The UFC today held a pre-fight press conference for UFC 124 in Montreal, Canada ahead of Saturday night’s event. In attendance were Dana White, GSP, Josh Koscheck, Stefan Struve and Sean McCorkle.
Check out the keynotes from the conference below.
– Dana White says they will break the attendance record (“over 23,000 fans”) and worldwide gate revenue (“over $5 million”) for Saturday’s show.
– The UFC president says he’s excited about the main event and expects it’ll be a “war” and says people aren’t giving Koscheck enough credit.
– GSP says it’s a special occasion for him to be fighting in front of his home fans, and it gives his friends and family a chance to come and see him compete. Regarding whether that puts more pressure on him he says he fights best when he’s under pressure.
– Sean McCorkle says it’s surreal for him to be up on stage with stars like GSP and Koscheck, and admits he’s just happy to be a part of the event. He then jokes that he’s worried Mark Hunt actually KO’d him in his last fight and that he’s currently in a coma dreaming about this.
– Koscheck believes he has got into GSP’s head with his trash-talking during the TUF show and says that as a result there’s now even more pressure on the champion to beat him.
– Looking back at their first fight Koscheck makes no excuses, saying that GSP came in with a smarter gameplan and won fair and square. He believes he’s a different fighter now though and expects a different outcome on Saturday night.
– Dana confidently states that GSP is the most famous athlete ever to come out of Canada. Later GSP says that Wayne Gretzky was his idol growing up and that he still aspires to be as successful as he was in his chosen sport. He does however concede that worldwide MMA is more popular than ice hockey.
– Dana shrugs off the notion that Koscheck may need extra security when he walks into a hostile arena on Saturday given his bad boy image. White says that MMA fans aren’t like that, and though they might shout and boo him they won’t attack him physically.
– “I plan on pissing off 23,000 people by knocking out Georges St.Pierre,” admits Koscheck, saying that he’s happy to be “the bad guy” if that’s what it takes to make money and be successful.
– “Koscheck is a dick, lets face it, but he’s not a bad guy,” Dana says bluntly. Koscheck then replies, “I’m a prick, not a dick.”
– GSP denies he’s a boring fighter, saying sometimes there is a thin line between finishing a fight or not, pointing out that if he had managed to complete his first round submission attempt on Dan Hardy then nobody would be criticizing him. He notes that in two of his decision victories against Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves he knocked them both down during the stand-up exchanges.
He also points out that people discount the talent of fighters like Dan Hardy – “It’s not tomato cans I’m fighting,” and goes on to praise that Brit’s submission defense and says people should have focused on that more.
– Stefan Struve says he’s never fought a guy who trash talks as much as Sean McCorkle, and doesn’t like it but that he tries to just ignore it and focus on his training.
Struve then talks about his weight, saying that he wants to get up to 280-290lbs as his career progresses. He says he’s doing the weight gain gradually and doing it the right way and is happy with his progress in that regard [he mentioned in a recent interview that he’s gained 10lbs in preparation for this fight.]
– Struve says he’s seen 4 or 5 of McCorkle’s fights on YouTube. He feels that he’s better than him on both the feet and the mat and adds that in Holland he fights with Kickboxers who are McCorkle’s size, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
– McCorkle says he’s not going to apologize for being funny and witty. He’s not concerned by people suggesting he’s not good enough to be fighting Struve and says that regardless of the outcome he’ll still be better looking.
– GSP admits that his goal is to be the greatest, that he’s aiming to be “the best of the best.” He says that if he beats Koscheck on Saturday then that’ll be the end of it as far as he’s concerned as he’ll have defeated him twice and he won’t be interested in fighting him again. He warns that if Koscheck loses then he will have to spend a very long time working his way back to the top.
– The fighters then did some face-offs for the cameras. Struve appeared to tower over McCorkle despite the fact he’s listed as 6ft 7″. Meanwhile Koscheck appeared very determined in his staredown with GSP.