Wanderlei Silva & Quinton Rampage Jackson StaredownWe’ve been inundated in recent weeks with tons of news and rumors of big fights coming in the next few months. Wanderlei Silva and Rampage Jackson’s third meeting was finally made official earlier today. Eddie Alvarez vs. Nick Diaz is one of EliteXC’s worst kept secrets for their next Showtime card, and Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ definitely wants his chance at redemption against Alistair Overeem on NYE. Three of the fighters involved in these matches recently spoke out on their upcoming fights. Here’s what they had to say.

Rampage Jackson is looking to erase two of the most devastating losses of his career.

“A fight is a fight, anything can happen. He has still got the same fists, knees, elbows, kicks… he can still do the same damage. We’ll see”

“I would rather fight him in a five-round fight than a three-round fight. I don’t know if he ever went 25 minutes. I know he did 20 minutes in PRIDE, but 25 minutes is a whole different thing.”

“I am not concerned about cages or rings, but I think the referees would be fair. That’s all I really care about.”

On Dec. 27, we’re finally going to find out how critical of a role those PRIDE referees played in Silva’s victories. I’m not so sure it made as big of a difference as Rampage makes it out to be, but I do agree with him on the number of rounds. This fight is perfect example of why there should be a five-round option for non-title bouts.

Eddie Alvarez is back from his honeymoon as is looking for a fight, or more accurately, a fight has found him.

“I got back from my honeymoon about a week and a half ago and as soon as I got back I was on the horse that Monday. I’ll be fighting Nick Diaz, we’re about 90-something percent positive I’ll be fighting Nick Diaz for the EliteXC title at 160 (pounds).”

“Nick’s a great opponent, he poses a lot of threats. Very good striking, as well as good jiu-jitsu, so he’s been in the game a while, he’s a pure fighter and I like that. He gets a lot of bad rap from a lot of people with his attitude, but deep down he likes to fight, he enjoys to fight and I consider myself the same kind of person. I enjoy to fight, my heart’s in this.”

Mark my words, one way or another, Eddie Alvarez is going to become a MMA superstar in the coming years, and win or lose, Nick Diaz is going to be his first step in getting there.

One question. How do you think this makes KJ Noons feel?

It sounds like Cro Cop is finally out of the woods with his groin injuries. He says he’s healthy and looking for payback against Overeem on NYE. But what about the rest of the fight, and the other two last year? Why so hesitant? What happened to the Cro Cop that struck the fear of God in his opponents? Cro Cop, what the hell is wrong?

“I’m under more pressure then I have been earlier in my career. I lost two fights in the UFC, and I have a fear of it happening again. I cant afford more failures. I have a fear of failing not of punches or kicks. Many fighters have the same problem.”

It’s been said that 90% of the fight game is mental and 10% physical. Whatever, the correct percentages are, there’s no denying that being mentally strong and prepared is a huge aspect of being successful in MMA. When doubts creep in, you start second guessing yourself, and its all too easy to let that fear control you. That doesn’t just apply to fighting either. Pretty much everyone can relate to that in one way, shape, or form. Mirko’s always been an emotional fighter. In moments when things aren’t going his way in a fight, his whole demeanor changes, and he becomes a different fighter. Fedor was really the first to expose that. Unfortunately, it looks like Cro Cop has let that fear get the better of him in the past two years. Whatever he needs to do to get over it, I hope he does it, cause I certainly miss the Cro Cop who took people’s heads off.