asked T.J. for his favorite celebrity moment -- and he's got a GREAT story involving Shaquille O'Neal

Jack Swagger Dead Serious About MMA Career ... I'm No CM Punk!!

1/13/2019 12:10 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jack Swagger and CM Punk are former WWE World Heavyweight Champions turned MMA fighters ... but that's where the similarities end, 'cause Swagger tells TMZ Sports when he fights, he ain't losing.

Big facts ... Swagger -- real name Jake Hager -- was a pro wrestling superstar. But, he was also a stud on the wrestling mats in college -- earning All-American honors at Oklahoma in '06.

That's precisely why 6'7", 265 lb Swagger says when he steps into the cage to fight J.W. Kiser at Bellator 214 on January 26 ... he'll look NOTHING like Punk -- who got destroyed in both of his UFC fights.

"I'm different for so many reasons," Swagger told us ... "I've been wrestling since I was 5 years old, bro."

"I have over 150 Division 1 college wrestling matches, and I'm gonna rely on that as my amateur MMA and boxing career to help when the anxiety kicks in."

Punk -- who lasted less than 3 minutes before Mickey Gall almost choked the life outta him -- had no prior combat experience before signing with the UFC at 36-years-old ... no real wrestling, boxing or jiu-jitsu experience to lean on. 

"I think the biggest thing that you're gonna see is the difference between me and him is that I am prepared. I am 100% prepared to take this fight, to go into that Octagon, go in that cage and inflict my will on anybody."

MMA Fighter Anastasia Yankova I'm a Bikini Model Too!

1/12/2019 12:10 AM PST

You've never seen a 1-2 combo like this -- here's MMA fighter Anastasia Yankova ... who's killin' it in the cage AND in the model game!!

The 27-year-old Russian fighter is heating up in both worlds. She's got a 5-1 pro record and she's currently fighting in Bellator. Also, she's really, really, really good looking.

But, Yankova ain't relying on her looks to get by -- she's putting in that work at the American Kickboxing Academy in Thailand ... where stars like Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov have trained in the past. 

The modeling career is taking off too ... for obvious reasons. 

And, sorry to break it to ya -- Yankova's taken by UFC fighter Mike Swick.

No word on when she's fighting next -- but you watch her slay the camera in this gallery.

Enjoy!

UFC's Polyana Viana Here's How I Destroyed Alleged Gun-Toting Thief

1/10/2019 6:27 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

UFC badass Polyana "Iron Lady" Viana is telling TMZ Sports exactly how she disarmed and throttled a man who was allegedly trying to rob her at gunpoint ... and it's VIOLENT.

Dana White has already heaped praise on Viana -- a 26-year-old fighter with a 10-2 pro MMA record -- but now, she's giving us the blow-by-blow herself. 

It all went on Saturday night when she was approached by a man outside of her Rio de Janeiro apartment. Viana claims he pulled out something claiming to be a gun and demanded her cell phone. 

Worst. Mistake. Ever.

Polyana says she noticed the so-called gun "bent" when the guy touched it -- realized it was made of cardboard (not metal) ... and realized the only person who was in danger was the crook!!!.

"[I] thought, 'That's not a real gun.' So, I got up and threw 2 hooks."

"After that [I] just threw a kick to his face and that's the damage you all saw in the photos."

Polyana says those shots took the fight outta the alleged thief ... so then it was just about subduing the guy 'til cops arrived.

"He sat where he was and [I] grabbed him in a rear naked choke. He tried to hip escape a little bit. [I] was afraid he had a knife or anything that could hurt [me.] So, [I] didn't want to lose that position."

Authorities showed up, arrested the man and hauled him off to jail.

As for Viana, Dana White -- who's a helluva smart businessman -- booked her to fight a UFC 235 card in March.

#IronLady

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Logan Paul Used As Punching Bag ... 'F*** Me Up, Ryan!!'

1/7/2019 2:53 PM PST
Breaking News

Here's a sight that'll make KSI VERY happy -- Logan Paul took an absolute beating from a real deal boxing star on his podcast ... and the video looks painful as hell!!

20-year-old Ryan Garcia -- a 17-0 rising boxing star -- turned the social media megastar into his own human punching bag on the "Impaulsive" podcast on Monday ... as part of the Body Shot Challenge.

If you can't figure it out ... the Body Shot Challenge is when someone tries to punch you as many times as possible (usually wearing some sort of padding).

Paul volunteered to be Garcia's guinea pig ... but the dude was clearly shook.

"I am f*cked. I am SO f*cked," Paul says before taking 20 straight punches to the gut and falling backward.

BTW, Garcia's known to be a heavy hitter -- he's knocked all but 3 of his opponents. But, Logan takes the hits like a champ, though ... and even takes one WITHOUT the padding!!

KSI, take notes for the rematch ... if it ever happens.

UFC's Tyron Woodley I'll Smash Kamaru In March ... and Colby In June

1/7/2019 2:09 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Tyron Woodley has a busy 2019 -- telling TMZ Sports the plan is to destroy Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 in March ... and then get back in the Octagon to face Colby Covington at UFC 238 in June. 

