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Just 10 days out from a pay-per-view event, The Ultimate Fighting Championship will be holding a media conference call to build up next Saturday's (October 29, 2011) UFC 137: "Penn vs. Diaz" event today, (October 19, 2011) at 2 p.m. ET.
B.J. Penn is the former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion. Since dropping his lightweight title in back-to-back bouts to current champ Frankie Edgar, he's gone 1-0-1 in a return to the welterweight division, destroying former champion Matt Hughes and drawing with conventional number two welterweight Jon Fitch earlier this year.
His opponent will be none other than Nick Diaz, who left Strikeforce as the promotion's welterweight champion and is currently riding a 10 fight winning streak. Diaz was originally offered a title shot but had it taken away after failure to show up at back to back press conferences. That original disappointment turned out to be a benefit when champion Georges St. Pierre suffered a training injury yesterday and pulled out of the UFC 137 main event. Diaz is now back into the spotlight.
We'll see how he handles the pressure.
Update: New co-main eventers Cheick Kongo and Matt Mitrione have been added to the call. Kongo is coming off one of the craziest comebacks of 2011 against Pat Barry earlier this summer while Mitrione has continued his undefeated streak, moving to 5-0 in the UFC with a recent second round knockout of Christian Morecraft at the same event.
We'll have complete updates of the UFC 137 media conference call after the jump.
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.
2:08 p.m.: No Nick Diaz, but the other three fighters are present.
Sorry folks, I can barely understand a word B.J. Penn is saying.
B.J. Penn: I'm happy to do a 5 round fight. It's something I've done in my career and in the UFC. I'd want to be compensated for it, but I'd be more than willing to do it if Dana says it's ok. None of it bothers me at all. I've been training for a fight. I'm ready for a fight.
Matt Mitrione: To be honest, it doesn't matter if I'm the co-main or main event. I've competed at the NFL and I've competed in front of 100,000 people in Michigan. It doesn't matter where the fight is, you just don't want to get beat up by Cheick Kongo. That's my primary focus.
Matt Mitrione: Pat Barry's a professional, he fights for money just like Cheick and I do. It was a beautiful comeback. All it showed me was that Cheick's resilient, he's got a ton of heart. That's what it showed me more than anything else. All it showed me was that if he's in trouble, he's very active and you really have to work to get that finish against him.
B.J. Penn: I have no gotten a call from the UFC or Dana or anyone since I heard all this news. I found out from BJPenn.com. I haven't talked to anyone. I'm just sitting here. I know the same amount of information that you know. We're scheduled for a three round co-main event and I haven't got a call since then.
B.J. Penn: Nick is Nick. That's what he does. I enjoy watching the stuff that Nick Diaz does. He doesn't change. he's always himself. He always shows up to the fight so I don't think we have to worry about that stuff.
B.J. Penn: I was excited to be the main event. It's always a good thing. I remember the first time I main evented a card against Jens Pulver 10 years ago. I was so excited. I just count my blessing and as many fights as I've main evented in my fight, I just try to do my best. It makes it special this time. There's been a lot of changes. I was supposed to fight Condit, then I was out of the event then I go against Nick and now we're the main event. I'm very excited to be the main event. What more can you ask for? I'm the main event in Las Vegas.
B.J. Penn: I feel Nick is the best boxer in mixed martial arts today. He can stand up with anyone. People have questioned me about my boxing but Nick has proved it. We're kinda similar. He's got striking and jiu-jitsu and so do I. Nick has great cardiovascular endurance. I think it will be a fun fight and it will be a great fight for the fans.
B.J. Penn: I don't want to speak too soon. I want to win another title before I step away from the game. If Dana's impressed with my next fight and wants to grant me a shot, I'd be more than happy.
B.J. Penn: I'm a fan of Nick Diaz. I was a fan of Nick Diaz before he was in the UFC. I know Nick personally, I know Nate Diaz. Whatever they do, they're themselves. It's no problem. The only thing that bothers me is when Nick Diaz punches me in the nose in the Octagon.
