MMA Latest had the pleasure of speaking to none other than Alex Arthur MBE. Alex is a Scottish former Boxer who won a commonwealth gold medal as well as titles at British, European and World championship level. In 2012, he was awarded an MBE for his services to Boxing and officially retired from boxing in 2013. Alex was a fantastic boxer and actually fought in one of, in my opinion, the best ever fights against Michael Gomez in 2003. In a total change of pace, we talked to him about his love of Mixed Martial Arts.
Adam Shone: Alex, it is an absolute pleasure to interview you for MMA Latest. I noticed on Twitter you have regular back and forth chats with UFC fighter Robert “The Hammer” Whiteford. Robert is a fan favourite and, for me, evokes one of the best UFC memories in his walk out to Flower of Scotland in Glasgow. How did your paths cross? Were you at UFC Glasgow?
Alex Arthur: Thanks, guys! The honour is mine! Robert (Bob) is a legend in my eyes and now a good friend, I think he has enormous potential if directed right! I’m friends with two close friends of Bob in Connie Ramsay, the judo champ, and Colin McNeil who was a brother to me in the amateurs.
AS: I also noticed you tweeted Conor McGregor post his UFC 194 win. Did you back him to win and how talented do you think Conor is?
AA: Yes mate, I expected Conor to win. His preparation seemed spot on and mentally he was on another level of self-belief. I like his boxing background too and it’s nice he credits it.
AS: Tyson Fury, after his shocking win against Klitschko, has expressed an interest in fighting an MMA Heavyweight Champion. Let’s play theory and say that fight did happen. Do you think he wins without background knowledge of other martial arts? What’s your thoughts on Tyson Fury – good/bad for the sport of boxing to have such a character?
AA: I think Tyson’s actions and comments are bad for the sport but his ring performances you can’t argue with. Yes everyone has flaws but he’s done what’s asked of him this far. I think he should stay away from MMA!
AS: Who do you think Conor should fight next? Aldo rematch / RDA or Cerrone at 155lb or Frankie Edgar?
AA: Personally, I’d like to see the Aldo rematch.
AS: How did you get interested in MMA? Is it something you have done any training in?
AA: While in training camp for fights back in ’06 I’d watch ‘Ultimate Fighter’ and fell in love with it. I’ve done a bit of BJJ and Bob beat the shit out me once! (laughs)
AS: UFC is scheduled to bring an event to London in February. Will you be going? Who would you like to see in the main event?
AA: I’ve been to a few live events, including London. Of course, I’d like to see Bob as main event! Ha-ha
AS: Scotland has a healthy abundance of UFC Talent just now with Robert Whiteford, Stevey Ray and JoJo Calderwood. UFC Glasgow was also incredible. Do you think it’s possible we see a Scottish champion within a few years?
AA: YES! Of course Scotland will have a champion! And what a support they will receive.
AS: I notice on Twitter you also give a lot of praise to Holly Holm after her huge upset over Ronda Rousey. Is there a lack of boxing skills in MMA or do you think Holly just executed a better game plan?
AA: I might be in love with Holly. I do love a tough girl. (laughs) I liked her as a boxer and her boxing skills against Ronda were apparent from the off. Her timing was impeccable and the punch she landed prior to the kick was what ended the fight.
AS: Finally, who do you love to watch in MMA and do you have a favourite fight?
AA: I like to watch Holly, my Scottish brothers and sister in Joanna & Stevie, and of course, my bro Bob. I like McGregor but my all time favourite is Matt Hughes. I loved his win over GSP.
Growing up in Scotland and being a fight fan meant that I have always been in awe of Alex Arthur, MBE. They say you should never meet your heroes but having had the chance to conduct this interview I’m certainly glad I had a chance to speak to mine. Alex has a great knowledge of MMA and an obvious passion for the sport. Robert “The Hammer” Whiteford will no doubt be picking up some excellent boxing tips from this man and MMA Latest is extremely grateful for his Interview.
Adam Shone – @adamshone292
Exclusive: Curtis Blaydes on Francis Ngannou: “He’s not the cleanest striker but he is very powerful”
The last time fans saw Curtis Blaydes in the Octagon was against Oleksiy Oliynyk at UFC 217. Blayes ended up winning the fight via a weird stoppage. In the second round of their fight, Blaydes got up from Oliynik’s guard and threw an illegal soccer kick aimed at his opponents head. Although the kick didn’t land, the referee stopped the fight and had the doctor check out Oliynyk. Oliynyk informed the doctor that he was unable to continue and the referee called a stop to the fight. The fight was ruled a TKO win for Blaydes in what proved to be a lackluster ending.
Even with the fight ending the way it did, it didn’t seem to take anything away from Blaydes’ victory. “No,” Blaydes told MMA Latest. “I was winning the fight. I would of won, anyone who says otherwise is just irritating. I don’t think the weird ending has anything to do with how the fight was going.”
Although Blaydes has moved on from his fight with Oliynek, one man who hasn’t moved on from a fight with Blaydes is new UFC signee and DWTNCS alum, Allen Crowder. Crowder has been calling out Blaydes in almost every interview he’s done so far. The Mebane, North Carolina native first fought Blaydes in April 2015, with Blaydes winning by TKO in the second round. “He’s not worth it,” Blaydes said. “If anyone wants to watch the video of our last fight they can look it up, it wasn’t much of a fight.”
