Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold a special media conference call today (April 22, 2013) in advance of its UFC 159: "Jones vs Sonnen" pay-per-view (PPV), which will take place this weekend (April 27) in Newark, New Jersey.
The conference call will begin at promptly at 2 p.m. ET. Scheduled to attend will be the headlining fighters of the evening: Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher, as well as UFC President Dana White.
Jones is the current UFC light heavyweight champion. "Bones" is striving to become the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and he'll be competing for the first time since defeating Vitor Belfort last September, injuring his arm in the process. He coached against Sonnen on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and he'll finally be able to dish out some damage against him this Saturday night.
Sonnen was in the right place at the right time, volunteering to compete for the light heavyweight title when Dan Henderson pulled out of his UFC 151 main event against Jones, although he was turned down and the event was cancelled. The mouthy ex-realtor continued to talk and when Jones was ready to return to action, UFC decided they had unfinished business that needed to be settled.
He'll finally get a chance to back up all his talk this weekend.
Belcher and Bisping have enjoyed a budding rivalry ever since their fight was announced. Both men came up short in recent opportunities to become number one contender in the middleweight division, with Belcher falling to Yushin Okami and Bisping getting stopped by Vitor Belfort. They've been yapping at each other for months now and the score will finally be settled inside the Octagon.
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call will begin at 2 p.m. ET.
Call has started, Dana White will not be available today.
Chael Sonnen: There were a lot of people around and my focus was in five different directions, including the fan. Ultimately he got upset and went to take a punch and security grabbed him and took him out. I didn't like to see him leave, he had very expensive and good tickets, but you can't act that way.
Chael Sonnen: I don't promote fights, I pick fights. I'm well aware of that perception and I enjoy it.
Jon Jones: Muhammad Ali got to fight in Madison Square Garden, Mike Tyson got to fight there. I'm honored I get to do open workouts at the Garden. To fight there, it would mean a lot to me. I can't wait for the possibility.
Jon Jones: The support has been phenomenal. It's surreal. Sometimes I don't even think I realize how much support I have. It's bigger than I'm able to realize. When I retire from fighting, I'll probably open a gym in the Rochester area and I'll have a pretty successful program. It's a lot of cross marketing going on between me and my brothers.
Jon Jones: If I come out of this fight unscathed, I'd love to get right back into camp and be in New York for that November card if it passes.
Jon Jones: It's something I said, but my emotions aren't over. I studied Chael a lot, I studied his interviews and his personality. I've familiarized myself with who he is, what he tries to do and who he tries to be. I try to stay calm and relaxed and composed. No matter what I say in a fight, what my opponent says, how much my opponent is in my head, come fight night it's relaxation, it's beauty, it's peace. Martial arts is what I was born to do.
Jon Jones: This fight with Chael ties me with Tito Ortiz in title defenses. That's what it means for my legacy.
Jon Jones: I want to say I'm concerned with his wrestling. I worked on my bottom game a lot more than I have than any other camp. When I fought other wrestlers in the past, i was able to mesmerize them and not let them use their wresting but Chael just does it automatically. I'm prepared to do so. The storyline is always his wrestling, his wrestling, his wrestling but what about the wrestling of Matyushenko, Ryan Bader or Rashad Evans? Maybe I'll take him down more than he'll take me down. You never know. I'm excited to go out there and prove my critics wrong again about me being the inferior wrestler. I have great takedowns. When I take people down, I cut them open right away. Chael doesn't hurt anyone with his ground and pound.
Chael Sonnen: There's always pressure and that pressure is earned. If you've never done anything in this sport, you don't any pressure. As great as Jon Jones is, I don't think he realizes how good he is. He could beat Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson at the same time. News flash buddy, you are the best. Maybe Tito Ortiz had a couple more wins, but he didn't have the competition he's faced. If I feel pressure, yeah, there's a lot of pressure. This is a tough guy in a tough environment. That's the sport. I don't earn title shots. Title shots earn me. I don't go after main events, main events go after me. Whether I earned or not or if I deserve it, I take what I want and that's it.
Jon Jones: I can't afford to worry or feel any kind of feelings of him being kind or anything. The thought of someone take my name away from me. I need to keep my attitude and my focus. He's trying to take away my dream. The thought of going home without my belt keeps me angry.
