Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold a media conference call today (June 19, 2012) in advance of UFC 147 which will take place this Saturday night (June 23, 2012), at Estádio Jornalista Felipe Drumond in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The conference call will begin at 2:00 p.m. ET. Scheduled to attend will be the headlining fighters for the evening: Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Fabricio Werdum and Mike Russow.
Silva is the former Pride 205-pound champion and one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. All his legendary fights have started to catch up to him, but he extended his career by dropping down to 185 pounds (and even beating Michael Bisping). He's looking to extend his win streak to two and earn some revenge against Rich Franklin, a man he headlined UFC 99 against back in 2009.
Franklin is the former UFC middleweight champion. He's become a "company man" ever since losing his title and a rematch to current champion Anderson Silva, stepping up to take on any fighter at any time and filling in as a headliner for pay-per-views. He's coming off a long layoff after a shoulder injury and stepped up for an injured Vitor Belfort to fill up the main event in a rematch against Silva.
Fabricio Werdum is one of today's most promising heavyweights. He had a strong run outside the UFC, only losing a decision to Alistair Overeem and in his return to the promotion, he brutalized Roy Nelson over the course of three rounds with vicious Muay Thai. His opponent, Mike Russow, has very quietly gone 4-0 in the UFC, knocking off tough opponents Todd Duffee, Jon Madsen and Jon Olav Einemo along the way. He could become a contender if he can come to Brazil and beat "Vai Cavalo" on his home turf.
We'll have all the updates from the UFC 147 conference call after the jump:
Brian Hemminger here. The press conference is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
2:22 p.m. - After a monster delay, we're actually getting started!
Wanderlei Silva: I trained for Vitor and I trained specifically for him for two months. I am in really good condition. I know that someday we will fight. No problem.
Wanderlei Silva: My fight against Franklin is a rematch just like Vitor. He's a great fighter and we'll give a great match for the fans here in Brazil.
Wanderlei Silva: The fans understand that injuries happen. Franklin was the last champion before Anderson and a lot of guys know him in Brazil. It will be a great success here in Brazil.
Wanderlei Silva: This is a great opportunity for me. It's 10 years since I have fought in Brazil. I'm so happy to be back in Brazil and I hope I make a good show for my fans here.
Wanderlei Silva: The UFC is a great success over here. Everyone loves and everyone is talking about. We will be number one tops on the list for the programs and other channels. Everyone is talking about boxing in America but everyone watches TUF here. All the gyms here have more members and we'll have more events, more guys training. It's great in Brazil.
Mike Russow: It's a great opportunity. I'm really excited. I've been here since Friday. I arrived four days early to just check out Brazil and get good training in.
Mike Russow: I think my conditioning is good. I fought in January and I'm keeping it going since then and doing great.
Wanderlei Silva: They are all great fighters from the show. It's not just two guys but the other fighters fight good and will be in the UFC. They have nothing to lose and I know they will have a great show.
Wanderlei Silva: Some people are born to work together and I don't like to work with Vitor. Soon, I hope, we will fight.
Mike Russow: Obviously, I have a lot of respect for Fabricio. He's ranked fifth in the world. A win over him would get my career going, would really jumpstart it. It would be huge.
Mike Russow: I believe I'm right up there with the top. Since I've signed with the UFC, I've had injuries and been averaging one fight a year. I'm exciting this year to have two fights already and I just want to keep going. Hopefully this will be a good sign.
Mike Russow: It's very tough working both jobs but I've been doing this since '07 or '08 so I'm used to it. I train in Chicago, got great coaches. Comprido, I've been working with him for years and really, I believe my conditioning is the best it's ever been for the fight coming up on Saturday.
Mike Russow: I think it boosted my confidence going against such a good guy like Jon Olav Einemo in January. He's a world champion and Fabricio is more active on the ground, but it boosted my confidence.
Mike Russow: It really doesn't bother me (fighting in Brazil). I don't hear the fans once the ref says, "Let's go!" I don't even hear my coaches. It's not gonna bother me at all.
Mike Russow: Watching his last fight with Roy Nelson, he was very good with Muay Thai in the clinch going for knees. I'm going to try to not make mistakes.
Mike Russow: Sometimes I think about it (being a champ). It's been a slow pace but really I'm just focused on this fight. I don't want to look past this fight. I'm focused on Saturday and I want to shock everybody.
Fabricio Werdum: I'm excited for this fight in Brazil since it's my country.
