by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
After building one of the most impressive teams of fighters in the world, Xtreme Couture closed out 2007 with a combined record of 59-14 in its first full year of operations. Now it looks forward to an even more successful 2008 with many of its members gearing up for a huge year ahead.
FORREST GRIFFIN PREPARES FOR TUF 7
The Ultimate Fighting Championship recently announced Forrest Griffin and UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as coaches for the seventh installment of the Ultimate Fighter. Now Griffin is gearing up for filming and a match-up with Jackson later this year.
MIKE PYLE BACK IN ACTION
Mike Pyle will also be seen back in action soon, competing for Hardcore Championship Fighting in Canada. He faces Damir Mirenic in a middleweight match-up. John Alessio will also be featured on the same card taking on Derrick Noble.
JAY HIERON WINS IFL GOLD
At the International Fight League’s year-end show, Jay Hieron defeated Delson Heleno to become the first ever IFL welterweight champion.
Hieron is currently celebrating his win with friends and family on Long Island in New York. On the Xtreme Couture website blog, they will debut a new feature entitled “The Life and Times of Jay Hieron,” which will be an ongoing series following his life.
XTREME COUTURE FIGHTERS IN THE OCTAGON
Many of the top fighters from Xtreme Couture are preparing for upcoming bouts in the UFC, including Kendall Grove who will face off against veteran fighter Jorge Rivera, while Canadian Sam Stout will step in to fight Per Eklund at lightweight.
Tyson Griffin and Gray Maynard have traveled to Big Bear, Calif. to help friend Joe “Daddy” Stevenson in preparation for his upcoming lightweight title fight against B.J. Penn at UFC 80.
Both Griffin and Maynard are gearing up for their own respective fights, as Tyson will face Gleison Tibau at UFC 81 in February and Maynard faces Dennis Siver at the UFC Fight Night event on Jan. 23 in Las Vegas.
HEAVYWEIGHTS BUILDING AT XTREME COUTURE
Former Pride and Cage Rage heavyweight James “Colossus” Thompson recently joined Xtreme Couture and while he is currently home in England, he will be returning to the camp in Las Vegas soon and preparing for a scheduled bout on the next EliteXC card.
Jay White has also stepped up his training. With Randy Couture in his corner, he won his debut fight for HDNet Fights submitting Patrick Castillo in the first round of their match-up.
NEWS & NOTES FROM XTREME COUTURE
Xtreme Couture fighters have been seen in commentating roles lately as Phil Baroni worked color commentary for the IFO show on Dec. 28 and Frank Trigg was featured as color commentator for the HDNet broadcast of the Yarennoka show in Japan.
The Hollywood bug has also bitten many Xtreme Couture fighters, as Forrest Griffin was featured on Law & Order recently and now Mike Pyle, Stephan Bonnar, and Gray Maynard have all accepted roles in feature films.
Gina Carano is in Los Angeles currently filming the new season of American Gladiators, where she will appear as a gladiator named “Crush.”
Phil Friedman will return to action for his second MMA fight very soon, either for the IFO or Tuff-E-Nuff in February.
Mark Hominick recently picked up a win in the TKO promotion in Canada and will be heading back to the training camp in Las Vegas soon.
Elena “Baby Doll” Reid won her MMA debut in the IFO in December, while Dennis Davis defeated American Top Team fighter Reynaldo Duarte on the same card.