B.J. Penn: for me it's always been a love/hate relationship with mixed martial arts and the UFC at times. You never know when you can get a title shot or that title. Look at Carlos Condit. You never know. I'd love to stick around as long as Randy stuck around. One day I want to fight 100 fights and the next day I don't want to fight anymore. I think a lot of other fighters feel the same way I'm just more vocal about it.
B.J. Penn: I'm motivated and stuff but that motivated me a bit to see Reagan get fights at the same time. He's always been around the camps though and we've been training partners so it's business as usual.
B.J. Penn: The fighter inside me would say I should just fight and the man who could retire without getting another title shot might say to wait. Carlos made a tough choice, I don't really know the answer to this question.
Matt Mitrione: I'll wear a cup that protects me. It doesn't worry me. As long as it covers my jewels, my nuts and berries I'm ok.
Matt Mitrione: If he's kicking my ass standing up, I'll take him down and try to make him pregnant. It depends where the fight is going. You have plans and it usually all goes out the window when you start to scrap.
Cheick Kongo: Everybody gets a chance to face anyone famous. It's a good thing for anyone. I learned a lot from past mistakes. I'll be in good shape. Let's see. I wish him good luck next Saturday.
Cheick Kongo: I dont' have anything to say about that. (worries about what Mitrione brings) The thing was, I've been training. I'll be aware of his boxing, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. I learned from the fight against Pat Barry. He dropped me from a left hook, something that I didn't expect. I will keep training, I've got a good coach and I will just try to do my best every day and keep getting better. I think now I'm getting better and I'd just like to meet tough kids.
B.J. Penn: There's no doubt that I'll remember him not showing up here every minute. That's Nick Diaz. I think there's nothing wrong with the media focusing on that stuff. It's a story. I don't want to say it's good for the sport, a guy not showing up to a press conference.
B.J. Penn: I understand where Dana's coming from with what he does. It is what it is.
B.J. Penn: I probably expect it to happen. A fight is a fight. There's no friends in the Octagon. I expect him to come out and say a bunch of things and I might say some stuff myself. That's the nature of the game. Fighting's a tough sport. You want to be as professional as you can and sometimes your emotions get to you. That's the nature of the fight.
B.J. Penn: I think he's just amping himself up for the fight. That's just it man. We've trained together, him and Nate Diaz came down and helped me defend my lightweight title after I lost to Georges St. Pierre. They helped me train a lot for the Kenny Florian fight. It's not like I trained with him so I know what he's gonna do. It doesn't work like that. Whatever happens in the Octagon, that's different.
B.J. Penn: I think me and Nick Diaz is a fight that ended up being put together. It wasn't a fight that was asked for. At the end of the day, we've all got to go to work. It's all about the right time, who's open, who's injured, who's not injured. Maybe I'll go for the welterweight title another time or if possible, go for the lightweight title one more time. I won't dwell on it. The fight is against myself and I'll try my personal best.
B.J. Penn: Dana White was saying if I beat Jon Fitch I'd be ready to fight for the title and now they're saying maybe I'm not ready for the title. That's water off my back. One day I'm fighting for the title, one day I'm not. I just want to keep forward, make money and feed myself.
B.J. Penn: I think me and Jason click well. Besides all the technical stuff, he's really got a fighter's mind and a fighter's heart. You need somebody with the right mind and the right energy and do the right things to get you ready for the fight.
Dave Scholler: We've been in constant communication with Cesar Gracie and he said he is still looking for Nick right now.
Matt Mitrione: The awesome thing about that question is I don't get paid to worry about that. If I go out there and beat Kongo, then it's a question to worry about. If I get my ass kicked, then that conversation is over. That question is way beyond my mind.
Cheick Kongo: I have no idea for that. I just want to improve. If I get the chance to fight for the title, I'd be happy. If I'm the next one, I know the line is very long but I would like to fight for the belt.
B.J. Penn: I'd jump at the chance for a lightweight title shot.
B.J. Penn: Physically, I feel comfortable and mentally I'd be ready for a five round fight.
B.J. Penn: Cesar is a strange guy. I don't know why he did that in the first place. At the end of the day, I don't mind. If I were compensated for it, there's nothing wrong with a main event being five rounds.
