Morning Report: Dana White expects more UFC women's divisions; Demian Maia calls out Nick Diaz

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Nick Diaz may be retired, but that isn't stopping the rest of the welterweight division from calling him out.

According to a report from MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Tuesday night's edition of UFC Tonight, Brazilian submission wizard Demian Maia has officially requested a match-up with Stockton's favorite son.

A former middleweight title challenger, the 35-year-old Maia has ripped off three straight victories since dropping down to 170 pounds, breezing through Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch to advance into fifth place on the UFC's official welterweight rankings.

Diaz, meanwhile, sits tight at No. 6. Though the former Strikeforce champ seems hellbent on retiring unless a rematch with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre or middleweight title bout against Anderson Silva magically comes his way. Time will tell if Maia's callout will be enough to change Diaz's mind.

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7 MUST-READ STORIES

Maia wants Diaz. Top UFC welterweight contender Demian Maia called out Nick Diaz, according to a report from MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Tuesday night's edition of UFC Tonight.

Benson's Lab. I don't ask for much, but I'd be pretty grateful if you'd check out my latest piece: Benson Henderson is something of a novelty in uptown Glendale. The cagefighting world champion who doubles as the most polite man in the room. In a way, not much has changed.

White expects more women's divisions. UFC President Dana White forecasted the future of women's MMA in the UFC while speaking to MMA Junkie: "The evolution of this sport as it's continued to grow, we've been adding weight classes, and the sport keeps getting bigger. There are more and more talented guys in all those weight classes. The same thing will happen with the women. I think when you got into the 135-pound division, I knew there were enough fights for a year and a half, two years. You think that after it starts to generate some excitement and interest that other women will pop out of the woodwork. I think over the next couple of years, we're really going to see a big boom."

Machida manager not keen of Gustafsson. Jorge Guimaraes, manager of UFC light heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida, told Fighters Only that it makes no sense for his client to fight Alexander Gustafsson, and Machida is solely waiting for the winner of Jones-Sonnen.

Aoki-Gracie headline BJJ tourney. A jiu-jitsu superfight between Kron Gracie and ONE lightweight champ Shinya Aoki is slated to headline a stacked card at the Metamoris Pro Jiu Jitsu Invitational II on June 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA.

WSOF 3 bookings. The four-fight main card of WSOF 3 is set. Jon Fitch vs. Josh Burkman headlines, Tyrone Spong vs. Angel DeAnda is the night's co-main, while Rolles Gracie vs. Dave Huckaba and Justin Gaethje vs. Brian Cobb round out the televised card.

Holm retires for MMA. Three-division world champion boxer Holly "The Preacher's Daughter" Holm announced her retirement from boxing, "effective after her May 11 fight with Mary McGee, in order to pursue her mixed martial arts career."

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MEDIA STEW

Pat Barry has given the MMA community plenty of laughs over the past few years. Now it's our turn to give back to him.

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Remember Russia's ridiculous Hip Show? Well they released a new promo, and it's just as wild as you'd expect.

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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Young Stefan Struve, minus a few inches, plus a full head of hair vs. former Bellator champ Christian M'Pumbu? Yep, this is pretty bizarre video.

(HT: Bloody Elbow)

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"I'm not worried about Phil Davis. I'm not worried about what he says. I'm not worried about him trying to talk, because I know that's just talk. Nothing else." -- Vinny Magalhaes, getting personal.

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Look, I'm all for nut shot compilations. But it's a crime to leave this gem out.

(HT: Reddit)

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GET ON IT, FOLKS

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CHAMPIONSHIP MUSINGS

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THROWBACK TUESDAY INDEED

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WEST LINN COUNTDOWN

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LIVER SHOT

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DO IT, SAUNDERS

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AWESOME

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Tuesday, April 16, 2013):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes to us from heavyfl0w, who looks back with: TUF Finale Thoughts: Appreciating Urijah & Other Musings

I never look forward to Ultimate Fighter finale cards. This is due in large part to the fact that I don't watch the Ultimate Fighter. Oh sure, I've dabbled with the show in the past, like with the Kimbo season (#10) and the "Junie Browning drunkenly throwing tumblers at guys with fights coming up" season (#8). This does not take away from the fact that these cards are largely comprised of guys who will be regaling their grandchildren with stories of "the time grandpa fought in the UFC". They end up looking kind of like a UFC card, but not really. One and done is the name of the game here.

