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The 10: The Very Best Of Cowboy Cerrone

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It takes a certain amount of stardom and clout to reach a point where you’re simply known by one name when you’re not someone who has spent the entirety of your professional career only going by a single name like Prince or Cher or Zendaya, but the veteran gunslinger who grew up in Denver and now resides at the BMF Ranch in Edgewood, New Mexico has achieved that status because when you say “Cowboy,” there is only one person who comes to mind.

Cerrone has spent more than a dozen years competing under the Zuffa banner and has etched his name in the UFC records books, boasting the most fights (34), most victories (23), most finishes (16), and most post-fight bonuses (18) in the company’s history, doing it all with a smile on his face.

In honor of his 37th birthday, here’s a look back at some of the bouts that transformed “Cowboy” from a young, undefeated fighter on the come-up into a Hall of Fame-caliber competitor with a voracious appetite for getting in the cage and putting on entertaining fights.

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WEC 38 & WEC 51 vs. Jamie Varner
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/32461 
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/32505

Their first encounter was just a fight that came together through the natural course of things, as Varner was the reigning WEC lightweight champion and Cerrone had earned back-to-back wins over Danny Castillo and former titleholder Rob McCullough to establish himself as the No. 1 contender.

For much of the fight, Varner’s experience and polish was the difference, as the champion outworked the challenger and appeared on his way to a relatively easy, uneventful victory. But just after the midway point of the fifth round, Cerrone threw a knee strike that glanced off Varner’s forehead while he was still grounded, bringing the fight to a halt.

Varner couldn’t continue, earned the nod on the scorecards, and both guys felt bad about how things ended.

In the 20 months between their two fights, a real grudge developed, as many believed Varner was over-selling his injuries to avoid a rematch with Cerrone, and the two had plenty to say about one another. “Cowboy” won the rematch at WEC 51 and the battles with Varner served as two of the early scraps that elevated Cerrone into the greater MMA consciousness.

WEC 43 vs. Benson Henderson
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/32650

In between his two fights with Varner, Cowboy fought four additional times, including a pair of championship bouts opposite Benson Henderson.

The first of those contests was for the interim lightweight title at WEC 43 and it was an absolute classic.

This was right in the sweet spot of the WEC, when the blue cage was littered with elite talent that didn’t get as much attention and recognition as they deserved, but seeing Henderson and Cerrone battle hard for 25 minutes made it clear that they were two of the top lightweights in the world.

The opening round showcased elements that would become calling cards for both men, with Cerrone’s still underrated ground game and submission skills putting Henderson’s legendary defensive abilities to the test from the jump. While the close calls weren’t as frequent as they were in the opening five minutes throughout the remainder of the fight, this was a terrific back-and-forth that ended with 48-47 scores across the board for Henderson.

If the Varner bouts were the ones that made you fall in love with “Cowboy” in terms of his personality, this was the one that let you know he was going to be a fixture in the lightweight division for years to come.

UFC 126 vs. Paul Kelly
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/29037 

Cerrone’s UFC debut closed out the preliminary portion of the pay-per-view card in Las Vegas and was surely an impressive performance, as “Cowboy” dominated and eventually submitted the durable, dangerous Brit midway through the second round.

While his first UFC victory might be worth mentioning regardless, what makes this an automatic addition to this list is what happened before Cerrone got to the Octagon.

Cerrone was raised by his grandparents in Colorado and his grandfather, who had been instrumental in his pursuit of a fighting career and been to all of his grandson’s fights, had fallen ill and was in the hospital in the time leading up to this bout. As Cerrone started making the walk to the Octagon, his friend and teammate Leonard Garcia was on FaceTime with Cerrone’s family back home in Denver when “Cowboy” saw his friend’s face drop.

His grandfather had passed.

With a heavy heart, Cerrone crossed the threshold into the Octagon for the first time and picked up the first of his 23 victories to date.

And if you wanted to know just how big a part of his life his family is, understand that Grandma Jerry might be even more beloved within the MMA community than her grandson, and remains a constant presence at every one of his fights.

UFC 150 vs. Melvin Guillard
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/29740 

Guillard had bounced back from consecutive losses and relocated to South Florida to join the Blackzilians after spending a little time at Jackson-Wink, which gave this a little “former teammates rivalry” feel, while Cerrone had rebounded from his first UFC loss with a victory over Jeremy Stephens.

Most looked at this as a crossroads fight for each man, with the winner remaining on the fringes of contention and the loser likely to take a step back in the ultra-competitive lightweight division. It was also expected to be a barnburner and still somehow managed to exceed expectations as these two came out of the gate swinging and packed all kinds of excitement into a 76-second fight.

Just 11 seconds into the bout, Guillard dropped Cerrone with a counter left hook to the chin that had “Cowboy” on shaky legs and “The Young Assassin” hunting for a finish for the next 30 seconds. But Cerrone steadied himself and clipped the top of Guillard’s head with a left high kick a minute into the fight that shifted the momentum.

Guillard was immediately on roller skates and Cerrone took advantage, charging forward and connecting with a clean right hand that ended the fight on contact.

UFC on FOX 11 vs. Edson Barboza
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/34969

A fight like this is representative of why lightweight is widely considered to be the most competitive, most entertaining division in the sport because talented, entertaining dudes like this square off all the time in bouts that don’t carry any immediate championship significance. They’re important in moving the winner forward, sure, but it’s not like anyone went into this one thinking, ‘The winner has next.”

It’s just one of those competitive, undeniably intriguing matchups that get you excited as soon as it gets announced and it delivered when they hit the Octagon in Orlando.

Barboza came out swinging, stinging Cerrone with a punch in his initial flurry that had the veteran gunslinger looking to clinch and wrestle less than 30 seconds in. Cerrone recovered and started to settle in, but Barboza’s speed advantage was clear and allowed the Brazilian to get the better of things as they traded in space.

By the three-minute mark of the first round, it was all Barboza, as he started opening up a little more, but just when it seemed like Cerrone was going to be in for a long night, he stuck Barboza with a swift jab that put him on the canvas.

Cerrone followed him to the mat, climbed on his back, and laced up a rear naked choke. The entire finishing sequence took 11 seconds and showed not only how quickly the momentum of a fight can shift, but also just how dangerous Cerrone is at all times.

