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Ultimate Fighting Championship will be holding a public press conference today (Dec. 7, 2011) to officially announce the promotion's second major network event, UFC on FOX 2: "Evans vs. Davis" which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 28, 2012.
The conference will begin at 2 p.m. ET live from the The United Center in Chicago, Illinois, which is where the event is scheduled to take place.
Rashad Evans is the former UFC light heavyweight champion and recently came back from significant time away to defeat Tito Ortiz in the main event of UFC 133. He's been the de facto number one contender for over a year now but injuries have kept him from challenging for the belt.
He'll be challenged by Phil Davis, an undefeated UFC prospect who was a four time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and 2008 national champion. He currently holds a spotless MMA record and is looking to take it to the next level by battling Evans, the man he was originally slated to fight at UFC 133 before injuries got in the way.
Chael Sonnen has made as much of a name for himself with his gift for gab as he has with his talent in fighting. The mouthy ex-realtor gave Anderson Silva his toughest test in the UFC to date and recently came back from over a year away from the sport to dominate top contender Brian Stann at UFC 136. His post-fight speech where he challenged Silva to a rematch was the stuff of legends and victory on over Munoz will all but confirm the title bout.
Mark Munoz has launched himself quickly up the middleweight division with a solid 7-1 record in the division as well as a four fight winning streak which includes impressive victories over Demian Maia and Chris Leben in his last two bouts. He asked for a title shot after dominating Chris Leben in the UFC 138 main event but he'll settle for a number one contender match.
We'll have complete updates of the UFC on FOX 2 press conference after the jump.
Brian Hemminger here. The press conference is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.
Dana White: Georges St. Pierre's out, that sucks, let's talk about this fight.
Dana White: The way that Munoz and Chael Sonnen works out, the winner of that fight fights Anderson Silva and then winner of Maia-Bisping will fight winner of that fight.
Mark Munoz: Chael had a kneebar and tweaked on it a bit when we wrestled. That's what happens sometiems and the ref is there to stop it. It's water underneath the bridge now. Chael has fought for a very long time and he's a great fighter. He's got awesome MMA wrestling and I've got great wrestling so you're definitely gonna see a lot of wrestling going on.
Chael Sonnen: Mark's explanation of heat of the moment is nice, but it was a calculated and premeditated event. I assure you on January 20th, I will be ready. It will be one more on the win column and one more for the bad guy.
Dana White: This thing was always supposed to be a triple header. We were hoping maybe things would go our way on Saturday and Bisping took no injuries so he jumped at the opportunity.
Dana White: That was part of FOX's strategy in signing the UFC. Since they found out the UFC is coming to FOX and Fuel is gonna be a huge destination, basically, you can't be a UFC fan without Fuel. They've gone up 11 percent. They're in 38 million homes now and that's just the beginning. It will be in your area very soon.
Dana White: The announcements that we've made have people bitching at their cable companies that they don't have Fuel. That's a huge jump with already going up 11 percent.
Chael Sonnen: I've got no problem with Anderson Silva but I'm not gonna change my schedule around to kick his ass. Anderson is not gonna fight me in America, Brazil or anywhere. He's not going to fight me and don't fall for the hype that he is.
Mark Munoz: Yes, I have trained with Anderson and hey, he's got the belt. I'm fighting Chael and we're friends. In order to get to the belt, I've got to fight Chael. I'm not gonna make it more than what it is. It's a competition. it's nothing personal and it's business. I want to become a world champ.
Dana White: I think Shonie Carter needs to call Joe Silva. Good luck Shonie.
Chael Sonnen: Everybody's got guys they don't want to fight and Mark's on the top of my list. We have to do this. Mark and I agreed to fight to set example for the rest of the guys. Basketball players don't refuse to play each other because they're friends. We will fight and live with the result.
Mark Munoz: We talked about it and it was difficult but it is what it is. We're gonna fight each other and we're gonna put on a great show. That's the bottom line.
Michael Bisping: I'm proud to be part of this event. Demian Maia is a tough fight and thanks to Dana for giving me an opportunity. I'm excited to fight again and fight the winner of these guys right here.
Michael Bisping: Jason Miller, he talked a lot of trash and I really didn't care for the guy but ultimately on the night you've got to fight. I'm assuming with Demian being a classy guy, there's not going ot be too much trash talk going into the fight. I want to beat him. I want to beat him impressively and I want to fight for the title. I'm going to be 100 percent motivated for this fight.
Dana White: The first one we did, we didn't have a deal with these guys yet. The deal starts in January. The difference between this one and the last one is this will be two hours and there's gonna be a lot more fights here than the last one.
