Before Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez share the Octagon at UFC on FOX 7 just hours from now at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., the lightweight title competitors were forced to endure one final formality:
For mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, the weigh-ins are the last time they will see stand face-to-face (see the staredown pic here) with their opponent before colliding inside the cage. Some fighters are casual when stepping on the scale, others use the moment as one final opportunity to try and intimidate their opponent.
Just moments after successfully making weight, Henderson and Melendez appeared on the FUEL TV weigh-in show to share some finals thoughts on their bout with Jay Glazer, Dominick Cruz, Brian Stann and Ariel Helwani less than 24-hours away from UFC on FOX 7.
First, the current UFC lightweight champion "Smooth" talked to Glazer, Cruz and Stann about the UFC champion vs. Strikeforce champion showdown with Melendez, his opponent's biggest strength and any new tricks he may have up his sleeve for this fight.
On If The Fight Is Bigger Due To Champion vs. Champion:
"To a certain extent, once you - you try as a fighter to keep it calm and stay relaxed and go and do your job, but when we keep hearing about it, people keep talking about it, hyping it up, hyping it up. You can't help but feel that, you can't help but notice it, you know?"
On His Opponent's Biggest Strength:
"We definitely want to pay attention to the power in his hands. He's not the most technical striker, but he did have power in his hands so, we just wanted to work on head movement - I do get hit in some of my fights, I've been tagged a few times, but we can't take that chance against someone with so much power in their hands."
On Any New Tricks In His Game:
"I got a couple new tricks man, I got a couple new tricks. You want to work on your fundamentals, but at the same time add in a few new tricks here and there."
The challenger "El Nino" spoke with Helwani on the FUEL TV weigh-in broadcast as well, sharing his thoughts on what it means coming to the UFC, on the nerves of going into the fight and if there was a point where he thought this moment of fighting in the UFC would never come.
On What It Means To Finally Arrive In The UFC:
"It was something I envisioned again, it's a dream come true. This interview right here, hearing Joe Rogan call my name out there, it's so real and I don't know if I'm in ‘The Truman Show' or not, bro, but I'm here and I'm enjoying it and I'm ready to live in the moment."
On His Nerves Going Into The Fight:
"Yeah, a little bit of pressure because I feel like I'm 0 and 0 in the Octagon, starting from scratch, but I'm at my peak man. I did all I can do to prepare for this and when you have a little doubt in the back of your head - ‘Did I run? Did I do this? Should I lift? Should I spar anymore?' Like, I know I did everything I can and I'll be able to sleep at night regardless of the outcome. But I also know I'm capable of doing really good and beating this guy."
On If He Thought He Would Never Make It To The UFC:
"Yeah, of course. It was a rollercoaster ride, you know, just when I expected not being here all of a sudden I'm here, and then all of sudden I'm getting a title fight on FOX, you know what I mean? But, you know, I've been staying ready this whole time. I've been ready for this moment."
Just a few more hours until showtime, Maniacs!
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., April 20, 2013), which is slated to air at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The latest play-by-play fight updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that, however, around 3:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" undercard bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.
For more news and notes on UFC on FOX 7, check out our complete event archive here.