In the aftermath of a rollercoaster UFC 117 event Dana White took time out for his customary interview with MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani.

Here’s the key quotes from their conversation.

On Chael Sonnen:

“I think he went out there and worked as hard as he could.  He was trying to finish that fight, and I said tonight, I’ve got nothing but respect for him and props.  There’s a lot of wrestlers that you see that will fight and there’s a way they can stall in the fight.  He never stalled.  He kept working, he stayed busy.  Even right up until he got submitted, he got caught working and trying to finish the fight.”

“Chael Sonnen is a stud and put on an incredible performance tonight and solidified that he is one of the best in the world, and backed up all the smack talk.”

On Anderson Silva:

“I think tonight is one of those legendary fights.  Tonight is one of those fights that people will look back on when they talk about how great this guy was.  It’s one thing to go out there and be 100% and dominate everybody.  Guess what, you don’t feel 100% every time you go out and fight.  Some guys have off nights and feel bad, and have things going on.   This guy was getting bombed on for four and a half rounds, getting hit with big shots, getting rocked, getting hit with elbows and punches to the body, just the body shots he was taking on the ground.

[He] overcame adversity and pulled off a submission and won the fight with like under two minutes left.  It’s incredible.

On An Immediate Rematch

“I believe that as a promoter my job is to give the fans the fight that they want to see.  Now, timing has a lot to do with it too.  Anderson just went to the hospital, he’s been in a five round war. Chael is all busted up too, you know.  Vitor Belfort is now in the mix, he’s recovered, healthy and ready to fight so we’ll see how this thing plays out and see what happens.”

On Jon Fitch’s Chances Of A Title Shot:

“Here’s the thing with that situation.  You’ve got GSP and Koscheck have their season of The Ultimate Fighter,  then their going to fight each other.    You’ve got Shields who’s gonna fight, now we’ve got Jon Fitch in the mix, there’s a lot going on right now.  We’ve got to see how this whole thing shakes out and we’ll see who’s next.”

“I think personally, just from what I know of Jon Fitch and what I know of Josh Koscheck, I truly believe that these are two guys who would step up and say, ‘yeah, you know what, we’re cool, I respect him, I like him, he’s my friend and I’m willing to step up and see who the best fighter in the world is.  I truly believe that of these two guys.”

On Matt Hughes:

“There’s no doubt about it, Matt Hughes is one of the best in the world, always has been.”

“Matt Hughes is one of these guys I have so much respect for.  I know much more than you guys do about behind the scenes stuff that goes on with everybody, all these fighters.  I know who’s who and who’s not, and he’s a who’s who – always has been and always will be.”

On Junior Dos Santos And Roy Nelson:

“I tweeted it tonight as soon as this fight was over.  I’ve got nothing but respect for him (Roy Nelson).  He’s a tough, durable guy, because let me tell you what, I think a lot of Dos Santos man.  I think Dos Santos is nasty.”

“His takedown defense awesome, he was throwing combinations that were beautiful.  I think that Dos Santos made a couple of mistakes tonight – like I’m some big trainer or something, but I’m just saying – think that he should have used the leg kicks more, he should have mixed it up.  This guy’s so used to just going in and knocking people out left and right, tonight was a great fight for Dos Santos.  He got pushed hard, he went three hard rounds, he had to dog it out.  That’s never happened to him before.  He got hit with some big shots.  Tonight was a good night for Dos Santos.”

“Everything I ever said about him (Roy Nelson) I take back.  He’s a tough guy, he’s a stud.  You look at this guy’s physique and you talk about…he went three hard rounds tonight with an animal who was trying to take his f*ckin’ head off and he stood in there and went toe-to-toe with him.  Good for you Roy.”

Watch Dana’s full interview below.

Further Reading: