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UFC 192: Transcript of the conference call

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
02 Oct 2015, 10:24 IST
Cormier takes on Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 192

UFC 192 will be headlined by Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson for the coveted UFC Light Heavyweight championship this weekend, while Johny Hendricks takes on Tyron Woodley in the co – main event in a title eliminator in the welterweight division. Ryan Bader will also be seen in action, as he takes on the former Light Heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, who is returning to action after nearly two years. All six men recently took part in a conference call, and we have the entire transcript of the conversation.

 

DC obviously, you know, we’ve talked in the past about the looming Jon Jones question always comes with your fights and with your title defenses. But obviously I’m sure you heard his - his hearing’s coming up on Tuesday for his plea deal. Obviously it’s like three days before your fight, so of course it happens in that kind of timing. I’m just kind of curious your thoughts on that news. It’s just kind of ironic that the timing to this whole thing happens, you know, three days before you defend your title for the first time.

DC: Yes you know for a long time Jones is - he’s kind of been a guy that’s been tied to me very closely. I don’t anticipate that ever changing. And now with his hearing being so close it just kind of adds fuel to the fire, you know? It keeps him very relevant in the division even though he’s gone. It also kind of allows him to stay and cast in the shadow.

So not ironic. If I think they had a choice in that, I think that would be the ideal time to do it. It just worked out that way, which makes us - it gives us a little bit of a chance to know what’s going to happen going forward after Alexander Gustafsson.

 

Is that something you can even think about? I mean obviously we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know the outcome of the hearing, but you know assuming everything works out and he doesn’t do jail time or anything like that, I mean, I know you’ve always expressed this -- I think this is something that gets missed -- is that I know you want to fight him again.I think that gets missed in the conversation. I know that is a fight you wanted, and in a weird way you want him back.

DC: You know it’s not weird. I think every guy on this call - myself, Alexander Gustafsson, Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader - everybody should want Jon Jones back. It’s not just me. Obviously I’m the one that is asked about it more because I have the championship. But I think every guy in this division should want him to come back to have the opportunity to compete against that guy.

So everybody should want him back. I am rooting for him. I don’t know what happened. But in reality I do hope that there is some punishment for his actions. No one should be able to do those things and not be punished for those types of actions.

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You know with Alex, obviously in this fight I mean I know you’re coming in as the favorite DC and I know that again the odds and you know people picking you, it doesn’t really matter in the fight at all. But do you feel like you’re starting to get the respect you deserve as champion? I mean is there still - you know, I mean is there a little chip on your shoulder still just because of that overhanging Jon Jones thing? Or do you feel like you are starting to get the respect you deserve as the number one guy?

DC: You know, what man? Damon I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder. It kind of drives me. It’s something that allows me to train harder, train longer, work better. In the fight with Alexander Gustafsson I’m not very surprised that I’m the favorite. You know I think stylistically it’s a good matchup for me.

This is a fight that I’ve asked for on a number of occasions. And not only have I asked for it, a lot of guys in the division have asked to fight Alexander Gustafsson because he’s the guy that comes with a lot of prestige, with a style that a lot of guys think that we could take.

 

And a question for Alex. You know, something that DC had brought up at the Go Big press conference was about the way that a lot of people address you, the way a lot of people, you know, give credit to you is because of the one fight with Jon Jones which ultimately was a loss. So I’m kind of curious from your side, is it frustrating that that is the fight that somehow has kind of defined you even though it did technically come out as a loss for you? Or are you still proud of the fact that, you know, you took Jon Jones deeper than anybody else in this division?

Gus: No, no, I don’t even think about our fight no more. You know I’m tired of hearing that fight too. So I got new goals. I got new missions in front of me. And that’s all I’m having in my mind right now. So...

 

Just a quick follow-up Alex. I know that, you know, it’s tough any time you deal with a loss. No fighter wants to lose. But, you know, obviously you had a different kind of loss here, the knockout loss back in January. How long did it take you to kind of get past that fight and how much has that fight stuck with you, you know, as you get ready for this title fight?

Gus: Well it was a tough time in my career. It was a tough hit to take, but you know it’s been a motivation from that time. I came back on my feet quite fast. It took me a couple of weeks and I’ve been training since then.

I’ve been working my ass off the whole summer and I’m just been correcting my - what I’m missing in my game and trying, you know, developing as a fighter in my techniques and stuff like that. So I’m feeling like a much better fighter today and that fight with Anthony just motivates me even more so...

 

And one quick follow-up for Ryan Bader. You know Ryan, a lot of people believe that your fight and the altercation that happened with DC that, you know, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion you were going to get this title shot. It didn’t happen. I’m kind of curious your motivation and, you know, going into this fight. I mean, was there - you know, is there any overlying frustration or anger? And does that fuel you at all that you know you ended up in a different fight and not fighting for the title?

Or is there any kind of, you know, overhanging, you know, just bad feelings from that whole situation?

Bader: No, I’m past it now. When that happened, obviously, [when] you’re that close to the title shot and you don’t get it, that sucks. But I got the next best thing in Rashad.

In that meantime, when I didn’t have a fight, that’s what was eating at me. I didn’t fight in June and then I didn’t get that title shot and I was kind of in no-man zone. And you kind of feel lost when you don’t have something on the horizon –don’t have that name [an opponent].

And then when I finally heard it was Rashad, I totally forgot about all that focusing on Rashad. I have a fight now. I have a fight against a tough guy, a former champion. I need to go out there and make him five wins in a row and put that big name of Rashad Evans, former champ, the guy that UFC respects, everybody respects, on my resume.

And so once I got that fight, it was happy. Looking forward to fighting him and not even thinking about what’s next.

 

Question for Daniel Cormier. Daniel, obviously you’ve been a veteran in this work for a long time. You’ve worked very hard to get this title. Now you’re the champion defending a title. Does it feel any different preparing for this fight or going into it knowing that you’re the guy now that has the belt you’re defending?

DC: You know man when you start fighting, when your dream is to be the champion of the world, when you accomplish that, you don’t feel long. It doesn’t hinder you. It only helps. So my training has always been really tough. I’ve always worked hard. I’ve always been very committed to my training and focused on my workout.

But - so it hasn’t really changed. I’m still working as hard as I always worked, and I just know now that there is no way that I want to part with that championship that I worked so hard for. It validates me in knowing that all the hard work has finally paid off. And I’m continuing to work in that same type of way.

 

And a question for the challenger, Alexander Gustafsson. Alex, do you feel, you know, prior to the Anthony Johnson fight, that win - had you won that fight -- likely would have resulted in a title shot. Can you tell us is there any difference in your mindset going into this fight as opposed to the fight that you had with Anthony Johnson or for that matter going into your title shot with Jon Jones? Can you say that your mind is in any type of a different place or is it very similar?

Gus: Well no, I’m feeling great in my mind. I’ve been working so hard for this fight for getting this opportunity. I’m fighting for the belt again so it’s been a really good camp for me. I’ve been training hard the whole time since I lost. And I just have another type of self-confidence now.

And I learn from my mistakes. I never do them twice. And, you know, I’m ready, I’m ready for the next mission here and, I’m feeling great. I’m feeling really great.

 

A question for Johny Hendricks. Johny you’ve made some comments in the last week or so about changing your mindset that maybe in the past you were focused on some different things and now it’s a different situation being so worried about when the next title shot is coming. Could you speak to that a little bit and just let us know exactly how that’s changing your day-to-day approach to fighting in UFC?

Johny: Yes just forget about it. Who cares? You know what I mean? I got to get through a tough opponent on October 3. And if I can get past him then, who cares what the future brings? Who’s to say they didn’t get hurt or Condit doesn’t get hurt or somebody gets hurt and then Condit gets pushed back again, I have to fight somebody else.

