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JUDGEMENT DAY: The Story of the UFC Getting Run Out of Town

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In 1997, UFC 12 was to take place in Buffalo, but a day prior, New York state changed its laws to effectively ban MMA. UFC 12 needed a new home, in a new state, on 24 hours notice.

UFC 25 Years in Short is a 25-part documentary series celebrating the UFC silver anniversary. This compilation of short films presents 25 captivating UFC stories, one for each year of existence, and every piece stands alone as an independent feature. Viewed as a whole, these films form a larger, mosaic narrative of the UFC’s amazing evolution, fascinating characters and lasting influence.

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Introducing Bruno Silva

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By Thomas Gerbasi
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Alongside coach Eric Albarracin, Cejudo stood proudly as a video played, announcing that bantamweight Bruno “Bulldog” Silva was now a UFC fighter. Hugs and slaps on the back followed, witnessed by thousands of the champion’s Twitter followers. 

“Man, it was very, very special,” said Silva. “You know how it works, we’ve been training our whole lives for that moment. It was a big time. We had a party, but I was thinking about going straight to the gym. I thought I’ve got to train now and do everything way better than before.”

It’s the reaction you expect from any new member of the UFC roster, and one you hope to hear, because whatever you’ve done on the regional circuit, it doesn’t matter now. What matters is now, and the 29-year-old from Sao Paulo is well aware of that, knowing exactly what it took to get here.

And it wasn’t easy for the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 alumnus, who built an 8-2 record before going 1-1 on the reality show. Even getting onto the Team Nogueira squad he called home for several years wasn’t a seamless process.

“At that time it was really hard,” said Silva. “It was Minotauro (Nogueira), Minotouro (Nogueira), Anderson Silva, Junior Dos Santos, and it was a huge team. I went there and I tried to train, tried to talk to somebody to get on the team, but nobody gave me a chance because there was too many people already there. And I’m a small guy.” 

Silva, 5-2 as a pro at the time, tried to make his case to whoever would listen.

“I said, ‘I have seven professional fights, I’m good in jiu-jitsu, I’m doing boxing and I’m a capoeira guy,’” he recalled. “I talked to four different guys and they said no. They didn’t give me a chance.” 

Disappointed but not discouraged, Silva saw future UFC Hall of Famer “Minotauro” warming up on a stationary back in a small room in the gym. It was his last chance.

“I got in there, I took my shirt off and started to do some backflips,” said Silva. “It was a small space and I did four of them. ‘Minotauro’ said, ‘Stop,’ and told me to come there. He talked with me and I told him I wanted to train there. I was going to leave my city and I told him this is my dream and I want to be world champ one day. That was Saturday. He said, ‘Okay, come here Monday to train.’”

The affiliation with Team Nogueira was a game changer, producing three wins before Silva got a spot on TUF Brazil 4. But making it to the quarterfinals didn’t get him a call from the UFC. It did give him a goal, though.

“In 2015, I was in The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 and I came here for the first time,” he said. “I saw how beautiful the U.S. was. And then I saw all the support fighters got and I saw the wrestling too. I knew I needed to go to the U.S. to train wrestling.”

He made a phone call to Albarracin. 

“He was a wrestling coach and I needed wrestling and he was in America. I called him and asked him to help me go to the U.S. At this time I didn’t have a lot of money. I had a motorcycle and I had to sell it to go to the U.S. and train and learn English. I was going to go just for two months. This was my plan.”

Silva sold the motorcycle to a friend, but there were still several questions revolving around his trip: housing, food, general life things. Albarracin put his mind at ease.

“I have a place for you to stay,” he told Silva, whose new roommate was Cejudo. 

“I started training with him (Cejudo) and he said, ‘You can stay in my house and I’ll help you. You don’t have to worry about food or transportation,’” recalled Silva. “I stayed five months my first time, and everything started from there.”

By 2016, Silva was back for good. He’s gone 3-1-1 since TUF Brazil 4, he got a call from the big show, and now he’s a UFC fighter expected to make his debut later this year. It’s been quite a ride, and he gives a lot of credit to “The Messenger” for helping him navigate that ride.

