The traditional pre-weigh-ins press conference took place this Thursday in Rio de Janeiro. UFC head honcho Dana White not there to anchor, Rodrigo Minotauro, Anderson Silva, Glover Teixeira, Fabio Maldonado, Dave Herman and Stephen Bonnar were the main stars present.
The questions superstar Anderson Silva, who headlines the event alongside Stephan Bonnar, fielded were about a different opponent. Asked about what direction his career will take after the Rio event and whether there was a possibility of his facing Jon Jones, the champion of the division above, Anderson extinguished the hopes fans had of seeing a fight of the century.
“There are a lot of possibilities for me in the UFC, but fighting Jon Jones is out of the question,” he said coolly, and no one touched on the subject again. Anderson has indeed on a number of occasions that maintaining his middleweight title is a hard enough mission as it is. When queried about Jones, he deferred the task to his light heavyweight teammates: Rogério Minotouro, Rafael Feijão and Fabio Maldonado.
On his fight Saturday night, the “Spider” classified it as a good test of his knockout ability, as Bonnar has never fallen in a fight, not even to Jones nor Rashad Evans. But the Brazilian revealed what his only obligation in the fight is, which teaches us something about how defense is important too.
“This fight [against Bonnar] is a good test for me on my feet, because he’s never been knocked out before. But my only obligation when I get in the octagon is to return home in one piece,” he put simply.
Stephan Bonnar assumed the role of underdog but said he has faith he can win it: “I feel like I’m in an action flick. I’m the underdog but this is my chance. I have to make the most of the situation.”
Anderson also brought up how he took the short-notice invitation to fight at UFC Rio after José Aldo dropped off the card. “I was at the gym, standing next to Minotauro. I told him, ‘If you’re for it, I’m for it,” he said with a laugh. “Truth is, ever since the Sonnen fight in Las Vegas, I’ve been wanting to fight for the Brazilian fans. Now I’m happy because I get to do so so quickly.”
In the second-to-last fight of the night, Rodrigo Nogueira will see action for the first time since operating the arm broken by a Frank Mir Kimura lock. The Brazilian heavyweight had to pull out of a previously scheduled fight with Cheick Kongo after feeling pain in his arm. Now he says he is ready to fight.
“Everyone thinks that, since I’m a Jiu-Jitsu specialist, I’m going to just try and take fights to the ground, but I think we’re going to stand and bang. I’m ready to fight standing. I have faith in my striking. I know we’re going to throw a lot of kicks and knees. I like using my hands. I’m ready for both,” he said in an animosity-free interview with his rival Dave Herman.
The Brazilian’s opponent made it clear he’s not going to let the crowd get to him: “I don’t pay attention to the fans. They can be loud or quiet, I’m just going to have a normal day. MInotauro is an MMA legend and top 10 fighter. But I want to beat him and move up the ranking,” said Herman in praise.
Amid the expectations surrounding the second season of the TUF Brazil reality show, Minotauro was asked whether he might again be one of the coaches on the program – having coached opposite Frank Mir during the 2009 season in the USA.
“Look, I’d like for Anderson to be head coach on TUF. I could be the team’s Jiu-Jitsu coach. That would be awesome,” said Rodrigo. Besides Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Shogun have also been mentioned as possible frontrunners.
Fabio Maldonado and Glover Teixeira, two Brazilians tipped to put on an epic showdown at UFC Rio, spoke about their fight without too much bluster.
“I’m in my best shape. Glover’s going to face the best Maldonado of all times. Glover is what they say; he’s a great fighter and deserves all the attention he’s getting. He has a lot more experience than I do. But he’s not going to get a shot at Jon Jones, because I’m going to stop him first,” said Fabio, who is confident the training he’s done at Team Nogueira will serve him well.
“The fight starts on the feet, so we’re going to stand and bang some. I’m going to fight my way, not his,” asserted Glover, adding that his training with Machida was as good as it gets.
What are your thoughts about and what do you expect for UFC 153/Rio? Which will be the fight of the night? Will any of the underdogs pull off the upset? Who’ll get the submission of the night? Comment below!
UFC RIO 3
HSBC ARENA, RIO, RJ
OCTOBER 13, 2012
Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar
Rodrigo Minotauro vs Dave Herman
Glover Teixeira vs Fábio Maldonado
Jon Fitch vs Erick Silva
Wagner Caldeirão vs Phil Davis
Demian Maia vs Rick Story
Rony Jason vs Sam Sicilia
Gleison Tibau vs Francisco Massaranduba
Diego Brandão vs Joey Gambino
Serginho Moraes vs Renée Forte
Luiz Banha vs Chris Camozzi
Cristiano Marcello vs Reza Madadi