Jon Jones: One thing I've been contemplating is first tying Tito Ortiz and then establishing that record of the most wins in my next fight maybe in November and then after that fight in November, entertaining super fights and heavyweight fights.
Michael Bisping: Health-wise I'm fine. Fighters accumulate little injuries here and there but there's nothing that's going to hinder my performance and stop me from destroying Alan Belcher. You're only as good as your last fight and my last fight was a loss. I don't take that too well. A win over Alan Belcher puts me in the win column. It gets me a top 10 opponent and back in line for getting a title shot. As long as there's life in my body, I'll keep trying to become a champion.
Alan Belcher: A win puts me back in the top of the division. We're both coming off losses. Now we're looking to see who the best is between us two. I'm just thinking about beating him on Saturday night.
Michael Bisping: A win over Michael Bisping would be the biggest win of Alan Belcher's pathetic career. I'm gonna slap you in the face and take my win.
Alan Belcher: I know exactly what's coming. We'll see on Saturday night.
Alan Belcher: It is emotional for me. That's when I perform at my highest. The only fights I've ever lost were fights I wasn't very excited for. I want this fight more than any fight in my career and I'll perform at my highest.
Chael Sonnen: Here's the reality with Anderson. I stomped that guy. You can pick up his arm and call him the winner. He had the jump on me for 30 seconds. He didn't knock me down, I fell down. He's the best pound for pound but I'm better round for round. I've got three 10-8 rounds in my career and they're all against Anderson Silva. If you think Jon and Anderson are close, I will run through Jon just like I ran through Anderson. I hear I don't deserve this fight but then I hear Anderson could beat him. I stomped Anderson Silva twice.
Chael Sonnen: "Beat me if you can" is a reference to the grappler Len Denton
Jon Jones: I can't afford to worry about what people think. I'm doing something that's pretty extraordinary. A lot of people aren't going to be happy for you. That's how it works. I'm comfortable with it. I've beaten a lot of people's favorite fighter. Rampage, Shogun and Vitor have more fans than I do. When I beat people's heroes back to back to back. People love to see people get built up and break them down. That's why they enjoyed my DWI so much. People can hate me as much as they want. My family's happy and it all pays off. It's free advertisement for me that they can't stop talking and tweeting about me.
Jon Jones: I think talking about it is exactly what the terrorists want. I pray for the family and that's it.
Jon Jones: I go into it like it's just another fight. I feel like I've had the toughest work schedule of anyone in the UFC. Every fight of mine for two years. Tactics are always different. I'm fighting another southpaws. I only had one arm against Vitor and I've got two for this fight. I'm working different tactics but it's just another fight. Another one of the toughest guys in the world.
Jon Jones: I definitely fight for more than just the belt. I have two brothers that are in the NFL. What drives me is to not be the lesser brother. Not to be the brother who didn't quite make it or the one who needs to borrow money 10 years from now. It drives me to show that a UFC fighter can have as much success as an NFL fighter can have if not more. Another thing that drives me is my kids and knowing I inspire a lot of people. That's why I try to be positive. If I can say something that makes someone better, that means a lot to me to change someone's life. Being a champion means more than having the belt.
Jon Jones: In a way, the haters motivate me too. Sometimes I find myself scanning through my twitter just to see who was hating on me that day. It motivates me. It's funny because I get harassed every fight but then those guys all go away and they eat all their words. I mind my own business and just outwork people. I'll let success speak for itself.
Chael Sonnen: I don't regret anything ever. As far as my perception of Jon, it changed in about 30 seconds. He's a good guy. I hear people that insult him a lot, but this guy is a world champion. He's achieved what everybody else has dreamed of. He cared a lot about his team. He took coaching very seriously and he was on time every time. He inspired a bunch of guys that really needed it. I got to know all the fighters and they looked up to him and he was there for them. He should be credited for that. He's a nice person. As far as a competitive standpoint, I think I can beat him. I think he's very good. I'm a big fan and it's very hard to focus on Jon because I'm dying to see Bisping fight Belcher. If the right two guys show up, this fight is gonna be awesome.