UFC 178 vs. Eddie Alvarez
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/35301 

Eddie Alvarez’ arrival in the UFC was a big deal, as he had been one of the best lightweights in the sport for a number of years and was finally going to compete inside the Octagon. Cerrone was an obvious choice to welcome him to the UFC, having followed up his win over Barboza with a victory over Jim Miller to extend his winning streak to four.

This was one of those fights where many observers forecasted Cerrone being just a little out of his depth. He’d come up short in big moments in the past and Alvarez was regarded as a Top 5 talent in the 155-pound ranks, which left a lot of people believing he was a recognizable name being marched into the cage to help get the new guy over.

Alvarez controlled things through the opening five minutes, battering Cerrone in a prolonged dirty boxing exchange and getting the better of the striking exchanges in space overall. But Cerrone weathered the storm and assumed control in the second, finding his range while taking the fight to Alvarez, utilizing a lot of body work and a bevy of low kicks.

By the third, all those investments were showing dividends, as Alvarez’ lead leg was lumped up and his gas tank was running dry as Cerrone continued to press forward and punish him. When the final horn sounded, it was clear who deserved the nod, as “Cowboy” scored one of the biggest victories of his career and spoiled Alvarez’ first appearance in the Octagon.

UFC Fight Night 89 vs. Patrick Cote
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/42287 

After climbing to the top of the list of contenders in the lightweight division during an eight-fight, 25-month run of success, Cerrone’s hopes of claiming championship gold were dashed in just 66 seconds as Rafael Dos Anjos made quick work of the streaking fan favorite at the end of 2015. Looking for a new challenge — and happy to avoid cutting weight — Cerrone moved up to welterweight at the outset of 2016, registering a first-round submission win over Alex Oliveira in an all-Cowboy affair in February.

While it was a quality win and an impressive performance, the bout that really made this move to welterweight seem like it could be something more than just a fun little dalliance for Cerrone was his co-main event clash with Patrick Cote in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in June of that year. A former middleweight title challenger, “The Predator” was a seasoned veteran with an iron chin who entered on a three-fight winning streak.

Cerrone was brilliant, catching the French-Canadian veteran off guard by utilizing his wrestling and taking advantage of his clear edge in the speed department to pick him apart. It was the most complete version of Cerrone we’d seen in quite some time — a dynamic blend of the striking everyone came to expect with smart tactical decisions that left Cote searching for answers and swinging at air more often than not.

By the third, Cerrone was home and cooled on the scorecards, but still pressing forward, as he knocked down Cote less than 30 seconds into the frame and put him away with strikes midway through the frame.

UFC 202 vs. Rick Story
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/47469 

If the fight with Cote was Cerrone’s most complete effort to date, this bout with Story offered the most memorable striking combination of his lengthy career.

Cerrone again surprised observers early by being the one to initiate the wrestling and largely controlled the action in the opening round, attacking Story’s lead leg with low kicks and out-quicking him in general on the feet. A couple minutes into the second, Cerrone uncorked what remains one of the best combinations landed in the UFC.

After setting his range with an outside low kick, “Cowboy” hit Story with a quick jab, followed by a straight right to the body, a short left to the head while he was ducking down, and a head kick as Story was lifting himself back up, which sent the veteran from the Pacific Northwest retreating into the fence. Cerrone attacked, continuing the onslaught and securing the finish just a few seconds later, pushing his winning streak to three and establishing himself as a true person of interest in the welterweight title chase.

UFC Fight Night 139 vs. Mike Perry
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/65375 

Everything about this fight and how things played out was awesome for Cerrone.

Serving as the UFC’s 25th Anniversary event, the show at Denver’s Pepsi Center was also a homecoming for Cerrone, who grew up in the surrounding area, and his first fight since the birth of his son, Dacson Danger. Entering off a loss to Leon Edwards and in the midst of a rocky 1-4 run that had some people questioning how much “Cowboy” had left in the tank, facing off with Perry felt like a real test to see if the veteran pugilist could still hang with the toughest hombres in the division.

To everyone’s surprise — including Cerrone’s — the heavily favored Perry ended up being the one to take the fight to the ground and it cost him, as Cerrone dipped into his bag of tricks and found a finish.

After landing on his back with Perry in side control, Cerrone reversed the position with a sweep and took Perry’s back when the knockout artist offered it up. After failing to connect on a rear naked choke and getting dumped over the top, Cerrone threw up a triangle choke attempt and then transitioned to an armbar, locking out the left arm and securing the verbal submission as he went belly-down on the canvas.

Cerrone immediately exited the Octagon and called for his family to join him in the cage, creating an incredible scene as Danger, his wife Lindsay, and Grandma Jerry were all front and center as the partisan crowd showered their favorite fighting son with adulation.

UFC on ESPN+ 1 vs. Alexander Hernandez
https://ufcfightpass.com/video/96779 

During his post-fight interview following his win over Perry, Cerrone announced his intentions of dropping back down to lightweight and making a run at the title. For his first appearance back in his old stomping grounds, the UFC paired him off with Hernandez, a promising up-and-comer who knocked out Top 10-ranked Beneil Dariush in his debut and appeared poised to make a run of his own in the 155-pound ranks.

It was “Youth vs. Experience” and experience won out, though it wasn’t easy.

Hernandez landed a right hand right out of the chute and had Cerrone backing up less than 30 seconds into the fight, which prompted “Cowboy” to wrestle. Even when Cerrone found a home for his strikes, Hernandez was right there with one of his own, pushing a rapid pace in an attempt to suffocate and tire out the veteran.

But late in the first, Cerrone started to figure out Hernandez’ approach and get his timing down, busting him up and assuming the role of the aggressor. It was a classic case of a veteran who had seen it all weathering an early storm and finding his footing as his younger foe struggled to adapt once the momentum was no longer running in his favor.

By the end of the first, Cerrone was battering Hernandez and brimming with confidence, and less than 90 seconds into the middle stanza, he was right back at it, punishing Hernandez every time he came forward and picking his spots with an assortment of heavy strikes. Late in the second, an unexpected right high kick rocked Hernandez, sending him to the canvas, where a series of piston-like right hands brought the fight to a close.

It was an impressive victory for the veteran and another memorable addition to his long, entertaining highlight reel.

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.

