With eight short days to go before Strikeforce returns to CBS in primetime on April 17, the promotion held one final media conference call today (April 9) featuring middleweight champion Jake Shields, Strikeforce newcomer Dan Henderson, lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, and of course Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker.
Strikeforce: "Nashville" is set to go down from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee at 9 p.m. ET next Saturday. The night's main event will see Jake Shields put his middleweight title on the line as he welcomes former Pride FC champion Dan Henderson to the Strikeforce fold.
The co-main event will feature an intriguing lightweight bout as Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez looks to defend his crown against DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki.
Check out the highlights of the call after the jump.
- Thoughts on being in the main event on CBS and whether or not he feels pressure to put on an exciting show:
Excited to be in the main event on CBS fighting a guy of Dan Henderson's caliber. Does feel pressure to be exciting and to put on a show. Wants to impress the fans. But thinks this match up will make for an exciting fight anyways. He's definitely looking to end this fight.
- On potentially leaving Strikeforce for UFC:
He's really happy with Strikeforce. The media are the people talking about him headed to the UFC. He's in no hurry to leave.
- How he sees the fight playing out and his current weight situation:
Thinks both guys are tough to take down, but that eventually both will get taken down. He's currently 195 lbs. Says he's added a lot of size and that he doesn't expect weight to be a factor.
- On dropping back down to welterweight eventually:
He just takes it one fight at a time. But at some point plans on dropping back down. Thinks he could make it back down very easily.
- What he thought about his lack of promotion from Strikeforce and CBS:
It was irritating at first. But now he's getting a lot more promotion. He had no problem with Dan Henderson getting more press because he's done a lot for the sport. But he's the champ.
- On being in the main event on CBS in his first fight with Strikeforce:
He's excited to be on CBS and help this sport grow.
- Reason why he chose Strikeforce over other suitors:
CBS was a huge part of his decision to come to Strikeforce. Feels as though they have the biggest platform in the sport, including the UFC.
- His thoughts on Jake Shields as an opponent:
He's [Shields] on a big winning streak. Henderson is sure that Shields plans on taking him down to try to choke him out. Thinks his wrestling will nullify that.
- Thoughts on fighting Shinya Aoki:
He's very happy to be fighting the biggest star in Japan on American soil and on CBS. Says he's pumped to put on a show for the fans.
- On how he sees the fight playing out with Aoki:
The perfect fight for him would see the match never hit the ground and he'd just knock him out. But he knows he has to be ready for everything especially for what Aoki has on the ground. He thinks his training with the Diaz brothers the last few years will help him out a lot.
- On the clash of styles between himself and Aoki and the impact of fighting in a cage:
He's [Aoki] very intelligent. Thinks they have different styles of jiu-jitsu. Melendez thinks he's more high paced and aggressive, while Aoki is more tricky and plotting. He's not banking on the cage helping him out.
- On the promotion for the card:
Thinks CBS did a great job in promoting the fights during the NCAA men's basketball tournament and on NCIS: L.A. Thinks the fights speak for themselves. It's a great line up.
- Status of Jake Shields' contract:
They're going to wait and see what happens in the Henderson fight and then approach the contract situation afterwards. But they do own a one-fight option with Shields after the Henderson fight.
- The upcoming schedule for Strikeforce:
There will be two cards in May. "Heavy Artillery" on the 15th and a Challengers card in Portland, Oregon on the 21st featuring Tyron Woodley and Kerry Vera. Two fights in June. One will be a big card, and the other will be a hybrid of the two.
- On the partnership with DREAM:
One of his goals when they partnered with CBS was to have the best DREAM guys come over here and fight the best Strikeforce guys because he thinks they can be the biggest fights in the sport. Aoki is their superstar and to let him come over here to fight was very generous of them. And likewise, he says they would have no problem letting the Strikeforce guys go over there and fight.
And that'll do it, Maniacs. Remember that MMAmania.com will have live play-by-play results for Strikeforce: "Nashville" next Saturday, April 17.
For complete Strikeforce: "Nashville" coverage, click here.