The hottest rivalry since Pat’s vs. Geno’s cheesesteaks hits Philadelphia this weekend with UFC 133 featuring a headlining bout between consummate trash-talkers Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans. Before two former light heavyweight champs battle in the Octagon on Saturday night they faced off at a pre-event press conference earlier today.
Also on hand at the presser were fellow featured fighters Yoshihiro Akiyama and Vitor Belfort, plus Rory MacDonald and Mike PyleDana White.
As usual, Five Ounces of Pain will be here to bring you live updates from the festivities including interesting soundbytes and other nuggets of information gleaned from the proceedings.
Read below and get a sneak peak at what’s to come this weekend at UFC 133…
– Shies away from talk that Ortiz will be a top contender if he beats Evans
– “I love watching Akiyama fight. He always come to bring it. (Even) if you look at Akiyama’s losses they’ve all been barnburners. I think his style matches up great with Vitor. Vitor is incredibly talented, has great hands, and Akiyama is gonna make him use them on Saturday night.”
– “Tito hasn’t been this popular since 2003…”
– Jokes that he doesn’t think of Vitor as old as Tito when asked about the old guard still being relevant
– Says it was hard to not be happy for Tito after his win against Bader
– Is stoked about the prelims on Spike, also refers to Nam Phan vs. Mike Brown as a “must see” fight
– If Tito wins he will view him as one of the top “4-5″ light heavyweights in the world
– “My confidence is through the roof, my abilities are where I’ve always wanted them to be. The difference between (our first fight) and now is that I’m a completely different person physically, mentally…”
– Doesn’t think about losing so he can’t answer how much he “has to lose” in the fight
– Looks at his first fight with Rashad was a learning experience for both of them
– Hasn’t felt this healthy since his fight against Randy Couture
– Says it was hard for him to focus in their first fight because he was just starting out in the UFC and looked at Ortiz like a star rather than an opponent
– Feels he has no more/less to lose than Ortiz does / “He doesn’t wanna get whooped by me, I don’t wanna get whooped by him.”
– Mentions back-to-back camps has strengthened him physically (as evident by some of the pictures of his physique from the UFC’s open workout yesterday)
– Believes he has taken his training to the next level over the last half-year, has made it his lifestyle rather than an occupation
– Feels Belfort is an “excellent, strong striker” but “I will fight back”
– Believes he’s evolved tremendously since debuting in MMA – “I’m part of the past, part of the present, and I plan to be part of the future.”
– Not looking for a title-shot with a win, only has the present on his mind and says the future belongs to his bosses
– Doesn’t care what the odds might say
– Jokes that he may be a late bloomer with so much of his success coming later in his career but can’t say exactly sure why, just that he’s going to bring it Saturday night
– “He’s definitely an impressive fighter, there’s no doubt about that. There’s no slackers in the UFC.”
– Says joining the UFC was a wake-up call in terms of the necessary dedication to training/improving
– Sees some subtle comparisons between MacDonald and John Hathaway in terms of them being young up-and-comers but thinks they’re completely different stylistically. However, he plans on treating them the same in terms of outcome.
– Introduced to MMA at 5-6 and always had an interest in the UFC, started training at 14, fell in love with it, and then dropped everything else to turn pro at 16
– Hasn’t studied Pyle so much as worked on his own thing
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC