The four men in the two top fights at UFC 120 spoke to the media today via conference call. As always, the voluble Brits Dan Hardy and Michael Bisping carried the day with their witty banter, but opponents Carlos Condit and Yoshihiro Akiyama had opportunities to respond. The highlights:
Michael Bisping on how fame has changed him:
I live in a small town in the northwest of England, and I live with the same, you know, the same friends and family that I've grown up with my entire life. So, to be honest, nothing's changed. You know, when I do venture out into cities and whatnot, yes, people do know who I am, I suppose. But, ultimately, I'm the same guy. I still live in the same place, the same small town, so not a lot's changed. And because I still live there I'm able to train and just continue with my regular lifestyle.
Yoshihiro Akiyama on the Chris Leben fight:
There were certain things that was holding me back from fighting my best in that fight...I felt like I didn't have enough time to prepare for my opponent. And so during the fight I wasn't able to come up with a strategy that is specifically for Chris Leben.
Akiyama on training with Greg Jackson:
I was able to learn the intricate skills of the takedowns, as well as better striking for MMA. And, most of all, I was able to learn how to deliver a good three rounds of fight in the cage.
Bisping on Akiyama's training with Jackson:
In terms of preparation, it doesn't change anything. With respect, I couldn't care less who he trains with. He can train with anyone. What I'm focusing on these days is what I do, focusing on my training. And he can worry about what I'm bringing to the table. And so, you know, as I said, my training's going fantastic. I feel in great shape. I've improved all my areas. And I don't - regardless of who he's training with, I think I'll be too much for him. So, to answer your question, I couldn't care less.
Carlos Condit on why he wanted to fight Dan Hardy:
Well, you know, for one, Hardy's got status in the UFC right now. You know, he was the number one contender. So a win over him would probably catapult me up the rankings. But, in addition to that, he's a - he's the kind of fighter that I want to fight. You know, he puts on exciting fights. He comes to - comes to finish guys, and, I want to be - I want to be an exciting fight, so I want to give the fans a show. And that's, you know, that's probably the main reason.
Dan Hardy on whether the fight will be standing so they can earn a Fight of the Night Bonus:
Well, yes, fight of the night bonus would be a - would be a nice addition to my bank account. I mean if it's up to me, I'd just stand on the Bud Light logo right in the middle of octagon and throw punches. You know, I'm confident with those, I'm confident with my power and with my chin. So, if that's the way this - the fight goes, then I'm all for it. But, you know, I'm - like I've been saying, I've been working out on my wrestling, my jujitsu, and, you know, so don't be surprised if I take him down and put him to sleep.
Great Britain's best mixed martial artists will be on display as the UFC heads across the pond for an action-packed pay-per-view quality fight card, "UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama," airing on Spike TV (same day tape) on Saturday, October 16 at 9:00pm ET/PT emanating from the O2 Arena from London, England.