Andrei Arlovski has been away from the octagon so long that some new UFC fans might not know who he is, or even that he’s a former champion.
Still, wherever “The Pitbull” fights, he headlines. There’s a history there to promote.
“I guess I’m just lucky,” Arlovski (30-10) joked while speaking to MMAjunkie.com Radio.
When Arlovski last competed in the UFC in 2008, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira won an interim strap that was created when Randy Couture turned down a fight with “Big Nog” after suddenly retiring from the promotion. Brock Lesnar had just made his debut.
Now, the division is topped by two dominant heavyweights – champ Cain Velasquez and ex-titleholder Junior dos Santos – who appear to be a cut above everyone else (and next month, decide who’s No. 1). But that might not be the case if Arlovski’s frequent sparring partner, light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones, decides to move up to the division.
Time is not on Arlovski’s side. He just turned 34 and will fight his 31st professional MMA bout when he meets UFC vet Mike Kyle (20-9-1) at World Series of Fighting 5, which takes place Saturday at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey. (Main-card fights air live on NBC Sports Network following prelims on MMAjunkie.com.)
Arlovski, though, is still heavily invested in a comeback he hopes will land him back with the industry-leader, or if nothing else, put another title in his custody. He still works with one of the top MMA camps in the world at Jackson-Winkeljohn’s MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., and rubs shoulders with Jones and a bevy of other top fighters. Training close to champions, after all, is the age-old strategy for becoming one.
Or, in his case, becoming one again.
“I have only one personal goal: a champion’s belt around my waist, and that’s it,” said Arlovski. “I will do everything possible to be champion again, and I will do everything possible. That’s why I train with Greg Jackson and other top fighters in MMA. Greg and other coaches helps me every day to reach my goal.
“I understand I have a long, long way, but every day, I’m taking a step. Another big step is fighting against Mike Kyle.”
Kyle, 33, shares Arlovski’s reputation for taking as many knockouts as given, so Arlovski stands to add some footage to his aging highlight reel or go back, as he has so many times, to the drawing board. A recent headliner against former welterweight Anthony Johnson, whom he replaced to fight Kyle, led to a decision loss that derailed his return to glory.
While Arlovski won his last three fights in the UFC, he did not renew his contract and left for greener pastures in a then-crowded field of competitors. He won his first two bouts outside the UFC, but then went on a four-fight slump that took his career to the brink of extinction.
Yet it’s not impossible that Arlovski could close out his WSOF contract and return to the octagon. His current deal already allows him to fight in other promotions to stay sharp.
“It’s the main goal,” Arlovski said. “UFC has the best heavyweight division right now. But my first step is a victory over Mike, so I’m looking forward to Sept. 14, and we’ll see what happens after. But the UFC is the best organization in MMA right now.”
MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.view original article >>
David Branch tapped to strikes at UFC Fight Night 116, which usually earns fighters some criticism from fans and peers. But when others fight past the point of good sense, was this actually the smart read news >>
Watch Ovince Saint Preux make quick work of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua with a quick, brutal finish. read news >>
UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier revealed he would be happy to fight Jon Jones for a third time. Jones was stripped of the title he won against Cormier at UFC 214 after the bout was rule read news >>
We want your picks for UFC Fight Night 117 event in Japan, which features a new main event between Yushin Okami and Ovince Saint Preux.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
Ex-UFC champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua apologized to the fans and opponent Ovince Saint Preux after pulling out of UFC Fight Night 117 in Japan.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>
According to Brazil’s Combate.com, former featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo will get his wish of a 2017 octagon return.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>
Gilbert Burns already had the titles to show for his grappling, but his walk-off knockout at UFC-Pittsburgh should also serve notice.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>
Luck had nothing to do with it.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>
It looks like former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is nearing his return to the Octagon. Aldo is currently targeted to fight in December against top five ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas in read news >>
One of the 20 fighters on this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 event is facing an indefinite suspension following his promotional debut. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>