Photo of Jose Aldo by Kenai Andrews via MMA Crossfire
The conference call will begin at 10 a.m. ET and will take place at the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the home city of the event. Scheduled to attend will be the headlining fighters of the evening, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Vitor Belfort and Anthony Johnson.
Aldo is the current UFC featherweight champion. The rising Brazilian star defended his title twice in 2011 with unanimous decision victories over Kenny Florian and Mark Hominick. He's hoping to ring in the New Year with his first UFC finish.
His opponent, Chad Mendes, is undefeated and finally feels he's ready for his moment to shine. "Money" Mendes has had his way with everyone put in his path, from Michihiro Omigawa, RanI Yahya to fellow top contender Erik Koch. The Team Alpha Male fighter is hoping his wrestling will help him win the title.
Vitor Belfort is coming off an emphatic first round knockout of the hardheaded Yoshihiro Akiyama. He came up short in 2011 in his UFC middleweight title bid, and he's hoping a victory here, plus one over fellow Ultimate Fighter Brazil coach Wanderlei Silva will give him one more shot.
Belfort's opponent, Anthony Johnson, is making the move to middleweight at least for now. Long heralded as the largest welterweight on the UFC roster who cut the most weight, "Rumble" will actually be two inches taller than Belfort with a four inch reach advantage. He's riding a two fight winning streak and could become a contender in either division with a victory.
We'll have complete updates of the UFC 142 press conference after the jump:
Brian Hemminger here, the conference is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. ET.
10:20 a.m. - No Dana White at the presser, his plane got held up.
Chad Mendes: I haven't felt any extra pressure. Yesterday for hte open workouts, that was one of the coolest things I'e ever done getting to workout on the beach with fans all around and planes flying overhead with banners. That's something I'll remember forever.
Anthony Johnson: I feel no pressure at all. So far, I love this country. It's beautiful and I want to thank Brazil for allowing me to come and fight Vitor and seeing Brazil, such a beautiful country. I love it.
There doesn't seem to be a translator for Portuguese so I don't know if I'll have anything for when Aldo and Belfort respond unless they speak English.
Chad Mendes: I'm basically treating this like it's any other fight whether it's in Brazil or the United States. I have tunnel vision. I have that goal of winning the belt and that's all I'm thinking about. I know I'm probably going to get booed but I can't speak Portuguese so I can't understand what they're saying to me anyways. I'm ready to get in the zone and get in there.
Anthony Johnson: Brazil has been great, the fans have been great. I've heard good stories and not so good but it's all been good so far for me.
Anthony Johnson: I worked really hard for this fight. I don't get nervous. I don't get worried about what can happen. I just go out there and do what I do. The one thing that motivated me even more for thsi fight was Vitor said, "We're gonna see a hungry, hungry lion." A week before my grandfather died, he told me, 'Fight like you're fighting a lion." With Vitor saying that, that made me want to fight even more. I'm hungry too and I'm looking forward to the fight. I can't wait. I definitely can't wait.
UFC rep: Having been to Brazil, we have no concerns that Brazil will be staying up to have a party with us. The first fight is at 10:30 and the main card starts at 1:00 am.
Chad Mendes: Jose is a great champion and he's a fighter that I've watched for a while now. I still remember his first WEC fight and telling my teammates I would be fighting that guy someday and here we are today fighting for the belt. My strategy is to use my wrestling pedigree to stop his Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu.
Anthony Johnson: Vitor is a great athlete with very fast hands and very powerful. I'm not afraid, I'm willing to accept the challenge. My strategy is to fight. As far as strategy, it's called, "get it done."
Chad Mendes: I come into every fight knowing that I'm going to win in my hard. Coming into this fight, there isn't any thought that goes through my mind that I might lose. I feel prepared. I know Jose is the champion but I know I'm right there behind him and I'm going to come after it. On Saturday, I'm going to show the world that I'm the best.
UFC rep: We uphold the same standards as if this fight were being held in Nevada. You can rest assured that the fighters are being cared for and treated the same way as if we were in Nevada with the same regulatory control.
UFC rep: We will be bringing in referees from the UK and the US. We don't have local referees on the card, but that's something we're scouting for the future. It's part of what happens for this sport to grow in the future.
UFC rep: Bringing local ring girls is something we're making inroads on and evaluating.
Dammit, Aldo made a funny joke and I have no idea what he said.
Chad Mendes: I have a lot of pride coming into this fight no matter what. It's pretty expensive and tough to get everybody out here so my hometown, the entire town is going to be at the local fairgrounds and they'll have thousands of people there watching the fight on a big screen. Overall, I don't feel any extra pressure being here but I'm just looking to get in there and have a good time.
Anthony Johnson: As far as pride and stuff like that, it's crazy. I'm still speechless that I"m in Brazil.
Translator arrived. Hopefully we can get something good out of Vitor and Jose.
Vitor Belfort: I can imagine everything I've been through. We've really had to be pioneers. People have prejudice against fighting and they have a strange idea here about fighting but Dana White and Lorenzo invested a lot in this sport abroad. I remember my first fight we were banned in New York and we had to travel all night to go to Alabama. After so much battling, they were able to remove that stigma in the US. This sport was born in the country. This sport has a lot to teach people because martial arts is physical and moral respect. In martial arts, we have this balance. People relate this fight to aggression but that's not at all. It's a contact sport but we respect each other greatly. We've reached very far today and UFC thinks women, children and the elderly can understand our sport. It's very well produced and there is a lot to offer.
Jose Aldo: Our first battle is the weight so that during the fight everything turns out like you trained for, what you spent three months preparing for.
Jose Aldo: A lot has been said about moving up in category but that doesn't really depend on me. There's a lot behind it, a lot involved. When my team thinks it's the right time, that will happen.
Vitor Belfort: Brazil is very full of fighters. All of them are champions and are very experienced. We have people that fought on the reality show in the US. Especially in the northern region, we're going to produce high quality fighters. Brazil is an exporter of UFC fighters.
Vitor Belfort: We harvest what we plant. I can only speak for myself but each fighter can talk about the message they want. Some people do things for money and others don't. I live off my principals. I am who I am but other people are different and they try to get attention that way and unfortunately, the press gives attention to what is negative instead of positive. Let's promote what is good and set aside what is bad.
Jose Aldo: The local shows are excellent for the growth of MMA. In the schools we have great athletes and there is always a chance we can find a new champion, a new Vitor, a new Jose Aldo, a new Anderson.
Vitor Belfort: Responsibility is the most important. My concern is how we're going to ground this sport not only as an event but as a sport. It's easy to practice fights but you have to have responsibilities. They are important for us to teach. In our sport, anything that happens now is extremely important so we need to have responsibility for anyone who wants to come in as a sponsor and an investor. I protect the athletes a great deal. The UFC provides health insurance and we need to make sure there is a commitment going on to take care of people fighting in the UFC.
Chad Mendes: Urijah helped me a lot for this camp. he's fought Jose so he knows where he's strong and where he's not so strong. We worked a lot on leg kicks and Jose's stand-up skills. Urijah and Justin Bucholtz helped me out a lot.
Anthony Johnson: Training with the Blackzilians, Rashad Evans and Jorge Santiago, everything seemed like it worked out perfect. Nothing went wrong at all. The guys pushed me to be the best I can be and that's all I asked for.
Vitor Belfort: I can't think of the future. I have to think of my present life so far.