Yesterday the week long promotional tour for UFC 168: Silva Vs Weidman II came to a conclusion in Rio and Dana White was on hand to answer the media’s questions about all the big talking points at this moment in time.
Check out our keynotes from the media scrum below and scroll down to watch it for yourselves courtesy of MMAfighting.com.
– White thinks Silva Vs Weidman II is the biggest fight in UFC history and is the bout he’s most looking forward to seeing.
– Silva’s been less than enthusiastic about this whirlwind tour and White wishes he’d play the game a little bit more and understand that while it’s hard going, it’s necessary and everyone’s going to get paid a lot of money for this fight.
– He says that while it’s nice for a country to have the best soccer or cricket team, there’s no better feeling than knowing that your country (AKA Brazil) has the “baddest dudes on the planet” that are able to beat everyone else up!
– He’s not surprised that Silva is just as popular, if not more so at the moment in the U.S compared to Brazil. He points out that there’s a lot of Brazilian fans over there too.
– White recently said that the most a UFC fighter has been paid for a single fight is $5 million. When asked if Silva is that fighter, White laughs and says, “Could be.”
– Regarding any complaints about Glover Teixeira getting the next shot at Jon Jones, White claims that some fans weren’t that enthusiastic about Gustafsson getting a title shot to begin with either and look how that turned out. He points out that Teixeira is on an incredible 20 fight win streak and produces big knockouts. While he’s been rocked a few times he thinks he’s a very tough fighter and he respects Jones for wanting to take that fight, and indicating that he wants to fight Gustafsson again afterwards.
– Asked if Jones is the best light-heavyweight ever next to Tito Ortiz, White dismisses the idea of Ortiz being in that position and mentions Chuck Liddell instead.
– White chuckles at the fact that Tim Kennedy’s been calling out everyone on Twitter, but says he hasn’t arranged a new fight for him yet. Whoever it is he says it’s surely going to be an easier fight than taking on Lyoto Machida.
As for Machida, he says the fact that he’s now fighting Munoz is better for him since it’s a higher profile fight against a higher-ranked opponent.
– The UFC have struck a new deal with Fabricio Werdum and he’s going to have big fights on the way. He thinks he’s on the right track to getting a title shot.
– White was “blown away” by the fact that ‘Jacare’ Souza finished Yushin Okami in his UFC debut and is full of praise for him, saying that he’ll get a big fight when he returns from injury.
– The UFC president reveals that they are planning a jaw-dropping 13 events in Brazil in 2014. He says that Brazil might just be the most important market in the world for the UFC, with business booming and the best talent in the world coming out of the region.
He also states that it’s doing so well that he doesn’t need to be there himself a lot – there’s other new markets line China that need his attention instead right now.
– Regarding the next season of TUF: Brazil, White claims that their choice for coaches “will shock and amaze you.”
– Asked if Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen would make good TUF coaches, he seems a little taken aback and admits that he’d be worried for Sonnen’s safety spending that long in Brazil, but admits it’d be fun.
He doesn’t deny that Wanderlei Vs Sonnen could happen next year, noting that they both seem eager to fight each other and Wand should be healthy after dealing with a Sciatica problem by February.
– Dana feels like Renan Barao is a real champion despite currently only holding the interim belt.
– There’s no plans for Gegard Mousasi at the moment as he’s going to be out for a long time – at least 5-6 months.
– Vitor Belfort makes life difficult for himself in the UFC because he wants to choose his own fights.
– They don’t have another fight for Gustafsson lined up yet, but the plan is to have him fight in Sweden sometime very close to the Jones Vs Teixeira fight on Superbowl weekend so that the timing will be right to set up the rematch should they both win.
– He has no idea if Nick Diaz will return to the UFC or not.
– White laughs off the idea that Bellator now have a big TV deal with FOX Sports Latin America, pointing out that the UFC has a deal with Brazil’s leading television channel Globo who are much bigger.
– BJ Penn wanted to fight Ben Henderson next because he thought a win their could earn him a fight with Frankie Edgar, so White said, why not just fight Edgar straight away?
– He doesn’t seem to think it’s a good idea for Renzo Gracie to get another fight in the UFC given his age and the fact that he was easily beaten by Matt Hughes the last time he fought.
– It doesn’t sound like there’s any immediate plans for the UFC to return to Abu Dhabi, but White and Lorenzo Fertitta will be staying there for a few days in October to talk with their partners over there. He admits that their first event in Abu Dhabi headlined by Silva Vs Maia was embarassing and left a bad impression in that market.
– Nate Diaz recently claimed that he was bailing out of a trilogy fight with Gray Maynard because he wants to attend his high school reunion. White initially thought it was a joke, but he not admits it might actually be “a possibility.”
– White doesn’t think that Renan Barao isn’t getting the sponsors and money he deserves because he’s still just the interim champ – he feels it’s just that his management isn’t working hard enough to promote him and that some fighters take longer than others to become big stars.
– A new ‘UFC Network’ is starting in latin America due to a new TV deal they struck with Telavisa, and the demand for the channel has been very high so it’ll be appearing in many different countries in the region. He says that’s why they didn’t take a deal with FOX Sports Latin America, because they had bigger deals lined up instead.
– Okami being released wasn’t down to money, he just feels that he’s on a skid and needs to test himself in other smaller promotions and perhaps he’ll fight his way back to the UFC one day.
– He admits to feeling a little sorry for Anderson Silva that people have turned on him in Brazil since he lost the weidman fight, but he feels he’s handled the criticism well.
– It doesn’t sound like Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos is going to get in the UFC any time soon due to the fact that she’s got Tito Ortiz as her manager. He describes him as “literally the dumbest guy in the sport” and says he has no intention of doing business with him, which is bad news for her.
He says that Ortiz is irrelevant these days because he can’t beat anybody, joing that ‘Cyborg’ could probably knock him out. He gives him some grudging respect that despite that he still manages to get people talking about him.
– White has no interest in buying out Bellator as he claims there’s no value there.
– He’s very confident that Silva Vs Weidman II will do better on PPV than Silva Vs Sonnen II which was “really big” for them.
– Silva Vs Gustafsson did a little better than they expected after going up a week following the big Mayweather Vs Canello boxing PPV and he says that was in part due to the Hispanic market supporting it.
– White wants to see Silva comes out more offensively in the rematch with Weidman rather than playing around like he did in their first encounter.
– Jones Vs Gustafsson is definitely ‘fight of the year’ in White’s opinion.
– He seems really excited for Cain Velasquez Vs Junior Dos Santos III, in particular because the previous two fights were so different in their outcome that he has no idea how the rubber match will play out – he just knows it’ll be exciting.
– White’s not concerned with the recent Wanderlei and Sonnen confrontation, saying that as long as they don’t start fighting each other outside of the Octagon then it’s ok.
– Ideally he thinks that Sonnen should be back fighting at 185lbs, but he gives him credit for fighting anybody, anywhere, anytime – including the likes of ‘Shogun’ and now Rashad Evans.
– He thinks Roy Nelson should have to trim his long beard before his fight with Daniel Cormier.