“A little over two years ago I was in Brazil and I didn’t speak English,” said Silva. “He (Cejudo) taught me how to speak English, he taught me how to do everything. He supports me in everything, he’s worried about me, and he’s done everything for me. I recognize this, and I try to do the same for him. We train together, we live together, and he’s like a brother, friend, father. It’s special knowing I have somebody like him.”

Now he wants to follow his friend and teammate to the top, and he can’t wait for the next chapter to begin.

“I’ve been training a lot and I feel so confident,” he said. “I want to show the world my game and show that I’m a talented fighter. I know everybody says that, but I’m gonna prove it. I’m excited to show the world who I am.”

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By Thomas Gerbasi
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Edgar Motivated By Max Holloway’s Greatness

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By Thomas Gerbasi
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“You have no idea,” he laughs. “I don’t want to say I’ve been depressed, but maybe some patches of depression. Thank God I’ve got a family to fall back on. But it’s been rough. I got through it and I’m not trying to complain too much, but it makes this really fresh and exciting, that’s for sure.”

EDGAR VS HOLLOWAY SET TO HEADLINE UFC 240 IN EDMONTON FOR FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE

“This” is the end of his time on the sidelines, a UFC 240 main event for the featherweight title against Max Holloway on July 27. The trip to Edmonton for the New Jersey native will mark his first business trip since he beat Cub Swanson in their April 2018 rematch, and getting his long-awaited crack at “Blessed” and the 145-pound title is a bonus he’s not taking for granted.

“Of course that’s what I put out there because that’s what I wanted and you gotta put it out there if you want it,” Edgar said of the title shot. “But I honestly didn’t know it was gonna happen. Even when I heard rumors of me getting it and my manager Ali (Abdelaziz) was saying that it looked good that we’re gonna get it, I still didn’t want to believe it because I didn’t want to get disappointed if it didn’t go my way. Maybe that’s not the most positive way to think about it, but sometimes it’s better to expect the worst and hope for the best.”

That’s as Jersey an attitude as you can get. Edgar laughs.

“If I expect my plane to be late or there to be traffic all the time, when it happens, I’m not too bad,” he said. “And when it doesn’t happen, I’ll be happy. That’s my approach.”

But after several stops, starts, a key loss and injury, everything is turning in the right direction for the 37-year-old, who first saw a meeting with Holloway scrapped due to injury in November 2017. Four months later, the rescheduled bout hit the skids when it was Holloway now pulling out due to injury. Edgar opted to stay on the UFC 222 card but lost to Brian Ortega. Ortega wound up getting Edgar’s title shot, but the former lightweight champ rebounded with the win over Swanson and he was looking to add another victory to his resume last November before another injury took him out of his matchup with Chan Sung Jung.

Since then, it’s been a painful waiting game, and if you know what a gym rat Edgar is, waiting isn’t something he takes well to. But he does admit that letting his body rest and heal was ultimately a good thing.

“I missed sparring, I missed competing with the guys and hanging out with them,” he said. “It was refreshing having this time away and not being able to spar because I’m always getting ready for fights or helping someone, and sparring gets tough because I’m sparring some pretty good guys. So having this time off made me miss it a lot, and I think it was a little bit of a wakeup call to realize that this can go away, so I need to still have fun while we’re doing this.”

And there’s nothing more fun for Edgar than getting another chance to test himself against another elite fighter…and to do so against the odds. So while Holloway is the favorite, Edgar’s focus remains unchanged.

“I’ve been training for this guy for quite a long time and I feel like every time I watch him fight, he’s just getting better,” Edgar said of Holloway. “It’s daunting sometimes thinking about it, but it’s also motivating because this is the reason why I fight, I think. You know I’m a ‘Rocky’ guy, so going in there, not even supposed to be there, not supposed to win and finding a way is why I think I fight. So this is the best position for me.”

It’s one he embraces.

