The UFC is less than two weeks away from returning to Japan after a decade-long absence from the martial arts Mecca with a card featuring not only a title-fight but as many quality match-ups as could be asked for including those between Joe Lauzon-Anthony Pettis, Tim Boetsch-Yushin Okami, Hatsu Hioki-Bart Palaszewski, and Yoshihiro Akiyama-Jake Shields.
However, the quartet of competitors involved in the evening’s co-headlining clashes will take center stage this afternoon while participating in a conference call related to the event. As always, Five Ounces of Pain will be on the line throughout and relaying live highlights back to readers as they unfold from the phone.
Today’s 1:00 PM EST call will feature appearances from lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, highly-touted contender Ben Henderson, Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader, and iconic former title-holder Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Read below for all the interesting nuggets of information and soundbytes pulled from the proceedings:
- Feels his experience fighting overseas before could work to his advantage in the fight
- Sees himself as an ambassador of the sport and is excited to represent it in Japan
- Has no problem being motivated despite his success when he has opponents like “Bendo” in front of him
- Will be ready to fight five hard rounds if necessary
- Thinks the Lord works in mysterious ways and that he wasn’t quite ready for greatness in WEC
- Wouldn’t mind getting another shot at Anthony Pettis
- Honored to fight in Japan, especially after not having his fight against Clay Guida be aired on FOX
- Absolutely aims to be the best pound-for-pound fighter period and knows a win over Edgar will get him in the discussion but not near the top, would need to beat others and defend the title a bunch of times
- Speaks about his Korean roots and love for his Asian heritage / Will have family at the event in Japan
- Refined his abilities after losing in WEC and thinks his success since has shown that
- Isn’t intimidated by fighting Jackson in Japan, relishes the underdog role
- Excited about going back to Japan
- Thinks his popularity there has to do with his style and showmanship
- Said putting him on the card was a “no brainer”
- Believes the UFC could help rekindle the popularity of MMA in Japan
- Appreciates that Japanese fans want to be entertained and don’t care so much about records
- Alludes to an issue with UFC matchmaking but won’t elaborate
- Jokes about being “broke as hell” when he first fought in Japan
- Doesn’t bump into a lot of fans in Japan because most are used to him wearing a chain, in character
- Has nothing personal against Bader, hence the last of trash-talk