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Chris Weidman Calls Out Jon Jones ... I'll Take His Belt!!!

1/20/2019 12:10 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Chris Weidman has his sights set on Jon Jones for his next fight ... telling TMZ Sports he's, "Always imagined going up and taking his belt."

Of course, Weidman's dealing with a neck injury ... and says surgery might be an option -- but once he's cleared -- he's gunnin' for Jones.

"He's been on my radar since I was a champion and he was champion at 205. I always imagined going up and taking his belt."

Weidman even threw some shade Jon's way ... saying the guy can't be considered the G.O.A.T. 'cause of his positive PED tests!!!

Jon's next fight is Anthony Smith at UFC 235 -- but he is lookin' for a 'bout after that ... and Chris says even if he needs surgery -- he'll DEFINITELY be ready to fight sometime in 2019.

So ... could the fight go down?? Stay tuned.

Dana White Amanda Nunes Is She-G.O.A.T. ... Better Than Jon Jones?

1/19/2019 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Dana White says it's obvious to him ... Amanda Nunes is the greatest female fighter EVER. 

But, when you add men to the mix -- is she better than Jon Jones

White broke it down for us ... saying Nunes has not only beaten the best of the best, but destroyed Cris Cyborg -- "the most feared fighter out there" -- and made it look easy. 

Don't forget, she also dominated Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko (twice) and Miesha Tate

Dana says Jon's got a pretty solid case too ... beating the hell out of stars like Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Alexander Gustafsson (twice), Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader

Oh, and Dana says he's SUPER impressed by the fact JJ beat Daniel Cormier on two separate occasions because DC is an "unbelievable" fighter too! 

So, who really is the G.O.A.T.? 

The best part of the conversation is the fact that BOTH fighters are still active and in their prime -- so, it's a long way until we'll find out. 

Cody Rhodes UFC Fighters Welcome In New Wrestling Promotion

1/19/2019 12:10 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Cody Rhodes is looking to staff up his new All Elite Wrestling organization with some killer new talent -- and tells TMZ Sports he thinks UFC fighters could be a real solid fit. 

Rhodes has teamed up with fellow wrestling superstars the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and Tony Khan -- whose family owns the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham F.C. Together, they're launching the next major pro wrestling federation. It's got huge potential. 

The former WWE superstar says now he's on the hunt for talent -- gunning for fresh new wrestlers who can kill it in the ring. 

We brought up the possibility of hiring talent from the UFC -- especially with the pro wrestling success of ex-MMA stars like Ronda Rousey and Matthew Riddle.

Rhodes says the idea makes a lot of sense ... with one real important caveat -- they need to have a real PASSION for pro wrestling.

"That's one of my big knocks ... you can't teach passion."

"So, as long as it's somebody who's passionate about [wrestling] and knows it's kind of a hard gig ... I could imagine that would be a cool little crossover."

Stay tuned!

Greg Hardy UFC Gave Me 'New Lease On Life' ... New Attitude

1/18/2019 11:55 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Greg Hardy says he's a changed man -- telling TMZ Sports he's got a new attitude and a new perspective after dedicating his life to mixed martial arts.

You already know Greg's backstory ... the NFL star was accused of domestic violence against a woman back in 2014 and initially convicted. The conviction was overturned in 2015. 

He was also arrested for cocaine possession in 2016. 

Hardy was essentially blackballed from the NFL ... so he ultimately decided to train in MMA

We're told he made a real effort to clean up his lifestyle and focus on the sport -- and so far, he's been incredibly successful in his new career ... racking up a 5-0 record in his first 5 fights.

Now, he's set to fight at UFC on ESPN+ on Saturday -- and acknowledges that his past has become an issue since the card also features Rachael Ostovich, a domestic violence victim. 

Hardy tells us he's staying focused on his fight and trying not to be a distraction from all of the other fighters on the card ... since he knows how hard everyone worked to get to this level. 

Hardy isn't getting into specifics about his legal past -- but says he's got a new lease on life and a new attitude and wants to be a respected professional moving forward. 

As for his fight with Allen Crowder ... Hardy says he wants his opponent to know he's a "very dangerous man inside the Octagon and I'm very serious about what I do."

Tom Brady He's 'Shoving It Up the Haters' Asses' ... Says Dana White

1/18/2019 9:11 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

 

Dana White isn't just a Patriots superfan -- he's friends with Tom Brady -- and tells TMZ Sports he loves that TB12 is "shoving it up all the haters' asses one more time."

A bunch of football experts predicted Brady's demise this season -- saying his skills are falling off and his reign of dominance was finally over. 

But, after slaughtering the L.A. Chargers in the playoffs last week, Brady and the Pats are playing in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs on Sunday ... and White says he LOVES IT! 

"Everybody was talking sh*t this year," White said.

"Everybody was talking, 'Oh, he should retire. Oh, the Patriots suck, they can't win a game.' We're heading into another AFC Championship and if we win I think that's 8 straight AFC Championships. And, it's a record and he's going to another Super Bowl."

"So, shut up!! He's shoving it up all the haters' asses one more time and I love it."

Fun fact, Tom Brady became one of the celebrity minority co-owners of the UFC when WME/IMG bought the MMA organization back in 2016 ... so, he and Dana are technically colleagues!

As for if Dana will be at Arrowhead Stadium for the game on Sunday -- White says there's no way in hell. It's too damn cold! 

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

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