“I always believe in myself,” he said. “I’m never one to scream and shout that I’m gonna win, what round I’m gonna win in or anything like that. I kinda keep it to myself, but I always do believe in myself. You can’t not hear what everyone else is hearing, though, so I think the fact that everyone else is saying I shouldn’t be in there, I shouldn’t have got a title shot, whatever they’re saying – it doesn’t really matter to me. I just love proving people wrong, and this is the perfect storm for that to happen.”

The excitement in Edgar’s voice is evident. This is the stuff he lives for, and despite already having compiled a Hall of Fame-worthy resume, he’s still got something left in the basement. Does that ever come as a surprise to those around him?

“I think the people that know me,” he laughs, “they’re not surprised one bit.”

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Evans Surprised, Humbled By Hall Of Fame Induction

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By Thomas Gerbasi
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“I was so surprised, I didn’t expect it at all,” Evans said. “But it was a great surprise.”

The announcement certainly was, but the content of that announcement wasn’t. For nearly 13 years, Evans graced the Octagon, winning season two of The Ultimate Fighter and a world light heavyweight title while fighting and beating the best of the best at the highest level of the sport. Evans also headlined 12 UFC events, coached TUF and fought in three weight classes in the Octagon. Add in his role as ambassador for the sport, and it was clear that the Hall of Fame was made for the 39-year-old.

EVANS NAMED TO HALL OF FAME AT UFC ROCHESTER

“I’m just humbled,” he said. “It’s not that I didn’t expect my efforts and what I did in the Octagon to speak for themselves and warrant that kind of recognition, but it’s another thing to get that acknowledgement. I didn’t know how I would feel and that’s what took me by surprise. I didn’t expect it would mean that much to me to have that acknowledgement from the UFC and from my peers, and most of all from the fans who I fought so hard to entertain.”

It’s the kind of recognition every athlete hopes to one day earn, but 99% of them won’t reach such heights. So when someone like Evans does make it, it’s a time for reflection.

“I was thinking about all the times I was running in Lansing, Michigan up a hill, my dog Rex running right next to me and I’m chanting to myself over and over again, ‘I’m gonna be the best in the world, I’m gonna be great, I’m gonna be great.’ And it happened. It’s an emotional thing for me.

“I busted my butt in this sport and I did it for the love of it,” Evans continues. “And when I started, I never would have thought that I would have the impact that I’ve had in the sport. The things that I’ve been able to be a part of and the lives that I’ve been able to touch in this sport, that’s meant the world to me. You went out and accomplished exactly what you set out to.”

The call to the hall comes at a perfect time for the Niagara Falls, NY native, who has been making the transition to life after fighting since his retirement following a June 2018 loss to Anthony Smith. That’s always a raw time for any athlete, but knowing just what he left the sport does make that transition a little easier.

“When you go through ups and downs in life, it’s easy to grab on to the negative things or the lesser highlights of your life and it has a way of imprinting on your mind more than the positive things,” he said. “But this is a foothold to say, hey, this is what you’ve done, this is who you are; you may have lost some fights, your career may not have ended the way you wanted it to, but at the end of the day, this is what it was all about. It was all about being that inspiration and having that impact, whether I won one title or ten titles. And I get that now.”

Evans’ career was always about more than wins and losses. There were a lot more wins than losses, though, and when it comes to the nuts and bolts of his time in the Octagon, perhaps the most interesting and impressive stat is that he defeated five UFC Hall of Famers (Fellow 2019 inductee Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Tito Ortiz, Dan Henderson). 

It’s an accomplishment he didn’t even know until it was brought to his attention, the price paid for going all-in on winning each fight. But now that it is time to celebrate, he’s got his own thoughts on what made him special.

“I think the one thing that made me special was the way I would mix things up,” he said. “I would get guys to really start to punch with me and then right when they started feeling comfortable, thinking that I was gonna get into a punching contest with them, I was able to change levels and take them down. That’s what I felt was able to give me the advantage in the light heavyweight division because I was able to be quicker than a lot of them, and I would flash them with my quickness, but then hit them with the power with the double and stuff like that. And when I wasn’t able to hit the takedown, just the threat of my ability to do that would open up my hands. So between the two of those, that was probably when I started to come into my own and come into my mastery as far as what made Rashad Evans a hundred percent when he stepped into the Octagon.”