I’m over it. Realistically all I care about is fighting. I’m only getting older. I don’t have time to wait for six months if that makes sense. I want to get out there. I want to compete, and that’s really where my head’s out is just get out there and compete as much as I can.

As long as my body stays healthy, I’m going to compete. And that’s really all my main focus is. That’s where my training has been focusing at too is making sure that we can continue to do this.

 

And finally a question for Ryan Bader and actually I suppose for Ryan Bader and Daniel Cormier, if Ryan could respond first. For a moment when we did think that you and Cormier were headed toward a fight, obviously there was a lot of animosity that came up between the two of you. As you just said you’re focused on Rashad Evans now but do you feel like there is still some residual personal animosity between you and Daniel Cormier? And do you think that if you do meet some point down the line that that’s going to come up again? Ryan if you could respond and then Daniel.

Bader: Yeah, like I said earlier, I’m over that whole situation. I go out there - perfect situation - I go out there, beat Rashad. And he [Cormier] gets through Gustafsson and then hopefully we can meet for a title shot there and we can pick up where we left off.

But, like I was telling Damon, I was done with it after I got the name, got Rashad. He’s a tough grade opponent and I’ve got to get through him first. So everything else kind of fell by the wayside and I’m focused on Rashad and that’s it. I haven’t really thought about it until the media brings it up and all that. But Cormier’s got to fight and I’ve got to fight and we can pick up where we left off after that and that’s it.

DC: Through this whole thing, the weirdest thing about this whole situation with Ryan Bader is through this situation and the way that he’s carried himself, I’ve actually gained a level of respect because it seems as though he’s finally understanding the game. Make yourself relevant and then people will put you in title fights and fights that really matter.

So animosity, I would say I didn’t like that that happened at the post-fight press conference. And I was hoping to have my moment. But you know what? Man that guy’s got a really tough fight ahead of him. I have a very tough fight ahead of myself. And we’ll see what happens after this.

Realistically over the course of this whole deal I’ve got this weird level of respect for Ryan more than I had before because he’s actually really raising his visibility and his profile and make people respect him for not only getting the job done inside the cage but knowing how to actually bring awareness to himself outside of the octagon.

 

Tyron, you know, all of us in the media have kind of been hitting up Johny about how he’s felt getting passed over for the title shot. You know, everybody kind of expected he’d be back in the title shot and, you know, he’s come to grips with that. But have you felt kind of overlooked or disrespected by everybody saying hey Johny’s taking a step down by not getting the title shot and having to fight you instead?

Woodley: Anybody that says it is a complete idiot, number one. Number two, I don’t feel like I was next in line for a title shot so I don’t feel looked over at all. Many people thought Johny won that fight and they thought that he’s the number one guy in the world. So this is like a three-round title fight to me mentally. So I’m taking it very seriously.

I’m excited about the fight. I’m excited about the match-up. Just to his defense I would kind of be pissed myself. So I think its showing maturity that he can move forward and have the level of focus on fighting me and not so much worried about Robbie and Carlos Condit, especially since he’s had a victory over Carlos and I’ve had a victory over Carlos. Sometimes things just play differently.

He’s going to go out there and have a great fight next week and make it a good show for the fans.

 

You said right there both you guys had a victory over Carlos and he’s fighting for the title in his next fight. So do you feel like this fight really sets either one of you guys up? Whoever comes out of this fight victorious it really sets you guys up for a claim to that title shot no matter who wins, whether it’s Robbie Lawler or Carlos?

Woodley: I mean I hate to sound like I’m disagreeing so much with the guy that’s going to be punching the hell of me next week but it really doesn’t matter to be honest if you think about it. You can play this out and I’ve tried it and I’ve tried to say hey I want to fight Johny because I know this is going to give me a title shot. I want to fight Carlos.

You see the guys I’ve asked to fight. It’s not the chips off the block. The guys that are probably my toughest opponents, the toughest tests I’m going to face in the division, and I know that beating those guys put me at a different level but that doesn’t always guarantee a title shot.