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Joe Ellenberger Never Let Anything Stop Him

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The Nebraska native had the potential to be even more than that in the UFC if the universe didn’t throw roadblock after roadblock in his way. But the 35-year-old doesn’t show a hint of bitterness when it comes to how his mixed martial arts career played out.

“I’ve never had that stance or outlook,” he said. “My brother (former welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger) has always asked me about that too. He would always say, ‘There are guys out here that you would absolutely destroy if you were out here, doing well and making money. Doesn’t that piss you off?’ Well, a little bit (Laughs), but I can only control what I can control, and it’s not really worth getting bent out of shape for something that’s out of my control. I try to see a silver lining in everything, and I think where I’m at now, I’m not upset, I’m not bitter with where my life’s gone. And I think being able to overcome a lot of that adversity through my life has definitely helped me as a man, as a father, as a husband.”

A married father of three, Ellenberger’s life these days consists of being a family man, doing HVAC work in his hometown of Omaha, and serving as an assistant wrestling coach at his old high school, Millard South. To a lot of those folks, he’s just Joe, Dad, or Coach. But there was a time when “Excalibur” was seen as one of the top prospects in the lightweight division, one destined to make some noise in the big show until an MMA career that started out at 10-0 came to a screeching halt when he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) in October 2009.

At 24, Ellenberger was told he would be lucky to make it to 30, and fighting for a living, well, that was an idea that was off the table as well. But fighters fight. And Ellenberger wore out all options in search of something that would save his career, but more importantly, his life.

He found it in form of the drug Soliris. Price tag? Over $400,000 a year.

“$440,000,” Ellenberger clarifies, “And inflation has only made that go up.”

Luckily, insurance and help from the National Organization for Rare Disorders pitched in, and by 2011, Ellenberger had the disease under control and was cleared to fight. Upon his return, he went 4-1 with two finishes and got the call he had long been waiting for.

Joe Ellenberger was a UFC fighter.

That’s not to say the drama was over yet. In fact, it took two dates, two states and six opponents before James Moontasri finally entered the Octagon to face Ellenberger in San Antonio on June 28, 2014, and after three rounds, Ellenberger got the decision win and was on his way.

“At one point, I thought this wasn’t meant to be. I don’t know what’s going on here, but it’s not gonna happen. So I was relieved, really,” he said of his first fight in the UFC. “I was happy, I was excited. More than anything, it was to prove to myself and prove to other people that they can get an insurmountable of adversity thrown at them and battling through it and getting it done is not impossible.”

Six months later, Ellenberger’s second UFC fight didn’t go so well, as he was stopped in the third round by Bryan Barberena. It was a setback, but not a crippling one. Hey, people lose in the UFC and rebound. But Ellenberger never returned.

It turns out that in the Moontasri fight, Ellenberger detached the retina in his right eye, something that wasn’t diagnosed until after the fight with Barberena when he went to a routine appointment to get checked out for possible laser eye surgery.

“The lady looked at my right eye and left the room in a hurry,” he recalled. “When she came back, she said you need to see this retina specialist.”

A week later, Ellenberger was in surgery to repair the detached retina.

“That was a pretty rough surgery and that was about a ten-day recovery where I had to buy a massage bed and lay face down for 20 out of the 24 hours for ten days straight,” he said. “That was the absolutely worst ever.”

That doesn’t mean brotherly love didn’t show up in the midst of all this as he celebrated one of his kids’ birthday with the family.

“We have pictures of the day and I had an eye patch on still,” Ellenberger laughs. “And of course my family all made a big joke of it; they were all wearing eye patches and we had a big party that night. Jake had one on and Adam had one on and they were all laughing. It was a good time, making a funny situation out of something that wasn’t.”

Eventually, everything healed up, yet during a visit to a retina specialist in last 2018, early 2019, it was recommended that Ellenberger not fight again.

“He said, ‘It’s back on there, but if it was me I wouldn’t fight again just because of the risk.’ He was thinking more along the lines that you’re gonna favor that right eye so much that if your left one gets banged up bad and you detach that one, you have to do all this all over again. I’d rather see good with both eyes for the next 20 years versus risking it and not. That’s kind of where we’re at.”

That doesn’t mean Ellenberger doesn’t get the itch. In fact, he’s still in the USADA testing pool, so should he decide to make a return, he’s got all his ducks in a row.

“I still get the UFC’s anti-doping folks coming by and testing me every now and then,” Ellenberger laughs. “But right now it’s just a busy time. My kids are 7, 5 and 3 years old, so having a real job and trying to train is a little bit tough. But I obviously haven’t ruled out getting in there and giving it another go. Every now and then I feel like I’d like to get back in there but I guess time will tell. We’ll see what happens.”

Whatever happens, Ellenberger is going to have some story to tell those kids, as well as the ones he coaches. The main lesson: it’s not always about the destination.

“I hope it gives them perspective and gives them hope in something that maybe they think might be bigger than they are,” he said. “Or it gives them that perseverance and an attitude of gratitude that it may not go their way or end up how they want it to end up, but just embrace the journey. I’m still an assistant wrestling coach at my old high school, and I tell these kids a lot, it’s not all about the destination. Obviously, everyone wants to be a State champ or a National champ or the World champ, but doing what we do every day and then at the end, falling short of your goal, it’s process over result. What you go through during that year is still gonna make you a better person, whether you won it or not.”

Eight Exercises Used by the UFC Performance Institute

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Bo Sandoval is the UFC’s Director of Strength & Conditioning. He and his team (Gavin Pratt – Shanghai, Matt Crawley – Las Vegas and Kyle Larimer – Las Vegas) design comprehensive performance training for UFC athletes.

With the current COVID-19 restrictions put into place, it’s no secret that athletes will have to get a little creative with their home workouts. To help athletes and readers at home, Sandoval and his team compiled eight exercises that can easily be completed from the confines of a living room.

