Just one week out from a big event featuring two title fights, The Ultimate Fighting Championship will be holding a media conference call to build up next Saturday's (October 8, 2011) UFC 136: "Edgar vs. Maynard 3" event today, (September 30, 2011).
Frankie Edgar is the current UFC lightweight champion, having twice defeated B.J. Penn in 2010 to win and defend the belt before earning a draw against Maynard earlier this year in one of 2011's most exciting fights. On the opposite side of the podium will be the challenger to his title, Gray Maynard, the only man to defeat Edgar and the man who was literally inches away from earning a first round knockout to take the title at UFC 125 before "The Answer" responded.
Brazilian Jose Aldo is the current UFC featherweight champion, having previously defended his title earlier this year at UFC 129 against Mark Hominick in a bout that won "Fight of the Night" honors. His challenger, veteran of The Ultimate Fighters season one, Kenny Florian, will be competing in his fourth weight class and will be fighting in his third overall title shot in his career. This is perhaps the last opportunity at UFC gold that he will ever get.
Brian Stann was a decorated soldier in the Middle East and has quickly become a contender since dropping down to the UFC's middleweight division after back-to-back knockouts of Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago. His opponent, Chael Sonnen, has made waves for his brash talking style, his insults of everything Anderson Silva and the fact that he was a minute away from the UFC middleweight title before succumbing to a triangle choke.
We'll have complete updates of the UFC 136 media conference call after the jump.
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.
2:10 p.m.: We're just getting started.
Kenny Florian: I was only able to see the first episide [of this season of The Ultimate Fighter], it looks like those guys are really bringing it.
Kenny Florian: There's a big difference between middleweight and featherweight for sure. You've got to find different training partners but other than that, it's not a major difference for me. I was never a middleweight, I was a chubby 178 pounder.
Gray Maynard: With the draw, that hurt a little bit. I'm pumped to have it again and I can't wait for the 8th.
Frankie Edgar: We met each other two other times before and I fought B.J. back to back, did two training camps for him so I've fought two guys the past two years so I'm used to it.
Frankie Edgar: It's pretty challenging, coming up with a new gameplan and a new series of attack. You have a lot of situations to base your training camp off of. The main thing is you've got to come up with new stuff.
Frankie Edgar: The finish is everyone's goal in the sport. It's always my goal.
Jose Aldo: That night was wonderful, It couldn't have been much better. I was defending the belt and the gameplan was great. Being in the UFC and defending my belt is just wonderful.
Jose Aldo: It was a natural transition for Kenny. If he feels it was the right time to drop to 145, I respect him. As long as he's well-prepared.
Kenny Florian: It is different. It's definitely different. I think every fight it's going to be different. You'll have a different mind-set based on your training camp and your opponent. I've learned from each training camp, wiin or lose. My goal is to make each training camp better and better each time and I think I've done that for every training camp. I feel I trained my ass off for this fight.
Kenny Florian: He's a very fast, explosive guy similar to B.J. but he's more of a kicker. He's dangerous on the ground and we're about the same in wrestling. He's a unique opponent and I'm preparing differently for him for sure.
Gray Maynard: I've come close to a lot of goals. I've had goals that I did accomplish. I'd feel really good to meet my goals but at the end of the day, it's on to the next one.
Gray Maynard: It was easy to get back. I love to train. I only took off about 3-4 weeks because of the scope on my elbow but the whole time I planned out the camp I would have and it was all good.
Frankie Edgar: I take some time off to take care of my back but I put in a full training camp before I had gotten hurt so I feel like I didn't miss a beat. When you're not on the mat and not grinding, you try to improve every way you can. I improved mentally and watching videos with my team.
Kenny Florian: I don't know if I'll be the stronger guy. I'm doing my best to build my strength and I'm confident in that.
Kenny Florian: I think that generally, he's never faced a guy who's as well-rounded and as experienced as I am and that's what I'm gonna bring in there. I'll have well-rounded skills and see if I can take advantage of mistakes.
Jose Aldo: I've definitely fought taller guys with more of a reach than Kenny. I can only hope to expose his game and have a good fight.
Jose Aldo: Since I started training back from my jiu-jitsu days, I've cut a lot of weight. I feel there might be a point where all that weight takes a toll on the body and hopefully when I reach that point I'm mature enough to do what I have to do and potentially move up in weight.
Jose Aldo: My weight cut processing is the same every time. Before that fight we worked a lot on gaining muscle mass and that's why I was heavier and took longer to get the weight off.
Jose Aldo: A lot has changed since UFC Rio. There's a lot more respect for the fighters. Soccer is always gonna be number one in Brazil but MMA is right up there as number two and it's grown a lot since UFC in Brazil.
Kenny Florian: Having been in Brazil and having been in Peru and Mexico many times, I'm very impressed with how the communities there have been responding to the sport. They love it and I think that goes with any country. It's a dynamic sport and you never know what's going to happen and it keeps people on the edge of their seats. It's a matter of educating the public. We love the sport and mixed martial arts really provides a lot of excitement and respect. We educate them on how we train and who we are and a lot of things.
Frankie Edgar: Respect will keep growing the more I do and the longer I keep this belt. I come into every one of my fights with a chip on my shoulder and it helps me to win.
Frankie Edgar: My goal in every fight is to be a better fighter each time out and I feel I did that for this fight.
We'll be back momentarily as they bring Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann onto the call.
Brian Stann: Training has gone very well. I'm down here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I'm ready to compete. There has certainly been a greater amount of fan response and media response. I think a lot of it has to do with the match-up. When you fight the number two middleweight in the world, it generates a lot of heat. I think that's where a lot of the attention comes from.