So therefore the goal is to focus on the person in front of you. You go out there, handle business and then whatever happens after that is going to happen. Whether I get a title shot or not is not going to solely depend on what happens October 3. There are so many different variables that go into that.

But I think myself, I think Johny I think - maybe one or two other guys - (Rory) and (Robbie), we will forever be in the title picture. We will be forever talked about to being next or one fight away. So I’ll never get out of that topic of conversation as long as I’m in this sport.

So it’s only a matter of time. You can delay but you can never deny. I will be the world champion. I will be the best in the world, and all I got to do is just get is more opportunities to keep proving it.

 

And Johny are you kind of in that same boat where at this point, you know, you’ve been the champion, you’ve fought for the title, you’ve been in fights that seem like they were going to be that number one contender fight, and then it didn’t happen? Are you kind of at that point where you’re just resolved to I’m going to go out and fight, put on the best show I can and when it happens, it happens?

Johny: Yes that’s all I’ve been talking about the last, what, three months? Ever since I got this fight with Woodley I knew - you can’t overlook. I can look to the future but I cannot overlook Tyron Woodley.

If you do that’s stupid. He’s a great fighter. He’s in the top five. That in itself is very hard to do so whenever you’re looking at that you’ve got to make sure that you take one step at a time. And my step right now is that I have to fight him. I have to go out there. I have to perform.

And like he said, whatever happens after that, it happens. But as of right now, I don’t care about the title because I have to get through him. If I don’t get through him, me talking about the title and all this other stuff doesn’t even matter.

 

And real quick for Rashad, Rashad it’s been like two years since you stepped in the cage just about. So how do you keep your focus during that much down time? And you know what have you done? What’s kind of your career outlook after having to sit out of the cage for so long?

Rashad: Well, I keep a pretty busy schedule just between doing - doing the FOX gig and with my obligations at the gym and at home and stuff with my kids.

But, what’s been my focus is when you’re dumped in a situation like I was having two surgeries back to back and feeling like as I’m catching my rhythm and at the peak of my career it’s very frustrating. And I’d be lying to you if I sit here and say that, you know, there wasn’t a time where I doubted the fact that I could come back.

But, you know, I had a great camp. And, you know, the biggest thing for me at the camp was just, you know, training hard with the same intensity but training smart. And, it’s kind of hard to do when you’ve been doing so long at training a certain way.

So I had to reform some things in my training just so that I was making the game that I need to do but at the same time making sure that I made it to the fight. And, I’m happy to say I’ve completed camp without any injuries and I feel really great. And I’m just excited to go out there and compete.

Being out of the sport for almost two years is for me - it was the hardest thing. And it added a lot of perspective and a lot of gratefulness and thankfulness that I’m able to go out there and compete and just enjoy myself doing what I love to do.

 

And you kind of hit on a couple of things there that I kind of see for fighters who now that MMA is really a viable career path for guys at least for a certain portion of their lives, you know, their injuries have been a big issue and it sounds like you’re addressing that through smarter training and, you know, better training. But another thing that a lot of fighters I think and a lot of athletes in general overlook is what comes next when there comes that day when you can’t step back in the cage, when you can’t fight anymore? You know, what do you do then? And you kind of touched on it with the Fox gig, but has this time off really kind of helped you consider what comes next when that day comes that you can’t step back in the cage anymore or you just don’t want to?

Rashad: Yes, it actually forced me to really look at that situation. As an athlete when you are used to competing and competing at a consistent basis, your time is pretty much marked by each training camp and each fight.

And before you know it, years have gone by before you really had a chance to have that perspective looking from the outside and seeing what your next step is, what’s your next move.

And the thing that’s so hard is that when you’re inside of this sport, you tend to forget that it’s just a season of your life. And there has to be following seasons that follow, that are coming up. So you have to plan and plant some seeds for the following seasons.