And when Rashad Evans was one hundred percent, he was something to see. That’s why he’s going into the UFC Hall of Fame.

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk Is Recharged And Ready

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The last five months also included a holiday to Thailand, a place she used to live, but the holiday was her first since before she could remember. Naturally, though, a mixed martial artist of her caliber can’t stay away from the gym too long.

“I’ve been in this business for the last 16 years, and honestly, I was jumping from fight to fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “So, I’m very happy that I have time to learn some new things and improve my game, get new tools in my game because usually, when you jump from camp to camp, you don’t have time to learn. You focus on your next opponent or your next fight, and definitely this time, I’m doing different things.”

That learning included training with former K-1 World Champion Ernesto Hoost in the Netherlands as well as continued work at American Top Team in Florida. While she has yet to book a bout, Jedrzejczyk intends to fight at 115 pounds once again, where Jessica Andrade just grabbed the belt from Namajunas at UFC 237. Jedrzejczyk defended her belt against Andrade via a unanimous decision at UFC 211 in 2017, so a rematch could be in order, but until then, there’s plenty of other bouts at strawweight that could be of interest.

Regardless, Jedrzejczyk insists she is looking forward, figuratively to leave her losses behind, and literally as she waits for her next bout to come together. When she does, she could be a revitalized, refreshed and retooled version of herself, and that should be an exciting prospect for fight fans.

“It was a busy time,” she said. “But I’m training really hard and cannot wait to hear about my next fight and my next opponent.”

Zac Pacleb is a writer and producer for UFC.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ZacPacleb

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UFC 238 Free Fight: Tony Ferguson vs Anthony Pettis

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Take a look back at the Fight of the Night winner from UFC 229 between Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis. Ferguson returns to the Octagon at UFC 238 to face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on June 8.

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UFC 238 Free Fight: Donald Cerrone vs Rick Story

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Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone had one of the most memorable performances of 2016 at UFC 202 when he faced of with Rick Story. Cerrone next meets Tony Ferguson in the Octagon at UFC 238 on June 8 in a fight with huge implications.

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Fight Night | Jake Hager – Bellator 221

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Follow Jake Hager throughout fight night as he prepares and celebrates his win at Bellator 221.

Upcoming events: http://www.bellator.com/events

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BLACKOUT: The Story of the Political Crusade to Keep UFC Off TV

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A political crusade to ban “ultimate fighting” successfully pressured the US pay-per-view industry to stop airing UFC events, nearly extinguishing the new sport.

Originally airing on UFC FIGHT PASS, UFC 25 Years in Short is a 25-part documentary series celebrating the UFC silver anniversary. This compilation of short films presents 25 captivating UFC stories, one for each year of existence, and every piece stands alone as an independent feature. Viewed as a whole, these films form a larger, mosaic narrative of the UFC’s amazing evolution, fascinating characters and lasting influence.

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UFC Stockholm Free Fight: Alexander Gustafsson vs Glover Teixiera

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Last time the UFC was in Sweden the fans were treated to a five-round battle between Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira back in 2017. Gustafsson headlines Fight Night Stockholm in his native country against Anthony Smith on Saturday, June 1.

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JUDGEMENT DAY: The Story of the UFC Getting Run Out of Town

In 1997, UFC 12 was to take place in Buffalo, but a day prior, New York state changed its laws to effectively...

Introducing Bruno Silva

**This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS Feed** This is the original article: https://www.ufc.com/news/introducing-bruno-silva By Thomas Gerbasi **This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS...

Edgar Motivated By Max Holloway’s Greatness

**This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS Feed** This is the original article: https://www.ufc.com/news/edgar-motivated-max-holloways-greatness By Thomas Gerbasi **This post was automatically retrieved from the UFC.com RSS...