TUF: LIVE fighters discuss fighting, Cruz's injury and competitionPosted on May 9, 2012, 01:03 PM by Mike Searson
The UFC and FX hosted a media conference call with four of this season’s The Ultimate Fighter® Live quarterfinalists on Tuesday, May 8, 2012: James Vick (Team Cruz) vs. Joe Proctor (Team Faber) and Justin Lawrence (Team Cruz) vs. Michael Chiesa (Team Faber).
The panel of fighters were asked who they thought would come out on top. Justin Lawrence said that all the fighters were great and that every one of them has an opportunity to make it.
Michael Chiesa agreed that they were all there to prove themselves, but quickly added that he thought Anthony Ogle represented the "biggest threat in the house, the guy is just mentally tough". When asked about how he felt being among more experienced fighters, Lawrence simply said: "records don't matter whether it is 3-0 or being the number one pick. We are all 2-0 and I am going for 4-0. Training with Anderson Silva has been a huge confidence booster. All these other guys are tough, but none of them have gone toe-to-toe with him like I have".
When the subject of Coach Dominick Cruz's recent injury came up, James Vick related that Cruz came in to practice and sat the team down and told them. Although Cruz was sad and depressed by the accident, Vick assured that it has not affected the team's training. Vick stated: "Dom is a great coach, he pushes us and drives us hard and I am sure that he'll come back stronger than ever".
When asked about his strengths as a fighter Vick admitted that his wrestling is not great: "I am not a takedown guy, but I will not be taken down. I feel I have the best takedown defense due to my height. I have grown so much as a fighter these past 8 weeks and am much better than when I started".
Michael Chiesa was asked about the death of his father. The Spokane native said: "The loss of my dad has inspired me, I went home for less than 24 hours...and I was not happy with my win at all after that. I had a lot to overcome mentally. I feel that I am making my dad proud. I like my matchup with Justin and know it is going to be a good test for myself".
Chiesa and teammate Joe Proctor were asked about the possibility of them fighting each other if it came to that in the elimination. Chiesa said that he would be honored to fight his teammates and that he had all the respect in the world for them. Proctor agreed and added: "We all sat down as a team and discussed it, and we are fine with it if it comes to that".
Proctor said that the whole experience has been great, even though it was longer than expected: "I befriended the guys on my team and this really is fighting on a worldwide level not like going up against other local fighters back home. I am fighting Vick who is a good boxer and has great jujitsu, but I am confident. I am going to work hard and go for a win".
The remaining two quarterfinals are slated for May 18, followed by two semifinal fights on May 25. The 13-week season will culminate with a three-hour finale on June 1, when The Ultimate Fighter® Live champion is crowned at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater in Las Vegas.