And that’s something that definitely can easily be overlooked because when you’re involved it’s such a whirlwind and you enjoy it so much. It’s hard to look 100 yards down the road and see exactly what’s coming up.

But, being in a situation that I was in, I was really forced to. And I was really forced to ask myself tough questions which I wouldn’t have probably faced unless I was done at the sport, unless it was done before I was ready.

So I’m glad I had an opportunity to sit back and really just take a look and see what I want to do with the rest of my life - while I still have a chance to compete.

 

Question for Daniel and Alexander. Daniel, you know, apart from having some of the best wrestling in MMA you’ve consistently shown yourself as an outstanding boxer. If this fight stays on the feet, do you think you can hold your own standing up against Alexander?

And the flip side for Alexander, do you think it would be a mistake for Daniel to try to beat you on his feet?

DC: No, honestly man I do believe that I could box Alexander, without question. There are ways to win fights, and sometimes you don’t always choose the easiest way to win a fight. I believe that if it’s a boxing fight between me and Alex, yes I hold my own.

I believe that I’ll be able to get on the inside against him. I believe that my hands are just as fast if not faster. And I believe that I’ll hit with more power than he does. So yes if it’s a stand-up fight, sure. Why not? I’d enjoy that.

 

Do you think it would be a mistake for Daniel to try to keep this fight on the feet?

Gus: Well you know whatever this fight, whether or not, it’s going to be a battle for sure. I’ve done my homework and I’m not surprised if DC wants to also stand and bang with me. But at the same time, I’m not afraid of his wrestling.

And this fight is 25 minutes long so, I’m ready for whatever comes. I’m ready and it’s all going down 3rd of October.

 

A question I guess to start with Rashad and if anyone else wants to take a crack at it go ahead. I think for all the fighters here this matchup is the first under the new drug testing regiment implemented by the UFC.

Rashad you’ve been around for a long time. Can you tell me how the drug testing has changed in the time that you’ve been in MMA and the time you’ve been in UFC? And how has this - the lead up to this fight - have been any different? Is it more intrusive? Is it more testing? How is the experience different as far as the testing’s concerned leading into this fight than in past fights?

Rashad: Well just the consciousness of knowing that you have to put in your body and knowing if just little over-the-counter things, just having that awareness of what you put in your body at all times is a lot different than I have previously going into a fight.

I’ve always watched what I put in my body but, you know, just the little things, I need to make sure I know what’s in every single thing that I put inside my body at all times. And that’s something that I really didn’t have to really - I wasn’t really so conscious of, because the drug testing wasn’t so strict.

But, I got tested two days ago, and it’s not so intrusive right now because I’ve been tested previously, a week or so before my fight. So that’s not too much different.

But, just having to do the whereabouts form and everything else like that, that’s something very new and it’s something a lot of fighters are really going to have to be conscious of and especially me because I travel so much and sometimes I’m kind of flighty. Sometimes I wake up one morning, you know what, I want to be in Chicago. And I get a flight that morning and I go to Chicago.

I just like to move around like that. That’s how I get down. So  I’m going to have to make an adjustment with that and just always be conscious of knowing that these people got to be able to test me and be able to find me. So that’s the part that’s very difficult or just different for me is just being conscious of where I’m at all the time.

 

Anyone else want to take a crack at that? Has this been different, your experience been different with the drug testing than before? Is there just the same kind of thing with new people running it?

DC: Actually it’s not that different, because there has been quite a bit of testing before my last few fights. But I think it’s great. USADA is something that I’ve dealt with since wresting. So not only is it going to scare guys from cheating, the whereabouts thing, unless you’re a guy that changes like the weather like Rashad Evans, most times it’s pretty easy to tell people where you are.

But they’ve made it very easy now. When I was wrestling, we had to fax forms in if there was a change to my schedule. Now there’s an application for you to just type it in in your phone. So it’s great man. I’m glad that it’s drug testing. And I’m glad the drug testing’s more stringent. And maybe we’ll stop seeing so many guys look like Superman and they’ll look more like me.

