Rundown of post-fight news and notes from UFC 118…
Frankie Edgar Had All The Answers For BJ Penn
Following his controversial win over BJ Penn at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, Frankie Edgar came into UFC 118 with the intention of removing any doubts about who deserves to hold the UFC lightweight title.
“I think it was more important for you guys than it was for me,” he said. “I go in to every fight trying to win and trying to do my best. That’s all I can do, but that should help get some of you guys off my back for sure.”
“I think every fighter should fight with a chip on their shoulder,” Edgar said. “I believe in myself. I know my team believes in me. If it takes time to get you guys to believe in me, I’ll do that, too.
“I definitely wanted to make it decisive so there were no questions,” he continued. “You guys ask me questions, that maybe the first fight didn’t go my way. No one can say anything now.”
Dana White reiterated that point and then some.
“Frankie, what does this kid have to do to get the respect? Frankie Edgar just dominated B.J. Penn. Dominated him.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit is due,” White said. “He absolutely dominated B.J. Penn everywhere in the octagon tonight – on his feet, on the ground, wrestling. The first couple of times he took him down, I couldn’t believe it. Not only did he take him down, he took him down hard. He put on an incredibly dominant performance tonight against a guy who’s been the best in the world for a long time.
“There were a lot of questions out there and a lot of people doubting Frankie Edgar. … You’ve got to be a complete jackass not to give Edgar credit after what he did tonight. I thought it was a masterpiece. He looked unbelievable.”
Edgar’s next title defense will come in the form of a rematch with Gray Maynard. Edgar looks forward to the opportunity to avenge his loss.
“For me, it’s a great opportunity,” Edgar said. “He has a win over me. He deserves a shot, and I’ll get a chance to possibly avenge that loss.”
BJ Penn didn’t attend the post-fight press conference. Dana wasn’t sure what’s next for Penn — whether he’ll fight at lightweight or welterweight — but there seems to be a little buzz for a lightweight rematch with Takanori Gomi around the internet community.
James Toney, Boxing One & Done In The UFC
James Toney won’t be returning to the UFC according to Dana White. Following Randy Couture’s lopsided victory, he doesn’t expect to put any other pro boxers in the Octagon either, even if it’s someone in their prime like Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I thought we answered this question in 1993, but James came out and he picked a fight,” White said. “We answered the question again in 2010. I don’t think it needs to be answered again. I don’t care if it’s (Floyd) Mayweather or anybody else.”
“It’s unfair to bring a guy in with one discipline, no matter if he’s trained for eight or nine months,” White said. “I wasn’t the guy going out there and trying to badmouth boxing and take boxing down and hurt the sport of boxing. James Toney picked a fight, and he got one.
“I don’t see [other boxers] ever doing that, coming out and whatever. James Toney is the guy that’s crazy enough to come out and do this. He picked a fight, he got one, and we won’t be doing any more boxing.”
While Dana was relieved he doesn’t have to deal with James Toney for another 8 months, he still made it a point to give Toney and boxing their props.
“We’re not after boxing. We’re not trying to attack boxing. I love boxing, and I thought this question was answered back in 1993, but I’ve got to be honest. As we got closer to the fight, my stomach hurt, and I was a little dizzy. I was nervous. Mixed martial arts stepped in there against a boxer, but at the end of the day, it’s a fight. Anything can happen in a fight.”
“He’s a tough guy, and he’s been around for a long time, and I love him,” White said. “I have a lot of respect for James Toney. When you come in with one discipline, you can’t expect the guy to come in and have great ground work. You know what? He stepped up. He wanted to do it, and he did it.
“He hung in there longer than I thought he would. I’m sure he was as prepared as he could be. Anybody that knows James Toney over the past few years knows that James isn’t the most physically fit boxer on the planet. But let me tell you what, when I signed him in my office, he’s lost a lot of weight since that day. He took it serious, he went out there, and he gave it a shot.”
At the post-fight press conference, Randy Couture revealed the low single he used to take Toney down was part of his gameplan all along. He never intended to get within Toney’s striking range.
“I had no illusions of standing around and trading any kind of blows with James,” said Couture, a collegiate All-American wrestler for Oklahoma State University and four-time Olympic alternate. “I had to pull out the old low single from college and dust it off. I spent the whole camp working on that low shot because it’s pretty hard to counter-punch that.”
“The first thing I noticed when I got into the cage and kind of settled in was that he was wearing those things on his feet,” said Couture. “A huge thing with shooting a low single is you’re used to doing it against wrestlers when they’re wearing shoes ‘cause it’s something that I can grip, so when he had those things on his feet, I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be better. I have something I can grip.’”
“I didn’t feel like he demonstrated any solid skills once he hit his butt,” said Couture. “He didn’t close his guard. He didn’t protect himself that well; I was able to maneuver and get to mount pretty easily. From mount I knew he had no idea– I could hear his corner yelling at him…but he was more interested in trying to butt me in the head from his back.”
