Strikeforce conference call LIVE updates today (June 26) for 'Rockhold vs Kennedy'

Strikeforce Kennedy Rockhold Woodley Marquardt

Strikeforce will hold a media conference call today (June 26, 2012) in advance of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy which will take place next in two and a half weeks (July 14, 2012), at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon.

The conference call will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET. Scheduled to attend will be the headlining fighters for the evening: Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy, Tyron Woodley, Nate Marquardt and Strikeforce head honcho Scott Coker.

Rockhold is the current Strikeforce middleweight champion. The American Kickboxing Academy fighter won the title from Ronaldo Souza last year. Rockhold is coming off a dominant first title defense against former UFC standout Keith Jardine earlier this year.

Tim Kennedy is a former title challenger, having pushed the former champion "Jacare" to the limit at Strikeforce: Houston back in 2010 but losing a close decision. The US special forces member has bounced back strongly by defeating everyone thrown in front of him since and will finally be getting another crack at the title.

Tyron Woodley is the top-ranked welterweight on the Strikeforce roster. The undefeated wrestler out of Missouri has slowly progressed through the ranks, defeating more difficult competition each time out. Now, he'll finally be getting a shot at Nick Diaz's vacant welterweight title. His challenger, Nate Marquardt, is a former UFC middleweight title challenger. He was set to make his 170 pound debut last summer before getting popped for elevated testosterone levels. After a brief hiatus, he returned with Strikeforce and got a big fight for his debut in the promotion.

We'll have all the updates from the Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy conference call after the jump:

Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

1:12 p.m. - We're officially getting started.

Nate Marquardt: One of the biggest things, I thought I had three fights in the last year so I actually had training camps so that's kept me sharp. Training for fights keeps me sharp. I'm a very motivated and driven person.

Nate Marquardt: Everyone always thought I was a big middleweight but actually weight-wise, I was one of the smaller middleweights. I've found it easy to fight at 170. I was trying to keep muscle mass just to stay at 185 and now the weight just comes off.

Tyron Woodley: Well my goal is obviously to exploit weaknesses and find gaps and openings. Every time my opponent had a weakness, I found a way to exploit it. It's not like you're not trying to finish, but some guys just dont' want to be put away. I don't want to be put away. You have to go for dominant positions, doing damage and at the end of the day, it's about imposing your will on your opponent.

Tyron Woodley: All in all, every fighter is different. I'm not overly focused on what he does best, respecting it but not giving it too much credit and fearing it. He brings things to the table, he's well-rounded and good at all areas but it's my time to be champion.

Tyron Woodley: Most of my critics are spectators, not my trainers or sparring partners. Sometimes we get confused about whether we're watching mixed martial arts or kickboxing. I control everything and neutralize what my opponents bring to the table. I try in every fight to get a little more out and I'm a dangerous fighter for anybody to face.

Tyron Woodley: My goal is not to prove the critics wrong. Those same critics at one time said I was the best athlete in the world and now with a decision loss, they called me a lay-and-prayer but a few fights ago I was knocking people out and finishing with armbars.

Tim Kennedy: I tore off my left toe in sparring and had to have surgery to get it put back on. That's how I had to back out of the original fight. I took three weeks off with no weight on it, no strength and conditioning, sparring or grappling and I eased back into it. Six weeks alter, I was able to start training again and now I'm 100 percent healthy.

Luke Rockhold: It's not more challenging to prepare for a guy I like. I want to keep my belt so I'm gonna do everything I can to do that. I'm gonna bring everything I have to the table and protect what's mine.

Nate Marquardt: I feel really blessed to get another shot.

Nate Marquardt: It hasn't been easy. It's tested me and I believe god's been testing me. I feel grateful at this point and it's been a rough road but I feel like I've overcome the challenges and I'm just excited to have the fight, get back in there. I feel like a kid again with one of my first fights.

Nate Marquardt: I've had to change my training schedule but the bottom line is I feel great. I've felt like this before in training and done awesome. I want to move past that point in my life. I'm still sick of answering TRT questions. You'd think the media would like to talk about something new anyways. That's old news.

Luke Rockhold: I want the guys that have earned the spot to challenge for my title and Tim Kennedy is one of those guys. If you're coming for my belt, I'm gonna punish you.

Tyron Woodley: Me finding an opening might just be a position where he's not comfortable. Obviously, people do things putting pressure where they're comfortable. I think if you put people in positions they're not comfortable at, your chances for success rise.

Tyron Woodley: I feel like, my faith was tested battling everyone and this is my time. I'm ready for it. I'm ready for what happens after winning this belt and everything after that. I'm ready for it now. My coaches and training partners, people that have an eye for talent believe in me. At the end of the day, you have to believe in yourself.

Nate Marquardt: I can't wait to get back in there. I want to show off new skills and I've got some old skills I want to bring back.

Nate Marquardt: This isn't about my opponent. It's about me and what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna win that belt.

Luke Rockhold: I'm not the biggest fan of Greg Jackson gameplans. I quit wrestling for a reason. I hope he meets me in the middle and we can scrap it out.

Tim Kennedy: I've got a lot of friends in Africa, in South America. The wars are slowing down in Iraq and Afghanistan but that being said, one of my friends lost a schoolmate last week. I want to accomplish as much as I can before I move on.

Scott Coker: Ronda Rousey will meet Sarah Kaufman for her first bantamweight title defense on August 18th in San Diego, California. Tickets go on sale this Friday to the general public. We'll be announcing bouts added this week.

Luke Rockhold: It's across the board. There's a lot of fighters that come out of that camp that have a smart gameplan but it's not the most exciting. It wins fights but it doesn't excite me much. He yells the fighter's names in the corner like "Great job, beautiful kick Tim Kennedy!" and I think that can affect the judges. It's a form of cheating. I'm gonna do my fight.

Luke Rockhold: I do gameplan and a backup gameplan but I use my instincts. It takes a long time to build them. I already have in my head what I'm gonna do on every occasion.

Tim Kennedy: Fortunately for the fans, this fight has two guys who are really well-rounded. Luke is good at everything and it's not like I'm fighting a one-dimensional fighter. This fight takes place in a whole bunch of aspects of MMA and from start to finish will be a great fight. I think there's areas that I have to push Luke in and there are areas that I have to avoid.

Tim Kennedy: It's toilet. It's unfounded criticicm. It's asinine. That same night where people were harassing Clay Guida for his performance, we had the Knockout of the Night with Cub Swanson. Was anybody congratulating Greg for helping Cub do that? Gray Maynard hits hard and Clay Guida needed to utilize a gameplan of sticking and moving. With Carlos vs Nick Diaz, if I was gonna fight Nick Diaz, I would have fought like Carlos did. I think it's people lashing out at someone very good at coaching fighters.

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