 

The two fights that fans really want to see in the light heavyweight division both involve you guys but they both involve you guys fighting Jon Jones and not each other. How much does the fact that the winner of this fight likely faces a returning Jon Jones and a massive money fight? How much does that give you - give this matchup maybe an added sense of urgency, even more so than what, you know, a headlining fight would normally give you?

Gus: Well, I don’t even think about Jon Jones right now. It’s just about the next fight. It’s just about DC for me right now and he’s the champion of the world in our division. And that’s my goal. So that’s all I’m thinking about. I don’t even like thinking about Jon Jones or that situation. It’s just DC right now; nothing else for me.

DC: The thing that’s really [expletive] up is that we live our day-to-day lives normal. And we don’t worry about Jones. But you guys will ask us questions about this guy and then the headline will make it sound as though I’m over here stewing about Jon Jones. I could really care - I could really give a [expletive] about Jon Jones. I care about beating Alexander Gustafsson.

And then if Jones is the next guy, Jones is the next guy. If it’s Evans, if it’s Bader, it doesn’t matter who the next guy is. But it’s hard to really answer these questions about this guy and allow him to actually just sit and continue to almost reign over this division when he’s disqualified himself from competition because you guys continue to ask us questions about him.

My day-to-day life does not involve worrying about Jon Jones. I worry about Alexander Gustafsson, defending my championship, then it’s just on to the next one. Line them up and whoever the name is at the end of the row, is who I’m going to fight. Jones right now, he’s disqualified himself from the competition.

 

For Alexander, at the Go Big press conference, did you get the sense that Daniel was mocking you at all talking about how everyone knows you for your loss to Jon Jones?

Gus: No I really didn’t pay attention that much about what he was saying in that press conference. But in one way...

DC: That’s a lie, Alex. Alex, that’s a lie. That is a lie.

DC: Alex knew exactly what I was talking about because it took him a week to make a response. If he didn’t pay attention he would not have had that little smirky response...He knew exactly what I was saying. He knows. Don’t buy it, Alex. Be honest.

Gus: I don’t, I don’t. Honestly, I still think that DC has a point. Daniel has a point there because I have my mission in front of me. I’m going to fight Daniel right now, and I’m just tired of hearing about Jon Jones all the time. So I get that point, but other than that, no, I didn’t hear what you.. he was saying.

DC: Alex, Alex, Alex just tell them. Just tell them Alex. Your greatest performance was not a loss. Tell them about your big wins. Alex, tell them that your greatest performance was not a loss. Tell them. Then they can stop asking you that and stop pretending that.

Tell them that your greatest performance, the time that you walked out of the Octagon, was not after that loss to Jon Jones. You felt better walking out another time where you thought you accomplished more. Tell them Alex.

Gus: Yeah, yeah, of course, but my biggest accomplishment’s going to be on 3rd of October my friend. That’s going to be my biggest accomplishment.

DC: Well, Alex that ain’t happening. Let’s not sit over here and pretend. Let’s not sit over here and pretend. Tell them. Tell me Alex.

Gus: Huh? Tell you what?

DC: And that’s what I’m saying. Tell these guys. Tell these guys to stop harping on the fight that you lost and to respect you for the huge wins that you have.

Gus: Yes, I got you, I got you, but the journey’s not over yet for a while. Still a lot to come.

 

But Alex is there any lingering animosity toward Daniel because last year you were the one who was supposed to fight Jon Jones in the rematch for the title, but, you know, due to injuries and circumstances and due to the press conference incident it was Cormier who ended up getting the title shot earlier this year when you were - after you were recovering from your injury you ended up fighting Johnson.

But here you are now getting your title shot. Do you have animosity toward Daniel over getting passed over for him instead of you?

