RJ Clifford's MMA Articles

October 2013 // Names In the Game
Anderson Silva – Perception vs Reality

Don’t be fooled—Anderson Silva is still the best fighter there ever was, and on December 28, he may remind us that he still is. “It’s normal.” Anderson Silva is the most extraordinary fighter in mixed martial arts history, yet in his second language of English, the recently fallen pound-for-pound king from Brazil’s favorite phrase is: [...]

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September 2013 // Quick Hits
Chrissy Blaire – High Plains Drifter

Former Miss TransWorld Motocross Chrissy Blair parlayed her guest appearance as a UFC 133 ring girl into a permanent job alongside Arianny Celeste, Brittney Palmer, and Vanessa Hanson. Now, the blonde bombshell heats things up every time she circles the Octagon. Where are you calling home these days? That’s a good question. I’m homeless. I’m [...]

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August 2013 // Features
Chad “Money” Mendes

Chad Mendes’ combat sports career is nearly perfect, both on the wrestling mats and in the Octagon. Most athletes could only dream of accomplishing what he’s done, but it’s not enough. Twice, greatness has slipped through his fingers. He swears it will never happen again. It’s as if I had to take a blood oath [...]

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June 2013 // Names in the Game
Return of the Ruthless Robbie Lawler

It took more than eight years for Robbie Lawler to lace up his gloves and return to the UFC Octagon. It took him less than four minutes to earn a knockout over Josh Koscheck and remind everyone why he’s dubbed “Ruthless.” It was 2010, and I was nervous as hell. I was backstage staring at [...]

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May 2013 // Features
Cub Swanson – A Life Less Ordinary

For UFC featherweight Cub Swanson, his clash with Denis Siver at UFC 162 in July means more than fists, shins, and shedding blood. This fight, like every fight in his career, is the result of a perfect balance he’s found in his life—a lifetime of juggling extremes. Cub Swanson had nightmares about this one for [...]

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May 2013 // Names in the Game
Mat Men – The 7 Best World-Class Wrestlers in MMA

Fans, pundits, and commentators love throwing around the term “world class” when describing the skill level of mixed martial artists. However, the phrase is misused too often when discussing the wrestling chops of MMA fighters. A “world-class” wrestler earns the distinction by competing on the international circuit and finding a level of success. As good [...]

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April 2013 // April 2013 // Quick Hits
Mercedes Terrell

Bellator ring girl Mercedes Terrell caught the eye of president Bjorn Rebney in 2009 when she sent in a funny, homemade video to the upstart fight promotion. Now, this Orange County, CA, beauty dazzles MMA fans every Thursday night on Spike TV with her curves, quick wit, and powerful t-shirt launcher. Take a gander and [...]

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March 2013 // Features
Strikeforce Invasion – The Final Flock

One of the most successful MMA promotions closed its cage doors for the final time after Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine on January 12, 2013. Since its inception in front of a record-setting crowd on March 10, 2006, the San Jose-based promotion played a major role in defining MMA’s landscape by signing some of the biggest [...]

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February 2013 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes With Jake Ellenberger

You post a lot of #GotGrit on your Twitter account. What that’s all about? It’s been motivating for me. It’s the extra. What are you doing extra? Everyone trains. Everyone is tough. For me, it’s that grit to do a lot of things a lot of people don’t want to do. In my opinion, there [...]

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February 2013 // Names in the Game
Untappable – 11 Fighters Who Just Won’t Quit

Ever since Royce Gracie started tapping out one-gloved boxers at UFC 1, the submission has become one of the unique intricacies of MMA. It’s a breath-holding moment when a submission is nearly finished and you know the defenseless fighter is either seconds away from tapping or going unconscious. The 11 current fighters on this list [...]

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January 2013 // Quick HIts
5 Minutes with Nate Marquardt

How was Christmas at the Marquardt household? This year, my family and my wife’s family all came over on Christmas Eve, so it was fun. Are you the kind of dad who spoils his kids rotten with gifts, or do they get clothes and books and stuff? Actually, we told the kids we weren’t gonna [...]