Both Usman and Covington have been angling for a shot at Woodley's welterweight belt ever since Tyron smashed Darren Till at UFC 228 back in Sept. ... but it wasn't clear who was gonna get the first crack. 

Tyron tells us he signed his deal to fight Usman on March 2 in Las Vegas -- and WHEN he gets the victory, the plan is to get right back into fight camp to prep for Covington. 

Colby is currently the #1 ranked welterweight contender, Usman is #2. 

We asked Tyron if he's got a fight strategy for Usman yet ... and shocker, it's violent. 

Woodley is currently out in Hawaii where he's been shooting an episode of "Hawaii Five-0" ... and training with fellow UFC superstar Max Holloway

Tenshin Nasukawa Fires Back at Conor McGregor Here Are My Demands ...

1/7/2019 6:31 AM PST
Breaking News

7:43 AM PT -- Tenshin just responded to Conor ... and laid out his terms for a fight with the UFC star.

"Dear Mr. McGregor, Thank you very much for remembering my name. I’m honored that you would even consider fighting me," Tenshin said. 

So, what kind of a fight does Tenshin want? 

Weight -- 58 kg (128 lbs). 

Fight Rules -- kickboxing rules.

Tenshin says these are the demands that "would probably get us in the ring sometime in the near future."

The problem ... Conor ain't 128 pounds. He weighed in at 155 lbs to fight Khabib back in October and hasn't fought at 145 since Dec. 2015.

$9 million for 2 minutes of work?? 

Conor McGregor wants some of that action -- which is why he's calling out Tenshin Nasukawa ... the guy who got his ass kicked by Floyd Mayweather on New Year's Eve. 

"I wish to go to Tokyo to face Tenshin Nasukawa in a Mixed Martial Arts exhibition bout," McGregor said in a note to the UFC and his agents at Paradigm Sports Management.

"Before this summer. Please arrange this, this instant. Yours sincerely, The champ champ."

The Tenshin vs. Floyd fight was supposed to be a 3 round exhibition -- but Tenshin's corner threw in the towel with 41 seconds left in the 1ST ROUND after Floyd knocked him down multiple times. 

Some people think the fight was fixed and Tenshin took a dive ... but Conor doesn't seem to care -- all he sees is EASY MONEY! 

Remember, McGregor made $100 million to box Floyd -- but LOST when the fight was stopped in the 10th round. 

McGregor then made around $50 mil to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov ... but tapped out in the 4th after getting mauled by the Dagestani. 

So, a couple mil to beat up on a tomato can? Nice work if you can get it! 

Jon Jones Set to Fight Anthony Smith ... At UFC 235

1/5/2019 10:37 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Well, that was quick!!!

TMZ Sports has learned Jon Jones is signed on to fight Anthony Smith at UFC 235 in March ... as long as the Nevada State Athletic Commission gives him the green light. 

As we previously reported, several UFC fighters have been angling to get a crack at Jones after he returned from his suspension to beat up Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 last month ... including Luke Rockhold, Corey Anderson and Smith. 

But now, we've confirmed ... Jon's next opponent will be 30-year-old Smith, who's currently on a 3 fight win streak after beating Volkan Oezdemir, Shogun Rua and Rashad Evans. 

We spoke with Dana White, who tells us ... "Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the NSAC in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2nd."

"Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his Light Heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a 5 round main event at the T-Mobile Arena."

The issue with the Commission is that Jones tested positive for tiny traces of the anabolic steroid Turinabol just days before UFC 232 -- but the Nevada Athletic Commission couldn't convene for a hearing on such short notice. 

UFC went to the California State Athletic Commission, which WAS able to examine the issue and after weighing the evidence, ultimately decided to grant Jones a license. 

The CSAC officials say multiple experts concluded the traces of Turinabol were left over from a previous positive test -- meaning Jones did not consume the PED for the UFC 232 fight. 

The expectation is the Nevada Commission will see it the same way as California and approve Jones, too. 

Smith is currently the #3 ranked light heavyweight -- and just last week told TMZ Sports he's "ready" for Jones. He also told us he wasn't impressed with Jones in the Gustafsson fight. 

Should be fun! 

Luke Rockhold Calls Out Jon Jones 'I'm Coming, Princess'

1/5/2019 12:35 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

"Hold tight, I'm coming, Princess."

Luke Rockhold wants a big piece of Jon Jones ... and that's his message to the UFC superstar.

TMZ Sports spoke with Luke -- the former UFC middleweight champ who's moving up to light heavyweight -- and he ain't switching divisions just 'cause cuttin' weight sucks.

He wants to fight Jon Jones.

"I'm a different man at this weight, with the power behind me. I'm moving up to get after him. So, that's what I'm here for."

Luke's just the latest to throw his hat into the super crowded "I wanna fight Jon Jones" ring. Earlier this week, Anthony Smith AND Corey Anderson also told us they want a crack at Jones.

But, Rockhold's got the best resume of the 3 fighters ... and a fight with him and Jones would be a big money maker ... and it's a match L.R. is totally confident he'll win (he told us he'll be champ in '19).

Why? 'Cause he wasn't all that impressed with Jon's performance against Alexander Gustafsson.

"I thought he looked beatable."

So, who's Jon gonna pick??? 

Stay tuned ... 

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