Dana White: It was time. We were due to come back to Chicago. Obviously this is the venue to be in too and we were looking at cities to bring the big FOX fight, Chicago was a no brainer. It's a big fight. The ones on FOX are big fights and we wanted to come to a major sports city. When guys fight in the UFC and end up coming to their hometown, it's everybody's dream to fight in their hometown. I'm sure there will be hometown fighters here.
Dana White: I doubt it takes another three years before we come back.
Phil Davis: It's my turn to spoil his fun and that's what I'm going to do.
Dana White: That's boxing talk when you talk about gambling and putting guys in. These guys have fought the best all teh way to the top and it's not gonna change once you get the title. Things happen, Georges St. Pierre is out for 10 months and now Condit and Diaz are gonna fight for the title. It'll be the interim title until Georges St. Pierre comes back.
Phil Davis: I'm not concerned about ring rust at all. I was off and I was training as much as I can on a bum knee and once I was able to train, I'm not concerned about anything at all.
Phil Davis: I think Alliance is gym of the year. Dominick Cruz is a great teammate and I have other great teammates in Brandon Vera and Travis Browne.
Rashad Evans: He's a fighter that has some strengths that I have as far as wrestling. When you go into a fight, you never know truly until you get in there. What I perceive as threats right now might not be there when I get into the cage. He's pretty explosive with quick wrestling and he goes for it. I have to be ready.
Dana White: It's been a great relationship so far from big FOX to FX to Fuel. They're all run by great guys. I'm sure you saw the press release we saw yesterday. We ended the season on Spike as strong as can be. Going over to FX, I don't care if you don't watch anything on FX, you know what's on their channel. You saw the numbers we put on FOX for our first fight and I expect that number to grow.
Dana White: Anderson should be ready. When guys get injured and have certain injuries, they have a certain time frame. The only fighter we never had a time frame on was Brock.
Rashad Evans: I live downtown. It feels good. One pressure you have is a lot of people want tickets but that's a good problem to have. It's good to fight in the city I live at.
Rashad Evans: To fight Machida would be good to redeem my loss, but with Jon Jones, we've got a personal beef. I want to put my hands on him bad. Every time he opens his mouth man.
Chael Sonnen: I don't believe Anderson's hurt but he was in training camp with Machida and Wanderlei caught on tape. Give Anderson Silva my schedule and see how well he does. I think he's ducking me. I think he's ducking Dan Henderson. I don't know if he'd be eager to fight Bisping, you'd have to talk to him.
Michael Bisping: I seem to remember Dan Henderson being tapped out just like Chael did. If he's bitter about it, don't talk shit about me.
Dana White: I don't ever attack boxing. What you have to understand is if you look at the schedule for the year, there's things you're trying ot avoid. The list goes on and on. What you don't ever see us do is go head to head on pay-per-view. On nights that we do free fights on free TV and there's a boxing pay-per-view, more fight fans will stay home on that night. The Cotto Margarito fight was on the same night as the Ultimate Fighter and we pulled 2.5 million viewers and both of us do very well.
Rashad Evans: Yes, it was hard to go to a new team, but after making the switch,I could see what was missing in my old situation. Sometimes things get stagnant. You feel the old way it felt at Jackson's. When we first started, it was about team and getting the work in. It was starting to get far from that and it's good to have a team that has those principles again.
Demian Maia: When I started in the UFC, I submitted five fights in a row and whenever I get a fight to the ground, people expect submissions. I fight every time against tougher and tougher guys. I took time learning more boxing and wrestling. I've been in Chicago training wrestling more. I can't just train jiu-jitsu anymore, I need to train MMA. I think it will come back.
Demian Maia: I've been training a lot of boxing lately and I'm training with a Cuban guy in Brazil. I'm trying to come back to my roots with jiu-jitsu. I feel I've got a certain level and I need to come back to my jiu-jitsu. That's what people expect from me, to submit the fights.
Phil Davis: The worst part about transitioning from wrestling to MMA is just going into a practice and understanding that your goal is not to try to compete with Brandon Vera in stand-up. Your goal is to practice what you worked on. Keep your guard up, 1-2, bring your hands right back. The goal is to get better, not to win and eventually you gain confidence in all kinds of areas. It's hard when you go from a sport where you always know what you're doing to one where you don't.
Chael Sonnen: I would imagine that he's the best wrestler. He's certainly the most decorated. I'm not a wrestler either. I'm a ganster from Oregon. I would say FOX, you're welcome. You've been telling people for years you've had the American Idol and now you finally do.