Don’t expect Randy Couture to return the favor either. Toney’s boxing promoter Dan Goossen recently challenged Randy to get in a boxing ring with James sometime this fall. Randy respectfully declined, recognizing Toney would probably knock him out in the first round.
“It would be as silly as I think it is for James to jump into mixed martial arts the way he did here and I think it would go about the same way,” said Couture. “James would probably knock me out in the first round.”
Dana White said James Toney planned on attending the post-fight press conference, but something pissed him off and he left. No one got a comment from Toney that I’m aware of.
With James Toney finally behind him, Randy Couture will return to the light heavyweight division. Dana says he’s “in the mix.”
Gray Maynard Number One Contender, Kenny Florian “Chokes In Big Fights”
Gray Maynard finally punched his ticket to a UFC lightweight title fight with his victory over Kenny Florian at UFC 118. And it will come against a man he already holds a win over. He recognizes that Frankie Edgar is a different, better fighter than when he beat him, but he’s still very confident he’ll emerge from the rematch victorious.
“It’s a nice belt to have, and I want it for sure,” Maynard said. “Everybody’s beatable.”
While Dana White praised Edgar and Maynard for their performances, he wasn’t so complimentary of Kenny Florian. To put it bluntly, Kenny Florian “chokes in big fights.”
“I hate to say this because I don’t want to take anything away from Gray Maynard, but I think Kenny is just one of those guys who chokes in big fights,” UFC president Dana White said. “I’m not bad-mouthing him or trying to disrespect him; I’m just being honest. Every time it’s a big fight and there’s a lot of things on the line, Kenny just … Kenny’s hands are unbelievable. Kenny’s ground is unbelievable. Kenny usually kicks guys to the body and legs so hard that he busts guys up. You didn’t see any of that tonight. He stood there and stared at Gray Maynard for three rounds.”
“You’d think his corner would say, ‘Dude, you just lost the first two rounds.’ No sense of urgency in the third round,” White said. “Not saying, ‘I need a knockout or submission in this round.’ None of it. Nothing. And I guarantee you if Kenny comes back and fights one of the mid-level guys, he’ll probably run through them like a f—ing freight train. But the big fights? He crumbles, man.”
“I love Kenny Florian, I’ve known him since season one of The Ultimate Fighter,” White said. “He’s one of the best fighters in the world, but in the big fights, he chokes in the big fights. He’s here in his hometown, another shot at title and he sits in front of Gray Maynard for three rounds. He couldn’t let anything go. Gray Maynard fought his fight, did what he wanted to do, and dominated him tonight.”
At the post-fight press conference, Nate Diaz said he’d like to fight Gray Maynard before Maynard fights Edgar, but Dana White immediately shot that idea down. Dana’s not sure what’s next for Nate but is well aware of how well he’s performed at welterweight thus far. Diaz wants a top contender and an opportunity to earn a title shot at some point.
— 15,575 attendees packed into the TD Garden for the first-ever Boston UFC event. Gate receipts totaled an estimated $3 million according to Dana White.
— Joe Lauzon earned himself an extra $60,000 for submitting Gabe Ruediger in front of his hometown crowd. He not only earned it inside the cage, he earned it outside it too. Lauzon said he sold about 600 tickets to the show and probably could have sold 2,000 if he had more credit cards. Those of you who attended can verify this: Joe said there were a ton of fans in attendance wearing green t-shirts all there to support him. Back to the bonuses, Nate Diaz and Marcus Davis rightfully earned “Fight of the Night” honors for breaking the UFC record for significant strike attempts in a three round fight. There were no KO/TKO’s on the card, and thus no KO bonus.
— At the UFC 118 fan expo Q&A, Dana White continued to deflect requests for Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre. He won’t rule it out, but says both fighters still have several guys they need to beat first.
“They’ve got a couple of guys they’ve got to beat before we make that fight, but I’m not opposed to making it.”
“Well, Georges St-Pierre is a coach on this season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,'” White said. “He’s got to fight (Josh) Koscheck. Then, Jake Shields is here now, so he’s got a couple guys before he cleans out the division.
“We’re going to re-do Chael Sonnen-Anderson Silva. That rematch is going to happen, and Vitor Belfort is still in the mix.”
— Dana White announced at the UFC 118 post-fight presser that Mark Fischer has been hired to head their global expansion efforts in Asia. The new executive vice president and managing director of Asia operations held a very similar position in the region with the NBA. He believes the UFC can be just as successful, if not more, than the NBA was in China.
“I was with the NBA in Asia for 12 years,” he said. “Five or six of those were building the NBA in China. I think as successful as the NBA was there, what we were able to do with that, I think we can just as much with the UFC and more.”
“I think we’re going to study the market,” he said.”Definitely China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia. All of these countries have tremendous potential. There’s been tremendous interest, tremendous activity in MMA, and I think it’s a question of bringing the UFC brand there and the way we do things being the global leader in the sport.”
Fischer wasn’t quite ready to answer questions about how they’ll compete with established promotions in the region such as DREAM. He had a good excuse though. It was only his second day on the job.