Fabricio Werdum: I want this fight on the ground, anywhere. My camp is a very good camp.
Fabricio Werdum: Mike is very tough fighter. He has good game and good wrestling. I want to put good show for everybody.
Fabricio Werdum: For sure, this is my big goal (a rematch with dos Santos). I want that fight back. I want to fight for the belt but my first goal is my fight against Russow. That is my next goal.
Rich Franklin: I'm going in there Saturday night against a tough opponent. Once you get in the cage, it's like being on a stage and the audience is blacked out and all you can see if your opponent and you can hear your cornermen.
Rich Franklin: Everyone is always screaming and yelling, and it's just a deeper tone. Maybe I'll just pretend that they're cheering anyways.
Rich Franklin: I'm not concerned about ring rust. I think ring rust is prominent in two type of fighters, young fighters and fighters who have taken significant time off. I was preparing for a fight last August and I did everything to get ready for that fight. To me, I don't feel like I was out that long. Granted, I had the shoulder surgery in October but I recovered really well. My flexibility and mobility were ahead of the charts. I feel fine.
Rich Franklin: The amount of time I spent in Singapore could have been better spent preparing for someone like Wanderlei, but I don't feel like it was wasted.
Rich Franklin: Being out of the gym, it does help with your body. There's a difference between training for a fight and training for fun. When you're not pushing yourself for a fight, it does feel good.
Rich Franklin: The extra five pounds makes a huge difference. When the UFC called me, I was still in Singapore and I had the international travel to get home and then the international travel to get to this event. i wasn't sure about my weight then and I wasn't certain I could make 185. Now, I know 185 wouldn't be a problem, that that was my mindset. I'm actually coming into this fight lighter than past fights when I was dropping down to 185 before.
Rich Franklin: The process for me starts several weeks before the fight. I can't just jump into the sauna and cut 20 pounds. I can do it, but it leaves you drained for the fight, especially with me being out of the country in Brazil. I don't have the ability to have a nurse come in and give me an IV. When you cut the weight properly and your body weight is coming down little by little, if you miss a couple weeks on the back-end of that, that could be the difference between being a pound overweight.
Rich Franklin: Fighters like Wanderei, they're smart. They don't get to where they are by not making adjustments. If anything, I think this fight will be a tougher fight for me.
Rich Franklin: We both have tendencies and those don't go away when things start to get hot and heavy in the Octagon. He could make things difficult that I have to look out for that I won't be prepared.
Rich Franklin: Sitting here in the hotel during fight week, you're a little bit out of your rhythm. I'm in another country and fortunately I speak a little bit of Portuguese and I can navigate that way. If you couple that with not drinking a lot of water or eat, it is uncomfortable. The feeling of leaving an Octagon after a good performance, those are the things you miss. There are very few people that have a better job than we do on this Earth. One of them is a rock star. We perform 2-3 times a year, but they can do it every weekend. I can't imagine what they would be like.
Rich Franklin: Normally Jorge Gurgel is my caretaker but he's cornering guys in Bellator so he won't be here. We'll have to see. We just got here. He does give a nice mix to the camp and it's a nice mix for sure. I can bring four cornermen down here, but I only brought three. That fourth spot was for Jorge, and no one's taking that spot but him.
Rich Franklin: Past victories and losses, can't predict future victories and losses. Both Wanderlei and I are two completely different fighters.
Rich Franklin: If I were to win this fight, before I set my sights on someone like Anderson, before I start talking about future goals, I would really need to first of all win this tough fight on Saturday night, but setting my sights on Anderson would be jumping too far ahead.
Fabricio Werdum: I think this fight and then another one. I'm two fights away from a title shot.
Rich Franklin: The motivation is still there. I was motivated before to move to Singapore just to prepare for Cung. I realize I'm closer to retirement than several years ago. I realize that I have to come into fights in good shape to perform. I've done all the necessary steps to do to prepare for this fight.
Rich Franklin: At 205, I just wasn't a big enough fighter. My record there was kind of mixed anyways so I knew a title run would be difficult to do with that size disadvantage. Dropping back down, I knew I could at least try to get that title run to get back there. I don't know where a win over Wanderlei would put me in terms of title shots. I've had enough on my plate to think about with this opponent on top of pursuing a title shot.
Rich Franklin: I welcome Wanderlei's attitude. I think it will be good for the fans.
Rich Franklin: With my size, 195 would have been a perfect weight class.
This concludes the conference call. Thanks for stopping by!