Today at the Radio City Music Hall in New York the UFC held a pre-fight press conference for Saturday night’s UFC 128: Shogun Vs Jones event.
See below for the highlights from the presser.
– The presser kicks of with New York Councilman Joel Rivera giving a spirited speech in support of legalizing MMA in New York.
– Dan Miller says this a huge step up for him, and he can’t wait to get into the Octagon and take advantage of the opportunity. He admits it’s bitter-sweet that his opportunity came as a result of Akiyama pulling out due to the crisis in Japan.
– Jones admits this is a dream come true and that he’s just “enjoying the ride” rather than feeling the pressure of the moment.
– Eddie Wineland says that Urijah Faber is, “the toughest of the tough,” but that he’s excited by the opportunity to fight him.
– Faber says that fighting in the UFC is something he’s wanted to do for a long time, and it’s been a long road to get here. He says this is the biggest moment of his career so far.
– Shogun says the biggest change he had to make to his training when Jones stepped in for Rashad Evans was he needed to bring in bigger opponents, but apart from that their styles are similar. He also points out that having six weeks to adjust was still a good amount of time to make any adjustments.
– Faber says six guys from his camp along with former training partners and friends will be trying out for the 14th season of TUF which will showcase the 135lb and 145lb divisions. He thinks there will be a lot of talented fighters on the season as there’s still a lot of good undiscovered fighters in the lighter weight-classes.
– Dana White says that there’s a lot of support for the legalization of MMA in New York, but that there’s still a few key people that they still need to convince in order for it to become a reality. he vows to keep battling until it does eventually become legal.
– Jones says he’s feels like he’s, “growing with the opportunity,” and is becoming a better athlete every day.
– Jones says his camp and “mentors” (including Rashad Evans) keep him grounded and have ensured that he doesn’t head down the wrong path and become distracted.
He also jokes that as far as being intimidated goes, “Shogun wakes up and puts his pants on just like I do, he probably poops like I poop.”
– Shogun doesn’t feel that Evans ducked out of the chance to fight him and believes he was injured as was claimed.
– Shogun says Jones isn’t a tougher a fight than Evans, but notes that Jones is likely to be more aggressive than Evans style wise, and that should make for a more exciting fight.
– Regarding Jones being more outspoken leading up to this fight, Shogun says he never really knew Jones as a personality before this fight, so he has nothing to compare it to. Nevertheless he feels it doesn’t matter what a fighter says beforehand, everybody is entitled to have their own personality.
– Jones says the reason he’s more outspoken is that this is a big fight and he want’s to share more himself with the fans.
– About his underdog status leading into the fight, Shogun says he understands, and it doesn’t bother him. Instead he agrees that Jones should be the favorite given his recent performances, and the fact that this fight will practically be in his hometown.
– Jones is asked what he would think of fighting Anderson Silva in the future. “Me talking about fighting Anderson Silva is like staring at 2nd base when the baseballs coming my way,” he replied.
– Jones says he “absolutely expects the home crowd advantage” on Saturday night.
He goes on to add that he wants to be an inspiration to others, and says he hasn’t been a product of his environment – coming from a rough neighborhood yet not being held back by that and still managing to make something of himself. He hopes that others can be inspired by that.
– Dana White say he doesn’t feel there should be any doubts about Jones right to fight for the belt, saying that he’s now a top five 205lb fighter after not only beating Ryan Bader, but finishing him convincingly. Meanwhile he gives props to Shogun for his experience and the top level of competition he’s fought and defeated, describing him as one of the nastiest fighters ever to compete in the sport.
He adds that we’ll see on Saturday night whether Jones is too young for this opportunity.
– Dana White mentions ‘UFC Presents: Jon Jones – In The Moment’ – a new preview show focusing on the up and coming star which airs on Spike TV this Thursday.
– Jones says that the fact he’s taking this fight on short notice has worked out perfectly, as he already had a full training camp behind him, and the feeling and atmosphere of being in the Octagon is still fresh in his memory.
– Shogun says if he had one finishing move in a video game it would simply be: “knockout.”
– Shogun doesn’t feel that there’s any added pressure in a title fight as he always gives his best in every fight.
– Jones reveals that a friend showed him tapes of Shogun when he was first starting out fighting, so he looked up to him at that time, and admits he particularly enjoyed his soccer kicks and stomps in PRIDE. Nowadays he looks up to Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo for their dynamic fighting styles.
– Jones seemed relaxed throughout the presser and even asked fans if he could take a picture of them at one point. Later someone in the audienced asked Dana if he could walk in with one of the fighters on Saturday, and Jones agrees to let him.
– Another fan cheekily asks Jones if he really thinks he can beat Shogun who has beaten fighters like Alistair Overeem in the past. “C’mon son,” Jones calmly replies with a smile, before stating that he wouldn’t be here if he thought he couldn’t beat him. “Silly question,” he adds.
– Throughout the conference the New York crowd was vocal, and it was Shogun’s fans that were making the most noise, frequently chanting his name.