Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold a special media conference call today (April 9, 2013) to in advance of UFC on Fox 9: "Henderson vs Melendez", which will take place next Saturday night (April 20) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
The call, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET, will feature UFC President Dana White, as well as the headlining fighters of the evening, Ben Henderson, Gilbert Melendez, Daniel Cormier and Frank Mir.
Henderson is the current UFC lightweight champion. The "Smooth" one earned his title the hard way, working his way up in WEC and claiming the crown there before fighting through a murderers row of top contenders in UFC where he would win the belt from Frankie Edgar. The MMA Lab fighter is on the heels of a very successful title defense this past December where he completely had his way with challenger Nate Diaz.
Melendez has long been considered the best lightweight outside UFC, winning and defending the Strikeforce belt for much of the past three years. The Cesar Gracie fighter held off a valiant effort from Josh Thomson in their trilogy fight nearly a year ago and has been dealing with injuries ever since, which twice forced the cancellation of a title defense against Pat Healy. Now, he's getting an immediate shot at the UFC belt in his first fight with the world's top MMA promotion.
Cormier and Mir were originally scheduled to fight each other in Strikeforce, but an injury to the former UFC heavyweight champion forced Mir off the card. Cormier has exploded up the rankings after an incredible performance allowed him to win the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Mir, on the other hand, has not competed since losing a title fight against Junior dos Santos last May. A victory here would put either man in contention, although Cormier has already stated he won't fight his teammate Cain Velasquez.
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.
Dana White: UFC is joining the fight to save Olympic wrestling.
Benson Henderson: I'm not looking past Gilbert Melendez with all the Jose Aldo superfight talk.
Gilbert Melendez: I know this is my first fight in the UFC but I don't feel any pressure.
Daniel Cormier: We're all UFC fighters now. I don't feel like I'm carrying any weight on my shoulders to carry the Strikeforce organization. I don't feel any pressure. I will fight like I normally do.
Gilbert Melendez: I'd love to avenge my friend Nate Diaz and represent my team.
Dana White: If we end up doing one of these superfights, Cowboy Stadium is what we're looking at. The super fights all involve George St. Pierre, Anderson Silva or Jonny Bones .
Daniel Cormier: There's nothing Frank can say about me that will make me fight any more dangerous. There's only a select few individuals that have taken the beatings Frank has taken and still be the way he is. If hope all the things he's saying is promotion because if that's the way his mind works, that's really disturbing.
Gilbert Melendez: When your buddies fight, you can't help it. You're bummed for your friend when he fights and if you can back your friend up, you will. I felt like I can avenge him, I can fight this dude. I can do it. I was licking my chops for the opportunity and I did.
Dana White: We were blown away by Jordan Mein. That's why he got this fight against Matt Brown.
Dana White: It's one of those things it's just a pain in the ass. He didn't even need to be doing an interview. The only time these guys need to be doing interviews is leading up to fights. It ended up being a nightmare for him. What was the point fo that interview? What's the point of it. It's causing all these problems for no reason whatsoever. What was the point of doing that interview. What was the upside to that interview? There was none. No upside.
Frank Mir: In the heavyweight division, sometimes fights get spread out. You've got to find the right match-ups to help you move forward in your career.
Daniel Cormier: I've got such an important fight on my hands with this next one, I'm not thinking about the 205 pound division right now. I've stated time and time again I want to be a UFC champion and if it means dropping down a weight below, I'll do that. I have the toughest fight in my career ahead in two weeks and once we're done with Frank Mir we'll worry about all that other stuff.
Gilbert Melendez: I hope to win the title for my team. I really try not to put too much pressure on myself again. I try to fight my fight. I think it's a great accomplishment for my team to get title fights. It's an accomplishment for the team and I'd love to bring the title back to the gym and share it with those guys but it's no added pressure.
Dana White: We're working on China, India, Russia and Canada for international seasons of TUF.