The UFC held a pre-fight press conference today for this weekend’s UFC 140: Jones Vs Machida event in Toronto, Canada.
We’ve got keynotes from it for you below, plus you can scroll down to watch the full video from it for yourselves.
– Dana loves the Jones Vs Machida fight stylistically and says that due to their unpredictability and flashy / entertaining style it’s hard to predict how it’s going to go.
– White believes this is a big fight for Frank Mir and Big Nog as it could put the winner back into the title picture.
– Jon Jones denies that he isn’t getting the respect he deserves from the fans for his skills.
– White says the sport isn’t just blowing up in Canada now, but all over the world – mentioning Brazil in particular.
– White did doubt Jones at one stage due to his age, but after everything he’s accomplished already there’s no doubt that he’s the real deal and going to be around for a long time.
– Jones had no problem accepting the fight with Machida. He said there’s certain people that it’s inevitable he’s going to fight and Machida is one of them.
– White believes that for the most part MMA fans pick who they are going to cheer for based on their fighting abilities rather than what nationality they are – and he thinks that’s something unique about the sport.
– Dana is flying to Brazil on Monday to cast the fighters for their edition of The Ultimate Fighter. He says there are plans afoot for other countries to follow suit like Canada and the UK with the overriding goal to have all the winners of these national editions to eventually fight each other in an MMA equivalent of the world cup’.
– The Nogueira’s believe that MMA is now the No.2 sport in Brazil and several fighters are now big stars over there.
– Big Nog felt that he didn’t pick a good strategy against Frank Mir and that he was faster than him last day so he’s looking forward to having a second chance to compete with him.
– Frank Mir believes Big Nog underestimated him in their first meeting, particularly with regards to his striking, and will be “a little more inspired” this time around. He says from previous experience that you always train harder when you are looking to avenge a loss.
– Tito Ortiz is just happy that he’s had three fights in a year after his neck surgery and he believes that no one else has done that before.
– Dana says it’s amazing how quickly the sport has grown in 10 years, but at the same time it’s been a 10 long, hard years.
– Ortiz refuses to answer a question from Ariel Helwani, bluntly stating that “I don’t like you”. Dana jokes that he doesn’t like him either, but then says he’s just kidding. White then asks Tito to answer the question and the former champ agrees to do so immediately.
Ortiz wanted to dispense with his “Huntington Beach Bad-Boy” name as part of a change in his outlook to be a more positive person. Now going under the moniker of “The People’s Champ” he believes that “good things happen to good people who do good things.”
– You need a very special fight to do a big stadium show and fill it according to Dana. He’s ok with that and actually still prefers the great vibe they have in smaller arenas.
– White says the UFC goes “overboard on safety” and therefore while he admits there’s always a risk of a serious injury occuring in any contact sport, that they have minimized the risks.
Several other fighters also chime in, vouching for the safety of the sport. Frank Mir says it’s 100% safe and as a father of four he wouldn’t get in the Octagon if he felt there was a major concern over brain damage. On the other hand he points to studies proving that boxing’s ‘standing 8 count’ rule does run that kind of risk.
Ortiz also feels that boxing is a far more dangerous sport than MMA due to the standing 8 count.
Jon Jones notes that it’s often been proven that MMA is a safe sport, though he acknowledges that even so they do take risks each time they step into the Octagon.
– Jones saw a recent parody video of himself getting KO’d by Lyoto and wasn’t offended. He thought it was hilarious.
– White says his relationship with Tito Ortiz is “way better than it used to be.”
– The UFC president believes the fans have proved to the Canadian officials that they aren’t going to cause trouble or “burn the city down” (a reference to what happened after a hockey game here earlier in the year).
– Dana wasn’t keen at all on Tito changing his name to “The People’s Champ” and had to be convinced by the fighter over the course of a four hour phone call. By the sounds of it he still isn’t convinced.
– Jones has a Freudian slip, claiming that he watched footage of Machida “when he was in his prime.” He quickly corrects himself and says he meant when Machida was younger.
– Big Nog feels it’s an advantage to fight on the same card as his brother as it makes for a good atmosphere in the dressing room. Lil Nog believes it’ll be “a special fight” and he’s looking forward to cheering on his brother after his fight.
– Machida believes he’s changed a lot from losing and he’s more mature as a fighter now and has revamped the way he trains.
– Jones shrugs off the idea that he’s invincible, pointing out that he knows that’s not true because he’s seen too many other fighters get that reputation that end up getting beaten. That keeps him motivated.
He goes on to say that he’s not the best at any one discipline compared to his talented team-mates at Jackson’s MMA, but feels he’s one of the better one’s when it comes to putting it all together in the Octagon.
– Dana describes next year’s schedule as “brutal beyond belief” and is equal measures looking forward to it and dreading it.
– White is not worried about GSP’s future after his ACL injury and points out that it’s quite a common injury amongst sportsmen. He’s 100% confident that he’ll bounce back from it.
– Jones didn’t train in Karate for his fight with Machida. The only time he has done that was when he took Tae Kwon Do for a couple of months as a kid.
– Machida didn’t train with Anderson Silva for this fight, but he did give home advice over the phone and sent him video footage to check out to help with his preparation.
– Lil Nog has wanted to fight Ortiz “for a while” and recognises that this is a must-win bout for him after losing his previous two fights.
– Asked if he would ever bring on-board presenter Mauro Ranallo into the UFC, White doesn’t dismiss the idea, stating that they are looking to bring in more on-air talent in 2012 due to their busy schedule.
– Apparently Strikeforce’s future will be decided “any day now.” He thinks he might be able to announce what’s happening on Monday.