Tuesday afternoon the UFC invaded the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles with four champions, four title challengers and UFC President Dana White. It was the second day of the UFC World Tour, which is still underway, after it kicked off in Las Vegas Monday.
With the 2013 fight year coming to a close, the UFC has lined up four massive pay-per-view cards – all of which are set to feature at least one championship bout. In the coming months, there’s one trilogy, two rematches, and two rising contenders in their first ever UFC championship clash. At the UFC World Tour press conference, some praised their opponents, while others had their adversaries riled up. Here’s a look at the calendar of events to come and the best quotes of the day from the fighters.
UFC 165: Jon Jones (c) vs. Alexander Gustafsson
For the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
September 21, Toronto, Canada, Air Canada Centre
Jones on fighting Gustafsson: “Alexander, he’s a great fighter. He really is. I’m excited for the challenge. The thing that excites me the most about Alexander is that he’s young and I’m sure he has an ambition to win this fight that I maybe haven’t seen in a few opponents. A lot of guys I’ve fought are a lot older, a lot of the guys I’m fighting have had the life, have been there and done that already. Alexander doesn’t have that and he wants that. So, me knowing that I’ve got to train my butt off to destroy any thoughts he has of destroying my life.”
Gustafsson on finding a way to get past Jones’ reach: “We’re working hard in camp and everything is going to go well. I’m doing my homework, I’ll be ready.”
UFC 166: Cain Velasquez (c) vs. Junior dos Santos 3
For the UFC Heavyweight Championship
October 19, Houston, Texas, Toyota Center
Velasquez on how he came back motivated to regain the title after losing it to JDS: “The thing that motivated me most after that loss was something was missing in my life and that was the belt. I didn’t like that feeling. So I was going to do anything in my power to get it back and that’s how I feel now, the same way.”
dos Santos on working to defend Cain’s takedowns: “I’m going to bring some good wrestlers to help me train in Brazil. Cain’s very different. His stamina is really good that’s why he can keep moving forward all the time. His wrestling is awesome too. So, it’s going to be hard and I think hard work will be the secret for this.”
UFC 167: Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks
For the UFC Welterweight Championship
November 16, Las Vegas, Nevada, MGM Grand Garden Arena
St. Pierre on staying elite as he gets older: “The level gets better. It’s like anything else in sports. I think we’re better than the guys that were here 20 years ago. We’re better than the guys that were here ten years ago. And I think in the future, the guys will be better than us when we’re not there anymore. So, you need to improve and get better. I’m still young, fast, and athletic. So I think I can do my job.”
Hendricks on waiting to find his opening to use his left hand: “I know [St. Pierre’s] good at a jab. Bite on the mouthpiece, I’ll eat a jab from the left hand any day. You know what I’m saying? I know that all I gotta do is touch him. So my left hand is going to do that and I’ll bite down on a mouthpiece all day long for a jab for left hand. Wouldn’t you?”
UFC 168: Chris Weidman (c) vs. Anderson Silva 2
For the UFC Middleweight Championship
co-main event: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Miesha Tate 2
For the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
December 28, Las Vegas, Nevada, MGM Grand Garden Arena
Rousey on how coaching TUF went with Miesha: “We’ve been involved with each other long enough where we pretty much have a rhythm of how we talk to each other. And she mostly just doesn’t look me in the eye or talk to me a lot of the time, which I like to relate to Mike Tyson’s speech about seeing the chink in the armor when your opponent won’t look you in the eye and that’s pretty much how it goes all the time.”
Tate’s response: “That’s not what happened backstage.”
Rousey on their rivalry: “How is it not a rivalry? I have everything she wants in life.”
Tate’s response: “She a lot of things that I want, but that’s not what makes it a rivalry for me. It’s the level of disrespect that I feel like I’ve always felt and that’s what makes it personal. I’ve faced a lot of people, I would say for everybody but Ronda, I don’t have any beef with and I have a tremendous amount of respect. I think she just has a way of irritating me and I think vice versa.”
Here are the remaining dates and locations of the 2013 UFC World Tour:
July 31 – New York, New York –Beacon Theatre, 1 PM ET: UFC president Dana White hosts a press conference live with UFC®heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, UFC® light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, UFC®welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks, UFC® women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Free and open to the public; streamed live on UFC.com.
August 1 – Montreal, Canada – Complexe Desjardins, 12:30 PM ET: UFC Director of Canadian Operations Tom Wright hosts a press conference with UFC® welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks. Free and open to the public; streamed live on UFC.com.
August 1 – Houston, Texas –Toyota Center, 1 PM CT: Open workouts and interviews with UFC® heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Free and open to the public.
August 1 – Stockholm, Sweden: Press tour with UFC® light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
August 2 – Dallas, Texas – Cowboys Stadium, 1 PM CT: Open workouts and interviews on the field UFC® welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks. Free and open to the public.
August 2 – Chicago, Illinois: Press tour with UFC® women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.
August 2 – London, England: Press tour with UFC® light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
August 2 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – HSBC Arena, 3 PM BRT: UFC® heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos to participate in joint Q & A session prior to weigh-ins for UFC 163. Free and open to the public.