UFC 193 was an excellent event for the promotion, and that's putting it mildly. The stadium show in Melbourne, Australia will end up being one of the highest-drawing PPVs ever for the UFC, and they broke their attendance record as well.

Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting reports that the PPV did an estimated 1 to 1.1 million buys, and that official attendance was 56.214. That puts it third or fourth all-time in PPV numbers, and breaks the attendance mark set at UFC 129 in Toronto, where they drew 55,724.

LINK: UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm estimated at 1-1.1 million PPV buys

After beginning his career 10-0 and coming within mere seconds of a UFC title,Gray Maynard has had a rough few years. Not only has he lost his last four fights — three of them coming via TKO — but he’s gone 1-5 since fightingFrankie Edgar to a draw in one of the UFC’s best fights of all time.

Now 36, Maynard is back home in Las Vegas, once again training at Xtreme Couture. And though he’s heard the cries for retirement, he’s gearing up for one more run. Only this time, the once massive lightweight is now en-route to a different weight class. Maynard says he wants to next appear as a featherweight, which might come as a surprise to some.

"The last year-and-a-half my weight’s been pretty low," he told MMA Fighting. "It’s been easy to make weight. I know there were a lot of rumors throughout my career that it was hard for me to get down. It never really was hard. I just let the rumors go. It was never to the point where I had to diet all camp. It was more that I had to diet and cut down the last two weeks before a fight. It’s always hard to make weight the last day. But it wasn’t an eight-week process.

"I would walk around at 170, and a lot of times I would get out of camp and just bulk up," he says. "But, you know, everybody does. I would get up to 180 at times. But it was just I was kind of out of control in how I ate. Obviously I would probably hit the weights a lot more. You’ve got guys Tyson Griffin who would get up to 185, 190 even 200. Just because you get up that high, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get back down."

Maynard says he’d like to make his 145-pound debut sometime in the early spring.

"March would be good," he says. "I definitely want to try and compete at home in Vegas, and I’m just taking it kind of day by day and checking where I’m at. I don’t want to hurry up into it, but I definitely want to get back in there."

LINK: Gray Maynard aiming to return as a featherweight sometime in March

Jonas Bilharinho added another belt to his undefeated record earlier this month, and he intends to continue collecting titles until he gets a call from the Ultimate Fighting Championship or Rizin Fighting Federation.

The 7-0-1 prospect, a former Jungle Fight bantamweight and featherweight champion,stopped Amaury Junior to claim the inaugural 1º Round Combat featherweight title on Dec. 6. Fighting for the first time since undergoing surgery on both ankles, Bilharinho broke Junior’s rib in the opening round, dominating the bout until his opponent quit between the third and fourth round.

"I expected a tough fight," Bilharinho told MMAFighting.com. "I didn’t have much time to prepare so I focused on my cardio so I would be able to fight a long fight. However, I landed a good kick in the first round and ended up breaking his rib. That advantage, together with my good cardio, helped me dominate the rest of the fight. He’s a fantastic fighter, he was able to fight two and a half rounds with a broken rib, but I felt the fight was under my control every second after that."

After conquering his third belt in only eight MMA fights, Bilharinho believes he has done enough to earn a chance in the big leagues.

"I would be honored to fight in the UFC or at Rizin," he said. "I’m waiting for their call. Whoever offers me a deal, I’m in."

LINK: Brazilian prospect Jonas Bilharinho collecting belts while waiting for offers from UFC, Rizin

Jacob “Stich” Duran remembers being called to a dressing room to wrap Fedor Emelianenko’s hands.

The promotion was PRIDE. The fight was Mark Hunt. Maybe. They all blend together after all these years.

Anyway, Duran is a social guy. He likes to get fighters talking. It makes them more comfortable and makes his job easier. It’s also a lot more entertaining than his usual monologue: open … close … open … close. Fighters have good stories.

But not Emelianenko. He didn’t say anything as Duran wrapped protective tape around his hands, and Duran didn’t say much either. Open. Close.

Truth be told, Duran was intimidated. The Klitschko brothers, Andre Ward, every UFC star ever born – Duran has worked with them all. But Emelianenko is different.

“There’s a little special thing about Fedor,” Duran told MMAjunkie.

So he went about his business. Before long, the wrap was done. Emelianenko examined it; he was returning to the ring after breaking his thumb in a previous bout. Obviously, it was important that didn’t happen again.

Emelianenko looked at the veteran cutman. In an hour or so, he would head to the ring to fight Mark Hunt or someone who would try to end his long, magnificent win streak. He would need that looping right hand of his.

“Super,” Emelianenko said.

Duran can’t remember Emelianenko’s opponent, but when he left the dressing room, he doesn’t think his feet touched the ground.


The Russian headlines the New Year’s Eve event, returning to the ring for the first time in three years. He faces Jaideep Singh (2-0), a former kickboxer with two MMA fights to his name.

Even by looser standards of Japanese matchmakers, the pairing is a mismatch. The promotion has gotten a lot of grief for threatening to drag Emelianenko’s legacy through the mud. Duran, though, thinks fans are missing the point.

“Fedor’s at the tail end of his career, number one, and what better way to have him fight in a mega-fight than to be at the Saitama with the old promoters that used to be with PRIDE,” he said.

Duran can’t ignore the “big discrepancy” between the fighters. He doesn’t know Singh’s body of work; he only sees the vast gap in experience. But in the end, he’s just wrapping hands and possibly treating cuts.

Over five or six fights, though, he’s seen Emelianenko through good times and bad. When Dan Henderson knocked him out in 2011, Duran said he had to explain three times what had happened. That was before the heavyweight went on something of a retirement tour and then hung up his gloves, presumably for good.

These days, Duran would prefer to see Emelianenko’s smile and get back at it.

“It’s not so much who he’s fighting; it’s more of an introduction to Fedor and more of a respect to Fedor,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it.”

LINK: Ahead of Fedor Emelianenko's return, 'Stitch' recounts his experiences with a legend

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