(That's two clichés in the same sentence. Don't act like I'm not capable of more.)

A few thoughts on the big boy (and girl) fights ...

- Maximo Blanco showed that he is yet another entertaining roster guy.

It seemed like it had been forever since we'd see ol' Maxi stomp some poor overmatched Korean through the canvas, or brutalize some guy with his Tasmanian devil-esque striking game. Not only that, but it had been a fortnight since he had fought, period. And his last performance was certainly nothing to write home about, save for the postfight tumbling contest he had with Marcus Brimage.

It was nice to see him fight again. His tilt with Sam Sicilia had everything you'd ever want in a Maximo Blanco fight; balls-to-the-wall striking, outlandish strikes, multiple fouls, a little wrestling ... the only thing that was missing was a nice shot to the groin.

Speaking of the fouls, I don't think I've ever seen a guy grab the fence while he was pressing his opponent up against it. Usually it's an instinctive reaction to hopefully stop a takedown, but not with Mr. Maximo. No reason to do it, no possible way it could help ... but look at who we're dealing with here. Rousimar Palhares must be his hero.

In all seriousness, I thought he did a great job of mixing up his striking attack. When he would flurry on Sicilia, both men were dangerous. He won this fight from the outside with jabs and low kicks. I know it's only Sam Sicilia, but I thought Maximo showed clear improvement, and that he can definitely stick around in the UFC. Excited for his next fight.

...

- Miesha Tate fights like she's triple parked.

Good God. Look, I get that Tate has wrestling and submission chops. But she is an excruciatingly sloppy fighter. She just runs in with no regard for technique or energy conservation. And she really paid for it last Saturday.

Cat Zingano weathered everything Tate threw at her, slowly shifted the momentum of the fight in her favor, and by the time the third round started, Tate was ripe for the picking.

Two more thoughts here. The first is that it was difficult for me to ignore what a physical specimen Cat Zingano is. She's one of those people who you can judge semi-accurately just by appearance. She's a big, strong-looking chick that wasn't going to let some pouty face run her over. The second is that, geez, that finish was brutal. Four knees to the dome that were dead on, followed by a big elbow. No more Miesha Tate. And really, that's fine. I'd rather see a sturdy, likable woman like Zingano tangle with Ronda Rousey next over a reckless Miesha Tate.

- Urijah Faber should be appreciated, because he can't do this forever.

I've been going back and forth on my overall opinion of Urijah Faber as a fighter ever since his WEC days, when he was making his bones beating the Chance Farrar's and Jeff Curran's of the world. Don't get me wrong; I would never call Faber a below average fighter. But just how good is he? I couldn't figure out if he was like Rich Franklin (a solid, unspectacular veteran with name recognition that could headline a card and put on a good fight, win or lose) or a more famous Yushin Okami (the cream of the crop in his weight class who will likely beat everyone except the champ).

I've never been a huge fan of his game. The striking has lots of holes, he doesn't go to the wrestling sometimes when he's losing on the feet, and his great chokes only seem to pop up from time to time.

But on Saturday night, Urijah Faber won me over. Above everything else, the guy is just a hustler. He hustles his freaking ass off. It's not that he's quicker or more limber (though he is quick ... he's such an experienced grappler that he just dives into positions because he knows exactly what his opponent is going to do). He just wants it more. I know that's a tired cliché, but watch him grapple with Scott Jorgensen and tell me you don't see the desire. And once he gets his opponent's back, they might as well just stop the fight right there and award it to Faber. You have to appreciate what this guy does in the grappling department.

And yet, I don't see him beating Dominick Cruz or Renan Barao. He has a better shot to beat Cruz, who has a tendency to zig when he should have zagged (copyright: Matt Serra) from time to time and get caught with power strikes. But Barao is just too strong of a tactician on the feet for Faber to get inside and wrestle him.

He's going to keep beating these types of guys, and I suspect that he'll always be in the title picture. I wonder if he's a Buffalo Bills fan.

More after the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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