Gus: No. No, not at all. Whatever happened in the past, happened. It’s nothing that I’m thinking about right now. I’m just happy to get in that opportunity for the belt and fighting DC again. I’m just happy for the opportunity and I’m going to make the best of the opportunity and it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be exciting. I’m very excited for this.

 

Rashad, welcome back. I’m really looking forward to have you getting this fight and having you back in the octagon again. Do you think - is there any pressure on you, you know, coming back from this layoff and performing and, you know, getting your hat back in the title mix once again because it just seems like, you know, this is a big opportunity for you to make that happen. You know, you’re fighting on the same night as the huge light heavyweight title fight.

Rashad: I’d be lying to sit here and say there’s no pressure at all for me to go out there and perform well. And there is. I want to go out there and I want to show that I haven’t lost a step. I want to go out there and show that I’m still hungry to compete at the top of the weight class. But you know it’s not for the reason to say that, I want to throw my name in the hat to have a chance to fight for the belt.

I think if I go out there and I perform well, that’ll speak for itself. I think my concerns more of anything is just going out there and just having fun and finding my rhythm, finding my timing, finding all the things that I need to do so I can sleep at night, and say that I competed good.

I think that the bigger you make the whole event, the harder it is to go out there and compete at your best. There are so many things in the background that I can add to me wanting to do well but the more I do that the more complex that it makes it. So I just decide just to make it small. It’s about going out there and having a great performance against Ryan Bader.

And Ryan Bader, he’s still looking good lately. He’s gotten better as a fighter and I can’t want to go out there and show everybody what I’ve been working on for the last two years, besides just being injured.

 

For Tyron, Johny recently had talked about how sometimes you have to be less exciting in order to win the fight in the eyes of the judges than in the eyes of the fans. So I mean both of you I would say have been on the wrong end of some really iffy decisions.

So I mean do you have to think about that at all going into a fight, you know, of winning this fight? You know, you’re in a three-round fight with a former UFC welterweight champion. And you know this is the fight that, you know, could get you, you know, everything you want and the dreams of your MMA career.

But I mean still you have to deal with winning the fight and convincing the judges or also maybe finishing the fight. I mean, does that pressure you at all?

Woodley: Oh that was for me? I was still caught up on DC telling Alex to tell him. I was making that my meme for the day. No I don’t get caught up in that mess. This is the thing about fans. You’re never going to satisfy them. I used to try to. I think some of us on the phone used to try to as well.

At the end of the day you got to be able to look in the mirror and know that you’ve went out there and you’ve given the best that you can give and done the best that you can do in a fight. And there’s been fights where I’ve done that, fights where I can honestly say in victory and defeat that I didn’t give my all.

So it’s more of a challenge source myself on maximizing and being the Tyron Woodley that I can be, which I believe is the best in the world. That’s really where my pressure lies. It’s not about the fans, what they want to see, and you’ve got to win this type of way to get a title shot.

Like when did this sport become that such and such an entertainment deal where you can’t just win? You have to win by jumping off the cage or doing the percolator in the middle of the Octagon and finishing a fight that way to get a title shot.

I think a victory over these top guys - none of these guys want to lose. None of these guys want to be finished. So to be able to finish a high level opponent is not easy. I don’t want to be finished.

So with that said, my focus is on doing what I’m able to do and maximizing and that’s really it. I  don’t plan on sprinkling any extra fairy dust in the air and doing no razzle dazzle that I don’t have to do but just going out there and fighting a very tough opponent.

 

And finally for Ryan Bader, Ryan is there any sense that maybe you’ve been passed over for a title shot because you know your most recent wins haven’t been, you know, finishes. And do you think maybe I have to put a stamp on this win over Rashad Evans in order to really secure a title shot?

Bader: Yes, let’s be honest. The finishing whole part of it was just like what they were saying. It is a big part of it, in getting a title shot, being exciting. And, for me, I’ve got four wins in a row and I think I need that name recognition, that guy in Rashad Evans, to go out there and beat him, make it five in a row and have it be Rashad as a bookend to those five fight winning streak.