Candlestick

This is a full body exercise that can be used individually for building torso strength and coordination, or it can be incorporated into metabolic circuits. Here’s the breakdown of how to perform the movement:

  1. Start standing 
  2. Squat down then roll into the candlestick position: back on the ground, arms on the ground with palms down, legs straight up towards the sky, toes pointed.
  3. Roll forward, tuck the feet towards your hips as you place both feet flat on the ground, reach your arms forward
  4. Stand up
  5. Repeat by going from the standing position right back into the seated position and into your next roll

Progressions:

  1. Stand up with one leg at a time instead of two
  2. If using in a circuit, jump at the top of each rep to increase intensity
  3. After standing, perform one pistol (single leg) squat before repeating Sets x Reps: 3 x 6-10

Low Split-Squat Stance Switches and Goblet Get-Ups

This is a lower body exercises that targets muscular endurance and has the most impact when incorporated into a circuit. Here’s the breakdown of how to perform the exercises:

  1. The stance switches are easy. Simply get into a low lunge position with the back knee about an inch off the ground.
  2. Then, while staying as low to the ground as possible, switch the front foot to the back and back foot to the front.
  3. Repeat this as fast possible while staying as low as possible and maintain balance for the prescribed time or reps.
  1. The head should stay at about the same height the entire time. If it is bouncing up and down, it is rising too much when the legs are switched.

Sets x Reps: This exercise should be included in a circuit with 2-4 other exercises for 3-5 sets with 15-20 reps or 15-30 seconds each time.

  1. During Goblet Get-Ups start with both knees on the ground and hold a small (<20 lb) dumbbell or kettlebell in front of the chest. Bodyweight is fine if no weights are available.
  2. To start, step one-foot forward, followed by the other foot, staying as low as possible the whole time, finishing in a squat position.
  3. Then step one-foot back, followed by the other foot, finishing in the tall kneeling position we started from.
  4. Repeat as fast as possible for the prescribed time or reps making sure to switch which foot goes up and down first.
  5. The head should stay at about the same height the entire time. If it is bouncing up and down, it is rising too much when the legs are switched.

Sets x Reps: This exercise should be included in a circuit with 2-4 other exercises for 3-5 sets with 15-20 reps or 15-30 seconds each time.

Pushup to T

Want to add a little spice to these social media pushup challenges? Extending your body into a “T” will help you build your upper body, hit your core and increase thoracic mobility. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Starting position:  Start off on hands and feet, arms and legs extended, keep body in straight line and descend body to the ground, push up, open up the chest and bring 1 arm up to reach to the ceiling, come back down and alternate
  2. 3 sets x 8-12 each side—rest 1 min between sets
    1. Progressions: move feet closer together, double stack legs when opening up to one side

Iso-Prone I-Y-T’s

Continue the upper body build by working in multiple stretches from the I, Y and T positions.

  1. Starting position:  Start off on stomach with arms and legs fully extended, head and toes on the ground, fully lengthen arms as if you are being stretched like Superman, hold thumbs up for position (I-Y-T)-reach
  2. 2-3 sets x 10-30 sec in each position—rest 1 min between sets
  1. Progressions:  add light weight (1-2 lbs), switch to high volume reps 15-25

Plank Drag

Get after that core by adding a little extra resistance to your plank.

  1. Starting position:  Start off by setting up in the top of a push-up plank, keep hands underneath shoulders, back flat, don’t tip hips, position the weight directly under the chest, pull the weight directly under the chest, then pull the weight from one side to the other, alternate each side
  2. 3 sets x 8-15 reps each side
  1. Progressions:  create different patterns, push the kb, move forward & back

Burpee Sit-Out

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh no. Not burpees.” But this full-body exercise is totally worth it and will help you work on your dynamic mobility. Here we go:

  1. To begin, start standing straight up, Squat down to a crouched quadruped position with your hands on the ground
  2. Pick your left hand up and sit your right leg through parallel to the ground but not touching the ground
  3. Pull your right leg back to the crouched quadruped position while placing your left hand back on the ground and repeat the sit out to the other side
  4. Once the Left leg has been pulled back to the crouched quadruped position, drive your feet explosively into the ground squat jumping into the air while extending your arms and reaching our hands over head. 
  5. When your feet return to the ground, drop back into the crouched quadruped positions to begin the next rep
  6. Perform 3 –5sets of 8+ repetitions alone or as part of a circuit. 
  7. To progress the difficulty these can be performed with a weighted vest

Not everyone has access to equipment, but if you can get your hands on some dumbbells or kettle bells, Sandoval and his team have a few exercise suggestions you can complete at home.

Kettle Bell Forward and Reverse Lunge

There’s nothing like the burn from some good lunges. Use this exercise to work on your lower extremity strength endurance, dynamic balance and core stability.

  1. To begin standing upright with 2 kettlebells in a front rack position across the front of the chest and shoulders drop your right foot back into a reverse lunge.
  2. Driving with your left leg begin returning to the start position but do not put you right foot on the ground.
  3. Continue moving your right leg through the start position and into a forward lunge.
  4. Continue back to front in rhythmic motion maintaining strong / upright posture until the prescribed reps are completed front and back. 
  5. Complete the equal number of reps with the right foot fixed to the ground while dropping the left back in the reverse lunge position then transitioning forward into the forward lunge position. 
  6. Perform 3-5 sets 5+ repetitions on each side alone or as part of a circuit.
  7. to progress the difficulty, the Kettlebells can be positioned in an overhead lockout position which challenges your shoulder and core stability quite a bit more.

Dumbbell or Kettle Bell “See-Saw” Row

Challenge your core strength and your upper back strength some rows. Here’s how to get the done:

  1. Begin by standing upright while holding the KB’s/DB’s by your sides.
  2. Perform a hip hinge bending forward until your pack is parallel to the ground, with a rigid flat back posture, arms straight with both KBs touching the ground.  Bend the knees to comfort.
  3. Row the right arm by pulling your shoulder blade back and finishing with by bending your elbow and a slight rotation through your mid-section.
  4. Return the right arm to the start position placing the KB on the ground and immediately initiated the same row on the left arm.  The should have a “see-saw” action back and forth as you row one side to the other.
  5. Perform 3-5 sets of 8+ repetitions on each side alone or as part of a circuit.

Give these eight exercises a try and see if they could fit into your home workout routine. Also don’t forget to check out the UFC Performance Institute website and Twitter for more information on the awesome services provided by the PI team.

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.

Zuffa, LLC and its affiliates, employees, directors, officers, parents, subsidiaries, representatives and agents (collectively, “Zuffa”) strongly recommend that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise. Zuffa is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Zuffa, from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of any exercise program you participate in. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website.  Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice. Zuffa is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site.  You are encouraged to consult with your doctor with regard to this information contained on or through this website.  After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider.

Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground Is Still On

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Despite an empty live sports schedule this weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonnen’s Submission Underground will go on as planned this Sunday. While that may be difficult for some to fathom, it’s not exactly the first time in the history of combat sports that Sonnen has put his money where his mouth is and stepped up, and he’s confused by the pat on the back.

Watch Submission Underground on UFC Fight Pass

“I’m getting way too much credit for this,” Sonnen said. “We had this on the calendar. A deal is a deal and we said we were moving forward and there’s a lot of people involved with this. People who have trained, people who have goals, people who, in all fairness, need to make a living. Not just the athletes, either; we’re talking production and everything. There’s just a lot of dominoes and if you say you’re going to do something in this space, you do it.”

And luckily for fans of the series, only two athletes (Roxanne Modaferri and Carlos Condit) have opted out of the SUG card.

“Roxanne was very sweet about it,” Sonnen said. “She did everything in her power but said simply, ‘I just don’t want to get on an airplane right now.’ Which, full respect to. Carlos Condit wanted to come, but he called me and said, ‘I’ve got no training partners.’ I guess the gym kind of dried up. Jake Ellenberger is a hard match, they fought one time and it was a razor close decision on short notice.”

Condit assured Sonnen, Ellenberger and the fans that he would give Ellenberger his match, but it will have to be later.

Listen to Sonnen on UFC Unfiltered free

Just as Uncle Chael would have, SUG veteran Ben Egli volunteered to step up and take on the dangerous Ellenberger on short notice.

“Ellenberger has got to take on Ben Egli. Egli’s a black belt who has never been beaten in Submission Underground except by the great Craig Jones, but Craig beats everybody,” Sonnen said.

As hard as it is to believe, Egli vs Ellenberger might even be more entertaining. While Ellenberger and Condit have history, in the form of a split decision win for Condit in 2009, it’s the future that might be on the line in Sunday’s new match.

“[Egli] has been on the tip of Sean Shelby’s tongue now for about three years,” Sonnen said. “I’ve called Sean directly on this; Sean told me, ‘I know exactly who this guy is.’”

 Egli currently holds an MMA record of 11-3 with nine submission victories as well as two knockout finishes, so while a grappling win against Ellenberger doesn’t get him a UFC contract, the fact that he’s already on the radar of the UFC brass means it sure wouldn’t hurt.

With all the eyes in the world on the one live show, Sunday could be anybody’s night, so why not Egli’s?

“A win over Jake Ellenberger, very few people have it and it means something. Period,” Sonnen said. “Whatever the rules are, you go to an arm-wrestling contest and if you get the jump on Ellenberger, it means something.”

Submission Underground 12 comes to you LIVE at 3:00 pm PT, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!

For a head start on Ben Egli, click here!

The Making Of Tony Ferguson

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With a 14-2 pro record, an Ultimate Fighter season 13 title and three UFC wins, he was on the fast track to big things in the Octagon when he was selected to compete on the UFC on FOX card in East Rutherford, New Jersey on May 5, 2012. 

Ferguson wasn’t on the FOX main card, but a bout in the featured FUEL TV prelim spot wasn’t a bad thing, and with a victory, he was likely to move into those coveted main cards. 

Who would that victory come against though? His original opponent, Dennis Hallman, withdrew from the bout due to injury. Replacement foe Thiago Tavares followed suit. Eventually, it was Michael Johnson who got the call to face “El Cucuy,” and while “The Menace” had a spotty 2-2 UFC record at the time, none of that really mattered to Ferguson.

“When I was little, I used to go up and look at the tournament brackets and wonder who I was gonna wrestle next, and my dad says ‘why are you gonna do that? You’re gonna take yourself out of the game. Instead of worrying about what everybody else is doing, worry about what you’re doing.’ So that’s what I did,” Ferguson said before the fight. 

It’s what Ferguson had been doing since he was a child. Whether in football, wrestling or baseball, he was a grinder, a California kid with a Midwestern mindset developed in Muskegon, Michigan.

“My parents moved me out to Michigan for a reason and that was probably the biggest blessing in the world,” Ferguson said in 2015. “They threw me in sports and I had wonderful coaches that were always there pushing me. The jobs I had were the same thing, pushing and grinding, and if there was rain, sleet, snow, hail, tornadoes, it didn’t matter; you had to go to work. I embrace that.”

It was clear early on that Ferguson’s talent met his work ethic, and the accolades built up, from high school to college and into mixed martial arts.

“I was a wrestler since I was like six years old, so when I got into high school and I got into college, you were never saving yourself,” he said. “We always wrestled all the way up until the weigh-ins, and sometimes you would have up to eight matches in a week. Wrestlers are used to that; we’re used to grinding it out and going after it. Fighting is a little bit different. You get some bumps and bruises and scrapes and black eyes, and this is real, so you try to prepare as much as you can and not BS it. But I don’t hold anything back or try to reserve myself for the fight that’s next. Worry about right now and other things would follow.”

UFC Debut: Tony Ferguson vs Ramsey Nijem | Free Fight

UFC Debut: Tony Ferguson vs Ramsey Nijem | Free Fight

So a change of opponent for a pivotal MMA bout wasn’t an issue. Getting kicked in the arm and breaking it in the first round against Johnson was. He could have quit, and given the severity of the injury – which required a metal plate to be inserted in his arm until he recovered – maybe he should have, but Ferguson isn’t built that way. He bit down on his mouthpiece, let the adrenalin of the moment mask the pain as much as it could, and he went three rounds. The decision went Johnson’s way, but it didn’t deter Ferguson from his path.

“I took that loss to Michael Johnson kind of hard and I knew I had to do something about it because I was close to that radar for the top ten and I know where I belong,” he said. “I know that I belong up there.”

So in true Midwest fashion, Ferguson went about his business of healing up and once cleared to compete again, he hasn’t stopped winning. Twelve fights and twelve victories later, Ferguson will next fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title.

It’s been a long road to this point, but the 36-year-old Ferguson will tell you that it’s been worth every struggle along the way. 

“It’s like any other story you hear from any other fighter that’s successful,” he said. “It wasn’t easy. But I’m here now.”