Dana White: Now that we have the deal with FOX, we're gonna expand our fanbase. This sport has been growing very quickly over the last 10 years. It's a very addictive sport. Now, the television deal we had before, we were very limited in our reach. Now, the major sports cities, these are cities that FOX nails that we didn't in the past 10 years. When you think about just this weekend, this fight will be promoted during the Chicago Bears game. Our goal is to promote the fanbase of the UFC.
Phil Davis: I wear the pink shorts for breast cancer awareness. I've had friends and family affected by it. To know that somebody else supports you or has been there, it feels good.
Mark Munoz: The support of the Filipino community is huge. The popularity of just boxing and how many people fill the stadium. You see the same thing here. I want to be the Manny Pacquiao of MMA. I want to be the best I can of this weight class and the best pound for pound.
Dana White: Mark Munoz has some of the nastiest ground and pound in the business and Rashad has had some of hte greatest knockouts I've ever seen. Anything can happen on any given night with anybody. I can't look at two fighters and say "this won't happen." We got over our hump with the first FOX fight. The presentation was perfect, we had a quick knockout and there were no complains. There's gonna be knockouts, there's gonna be submissions and there's gonna be some nasty ground and pound. It is what it is.
Dana White: The funniest thing about that is we didn't make the decision to not be on Spike. Somebody high up in Viacom made the decision to let the biggest sport in the world go. They have to promote their network. It is what it is.
Dana White: The Ultimate Fighter is one of the longest running reality shows on television and it's a very relevant show. 4-5 guys a season end up in the UFC and end up on pay-per-views. If you're a fan of fighting and mixed martial arts, it's an awesome dynamic. It was a homerun this season.
Dana White: The two times that we've done that, the other tiem was with Jens Pulver and B.J. Penn, we did great ratings with both. The fights are live. You're gonna watch them live every week. All the stuff that happens, the realisty, will have happened in the last two days and every fight is live. It's gonna be a great season.
Dana White: The first fight we ever did at Trump Taj Mahal
Rashad Evans: The five year age difference adds to my experience. I know how to get mentally ready. The mental part is overlooked. I think my experience is going ot help me out big in this fight.
Phil Davis: Where I lack experience, I make up for it by being a champion at heart. I know how to get it done.
Michael Bisping: Don't be fooled, Chael Sonnen is one of the nicest guys I've ever met.
Dana White: That wouldn't last long.
Demian Maia: It's good sometimes to be in fight after fight because you keep a good rhythm. If he knows how to use that, it'll be a good advantage for him. I didn't fight so long ago. It's not gonna make any difference.
Chael Sonnen: Tim Tebow? The quarterback, he's doing a good job. I've never seen a football or basketball game in my life. Good for Tim, I like what he's doing and I hope he keeps it up.
Chael Sonnen: I assure you, no matter what happens between now and then, I will make that walk.
Dana White: I will be making an announcement very soon about the 125 pound division.
Dana White: I think it would have to be the right fight. I like keeping it in arenas this size. The right event, we can do in a stadium. I think we did a great job of pulling that off in Canada when we did the big one but I like this right here.
Dana White: We'll be all over the city from Monday to Sunday. For hardcore fans that want to experience all the things that will happen, we'll be blowing it out of the water here. Open workouts, you name it.
Michael Bisping: It was a three round ass kicking is what it was. Dana asked me to do the fight and why wouldn't I take this fight? I'm in shape, I'm on weight and I had a long layoff doing the Ultimate Fighter and I'm in my prime. Demian Maia is a good opponent for me?
Dana White: People talk about Chael Sonnen being a professional wrestler. I actually think Chael is witty and funny and if that makes you a professional wrestler, I don't know. He's not doing professional wrestling when he's in that cage, he's in there to hurt people in a competitive way.
Michael Bisping: Come on man, I just finished one (season of The Ultimate Fighter)
Chael Sonnen: I don't plan for any of that stuff. I hear guys talk about gameplans and footwork and strategy with their coaches and their gold teeth and their 8th grade education. Mark Munoz is a good guy and I like him but never piss off a gangster.
Chael Sonnen: I actually held public office and I left the only way a politician should, in handcuffs.
Chael Sonnen: I don't have huge confidence that I can get Mark down and if I do, I'm not confident I can keep him there. I am confident that he's not gonna get me down or keep me there. We'll see. I'm not planning for it. I know it's a hard fight. I've competed with him before. He's a tough guy.
Rashad Evans: I prefer to bring the knockout version, because Phil needs to get knocked out.
Phil Davis: I'm glad you mentioned that because one of your buddies, Jon Jones, said you don't have much of a shot.
Rashad Evans: I guarantee you'll be the first person to take a shot.