UFC on FOX 5 Media Call: Nate Diaz Says Title Fight With Benson Henderson “Biggest Thing Going on Right Now”
By FCF Staff
The UFC held another media call today in advance of the promotion’s upcoming FOX broadcast and event, which will go down December 8th at the Key Arena in Seattle. The card will be headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Benson Henderson and challenger Nate Diaz.
Some of the other main card bouts include former light-heavyweight champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua taking on Alexander Gustafsson, and former lightweight and welterweight champ BJ Penn versus Rory MacDonald.
All of the aforementioned fighters were on today’s call, as was UFC President Dana White and FOX Sports President Eric Shanks.
Here were some of the highlights.
When asked why he decided to return to fighting, and against Rory MacDonald, BJ Penn said he realized he didn’t have much longer to compete and that he had “the itch” to fight again.
Penn credited MacDonald for being a top contender and acknowledged that he was interested in fighting MacDonald due to his affiliation with Tristar, which the decorated vet also credited as a great team.
Penn would not “point the finger” at MacDonald in terms of PED accusations and added that the drug testing the two fighters have entered into voluntarily, is to “protect my own but.”
White was predictably asked for an update regarding a super fight between Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, and the UFC President relayed he hasn’t talked to anyone since St. Pierre’s recent UFC 154 win.
When asked to expand on recent comments he made stating that bigger things were on the horizon between UFC and FOX, White offered no specifics but said “these are the guys I want to be with forever.”
Henderson was asked if he feels pressure to score a dominant win over Diaz, and entrench his position as champ, he responded by saying “I’m just trying to get a W,” whether it’s a decisive win or “razor thin victory. ”
The champion added that “I’m not going to say I’m going to go out there and knock out Nate Diaz,” before noting “Nate Diaz is tough.”
Penn said he’s only focusing on his upcoming bout with MacDonald and that he has no plans for after the fight.
White confirmed that FOX will be airing a UFC special after the network’s football programming on Sunday. The program will be titled “Road to the Octagon” and will feature upcoming competitors like MacDonald and Penn.
Diaz acknowledged that his upcoming title shot “is a big fight” and that it’s “the biggest thing going on right now.”
The Cesar Gracie trained fighter added that he’s “trying to prepare the best way that he can” and that he’s “training hard” with all of his teammates.
Penn relayed that he believes “super fights are great” and that the sport is built on getting the “two best guys” together, before calling White “the man.”
White credited Shanks as “exactly the kind of guy we want to do business with.”
White also confirmed that the debut of the women’s 135 pound division has not been set yet.
What night of the week the next season of TUF will be broadcast has also not been determined.
When asked “how far can Rory go”, White acknowledged that there is a lot of hype behind him, but cautioned that no one goes through Penn without difficulty.
When asked about the success of UFC 154 in terms of PPV sales, White responded by saying “it was awesome” and that “the king of pay-per-view is back.”
MacDonald said he doesn’t believe St. Pierre will be cornering him at the event.
The rising welterweight also said he hasn’t consulted with the champion extensively regarding the upcoming bout, despite the fact GSP has fought Penn twice. According to MacDonald, he doesn’t like to focus too much on previous performances of his opponents, due to the fact that they are constantly evolving or changing.
Rua relayed that he agreed to fight Jon Jones again, after the champ’s UFC 151 bout with Dan Henderson fell through, but that he would have needed six weeks to prepare and not the two weeks that were offered.
In terms of his upcoming bout with Gustafsson, Rua said he believes fans will “have a wonderful show” after citing the striking abilities of each fighter.