Monday's UFC 135 media conference call featured UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former champion Quinton Jackson. Also aboard were co-headliners, former welterweight champion Matt Hughes and contender Josh Koscheck. UFC President Dana White was not present.
Much of the call was spent in a war of words between Jones and Jackson. While 'Rampage' would not specify details, he maintained that the young champion initiated the conflict with his remarks at the UFC's press conference in Denver a few months ago.
Meanwhile, both Koscheck and Hughes spoke at length about returning to the Octagon following long layoffs. After a long Hall of Famer career, Hughes indicated that he may be close to hanging up his gloves. His battle with Koscheck signifies the final fight of his current UFC contract.
UFC 135 will be held on September 24th at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. For more analysis, follow MMA Nation (@MMANation) on Twitter.
Here are partial notes from each participant. Full audio is coming.
- I've been training for about four to five months. I took about three months off after my fight to recover. I went back to my basics, jiu-jitsu class and just going back to where I started, learning all over again. I helped a lot of the Strikeforce guys in their training camps so I've been training for quite a while.
- Fighting Matt Hughes is a good comeback fight for me.
- I didn't even realize he was fighting Diego Sanchez.
- I got a phone call from Crazy Bob Cook about fighting Matt Hughes and I didn't even hesitate. I was in shape and ready to go.
- In wrestling I had a fusion of five or six vertebrae in my neck and I was out six to seven months, similar to this. And I came right back.
- When you walk out to the crowd, a packed house and millions at home on pay-per-view, it's definitely something you miss.
- After the GSP fight I was in a lot of pain. The pain I experienced in two other surgeries didn't compare to the eye injury. The nerve damage in your face is magnetized compared to the rest of your body. It was a fun experience, needless to say, but I don't want to go through it ever again.
- I always knew I was coming back, regardless of the outcome. The doctor I saw in Boston, she was amazing. She went in and fixed it. She did a great job and here I am, back again after a six month layoff.
- I think it's pretty cool that this fight is where UFC started.
- Dana White originally told me I was fighting Fitch, then called me back later and said Koscheck.
- I did most of my camp in Salt Lake City, so good altitude up there.
- I was in the gym every single day. It was good. I got to focus on a lot of other areas that in the past I wasn't able to focus on.
- It's competition. That's what drives the top athletes in the UFC.
- I just need to rely on myself.
- I consider myself a lucky man. All in all, it's a great lifestyle.
- I enjoy my time off, there's no doubt about that. It gives me more time to worry about technique without worrying about getting in shape.
- I picked up a lot from B.J. (Penn). I picked up my footwork. Boxing footwork is a lot different from wrestling footwork.
- The outcome of this fight doesn't matter (for his status). Afterwards we'll meet and discuss things about my next contract.
- My wife tells me I'm done fighting.
- My job isn't talking.
- When I'm in the Octagon in the 24th, that's when I'll demand respect.
- The only thing that bothered me was the Spy situation. Not the accusation specifically but that the fans believed that I would actually pay someone to go to his camp and watch him and report to me.
- If I had it my way, I would do very, very little media.
- The camera crew being with me (before fighting Shogun) was a major distraction. That was a lot more pressure. I felt like I was an actor the whole time, which was weird for me.
- I've been able to finish fights without getting a knockout, so I'm alright with it.
- I though Rampage did a good job (in the A-Team).
- I definitely have respect for Rampage. I was a young guy in college watching him fight people and watching his career. It's awesome fighting someone who's done so much in his career.
- It's not personal to me at all.
- Shogun, I really looked up to him because he was a Pride champion at 24. He made me believe I could do this. That's what made fighting him so special.
- If someone looks it up, at the things he said and the things I said, I haven't insulted him once.
- I'm really not focused on any other opponent. I'm so close to a dream come true, which is to be a champion again, that I'm not going to look any way but straight.
- When I fought Brandon Vera, he got under my skin a little bit. He was the only person to get me angry.
- People that anger me make me fight better. It makes me prepare better.
- You got to back up the things you says. That's why I try not to speak to much.
- I don't have any anger heading into this fight. I've been a fan of Quinton's a long time.
- When I first met Jones at the press conference he was real cocky.
- Go back to my interviews before Marvin Eastman and Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson, I react to how guys act towards me.
- I treat him the way I treat him because I have no respect for him.
- When I had to fight Machida, I wanted to be the first person to beat Machida.
- I want to be the first person to beat Jon. The kid hasn't fought a fighter like me.
- At the press conference in Denver he was being real cocky and saying a lot of stuff he shouldn't.
- I always joke around, but I don't talk a lot of trash until my opponent does. It's that type of stuff that motivates me.
- (To Jones) I can't remember the exact words, but you remember when you were sitting to the right of me and you said something and I looked right at you.
- Honestly, I'm not even looking forward to fighting Rashad. I think the fans lost that fight. He talked a whole lot of smack but then he didn't show up.
- The only person (Jones) really fought was Shogun, but he was coming off an injury. That wasn't a true Shogun.
- You can tell he puts on the good boy act in front of the camera.
- I like how positive he is. I think you have to be that way. I know he's down with the law. But it's all just a front.