At today's UFC 134: Rio media conference call, Dana White said moving into the Brazilian market will be significantly easier than their UK or European expansion efforts, Anderson Silva repeated ad nauseum he was excited for the fight, Forrest Griffin was characteristically demur, Yushin Okami was not a big target of questions and Shogun seemed eager to return to action.
Here are partial notes of what each person said. Full audio is coming.
- "Brazil has exploded in popularity with the UFC...it sold out fast...we probably could've done a little bigger arena, but we played it safe the first time"
- "A lot of people don't think he gets the credit he deserves...if he wins this fight, he'll be the best in the world"
- "The Vitor Belfort vs. Anderson Silva fight was huge for us in setting us up to move down there."
- "The logjam in the light heavyweight division got broken up...after this we got Jones vs. Rampage...this fight is very important...we'll see what happens"
- "In boxing you see a guy get an immediate rematch after losing the belt....guys have to back in line to get that title...there's no doubt Shogun is one of the best in the world...he's probably two fights away from another shot at the title"
- "Brazil will be a zillion times easier to build the sport than the UK...they've got the fifth largest economy...and they don't have just talented guys, but icons of the sport...it's a fighting culture"
- "Every time we go to someone's hometown someone wants to fight on it"
- "Anderson Silva's fighting for his legacy, Yushin Okami's fighting for respect"
- "I fight the best guys in the world. I don't have pressure."
- "I'm very happy for this time...my team is here and we're ready for this opportunity"
- "I train for the best fighters in the world. I train with the best team in the world. I am very excited for this bout."
- "It's a great opportunity for UFC and for new fighters for UFC to be in Brazil."
- "50/50 (in terms of pressure or motivation). People ask me if I'm ready, people in Brazil are very excited...I'm ready for the fight...all the fans, the UFC fans are going to watch me and Shogun"
- "I know what kind of fighter Anderson is, from talking to Chael and training with Chael, I can learn from his experience."
- "No, not really (to prove anything additional). I watched that fight again. He looked pretty good to me."
- "It's below obviously winning TUF, or winning the belt, but beating Shogun was obviously pretty big at the time"
Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua:
- "I can't wait to give back to fans who give me support, not just at home but all over the world."
- "I always followed MMA and vale tudo as a kid...and action movies in with Van Damme or Rambo...unfortunately, when I was a kid there was a lot of prejudice about fighting vale tudo and MMA...to reach mainstream here now means a lot to all of us"
- "It's both (fighting in Brazil being pressure or support). It's important to fight in Brazil, in front of my family, in my country. As MMA athletes, we achieved a lot"
- "We always get sad with the losses we suffer, but as athletes we have to get used to it and move on....forrest is a good fighter who has evolved a lot since our last fight...it's going to be good fans because forrest is a guy who goes to fight."