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.

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Where We Stand: Women’s Bantamweight Division

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The women’s bantamweight division is currently under the longest-tenured championship reign of any division as Amanda Nunes’ ownership nears its fourth year. During that time, Nunes took down the previous three 135-pound champions and essentially established herself as the greatest women’s mixed martial artist in the promotion’s history. 

In the wake of Nunes’ dominance, the division is in an interesting moment as three of the top six contenders have already lost to the “Lioness,” but a handful of young contenders are climbing the ladder and believe they’re the ones to force a changing of the guard. 

Here’s a look at the women’s bantamweight division:

More Divisional Breakdowns: Strawweight Women’s Flyweight

Champion: Amanda Nunes

(19-4, 13 KOs, 3 Submissions)

Last Fight: Unanimous Decision Win vs Germaine de Randamie (12/14/2019)

Next fight: vs Felicia Spencer @ UFC 250 (featherweight)

Outlook: At 31 years old, Amanda Nunes has the kind of resume and legacy that lasts for the rest of time. She not only beat, but finished, every previous bantamweight champion and emphatically knocked out two of the most dominant women – Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg – to step into the Octagon. Her knockout of the latter, which was followed by a head-kick knockout of Holly Holm, particularly elevated Nunes’ profile. While her unanimous decision win over Germaine de Randamie was more of a grinding effort as Nunes implemented a wrestling-heavy approach, she imposed her will all the same. Going forward, Nunes is focused on defending her featherweight title, which makes additional sense considering a definitive bantamweight contender hasn’t yet made herself known.

1) Germaine de Randamie

(9-4, 4 KOs)

Last Fight: Unanimous Decision Loss vs Amanda Nunes (12/14/2019)

Next fight: N/A

Outlook: UFC’s inaugural featherweight champion hasn’t fought at 145 pounds since, instead opting to move back down to bantamweight, where she subsequently beat Raquel Pennington by decision and handed fast-riser Aspen Ladd her first loss via a first-round TKO. In her title shot against Amanda Nunes, she showed off her slick kickboxing when the fight stayed on the feet and arguably had the upper hand in that department. However, Nunes’ grappling proved too much, and other than an upkick that landed flush on Nunes, de Randamie had little success in their five-round bout. Her path forward is a little cloudy seeing as Nunes is also the champion at featherweight, but whenever de Randamie decides to fight again – she fought just six times in the last five years – she is as tough and as difficult a task to tackle as they come.

2) Holly Holm

(13-5, 8 KOs)

Last Fight: Unanimous Decision win vs Raquel Pennington (1/18/2020)

Next fight: N/A

Outlook: After shocking the mixed martial arts world at UFC 193, Holly Holm had a bit of tough sledding and dropped her next three bouts. Since then, she won three of her last five fights and is very much still one of the best 135ers in the world. The 38-year-old put retirement rumors to rest, saying she is still hoping to hold a UFC belt once again before she calls it quits. She’s in a similar place as de Randamie, though, having recently lost to Nunes, and as long as Nunes holds both the 135- and 145-pound belts, Holm is a little out of luck in that sense. An interesting fight on the table would be a matchup with Aspen Ladd, whom she was booked to fight at UFC 235 before the matchup was scratched. A win over Ladd could jumpstart another title run for Holm if things shake out in her favor.

3) Aspen Ladd

(9-1, 6 KO/TKOs, 1 Submission)

Last Fight: TKO Win vs Yana Kunitskaya (12/7/2019)

Next fight: N/A

Outlook: Aspen Ladd was on the fast track to a title shot when she took on Germaine de Randamie in Sacramento last July, but then she caught a straight-right that dropped her to the canvas just seconds into the first round and – though not without controversy – suffered her first professional loss. She bounced back impressively, though, scoring a third-round TKO over Yana Kunitskaya following a particularly charged message from her coach between rounds. Ladd started the round like she was shot out of a cannon and ended the fight 33 seconds into the final frame. It was an emphatic statement, and when she booked a fight with Julianna Pena in Columbus, it seemed like she was right back in the title picture. Before the card’s postponement, Pena pulled out of the bout due to an injury, so the matchup is expected to be rescheduled in the future. Through five ventures in the Octagon, all but one of Ladd’s four wins have come by TKO, and that knack for finishing fights certainly makes a potential matchup with Amanda Nunes an intriguing one. 

4) Julianna Pena

(10-3, 3 KOs, 4 Submissions)

Last Fight: Unanimous Decision Win vs Nicco Montano (7/13/2019)

Next fight: N/A

Outlook: Returning from a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, Julianna Pena stepped into a bout with Nicco Montano on short-notice and came away with a unanimous decision victory. It was a nice return performance for “The Venezuelan Vixen,” and though she had to pull out of her initial date to fight Aspen Ladd, if the two do meet in the Octagon, it’ll likely be a chance for Pena to earn a shot at the title. Winner in five of her six UFC bouts, Pena’s only loss came to Valentina Shevchenko in 2017, and she has proven she is anything but an easy out.

5) Irene Aldana

(12-5, 6 KOs, 3 Submissions)

Last Fight: KO Win vs Ketlen Vieira (12/14/2019)

Next fight: N/A

Outlook: Irene Aldana accomplished the difficult task of staying busy while also showing improvement in each bout. Competing four times in 2019, Aldana tallied three wins and two finishes, the most impressive coming in her last bout against Ketlen Vieira. At the end of the first round, Aldana landed a devastating left hook that essentially catapulted her into the title picture. Her only loss in the past year came in a close split decision to Raquel Pennington, and she makes for an interesting matchup with the top of the division. At the very least, she is fresh blood in a division heavy with experienced contenders.

In The Mix:

Ketlen Vieira, Macy Chiasson, Yana Kunitskaya

UFC Store Link

Outlook: Bantamweight is particularly interesting, as there’s a slight lack of new contenders making a push toward the top of the division, which speaks to the toughness and talent of the veterans in the rankings. With that said, Ketlen Vieira remains an intriguing contender. Just 28 years of age, she was 10-0 coming off a split decision win over Cat Zingano before injury kept her out of action. Although she suffered her first loss to Irene Aldana, she seemed like she was on the inside track to a title challenge beforehand. Scheduled to face Marion Reneau at UFC 250, she could find herself in a top 5 matchup with a win. As far as Macy Chiasson goes, the TUF 28 winner impressed with three finishes in her first three bouts. After hitting a speed bump against Lina Lansberg, Chiasson put together a dominant performance over Shanna Young. And although Yana Kunitskaya is coming off a TKO loss to Aspen Ladd, the former featherweight title challenger looked good heading into the third round of that bout.