A former champion, a guy that everybody respects and knows his skill set and then maybe yeah you deserve the shot. But the title shots, they come, they go, and you never know. Like Johny was saying, you could be training for one, a guy gets hurt. Another guy jumps in, you take a fight. We’re all getting a little older in the sport too. And everything comes into a factor when you’re thinking about that.

So really just keep your head down. I’m kind of cliché but it’s the next guy. It’s Rashad right now and I’ll worry about everything else after that. You can’t be too far ahead in this sport because it’ll bite you.

 

Alexander, obviously your loss in January, the Swedish public seemed to put a lot of pressure on you. How much pressure is there on you from the Swedish public going into this fight?

Gus: Well it’s not that much pressure. It’s been a lot of hype around this fight and same with my last fight against Anthony, has also been a lot of hype. But it’s all good. It’s not that much pressure. It’s a little bit of the media, that’s it. That’s part of the job as something I have to accept doing.

 

And you also see Joanna is champion now, European champion. You know, how crucial is it, do you feel, for Europe to have a male champion in the UFC?’

Gus: Well it’s about time I feel. I’m thinking about and that would be massive for the European MMA scene and for the Swedish MMA scene. It would be massive for the sport.

 

Rashad, you’ve had a lot of distractions outside of the cage, you know, coming into this fight. You know, how is everything on that? Are you fully focused on this fight?

Rashad: A lot of distractions as far as what?

 

As far as reports that you’re broken up with your management company.

Rashad: No that’s not a distraction. Glenn and I are still really close. He still helps out on a lot of things that I do still. It’s just that, they’ve got a whole situation I just wanted to move in the direction where they might be able to give me more time. It was an amicable split, so there’s no hard feelings going with that whole thing.

But yeah, I’m focused. I mean I’ve been waiting two years for this moment. I’ve got hurt training for DC originally and it was Friday and it was my last training day and I was going to be sitting to fight DC the next.

DC: And you are so lucky you did too. You were damn lucky. I was about to whoop your ass. So lucky you got hurt too.

Rashad: When DC first got to the game, I was ((inaudible)) and he was swatting flies.

DC: Oh Rashad you got lucky you got hurt. Boy, wow.

Rashad: So I mean I’ve been waiting for this moment for two years and for me more than anything it’s just a matter of just not getting too excited -  not doing too much because I’ve been waiting for this. And I’m super focused and it’s just a matter of me just kind of just dialing down a little bit and just enjoying myself a little bit.

Today is my birthday. I’m going to go and have a few shots, get charged up a little bit, end up in Miami, wake up in the morning and train. But that’s just the way I do it.

DC: Hey Rashad, they do love you at the UFC because they knew your birthday was right around the fight, so they gave you Ryan Bader, huh? Wow they take care of you.

Rashad: Come on Bader. Don’t let that ride.

Bader: What’s that?

Rashad: Don’t (let) that rot.

DC: Come on Bader. Say something Bader.

Bader: I’ll take care of Rashad and then get you next buddy.

 

Rashad, Ryan just said there that DC is next if he gets over you. How do you feel you’re in position in the UFC light heavyweight division with a win over Ryan Bader? Is DC next for you too?

Rashad: Hopefully, hopefully. I would love to fight DC. I think it would be a fun fight. But I think beating somebody like Ryan Bader would definitely say that I’m in the conversation. A lot of things need to happen for that fight to happen.

The whole situation everybody hates to talk about is Jon Jones coming back, which he probably will. But more importantly, instead of just getting my mind so much where I’ve got to have DC next, I just want to compete.

When you’ve been out for two years and just left on the sidelines and analyzing fights on FOX TV and you’ve still got the ability to whip everybody’s ass, you want to compete. So I’ve got a chance of fighting and all I want to do is just compete.

 

You can catch UFC 192 live and exclusive on Sony SIX, Sony KIX and Sony SIX HD on October 4th, at 7:30 AM IST.

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