Five Key Quotes From The UFC 122: Marquardt Vs.Okami Conference Call
It's been a relatively slow news week in the MMA world, which made Friday's UFC 122 conference call that much more enticing. Great quotes? Trash talking? Challenges to German mega-star David Hasselhoff?
Unfortunately, none of the above happened.
The build for one of the most unanticipated events in recent UFC history has begun, but here are five of the key quotes coming out of the UFC 122 conference call featuring Nate Marquardt, Jorge Rivera and Yushin Okami. Alessio Sakara no-showed.
"The reason this fight is different is that when I lost to Chael (Sonnen), I realized I lost focus of my desire to be the champion. It's back 100 percent and I feel very prepared and ready."
This was Marquardt on his preparation to face Okami in a title shot eliminator, as opposed to his mindset going into his No. 1 contender match to Sonnen.
It was interesting to hear Marquardt reveal that his desire to be a champion had waned at one point, which he went into a little more depth with later on.
Marquardt said that his style has changed from one of fighting not to lose to one of going for the kill. He's done just that, as in four of his last five fights he's finished for the victory.
"It's in a little bit of limbo."
UFC UK Division President Marshall Zelaznik spoke on the TV issues they are having right now. Apparently, an organization in the state of Bavaria called BLM has caused some licensing issues that is resulting in the UFC not being able to make air, relegating German fans to either attend the event live or stream the show on the German language UFC site in order to see it.
The press in Germany was not kind to the UFC when they first ran Cologne for UFC 99 in June 2009 and seemingly is the first country the UFC has run in lately to cause this much of an issue. Zelaznik said the soonest their litigation against the Bavarian organization would resolve is six months.
"People are paying good money to watch us fight and we have an obligation to give them what they're looking for. I want to be known as an exciting fighter. Win or lose, I'm coming."
This was Rivera on how he relishes in finishing fights. It was a theme the veteran went back to several times and the latest in a running thread of debate about today's MMA scene on the difference between fighting for sport vs. entertainment. He made it clear that winning is what matters, but that he'd rather be remembered for being an exciting fighter than a boring one.
"I think it was more of an eye opening event for the media, not me. They put him on pedestal as unbeatable. He's susceptible to ground and pound and if someone lands a punch, he can get wobbled."
Marquardt was asked several times about Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and this was his response to what he saw in Silva following his razor-thin victory over Sonnen earlier this year. If given the shot at Silva or Vitor Belfort, Marquardt said he wants to secure the title shot first but hopes it's Silva.
The amount of Silva questions Marquardt got had me feeling many think a win over Okami is a foregone conclusion.
"We've been around, we understand what people want. Fans are the ones that do it all. When my career is over, I want to be remembered. When my name comes up, I want people to say, "I loved to watch that guy fight."
I loved this quote from Rivera in that it was straight talk. When he said 'we' he was referring to former TUF housemate Chris Lytle, a fighter that made the choice to go the more "exciting" route with his fights as opposed to technically sound decision victories. Essentially what the fans want more of, he will give it to them as best he can.
Rivera has won his last two fights by TKO and is making one more good run at 185 pounds. He knows what he wants to be at age 38 and it's refreshing to hear someone just say what a lot of others inherently know. In the co-main event slot a week from Saturday, he'll have the chance to win over some more fans.
Note there were no Okami quotes, mostly because his interpreter was difficult to understand and because the answers were all quick one-liners with no depth.
Myself and other journalists get frustrated at the language barrier with these interviews and I'm surprised the UFC doesn't employ a better method in assisting with interpretation on these calls.
Even though these fighters may not speak perfect English, they have a lot to say and I'd love to be able to understand more of what they're thinking. If the organization is to expand at the rate they expect, they have to figure this out both on calls, press conferences and in post-fight interviews.
UFC 122 airs a week from this Saturday on Spike TV via tape delay.
Josh Nason is a New England-based freelance MMA journalist that covers live events, has written for FIGHT! Magazine and frequently does radio/podcast appearances. He's currently pushing for ESPN Boston to cover MMA and asks for your help by following him on Twitter for updates.