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UFC 143: Dana White - 'There's No Truth To BJ Penn Vs. Gilbert Melendez'

Dana White UFC 143 by Esther Lin
Dana White UFC 143 by Esther Lin

Following the UFC 143 pre-fight press conference on Thursday, February 2nd, Dana White held a scrum for the attending MMA media. In what can only be described as a mosh pit styled interview, Dana will answer any questions that he is asked. One of the big topics of conversation was the UFC's return to Japan and the status of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

On February 24th, Fankie Edgar will defend his lightweight title against Ben Henderson in Tokyo, Japan. While fans and media have been outspoke that this is merely a vanity project for the UFC, White was adamant that this was important for Zuffa's Asian expansion. He stated, "As far as I know everything is going well over there. You don't know how successful it's going to be until you go. When we pull that event off and we do it and we see how it goes. It's very important. It's a very important show for our intro into Asia. Not just Japan but China and all the other markets we want to go to over there."

The UFC President was also asked about the rumors that B.J. Penn would be making his way over to Strikeforce to challenge Gilbert Melendez. It turns out that there was no truth to the rumor. In his own words. "That's not true. That's absolutely not true. But I have been talking to B.J. Penn. I talked to B.J. Penn last week and it was the first time that B.J. and I talked since his fight. He's just chilling right now. He wants to relax and figure out what he wants to do with his career. I'm working on Melendez. Melendez is all over my ass." He added, "I think he's a great fighter and I've said this a million times and I want to say it again. I want to get my hands on Strikeforce. I want to dive into this thing and I want to do it the way that it should be done. And the way that I think it should be done. We'll see what happens."

He later addressed his goals to improve the Strikeforce brand saying, "why not the UFC's level? If you talk to anybody they will tell you that Gilbert Melendez is one of the best fighters in the world. There's a ton of guys. Now you got Rockhold over there. Yes, these guys are great. I just want to do things that I want to do things over there. We'll see what happens. You guys know how I am. If I take this Strikeforce thing then I will dive into this thing 100% because I have so much free time. I'm looking for a side project. Honestly, I will dive into this thing and I will make it right and I will make it good. I will make the fighters who fight over there not worry about what's going on in the UFC."

Two more videos after the jump...

SBN coverage of UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit