Maurice Smith, Welcome to the Hall of Fame

Note: This is a column I wrote for Champions

During the Fight Night: Nashville event, the second member of the 2017 Hall of Fame class was announced. Former UFC heavyweight champion Maurice Smith will be inducted into the Hall on July 6, during the UFC Fan Expo.

Smith will join former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber, who will be inducted in the hall’s Modern Wing at the expo.

Smith will join the Pioneer Wing, alongside fellow former UFC heavyweight title holders Mark Coleman, who he defeated for the belt, Randy Couture – who won the championship from him – and former interim champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Although some UFC faithful might look at Smith and say “who is that guy and why should he be inducted into the Hall of Fame?” However, the Seattle native has an extensive – and impressive – combat sports resume that includes a murderer’s row of UFC stars and mixed martial arts legends.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is Ready for Bellator Title Bout

Note: This is a column I wrote for Champions

It looks as if Bellator MMA has its first women’s flyweight champion – or at least the first fighter who could compete in the promotion’s inaugural women’s 125-pound title bout.

At last night’s Bellator 177, the “Iliminator” Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defeated Jessica Middleton in the co-main event. (Watch the fight in the link)

Early in the first round, Macfarlane took Middleton down and worked her way to securing the armbar. Middleton tried to wiggle her way out of it, but she eventually tapped, suffering her first career loss in the process. The win boosts Macfarlane’s professional MMA record to 5-0 in the Bellator cage, 6-0 overall.

As for her next Bellator fight, the Iliminator made her intentions clear as far as championships are concerned.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.


Crunch Time: Demetrious Johnson a fighter anyone can get behind

Note: This is a Crunch Time column I wrote for the April 20 issue for the Cheney Free Press.

UFC flyweight (125 pounds) champion “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson recently declared that he is “the best champion to stand in the octagon.”

That’s not hard to argue — and I’m not saying that because of his fight last Saturday with Brazilian challenger Wilson Reis. Late in the third round of their fight, Johnson took Reis to the ground and managed to get side control before transitioning to the full mount and locking in an armbar to submit his opponent.

The reason that Johnson’s bold proclamation is not necessarily false is because he has now tied the record for most UFC title defenses with 10. The only other fighter to boast that claim is former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who accomplished the feat in July 2012 — two months before Johnson began his run as UFC flyweight champion. Of the UFC’s 11 champions, Johnson is the only fighter to have held his belt for more than two years. But Johnson doesn’t want to stop at 10 title defenses. During a post-fight interview, he said “next time we’re in the octagon, I’m going to break it,” referring to the record.

I first watched Johnson fight in 2010 when he was under contract for World Extreme Cagefighting. One of his highlight performances was against Damacio Page, who he submitted with a guillotine choke. Like many longtime fight fans, I was thrilled when he signed his UFC contract in 2011 and defeated the highly touted Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto in his octagon debut.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.