CageJunkies MMA Rumors 07.12.11
There’ve been a lot of rumors this past week, from fighters transitioning to professional wrestling, to epic rivalries between training partners. Let’s jump right in to what everyone has been talking about, plus a few things that you may not have heard.
BJ Penn vs. Carlos Condit (Editors Note: since this article was written BJ Penn had accepted this challenge)
Yesterday seemed to be the anticlimactic conclusion to the BJ Penn/Jon Fitch situation. Penn paraphrased UFC matchmaker Joe Silva in a tweet, saying Silva, nor the fans, are interested in a third fight between Penn and Fitch.
Later on in the day Carlos Condit found his opening and tweeted that he’d like a crack at Penn. The Prodigy quickly obliged to the fight, suggesting the two meet on October 29th. Last night it was reported that Joe Silva confirmed this fight, and all that was left was to figure out the details.
Penn’s suggestion of UFC 137: St. Pierre vs. Diaz is possible, but it’s most likely that the two will be ready earlier. Look for this fight to add some flavor to the 136: Sonnen vs. Stann card.
King Mo to the WWE?
One particularly interesting rumor that has surfaced on the UnderGround forum last week is that a current Strikeforce fighter is in negotiations with the WWE. Other than the fighters that have gone the professional wrestling route in the past (Josh Barnett, Bobby Lashley, Etc.), fans are buzzing that Muhammed Lawal is the one itching to get into the squared circle.
King Mo is nearing the end of his four-fight contract with Strikeforce, and his final fight will be on September 10th against Roger Gracie. Mo could be the one to jump ship if he’s not resigned by Zuffa.
Since his MMA debut, he’s been outspoken of his love for professional wrestling; he’s stated that it’s not a matter of if he’ll make the transition, but when.
King Mo can be seen being demolished by teammate Daniel Cormier in a pro wrestling match here:
Alpha-Beta Situation at Team Alpha Male
Rumor has it that one of the newest members of Team Alpha Male has been dominating the stable’s best and most experienced fighter during training. These fighters may have to cross paths for either to get a title shot at 145, so look for this friendly rivalry to come to light soon.
Koscheck Calls Out Leben
Since his brutal loss to George St. Pierre back in December, most fans have been wondering what lies next for Josh Koscheck. Last Thursday Kos started to drop a few clues via Twitter, and apparently he wants his next fight to be at middleweight, and he’s got someone in mind.
Kos tweeted three times last week about his plans, but his manager, DeWayne Zinkin, revealed that the AKA fighter requested none other than Chris “The Crippler” Leben at 185.
This isn’t entirely surprising, as there’s been bad blood between Kos and Leben ever since their days on The Ultimate Fighter Season 1. After winning four of his last five fights, including a devastating knockout of Wanderlei Silva just a few weeks ago, Leben seems to be a smart choice for Koscheck at this point in his career. Kos has played the gatekeeper role at welterweight for several years now, and it’s not easy to figure out where to reshuffle him within the division with fighters like Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, BJ Penn, Jon Fitch in the mix.
The real rumor here is that although Koscheck claims he only wants one fight at middleweight, sources say he’s contemplating a more permanent move.
Mitrione vs. Nelson, Mitrione vs. ?
On Saturday, heavyweight Matt Mitrione let his Facebook friends know that the UFC gave him two choices for his next fight. Fans commented on his status with their own picks, but it didn’t take long for fellow TUF 10 cast member “Big Country” Roy Nelson to put his name into the hat through Twitter:
It’s likely that Nelson is dropping a hint here that he was one of Mitrione’s choices, but we can’t be certain. However, after two back-to-back losses against Frank Mir and Junior dos Santos, Mitrione and Nelson seems like a likely match at the moment.
That begs the question: Who’s Mitrione’s second choice? It’s arguable that he’s not ready for the experienced Cheick Kongo (16-6-2), who’s now in the upper-tier after his knockout of Pat Barry. It’s the same story with Shane Carwin (12-2-0).
Brendan Schaub (8-1-0), also one of Mitrione’s housemate’s on TUF, is heavily rumored to be Mitrione’s other choice.
New Strikeforce Welterweight
Last week, Scott Coker announced that a new addition to the Strikeforce roster may get a shot at the winner of Paul Daley and Tyrone Woodley for the vacant welterweight title. Coker said:
“It’s possible (the new fighter could immediately fight for a title). Maybe we’ll give him one fight, and we’ll see what happens. But I definitely think the experience will speak for itself.”
There are a ton of fighters from independent promotions that could fit this bill. However, given that this fighter may get an immediate title shot, it’s likely that it’s an experienced current or former champion.
The heavy rumor on the internet is that it’s current Bellator welterweight champion and freestyle Olympian Ben Askren. Askren’s two-year contract with Bellator is about to be up after this season, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be free before 2012. Another rumor is that it’s Nate Marquardt, but a betting man says that Zuffa is done with him, at least for now. (In related rumors, Marquardt is said to be in talks with Bjorn Romney and Bellator.)
It’s likely that this new addition to Strikeforce is journeyman Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford (16-3-0).