Update 2:45 p.m.: Nick Diaz is on the line
Nick Diaz: I didn't even know about a call. I woke up, my phone was dead and my brother told me that I was supposed to be on the call. I didn't get any notice. I didn't hear anything about it until about fifteen minutes ago.
Nick Diaz: I've just done my best to try not to focus on it and live every day like it's not a big deal. I don't know what's gonna happen to me. It's not gonna make a difference if I whine or cry about it. What matters is that I go out and fight. It's not sure about me or what's going on in the world, who I'm fighting and who I'm not fighting. That's what I do and what I do well. Everything else is just gonna be a whole 'nother task than fighting itself and training itself.
Nick Diaz: I didn't make any mistakes as far as training and doing what I do. I've been training 100 percent and I always thought that was the stuff that was important. People pay to see fighters fight.
Nick Diaz: I've had more boxing experience than most in the UFC so I think that yeah, sure. No, I'm not happy about fighting a guy that's my friend. He was my friend and now I'm fighting this guy. I was gonna fight a guy and now I have a deal. That set it off. I'm gonna deal with it. This is hard times just like it's been. I'm not gonna expect it to get easier. I don't like fighting people I've met or trained with or people that have video with. It's kinda shady feelings going into a fight. I'm just doing what my manager says. They work it out in gym training and they come to me and say, "do this or that," and I'm just doing what I'm told.
Nick Diaz: I'd have preferred to fight GSP of course. It wouldn't have been like I was fightng someone I already know and I would have been fighting for the title. I think I have the right skills and the right tools to do the job in that fight. I don't know whether this fight will make me come off looking better or worse. I know that I think that George comes out and you think that he grew up bigger than B.J. and he could stall for five rounds, especially a five round fight. I think that was gonna be interesting to see how he was gonna deal with me or how I was gonna deal with him. This fight is a lot different. I think B.J. is a lot better fighter. He's much better jiu-jitsu or boxing. I don't think he should fight at this weight. I didn't think he looked so great in his last fight. I think he's a much better fighter than GSP all around.
Nick Diaz: Of course I have regret. I missed out on a ridiculous amount of money. I've got all these business people and big money people making deals. Somebody is making 100 grand to tell me what I'm supposed to do and you think someone would tell me to be at this press conference or I won't make shit. I wish I'd read that myself and I'd have been a lot more cautious and I'd have dealt with shit myself and I'd have done to that press conference. I'm in the gym training hard and I think that's important. I signed and made a deal. I don't know about going back on that, that never came to mind. As far as I'm concerned, there's people that should have let me know. It's not like I have all this time to go get into that part either. I've been training. I've had to deal with everybody of who I'm fighting, I've had to deal with all that. It's not easy.
Nick Diaz: When should I have known about this press conference? Somebody should have gave me a call. I don't know who's talking to who. I didn't hear about it. Just like anything, i don't hear about this shit until way late. I'm not sitting here on my thumbs waiting for a call, I'm waiting for training. I'm training hard, harder than these guys and that's why. That's what takes up all my time, training, becoming the best in the world. Ain't nobody can beat me.
Dave Scholler: We sent out the release earlier in the week. We're in constant communication with Cesar. All's well that ends well now that Nick is on the call and that's how we're gonna proceed.
Nick Diaz: I just go out there and fight the way I'm supposed to fight to win the fight.
Nick Diaz: I'm not trying to get crazy. I need to get paid. I'm gonna show up and make weight. I don't think about all that. If you want to put that up, if you want to bring that up, start that whole thing, that's on you and whoever wants to jump on your whole bandwagon. He can have my belt.
B.J. Penn: The only thing I'm gonna focus on is on October 28th. Nick earned that belt in Strikeforce and I've got to do my job.
Nick Diaz: It's a fight man, you know what I mean? It doesn't really matter where it takes place. I think this fight can go everywhere. I think anything can happen if you're an MMA fighter.
Nick Diaz: It's whatever. It's really not up to me. Either way I guess it's fine, it's ok for me. Five rounds.