Thursday's UFC 137 pre-fight press conference was held at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT and hosted by UFC President Dana White. Highlighting the panel were former UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn and former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, alongside heavyweight co-headliners Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo. Main card participants Roy Nelson and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic were also present. The conference was open to the public and streamed live on MMA Nation.
Here are partial notes from each participant.
- White announces that ESPN's Jon Anik has been hired by the UFC to be the play-by-play man on the FX-broadcast fights as well as a role with The Ultimate Fighter. Congratulations to Jon.
- White: This is one of the weirdest cards I've ever dealt with.
- Anybody in this sport that can go undefeated, it's not easy. The best always fight the best.
- If you've seen these guys fight, I'm excited for this fight. This fight is going to be a war.
- The first guy I approached (to create Penn vs. Diaz) was Caesar Gracie and he loved the fight.
- If this was a boxing event this would have collapsed and we would have had to rescheduled it.
- Last month Lorenzo (Fertitta) was in France working on (getting a show to) France. Next week we go to England then he goes back to France to try to get that done. Our target right now is Japan, France, China, and India.
- I'm happy right now. I had a fun training camp. Nick Diaz is without a doubt one of the best fighters in the world and it's an honor to be able to step into the ring with him.
- I want to continue fighting for a few more years.
- It's been great to have Jason Parillo back. We see eye to eye on a lot of things. He simplifies things for me when I start making things too complicated.
- There would be interest in me fighting Georges St. Pierre, but that's the last person to I'm worried about right now.
- (On being the underdog) This is the UFC, I figure it has a lot to do with that. I think people may consider the fighters in the UFC to be a lot better, stronger fighters.
- I think someone quoted (Georges St. Pierre) on saying he didn't want to fight me. It could be a bad style matchup.
- We had a talk about doing press, and I said the only problem with doing press is it takes time away from training. I train harder than most athletes I see. It throws my whole month off. I tend to seem like I dislike the press, but really I enjoy the right kind of press. I have no problem talking to anybody. That's why I'm here.
- I'm an endurance athlete. I take a different type of training than most fighters do. I need to spend a lot more hours in my training. I just see anybody doing that. That's all I meant.
- I listen to my coach and trainers. They're the ones that wanted this fight and I do what I'm told.
- I've been fortunate. I've had some really good and experienced coach and a great amount of knowledge to impart on me.
- I worked with Ray Sefo, Neil Melanson and Randy (Couture). Then I went down to Fort Lauderdale to work with Rashad (Evans) and Tyrone Spong. Can't get much better than that.
- Every fight is important. You go out there and get your ass kicked, you could get cut.
- When I got offered this fight I told Joe Silva 'whatever date you have, let me have the latest one because I have things I need to learn and grow' and the UFC was cool with that.
- If I can bang around on a fence with Randy, that gives me confidence I can do it with anybody.
- I feel that I can beat anybody that has a belt in a 40-yard dash. If I'm not in the hospital after this fight, maybe Cheick and I can get something going to. He's long and athletic. It'll be fun.
Cheick Kongo: N/A
- Every fight's important. For this fight, everyone was talking about Cro Cop retiring. Apparently if you lose two fights you have to retire. Maybe I have to retire too.
Mirko "Cro Cop":
- Even if I win, this could be my last fight in the UFC. I cannot afford anymore if this fight is declared the most boring fight of the night.
- There is 38 reasons why I would leave. That's exactly how old I am.
- I'm not fat. I trained hard for this fight.
- Do I need it anymore? I have two kids at home and lots of things I want to experience. I will be fighting for 20 years soon
- When I came to the UFC I was treated like a king. Even today I am treated like a king. But I just didn't make it in the UFC. It was unfortunate. Everything just kind of blew up. You get injured and you think different.
- If you ask me, this is definitely the most important fight of my career.
- I will raise my kids (after my career). I think that is the best thing I can do.