Felicia Spencer Eyes One Dream After Another

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And if she upsets Nunes, she will shake up the MMA world, not just because she will have beaten the G.O.A.T. of women’s combat sports, but she will have done it less than a year since her UFC debut. 

“It’s kind of crazy,” Spencer admits. “It feels like I’ve been around the UFC for a while, and it has only been about a year since I was signed and less than a year since my debut.” 

It is kinds of crazy, making you wonder how she manages to keep it all together?

“I’m really grounded, and with everything that I have going on in my life, I keep myself really busy and I have a lot of things that I do, so this is what I’ve been working for all this time and now that it’s here, the work’s not done; it’s just continuing to improve and to reach the next level,” she said. “I feel like this has been a cycle: I achieve my dream and then I have to continue and move on to the next dream. First my dream was to fight for Invicta and then it was to be an Invicta champion and then to fight in the UFC and now be a UFC champion, so it’s a never-ending cycle of setting goals, reaching them and setting new goals.”

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So what does Spencer do for an encore with a win over Nunes? 

“We’ll have to find out,” she laughs. “There’s always going to be something else that I want to do to continue and improve where I’m at. Maybe there’s an opportunity that I don’t even know exists yet. When I started to train and to fight, the dreams that I have now were not even plausible at the time. So I don’t really plan that far ahead. I just want to get there and then the next step will present itself to me. That’s what I’m waiting for.” 

Whatever it is, she’s ready for whatever comes her way.

“I know that there will be some big changes,” Spencer said. “I’m going to be taking some time off of work (as a teacher), and who knows, it might be something that is a longer term of leave of absence. So I’m ready to make big changes and take big opportunities. Otherwise, I just keep my friends close and keep myself grounded.”

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here

On This Day in UFC History: UFC 111

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GSP was that good and that dominant at that point in his second reign as welterweight champion. In the three fights after his rematch with Matt Serra in 2008, he defeated Jon Fitch, BJ Penn and Thiago Alves, not losing a round, let alone a fight. Hardy had gone four for four to start his Octagon career, but in Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center, he ran into a fighter at the top of his game. 

Here’s how we called it that night.

On This Day: St-Pierre vs Hardy | Free Fight

On This Day: St-Pierre vs Hardy | Free Fight

After a gutsy effort by Dan Hardy, England may still belong to him, but Georges St-Pierre had the rest of the world wrapped up as he defended his UFC welterweight championship for the fourth time with a shutout five round decision win.

Scores were 50-43, 50-44, and 50-45.

St-Pierre was all business, taking the Nottingham native to the canvas moments into the bout. St-Pierre quickly moved to side control, then took Hardy’s back as he tried to escape. Hardy was able to elude trouble on the mat, but as he escaped and got to his feet, St-Pierre made it a brief respite as he took ‘The Outlaw’ back down. With 1:30 left, St-Pierre got into the mount position before again taking Hardy’s back. A late armbar attempt by the champion appeared to spell the end, but the challenger gamely got free.

After his first-round dominance, St-Pierre went back to what was already working in round two, taking Hardy down one minute into the second stanza and keeping him on the mat for much of the round.

St-Pierre grounded Hardy again in round three, this time posturing up to add some more muscle to his strikes. Hardy, not surprisingly, remained game – even trying to grab the Canadian’s arm for a submission attempt – but his odds of pulling off the upset victory were dwindling with each punch. With 90 seconds left, St-Pierre started working for the finish, but he was unable to break his foe.

Barely breathing heavy, St-Pierre ran through the championship rounds with more takedowns and ground work. Hardy’s attempts to get back to his feet were rebuffed, but he wouldn’t give in, even after a tight kimura attempt by St-Pierre that should have ended matters. It was a small battle won for Hardy, who, though lasting the distance, was simply unable to deal with the ground attack of St-Pierre.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/30121

At UFC 111, Shane Carwin was extended past the two minute, 11 second mark for the first time in his career, but there was no fade, no sudden implosion, only more of the same from the Colorado giant as he earned the interim UFC heavyweight championship with a first round knockout of Frank Mir.

“It’s a lifetime of work right here, I’m speechless,” said Carwin. The victory now set up a bout with current heavyweight boss Brock Lesnar, whose bout with diverticulitis forced the creation of the interim title.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/29217

Jersey shore standout Kurt Pellegrino continued his rise up the lightweight ranks as he rebounded from some dicey moments in the first round to submit Brazil’s Fabricio Camoes in the second.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/31693

When Thiago Alves was forced to withdraw from his welterweight bout against Jon Fitch, his American Top Team teammate Ben Saunders eagerly requested the bout. He may be rethinking that gutsy call after being on the short end of a dominant three round decision win by Fitch.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/28979

Whippany, New Jersey lightweight Jim Miller was victorious in the main card opener as he eked out a three round unanimous decision win over always tough Mark Bocek.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/33423

When Rory Markham tipped the scales at 177 pounds for his welterweight bout with Nate Diaz, who was making his debut in the division, it was assumed that the former lightweight was going to have some difficulty dealing with the strength and power of the veteran knockout artist. But it was Diaz laying the hurt down on Markham as he scored a first round TKO win.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/29375

Ricardo Almeida’s welterweight debut was a successful one, as the former middleweight contender thrilled the fans in his adopted home of New Jersey with a second-round submission of Matt Brown.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/33417

Brazilian middleweight Rousimar Palhares scored a huge win in his preliminary bout, impressively submitting Tomasz Drwal with a heel hook in less than a minute.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/31689

Light heavyweight prospect Jared Hamman earned his first UFC victory, scoring a unanimous decision over Rodney Wallace in a furiously paced three rounder.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/38974

In the opener, Matthew Riddle got the victory over Point Pleasant, New Jersey’s Greg Soto via third round disqualification after Soto landed an illegal upkick.

https://ufcfightpass.com/video/28883

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.

