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UFC 134 ‘Rio’ Post-Fight News & Notes

Rundown of UFC 134 post-fight news and notes…

— Dana White didn’t have the attendance and live gate numbers for UFC 134 but he was blown away by the “sold out” crowd that filled the HSBC Arena last night, calling the loudest crowd he’s ever heard.

“I’ve been doing events all over the world for the last 10 years. Brazil wins for the loudest crowd ever. The cool thing about this show, too, was the place was packed from the first fight of the night. The first fight of the night sounded like the title fight. We might be here every weekend.”

They played it safe for their first trip back to Brazil in over a decade, but not next time.

“This was a successful event before it even happened. The reality is that we came in, and a lot of people were looking for tickets for this event. We could have sold more tickets. We could have done some big, huge, major events out in the streets, including the weigh-ins and everything else. We wanted this one to go smooth, get it behind us and move on to the next one.”

Dana noted that nearly 30 million people tuned in to see the fights on TV in Brazil last night. It’s clearly a major market for them. Like they have in Canada, the UK and Asia, Dana says it makes a lot of sense for them to open an office there.

— Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira took home a $100,000 bonus for knocking out Brendan Schaub. Edson Barboza and Ross Pearson were also awarded $100,000 bonuses for Fight of the Night. There were no submissions on the card, so no sub bonus was awarded.

— As most predicted, Yushin Okami proved to be no match for Anderson Silva last night. Silva put him away with relative ease in the second round after Okami’s cage hugging tactics proved to be ineffective in the first round. For Dana White, it was further proof that Anderson Silva is the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA.

“One thing I want to make clear, and I’ve been saying this for a long time, this guy is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world,” White said of Silva. “There’s no debate. You’re out of your mind if you don’t think this guy is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. People will say, ‘Oh, he needs to be challenged.’ The [185-pound] division has a ton of great fighters. The reality is, this guy is so good, he makes it look like it’s not.”

Dana reiterated to Ariel Helwani after the press conference that Silva will not fight on FOX in Nov., however Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson are still potential opponents for Silva’s next title defense. GSP is still a possibility down the road, but like he says after every other Silva fight, they both still need to get a couple more wins in their respective divisions.

“I think there’s a couple other fights out there for him at 185 [pounds],” the UFC president said of Silva before admitting that both GSP and the middleweight champ are “getting into a position here where that fight’s going to make sense.”

“I honestly believe, there’s a couple more fights for Anderson and Georges, and if they both win, I honestly don’t know if there’s a stadium big enough for that fight.”

As with most big fights, it’s going to come down to timing, and so far, the timing hasn’t been right for Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre.

According to Fightmetric, Anderson Silva extended his lead as the most accurate striker in the UFC to 68.5%. That’s a pretty ridiculous number.

— If it didn’t seem like Forrest Griffin’s head was in the game all week, that’s because it probably wasn’t. She wasn’t due for another nine days, but immediately following UFC 134, Forrest found out that his wife had gone into labor with their first child in Las Vegas. Dana White said Griffin was freaking out a little backstage, obviously wanting to be with his wife back home, so he was going to let Forrest hitch a ride back home with him.

“Forrest is a warrior. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I have so much respect for him for coming and taking this fight in this situation. He knew he was going to be in this situation. He was just hoping – she was supposed to be nine days later. He was just texting with her before he came in here, and she said she thinks she’s ready to go, so I’m leaving tonight and he’s flying home with me tonight.”

Forrest said he wouldn’t have taken the fight if he had known the baby was going to come early.

“If I’d have known it was going to work out like this, I would not have taken the fight,” Griffin quipped. “We were supposed to have nine more days.”

“I’m not really 100 percent sure (what happened),” Griffin said. “I had a lot of opportunities to go, and I didn’t go. The gameplan was to get off after he missed. He missed a couple of times big, and I just stood there and let him off the hook. It was partly that, and I didn’t really stay in a rhythm.

“I had a decent camp going into this. It’s been nine weeks since the last time we were [in Brazil]. It’s just setting in. I think that’s a fight that I definitely could have done a lot better. It sucks when you do poorly at your job.”

Dana isn’t sure what’s next for Forrest or Shogun, but he still believes Shogun can be a force in the division if he can stay healthy.

— How about Big Nog? I’m not gonna lie, I was grinning from ear to ear when he knocked out Brendan Schaub last night. I have nothing against Schaub, but it was pretty cool to see Nogueira get a huge knockout victory like that in front of his hometown crowd before his career comes to a close.

Speaking of retirement, Dana White admitted that he talked to Big Nog about it after his loss to Cain Velasquez, but it didn’t exactly go like he had hoped.

“I talked to Nogueira after his last fight and talked to him about retiring. He was pretty pissed off about that. That’s why when I came out and was talking about Tito (Ortiz), and Tito won that fight, Nogueira was one of the guys that really jumped on Tito’s side and said, ‘Listen, he doesn’t make this [expletive] decisions. We do.’ But it’s not true. I do make those decisions.

“I’m not going to let this thing be boxing. When a guy is done, we know when he’d done. I don’t want to make one dollar of that kind of money. I don’t.”

The truth is Nogueira is still on the tail end of his career, but he definitely proved last night that he still has some gas left in the tank. Is there enough gas to get him back to the top of heavyweight division? Probably not, but Dana White didn’t rule it out. It’s possible if Nogueira beats the right opponents.

Nogueira admitted he was “super nervous” before he stepped into the cage and couldn’t even look at the crowd, but that all went away when he knocked Schaub out with a beautiful combination. It was Nogueira’s night and I can’t think of anyone that deserved it more than him.

Dana White confirmed that the UFC is in talks with Alistair Overeem now that Golden Glory has decided to play by Zuffa’s rules.

“We’re talking,” White said. “You guys know how that whole thing went down. Golden Glory was in this position where we couldn’t do business and they changed their position, which I respect. Now we can do business.”

“We’ll see what happens,” White said with a shrug.

— And last but not least, Chael Sonnen’s reaction to Anderson Silva taking out his training partner Yushin Okami.

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Image via Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

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