UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones Pre-Fight Press Conference HighlightsPosted on March 13, 2011, 05:47 AM by Anton Gurevich
UFC President Dana White, as well as the majority of Saturday's main card competitors, were in attendance today at the Radio City Music Hall in New York for the UFC 128 pre-fight press conference. The stacked card will be headlined by a Light Heavyweight title clash between division Champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and challenger Jon "Bones" Jones, while the co-main event will feature a Bantamweight showdown between top contenders Urijah Faber and Eddie Wineland. Lightweights Jim Miller and Kamal Shalorus will also go head to head, as well as rising Heavyweight prospect Brendan Schaub and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic.
New York Council Majority Leader Joe Rivera took to the stage first to express his desire to bring the UFC and MMA as a whole, to the state of New York. Comissioner Nick Limbo followed-up with similar sentiments, discussing the safety involved in the sport.
"It's about time the government takes off the shackles, opens up the doors, and rolls out the red carpet for the UFC," said Rivera. "I will continue to fight in City Hall and local government to make sure we can see our favorite fighters performing in Madison Square Garden."
Below are highlights from today's Press Conference:
• I've been saying for years, this is the year, this is the year (To bring MMA to New York). We spent the entire day up in Albany educating the people. So we will see what happens. Its just a few key people we need to turn. If it doesn't happen this year, its going to happen. We're going to keep pressing and pushing until it gets done.
• Here's the reality. This is the most regulated sport in the world. You have guys talking about this is brutal. When these guys fight and they take damage to the head, they cannot return until they are seen by a doctor. These guys don't take the damage that guys in boxing and the NFL or NHL take. This sport is a million times safer then those.
• You've got New York and Connecticut (Where MMA is still not legal). Connecticut will probably get done this year. At the end of the day, do we need New York? No, we can fight in other places, but we should be in New York, it's every important. It's important for the sport.
• First of all, the fact is that Jones and Shogun both took this fight on late notice. I think this kid (Jones) is talented. He went in there and won that fight (against Bader) decisively. It wasn't a long war and a battle and he won a close decision, he went in there and finished him. I don't think there is any question where this kid is in the Light Heavyweight division. Shogun Rua is one of the nastiest fighters to ever fight in MMA. Jone Jones is one of the top fighters at Light Heavyweight in the world. Whether he doesn't have the experience, or he's to young, we'll find out on Saturday night.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
• I was a champion back when I was 23 in Pride. So if u compare our career in that sense yes, we are similar. But we are different style wise.
• Actually, I think both fighters have similarities. Both (Jones and Evans) are good strikers and wrestlers. I had to change my sparring partner's body types. I had to get some partners more of Jon Jones' size. It didn't effect my training that much because it was 6 weeks out, it was the perfect time to make the switch.
• No, I don't think Rashad ran away from the fight. He got injured and things like that happen. Maybe he didn't feel he would be prepared. He will fight anyone and he wouldn't let the promotion down at such a time. He has always fought the best in his career.
• Well, regarding the fight (with Jones) being tougher (than fighting Evans), I don't think so because Rasahd is a great fighter just as Jones. However Rashad likes to play a bit more safe, whereas Jones like to look for the finish.
• I know Jon Jones as a fighter from watching him inside the octagon. But I don't know his personality, so I cannot comment on that. Everyone is entitled to their own personality. Anyone can act how they want and have their own personality.
• (Jones being the betting favorite) doesn't bother me. He has been wining decisively and putting on great performances. He is rightfully the favorite because of his performances. He is fighting in his home town, so its only right that he is the favorite for the fight.
• Jon Jones is big and tall with a long reach and also a very good striker. However, I am very well prepared and trained with guys his size. Its now just a matter of winning Saturday and going home with the belt again.
• I face every fight as the fight of my life. My only obligation is to give my best and leave my best inside the octagon.
Jon "Bones" Jones
• I'm just enjoying the ride. It's a dream come true, so I am just enjoying the ride. I wouldn't call it a distraction, I'm still training a couple times a day. I'm just excited.
• Everyday I'm learning how to become a better athlete. I feel as if I am growing with the opportunity. Now I have a better grasp of what's going on when it comes to media and competition. I feel right at home.
• I'm training with Greg Jackson and have some really great mentors, like GSP and Rashad. Awareness is key and knowledge is power and I am aware of the warning signs of being side tracked. We go over a lot of things about staying in a good position.
• As far as looking across the ring at a guy like Shogun, I feel I am mentally prepared. Shogun puts his pants on in the morning just like me, I'm sure he poops how I poop. I try to fight the body not the face.
• Everyone has their own personality. I realize I am fighting here in New York state and I want to share myself with the New Yorkers as much as I can.
• I absolutely expect the hometown advantage. As far as me being young, it means more for me to be an inspiration to young people. I have not been a product of my environment. I want to show that despite where you're from, now matter if the guy's a legend or not, you can do anything you put your heart and mind to.
• I think everything happens for a reason and me fighting in my first title fight after just stepping out of a fight, I think I am going to have this feeling like I was just here yesterday, whereas its been a while since Shogun has been in the octagon. And I started camp with extra motivation, as if it just worked out perfectly and hopefully that will show in the fight.
• When I first started MMA, I would get picked up and get rides to Portland, and this girl would give me footage of Shogun to watch. I thought it was awesome and I still think he is awesome. The way he would stomp people in the face and soccer kick. I feel very at ease and prepared to fight a guy I used to look up to.
• I'm just excited. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, fight in the UFC, and its been a long road for me. I just can't wait to get the win and have some fun.
• Anyone who counts me out, that's a big mistake. Urijah Faber is the toughest of the tough, and I just appreciate the opportunity to test myself against a guy like that.
• When I started fighting eight years ago, fighting in the UFC wasn't a reality. Now that they have a 135-pound division, it's a great opportunity and I'm really grateful for it.