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December 2012 // Features
Finding His Mark

When Michael Bisping steps into the Octagon against Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 on Jan. 19 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, it will be more than a one-on-one fi ght. An arena packed with Brazilians will scream for their countryman to relieve Bisping of his senses, and, if they have their way, carry the [...]

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November 2012 // Quick Hits
Work of Art

After almost six years under the Zuffa banner, former WEC sweetheart Brittney Palmer is just hitting her stride in the UFC. You’ve got a busy day today—photo shoot and then a charity event with Arianny Celeste right after. Do you and Arianny tag team events often? We’ve been doing it more so lately, it’s been [...]

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October 2012 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes with Ronda Rousey

What are the few days after a Strikeforce fight like? I usually just kind of bury myself in a hole. I don’t like to do any press for a whole week. I just want to sit on the couch, play Donkey Kong, eat ice cream, and not talk to anybody except for my really, really [...]

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October 2012 // Names in the Game
Mr. Wonderful Day

They say you can’t truly know a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Despite the fact that I could never fit into a pair of Phil Davis’ loafers, I slipped on the NCAA Wrestling Champion’s metaphorical sneakers for one full day as he prepared for his upcoming fight against Wager Prado at [...]

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September 2012 // MMA Life
Kick Starting K-1

While MMA has flourished in the United States in the last decade, kickboxing—a popular spectator sport in the 1980s—hasn’t been able to keep stride. Now, the Japanese-founded K-1 organization is making inroads across the Pacific, and they’re starting at the grassroots level to find the next American superstars. Alistair Overeem was sporting oversized sunglasses, sitting [...]

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July 2012 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes with Martin Kampmann

Your two latest victories over Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger have come after you’ve been hurt or dropped. Do you require the sight of your own blood before you bring your best game? Yeah, recently, I’ve had to get beat up a little bit before I start beating back. It’s something I have to work [...]

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June 2012 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes with Michael Bisping

You’ve lived in Southern California for more than a year now. Have you officially become a Californian? It’s weird. I just went to England, but when I came back, it really did feel like I was coming home. I’m English, I will always have England in my roots, but, in my heart, Southern California is [...]

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May 2012 // MMA Life
Game Changers

9 Moves That Altered MMA Forever MMA evolves in leaps and bounds, tethered to the backs of the martial artists who turn countless hours in the gym into violent masterpieces in the cage. Here are nine moments that forever changed the MMA world. These fighters are not the first guys to invent the particular moves. [...]

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December 2011 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes With Mark Munoz

Your victory over Chris Leben at UFC 138 was your most brutal win yet. Do you save your best work for main events? Yeah man, I feel that I’ve improved my style, and I’ve been working extensively on finishing people and learning how to create more power with my punches—both on my feet and on [...]

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October 2011 // Features
Natural Selection

Some fighters are found, some fighters are forged, and some fighters—like Carlos Condit—are just meant to be. It’s a hot, rainy day in Albuquerque, N.M. The rain is coming down in large droplets—the kind of precipitation that Forrest Gump would call “big ol’ fat rain.” It’s bouncing off the large Jackson and Winkeljohn Mixed Martial [...]

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August 2011 // MMA Life
No-Flaw Jaws

Fighters are used to getting punched in the face, but not all jaws are created equally. They are every puncher’s nightmare—the steel-headed beasts of MMA that refuse to go down or stay down no matter what fist, shin, knee, elbow, or baseball bat you hit them with. Here are the best chins in MMA, and [...]

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September 2011 // Quick Hits
5 Minutes With Kenny Florian

You’re a UFC fighter, gym owner, ESPN analyst, and constant Twitterer (@kennyflorian)—how much free time do you have each day? Not a whole lot. I have time between my training sessions to rest and decompress a little bit. I’m not really able to watch as much TV or do as many things or go as [...]

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May 2011 // Features
Roy Nelson: Go Your Own Way

For UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson, that’s the only way. I haven’t jumped rope in three years,” says a surprisingly agile, yet clearly struggling Roy Nelson as he fumbles with a jump rope that is a solid 12 inches shorter than it should be, handicapping the 6’1”, 265-pound man. It’s 10 a.m. at the TapouT training [...]

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