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Dominick Reyes Entering A New Chapter

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He’s spent the time since he walked out of that Octagon on that February night in Houston campaigning for a rematch with the longtime champion. And while it is possible that rematch could be what’s next for the UFC light heavyweight division, all plans are on hold due to COVID-19.

Reyes has seen the impact that it’s had on his fellow fighters and agrees with how UFC President Dana White and the promotion plans to put on as many events as possible.

“Dana handled this whole thing exactly how you should handle it. We are the toughest m************ in the world. Our sport is not like any other sport; you cannot compare it to anything else. Everything we do is different. The only thing we do that other sports do is put in hard work and entertain,” Reyes told UFC.com. “We train our whole lives for these fights. For a lot of guys with fights that got postponed, I imagine it being heartbreaking. I applaud Dana and I applaud the fighters that are doing what they have to do to provide for their families and loved ones.”

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Social distancing has given Reyes the chance to dive into video games, which he broadcasts on Twitch (DRey205), and allowed him to get a dog. The puppy is a Pomskie named “Rollie” and represents more than just a new friend that’s by his side. 

It’s time for a new chapter in Reyes’ life.

“My whole life up to this point has been getting the belt, that’s been everything,” he said. “That’s why I don’t have a wife or kids. I had to be selfish. But with the quarantine and how the fight with Jon went, I’ve realized things are different now and I decided to get a companion.”

The previous chapters of Reyes’ rise consisted of hype, knockouts and overcoming adversity. But his fight against Jones made Reyes a star. Not only because of his performance, but because of the lead-up and how he carried himself after the controversial decision.

That’s why “The Devastator” is starting this next chapter with a different mindset, a new buddy, and with more confidence than ever.

“I am the people’s champ because everybody believes that I’m the champ. I don’t have gold around my shoulder, I don’t have the actual belt, but I’m the champ,” he said. “Everyone saw how I fought Jones and what I did. That’s why any time I post something on social media or someone posts about Jones, the people call out for a rematch and say I’m the champ. Everyone is on board.”

And though the COVID-19 situation has taken the focus off the next title fight at 205 pounds, Reyes is confident that he will be the next one to throw hands with Jones, not Polish contender Jan Blachowicz.

“Jan Blachowicz and Corey Anderson fought and then Blachowicz had all the buzz, but the longer this goes on, the more that people stop talking about him,” Reyes said. “Everybody remembers my fight with Jon. People will watch on UFC Fight Pass and people will get reignited and see how that fight really played out. I think the wait is going to pay off. Our fight was bigger and since nothing is happening right now people won’t be able to forget that.”

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When asked why he deserves a rematch before Blachowicz gets his first shot at a UFC belt, Reyes is quick to credit Blachowicz for amassing seven victories in his last eight fights. 

But those victories don’t mean that he should take Reyes’ spot in the batter’s circle. 

“There’s nobody else, there’s just Jan and me. He’s won the fights that he’s needed to win, but then he lost that fight to Thiago Santos and won the fights after that. I can’t hate on him for that but it’s obvious that I should be next,” Reyes said. “The biggest reason is that Jones-Reyes 2 is simply the biggest fight Dana White can make. It’s both the money fight and the right fight.”

Once things around the virus improve, I know Dana and I will sit down, and we will get this rematch done.”

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.

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Tom Brady Showed Calvin Kattar The Way

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“I’m still holding on until he signs something,” laughed Kattar, a diehard Pats fan who was as shocked as all of New England when Brady said that his time in that uniform was done. “Oh man, it hurts. I’ll tell you, though, I’m gonna be a fan wherever that guy goes. We’ve been through too much together at this point.”

By March 20, the dream was over. Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yet while fans like Kattar were understandably upset seeing the man who led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins go, surprisingly, there wasn’t the outrage some sports towns have expressed when their heroes left town. Instead, there was an appreciation for TB12.

Learn more about Kattar

“He’s done a lot for a lot of people around here and, for me, personally, I remember the example he showed, being at the top of the game for that long and just being dialed in and laser-focused, on and off the field,” Kattar said. “It just shows what it means to be a true champion. He’s a great example of what it takes to be at the top and to stay there and I think you’re gonna see a lot of Patriots fans rooting for the Bucs this year. This guy’s done too much for everyone around here and he brought too much good to the community in New England.”

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Kattar, who is currently preparing for his UFC 249 bout against Jeremy Stephens next month, isn’t about to go as far as to buy a Tampa Bay jersey, and while he will still be rooting for Brady, he also believes his beloved Pats will be all right with a new face taking the snaps.

“It’s about the system,” said the featherweight contender. “I still think that if we have a decent quarterback, with the system we have in place, I think that we’ll be all right. The coaching and the system in place are bigger than any one player; they’ve proven that and they’ve let go of the egos. It’s just like we try to do in the gym. No one’s bigger than the gym, no one’s better than anybody else and they keep that mindset there and it’s been great to be a part of that and witness it and take pride in how they conduct themselves. I definitely take that into my training day in and day out by trying to develop systems in what we do. It has helped me tremendously over the years, being able to witness that level of athlete so close to home, and taking pride in the Patriots and Tom Brady.”

For a little reference, when Brady made his NFL debut with the Patriots in 2000, Kattar was 12 years old. In terms of being a football fan, Brady was all Kattar knew. So when the Methuen native became a professional athlete in his own right, he looked to No. 12 for an example of someone who changed the game as he soared to the top. And while the 42-year-old Brady may not add another Super Bowl ring to his collection in Florida, Kattar is looking forward to watching him try.

“He’s relentless,” Kattar said. “And a part of him wants to prove everybody wrong. Whatever the ins and out were with the Patriots and him, I like his confidence in himself to separate from all he’s ever known and still have that fire to compete after the career he’s had. It takes a lot to start with a new team and it’s pretty unbelievable that he was able to take that step in hopes of winning another Super Bowl after all he’s already accomplished. Whoever comes in next, they’ve got some big shoes to fill.”

And though Brady isn’t around to win championships in New England anymore, Kattar is more than willing and able to bring a UFC title home to the fans in the area.

“I’d be proud to bring a title to Boston,” he said. “We don’t have a UFC title and that’s the only thing we’re missing. So the New England Cartel is working hard to fill that void.” 

239 shop collection replay

For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.

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