The pre-event press-conference for Saturday’s UFC 123 event was held this Wednesday in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
The mood was laid back between the event’s headliners, Lyoto Machida and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who drew laughs from the stars of the co-main event, BJ Penn and Matt Hughes.
“I want my belt back, that would be nice,” admitted Rampage, the former champion of the light heavyweight division.
Lyoto, who once held the title himself, wants it back but is focused only on Saturday’s fight.
“Of course I want to the belt back, but I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m only thinking about my next fight,” he says.
Both fighters are coming off losses, but that doesn’t bother them.
“I don’t care about the pressure. I feel I had a good performance in my last fight. I like fighting and putting on a show. It’s one of the reasons I fight, I like entertaining people and having exciting fights. I always respected Lyoto, but I want to have exciting fights and not fight for points,” says Jackson, who took the opportunity to criticize MMA judges in the USA, where they are governed by boxing commissions.
“I love MMA, but I feel we don’t have the best judges. MMA is different, there are boxing, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu techniques…” he continues.
The crowd will likely be against Lyoto on Saturday, but it’s nothing that worries him.
“I’m used to it because I always fought away from my country and my city. The truth is that I feel at home fighting here, even though I’m not,” he says.
Asked whether the pointers Junior Cigano game him in training to face Rampage, Machida preferred to keep it a mystery.
“I’d rather not say, because now it’s part of my strategy. You’ll see on Saturday.”
Machida’s dry response didn’t escape the humor of Rampage, who joked with the reporter, provoking laughs.
“The first question was good, you were doing well, but you should have stopped!”
Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA
November 20, 2010
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida
Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn
Joe Lauzon vs. George Sotiropoulos
Tim Boetsch vs. Phil Davis
Maiquel Falcão vs. Gerald Harris
Matt Brown vs. Brian Foster
Mark Munoz vs. Aaron Simpson
Dennis Hallman vs. Karo Parisyan
Edson Barboza vs. Mike Lullo
Paul Kelly vs. T.J. O’Brien
Nik Lentz vs. Tyson Griffin