Speaking of former opponents, Blaydes also represents the only fighter in the UFC to have gone toe to toe with Francis Ngannou without having his lights shut off. The Chicago native wound up with a closed eye and the doctors were forced to step in and stop the fight. But unlike Ngannou’s former opponents, Blaydes was able to experience the power first hand without going to sleep. “He has been getting a lot of hype but he is extremely powerful, Blaydes said. “I won’t- I’m not going to be a sore loser and downgrade all the things he does, but he is a powerful striker. He’s not the cleanest striker but he is very powerful.”
Ngannou was able to successfully able to shed the prospect label after he knocked out Overeem and punched (pun intended) his ticket to a title shot. Meanwhile, Blaydes believes he’s shed the prospect label himself after winning four straight in the UFC. “I mean I think so, but I guess it’s not for me to say,” Blaydes said. “It’s up to the audience and the media to say. I wasn’t the one who gave myself the prospect label in the beginning so it’s just up to the people who gave it to take it away.”
After four straight wins, three in 2017, Blaydes goals heading into 2018 remain simple. “To get better every fight, just trying to climb the rankings.”
UFC 219’s Jimmie Rivera to TJ Dillashaw “Defend Your Belt or Vacate.”
MMA Latest had the chance to talk to #4 ranked UFC bantamweight Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera ahead of his fight at UFC 219 against John Lineker.
Rivera (21-1) extended his unbeaten run to twenty when he defeated Thomas Almeida at UFC Long Island in July. Originally scheduled to face former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, we began by asking Rivera how the opponent change had affected his preparation for UFC 219.
The only thing that’s changed is the game plan, everything else stays the same. Cruz is more of an irritating fight because he just doesn’t stop moving, but with Lineker, he’s going to stay in the pocket and bang, and I love that.
Recently, Rivera posted a video to his Twitter account of him sparring with the recently crowned bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw. He told us about the context of this video, and how the sparring went down between them.
It was 3 or 4 years back. I think TJ had just lost to (John) Dodson on TUF. My teammate Louis Gaudinot was actually fighting Tim Elliott at the time, and we were in Milwaukee so I got to train with (Urijah) Faber and Dillashaw.
Oh by the way did you forget this?…. I’m not cody, i don’t show videos then get knock out. pic.twitter.com/EsyvJmGnkz
— Jimmie Rivera (@JimmieRivera135) November 26, 2017
I just sent it to TJ to say, don’t forget what happened. I was getting the best of him, and I don’t really brag about it. But he wants to leave the weight class and fight DJ for the money fight, and I want to fight for the belt, so it’s defend your belt or vacate.
After briefly referencing the potential superfight between Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw, I asked Rivera about his thoughts on the somewhat flawed UFC rankings system, and title fights being put together purely for entertainment value.
It sucks. When I become champ I won’t be like a TJ or McGregor, I’m going to be like Demetrious Johnson and defend my belt against people coming up, it’s the right thing to do. If you want to win the belt and leave the division straight away, it’s kind of bullshit.
Rivera concluded by telling me that although he isn’t looking past Lineker at 219, “the only fight that makes sense after this one, is fighting TJ for the belt.”
Exclusive: Alexander Gustafsson eyeing summer 2018 return- wants title shot next
Top light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson hasn’t fought since an impressive knockout win back in May, against Glover Teixeira. “The Mauler” is currently on a two-fight winning streak, and for many people, is seen as one of the most logical names to fight for the title next.
Currently absent from the Octagon since May, speaking to MMA Latest, “The Mauler” explains why he’s been on such a long layoff. “I have had an injury in my shoulder,” Gustafsson told MMA Latest. “I had a surgery a couple of months back where they put in a titanium plate to keep my collarbone in place. But that plate was taken out last week so I am back to training and slowly but surely getting better with all the rehab. I’m excited to be back in the Octagon soon.”
After so many obstacles, Gustafsson details when we can expect him back in the cage. “If everything goes well with rehab, I’ll be back in the octagon in the beginning of the summer – right in time for the next title match!”
Volkan Oezdemir was calling out Gustafsson for a European number one contender fight, Gustafsson explains he was never interested in the fight. “No, my prior goal and my only interest is the title fight,” Gustafsson said. “If Volkan wins against DC he will probably be my next opponent.”
The title fight is “absolutely” what Gustafsson believes is next for him and don’t expect to see him in a number one contender fight first. “As I said previously, the title fight is my number one interest.”
With Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir fighting for the title at UFC 220, Gustafsson shares his thoughts on the matchup. “It’s an exciting matchup – DC is the more experienced fighter and he is a more complete fighter than Volkan,” Gustafsson said. “DC has also been in this situation before, Volkan has not.”
Back in July, Jon Jones failed his second test for PED’s after beating Daniel Cormier to regain his light heavyweight belt. Before the fights with Daniel Cormier, Jones went to war with Gustafsson back in 2013. Gustafsson shares his thoughts on Jones’ second failed test. “Disastrous is my first thought,” Gustafsson explains. “But for the sport, it is good that the truth is out. I wish Jon good luck in his rehab and he is one of the most talented fighters in the UFC.”
Gustafsson was also asked if he eyeing a rematch with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones before the end of his career. “Of course, I feel good and I’m motivated,” Gustafsson said. “I would like to get the opportunity to match up against both DC and Jon before I retire.”
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