The UFC is set to return to network television in a little more than a week with a fantastic card featuring a pair of contender-laden co-headliners in addition to a handful of other fan-friendly matches.
At the top of lineup is a bout between lightweights Nate Diaz and Jim Miller who will be battling it out for a title-shot, each an accomplished grappler with wins over a number of respected 155-pound peers. Before Miller-Diaz mix it up, top welterweights Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks will throw down with the winner likely moving a single victory away from earning a championship opportunity of his own.
Before taking to the Octagon a week from Saturday night, the quartet of co-headlining competitors will dial in to discuss their upcoming fights during a conference call with media starting today at 1:30 PM EST. As usual, Five Ounces of Pain will be listening in and reporting live results back to readers as they unfold from the line.
Read below for a breakdown of soundbytes/highlights:
– Knows there is a lot on the line in their fight and acknowledges the contendership implications / “I’m ready to roll.”
– Brought in a number of new training partners now that he’s left AKA, says the focus has been 100% on him and that it’s been one of the best camps he’s had in a long time
– Doesn’t care where the fight takes place, just knows he’ll win
– Feels having former fighters as judges is good for MMA
– Is excited by facing someone with Koscheck’s credentials and the challenge he presents
– Doesn’t take Koscheck’s trashtalk personally / Laughs off being labeled as “fat” and says he IS fat when he isn’t training based on his love of Taco Bell and other junk food
– Feels their fight is going to be fun to watch and not just “a boring wrestling match”
– Glows about having had a role at a recent NASCAR race as a fan of the sport
– Likes that Ricardo Almeida is going to be a judge in their fight based on the experience he brings with him
– Doesn’t really care that the fight is in his hometown-area though says it is nice to not have to deal with the travel
– Credits Diaz as being tough and is fired up at the thought of trying to beat him
– Says he’s trained harder than he ever has before in his career and feels better than ever
– Prepared for a five-round fight but will be looking for a finish / “That’s what drives everybody that steps in there. They want to hear the roar of the crowd when they finish somebody.”
– Planning to fight his fight and not be baited into Diaz’s game
– Updates fans on nephew’s health and says he’s doing well but still waiting on transplant, expects it this summer
– “I just train. I train hard. I’m just going out there to win.”
– Was told he would receive a title-shot if he beats Miller
– Didn’t feel he was fighting big enough names at welterweight and wanted to come back at 155 to fight higher-touted competitors
– Mentions training with Josh Neer to help prepare for Miller
– UFC rep Ryan Grab says Miller-Diaz is no longer confirmed as a #1 contender’s fight but the winner will definitely be “in the mix”