Brian Stann: I told everybody from the start that I didn't think it was gonna happen. I said this a couple times that I believe Chael is very genuine that he said that if he has a problem with someone he'll speak it and if he doesn't, he won't. I wouldn't have taken it personally anyways. I think our skill-sets and the way that we fight generates all the hype we need.
Brian Stann: I take it as a fighter who's mentally preparing himself to win the world title. Even if I feel terrible, I say I feel great. If you constantly think and talk like a champion, you feel like a champion, you think like a champion and you go out there and perform like a champion.
Chael Sonnen: I feel pretty good. I get sick before every fight. I speak for Brian too, I think it's just a common thing where you wear down. I've got the weight cut and when you mess with your calorie and nutrients. I'm at that point now but that's kinda familiar. I'm a little run down and I'm gonna take 72 hours off and do nothing. I'm gonna be a prisoner, grab some magazines and try to recover.
Chael Sonnen: I don't look forward to a fight. I get jealous of guys that say they do. I'm not excited to go fight another man. I'm envious of guys that are excited for battle and competition. I'm happy to be part of it. I'm glad that the time out is over and behind me but I have a matter-of-fact approach to it.
Chael Sonnen: It's always hard to explain the emotion. There's something there. There's an emotion there that's strong. It's not fear or maybe it's a little bit of that. It's a whole lot of emotions combined into one. I've always been grateful for these opportunities but I think I'm a little more appreciative now.
Brian Stann: This is the first training camp I've had where I let go of my real estate job. I was vice president of a real estate company on top of being president of Hire Heroes USA. The Charity had grown so large and I couldn't manage our portfolio at the same time. A great friend came to work with me and be my executive director. His name is Nathan Smith and he's one of the most impressive men I've ever met. I can now focus on training all day and getting injuries worked on and focusing on recovery. The media has always been my opportunity to publicize and get the word out for the organization.
Chael Sonnen: I'd like to think that it hasn't. I'm in the public sector. Having battled where some that don't go your way and some you come out the hero that everyone is thanking. That's the life I've chosen. This is the first time I've had to teach lessons and they weren't lessons I wanted to teach, rather I'd have liked to learn them. That's just human nature. I knew what I was getting into when I ran for office. That goes with the territory. As a fighter, I don't like to be away from competition. It's a tremendous difference in training. I worked out every day but there's a big difference. You can practice, you can workout and you can train. Training is exponentially more difficult. You eat, sleep, and breath the event. If you don't have that deadline, you can't manufacture that mentally. Physically, you try to duplicate it but that doesn't happen. I'm showing up to practice with the same people and the same coaches but it's different. I've had to deal with that. It's not an ideal spot. You have to learn to deal with those things. Some people are out due to injury or illness. You miss time for different reasons but I'm in those shoes.
Chael Sonnen: I'll speak for everybody. Nobody wants to fight Brian. Our paths have to cross. We're in the same weight class and it's not that big of a pool. He keeps whipping everybody. If he wasn't beating everybody I wouldn't have to fight him. At the end of the day with everything going on the world, the fact that we have to compete for 15 minutes isn't that big of a deal.
Chael Sonnen: It's getting harder and harder to deny that he [Anderson Silva] shouldn't be shown that appreciation. He ducked Okami for years but he went out there and made it look easy. If you're ever thinking that I would conceive that he's better than me, I would refer you to the tape. I also thinks he ducks and dodges opponents constantly. His wins and losses speak for themselves and the fact of the matter whether I'd like to admit it or not is that he is the champion. It doesn't mean that I'm gonna quit poking my finger in his chest but at some point I think fairness needs to kick in.
Brian Stann: I think it was spring of 2010 where I had just gotten off fighting three times in 5 1/2 months. I went from Steve Cantwell to Rodney Wallace. I'd had a baby in that time and I finally had a break. I was able to devote my time to specific skill-sets to help my game. I was afforded the opportunity to round out my skill-sets. This last year has been great for me as far as growth.
Brian Stann: What happens in fighting is early in my career I had a very very limited skill-set and I was comfortable in that skill-set and was able to go 100 miles an hour. When I added everything to it, I was able to go 70 miles an hour because it was just overwhelming. Now I feel like I can go 100 again.
Brian Stann: Coming from Chael, who's career goes back to when I'm in high school, that means a lot to me. He wouldn't be a statesmen and the people who have met Chael know what kind of guy he is. He doesn't mince words. At the same time, it's one of those situations and the UFC does this sort of things. We don't get a lot of leeway. This is the first fight where I got a phone call and was told who I was fighting. After UFC 132, it was 48 hours later, I got the phonecall on who I was fighting. I don't take it as if Chael Sonnen is going light on me. I expect him to be the same guy who's going to try to push my head through the canvas.
Brian Stann: I worked wrestling obviously. I've been training in wrestling for a long time now but since Phil Davis, that's where I've spent most of my time over the last 3-4 fights and two years. That's the thing that I'm always working the most.
Chael Sonnen: I try to always watch the show. I like the show. I think it's ok. I think the show is about the athletes for me. I know from a promotional standpoint, they like to build the coaches too. It's so hard for some of those guys to get an opportunity to fight in the UFC and through that show you get to fight in front of Dana and the world. I've heard great things about the show and it looks good. The coaches don't act like coaches. I think that makes for good TV but it almost makes me want to crack my head sometime like, "are you coaching here or just acting like a fool and wearing a shirt that says 'coach.'" I like the show and there's some really great talent that came out of there. Scouting is very important too. When they're in our weight class, it's important to see who's next
Chael Sonnen: I think Bisping's the favorite and should be. Miller's been out a while and he has the skills to beat him. He's noticeably bigger and stronger now. Miller could do well now. I'll cheer for Miller but if Miller beats him, I think it's an upset.