UFC 128 was another memorable event for the UFC, and backstage after the show was over Dana White took time to talk with Ariel Helwani about all the big talking points resulting from it.
See notes from the interview below, and scroll down to watch it for yourself.
– Dana White says he didn’t believe it when he first heard that Jon Jones had caught a robber just hours before his title winning performance. He says he’s never known anything like it in his time in the UFC.
“The only thing he needs to do is deliver a baby on the way home tonight,” he jokes.
– White says Jones, “looked incredible tonight.” As for whether Shogun was fighting a 100%, he says he simply doesn’t know for sure, but points out that in Jones last two fights his opponents Ryan Bader and Matt Hamill were 100% and yet he dominated them both.
– Dana admits he didn’t expect the fight to go down like that, and thought it was going to be a war.
– The UFC president says Jones has everything he needs both inside and outside the Octagon to be a breakthrough star, but he cautions that the real challenge for him comes now.
“Every scumbag, dirtball – what I call cling-ons…all the cling-ons, the barnacles, they are probably trying to get on to him right now as he’s trying to walk to his car and go back to his hotel. Here’s where the real challenge begins. He seems to be a grounded kid, smart guy, has a good family around him and people that care about him, so hopefully he can get through the nastiness that’s gonna come at him the next several months.”
– White says he likes Rashad Evans very much and considers him a friend. He claims he didn’t have to convince him to fight his team-mate Jones next, though he did have some advice for him.
“Jon Jones and all these other guys aren’t going to pay your bills when this is over,” White points out.
– Regarding Evans post-event comments that he was “done” with Greg Jackson’s camp, Dana speculates that Evans feels betrayed that his coaches are picking Jones over him despite the fact he trained with them long before the new champion came along.
White does add that he thinks Greg Jackson is, “a super-nice guy,” and reminds everyone that he also helped apprehend the criminal who Jones caught today.
– Dana confirms that this is the last time we’ll see Mirko Cro Cop in the Octagon, but he says he likes and respects him, and that he’s shown in his last couple of fights a glimmer of what he was like in his prime by competing with much bigger, stronger guys despite being in the latter stages of his career.
– The UFC president also has praise for the victorious Dan Miller, stating that he, “loves that kid” and describes him as, “a pitbull” who’ll take a fight at a moment’s notice and is always in great shape. Despite racking up his seventh consecutive win White still stops short of giving him a title shot though, and says he’ll have to wait and see what comes next for him.
– “Wow!” is White’s reaction to the news that Nate Marquardt may be considering a move down to 170lbs. “He’s huge, he’s monstrous,” he adds, “if he can make it down to 170 that would be interesting to see.”
– Dana says Urijah Faber looked incredible, particularly in the third round, while giving props to Eddie Wineland for giving him a tough fight.
– Despite rumors that Faber and current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz would coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, White says definitively that is not the case.
– Regarding the UFC’s acquisition of strikeforce, White says that UFC officials had a meeting with Showtime execs a couple of days ago, and it went well.
White also adds that he’s been speaking via text messages to former UFC fighter turned Strikeforce star Dan Henderson, and he also talked to him this evening when ‘Hendo’ turned up to watch the fights.
“The key thing about this transition is, I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable,” he reveals.
– As for Paul Daley who recently threatened not to fight in his scheduled fight with Nick Diaz at the next Strikeforce event after learning of the UFC – Strikeforce deal, White warns, “He’s under contract – it would be a good idea if he did.”
Watch the full interview with the UFC president below courtesy of MMAfighting.