UFN and TUF: US vs UK Conference Call Transcript
Moderator: Salil Gulati
March 27, 2009
2:00 pm CT
Salil Gulati: Hey everyone and welcome to Spike TV and UFC’s conference call in regards to next weeks UFC Fight Night and the premier of the new season of the Ultimate Fighter.
First up today we have the headliners of Wednesday’s Fight Night Event from the Sommet Center in Nashville. Welterweight Carlos Condit will be making his UFC debut and Martin Kampmann.
The two will be squaring off to (unintelligible) event that presents live on Spike on Wednesday at 8:00 pm Eastern Time and (unintelligible) for the west coast. Carlos and Martin will be available for about 35 minutes at which point we’ll be bringing in Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping, the coaches for the Ultimate Fighter US versus UK which premieres at 10:00 pm on Wednesday night immediately following the fight night event.
At this point I’m going to be turning it over to our operator (Dawn) who will be fielding questions for you guys.
Operator: If you would like to ask a question at this time please press star 1 on your telephone keypad. Again, if you have a question please press star then the number 1 on your telephone keypad.
Your first question comes from the line of(Jeffrey Harris).
(Jeffrey Harris): Hello, thanks for having us today. My first question is for Mr. Kampmann. How do you feel at welterweight now and how hard was it coming back from the loss to Nathan Marquardt?
Martin Kampmann: I feel good mostly because it’s pretty easy and coming back to training it sucks taking a loss but shit happens and you’ve just got to keep your head up and get back in the gym. So…
(Jeffrey Harris): Mr. Condit, how does it feel about to make your first every fight in the UFC after fighting for so many years?
Carlos Condit: I’m very excited. I think this is a natural progression for my career and I definitely feel ready.
(Jeffrey Harris): Thank you.
Operator: Again, if you have a question press star 1 at this time.
Salil Gulati: Could you just state which outlet your from when you ask the question please?
Operator: I see there are no further questions. I apologize. You do have a question from the line of (Mike Spedy).
(Mike Spedy): Yeah, (Mike Spedy) ESN.com. Question for Carlos. I know you just began training with Arizona Combat Sports why did you make the change to a new (gym)?
Carlos Condit: I was feeling a little bit burnt out in Albuquerque and I was looking for a change. The reason I went to Arizona Combat is they had a lot of guys that excelled in the places where I needed work on in my game.
(Mike Spedy): And are you still living in New Mexico and, if so, can you talk about the sacrifices you made in moving your training camp to Arizona?
Carlos Condit: No, actually I am currently out living in Arizona. So, I’ve pretty much got my house here.
(Mike Spedy): And why did you pick ACS? I mean – what particular parts of your game that they’re good at that made that the right place for you?
Carlos Condit: Specifically they had a lot of really (unintelligible) wrestlers out here and that was part of my game that I’ve been working on quite a bit.
(Mike Spedy): Thank you.
Operator: Your next question comes from the line of (Steve Favort).
(Steve Favort): This is (Steve) with MMAjunkie. Carlos, question for you? A lot of people allude to and talk about the UFC jitters when fighters are making their debut in the organization, does that concern you at all about perhaps coming into the big stage of the UFC and having it be an overwhelming experience?
Carlos Condit: Well, I’ve done quite a few big fights in my career so far. I’ve had a lot of pressure being put on me expanding my title especially when I defended my hometown. So, pressures something that I’ve been able to deal with. So, I think that I will be just fine.
(Steve Favort): And another follow-up question. Have you done anything in particular to prepare for the style that Martin brings to the cage and how will you assess him as an opponent?
Carlos Condit: As far as an opponent, Kampmann’s very, very tough. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s done very well in the UFC. He has very well-rounded abilities. So, I’ve had really good sparing partners as far as my standup training partners and I’ve been working quite a bit on my jujitsu as well.
(Steve Favort): Have you focused more on standup this time around than you would traditionally or has it been pretty much the same?
Carlos Condit: Pretty much equal. He’s well-rounded. If I focused more on one than the other then I think that would be a mistake.
(Steve Favort): Thanks Carlos. Good luck.
Operator: There are no further questions.
(Rachel): Excuse me. This is (Rachel) with the UFC and why don’t we have Carlos and Martin tell us a little bit about being headliners and what it means to them headlining this first event in Tennessee?
Why don’t you start, Martin.
Martin Kampmann: All right. Well, it’s an honor to be in the event. I’m excited about it but once I get in there with Carlos and he starts trying to punch me in the head I’m going to do the same with him and it doesn’t matter if it’s the headline or not. Then it’s just a fight. So, of course there’s more tension about the fight before and after but once we get in there it’s just a fight like everything else.
Carlos Condit: Like Martin said, I’ve very honored to be headlining the fight. I think that UFC gave me a very tough test for my debut and I think it’s going to be a hell of a fight.
(Rachel): Are there any further questions?
Operator: We have a question on the phone from the line of (Mike Geapeta).
(Mike Geapeta): I think I’d follow-up since no one else is chiming in here but so, Carlos can you talk about – I’m pretty sure you’ve lived in New Mexico for most of your life. Was it a difficult decision to decide to uproot yourself and move to Arizona?
Carlos Condit: Yeah, it was. Albuquerque is home, but like you’ve said, I’ve spent most of my life there and I just felt like I needed a change. And I think that I definitely made the right decision as far as my career as far as leaving my former camp. And I’ve been getting out to see new things, getting new training partners but It’s always difficult to move away from everything you know.
(Mike Geapeta): I have no idea if you have a girlfriend of if you’re married or anything was there any kind of complications to it in that way?
Carlos Condit: Well, actually yeah I have a fiancé and she moved out here with me and she’s settling in as am I.
(Mike Geapeta): Was it tricky as far as convincing her or was she on board from the beginning?
Carlos Condit: We’ve been looking to maybe get out of Albuquerque for a little while. So, as far as the logistics, getting everything set up, that was a little difficult. She was ready to get out of there too.
(Mike Geapeta): And I’m kind of going on the same theme with Martin. I know obviously you’re not originally from the US and you’ve been living in Las Vegas for a while. What was it like for you when you made the decision to move to the US? Was it a difficult one for you to make because obviously it’s a lot different than just being a couple of states away like Carlos is.
Martin Kampmann: Yeah. Of course I got the whole issue with the Visa and permit to be here and stuff but luckily the UFC’s been taking care of that and I got a work Visa so I’m allowed to stay in the country. And I came out here to Vegas first on vacation but I enjoy it here and in order to be in the UFC you’ve got to train with the best people and that’s why I’m here.
It’s, of course, moving to a different country it’s different. I still go back once in a while. I have my family back home but I like being here.
(Mike Geapeta): How many people did you know in the area when you moved here? Did you know many – I know (Mike Powell) is the original reason you came over here. He’s the person that kind of invited you but how many other people did you know?
Martin Kampmann: Actually I only knew (Mike) and I didn’t know him that well to begin with. Of course, I knew him from Denmark but he was really – he was nice and he had a place for me to stay when I came over here and we became real good friends after that too.
And now I’ve got a lot of other friends here too after that.
(Mike Geapeta): All right. Thanks guys. Good luck to you.
Martin Kampmann: Thanks.
Operator: Your next question comes from the line of (Josh Gross).
(Josh Gross): Hey, (Josh Gross) with Sports Illustrated. Thank you for taking the time. Carlos, if you could just talk a little bit – this is going to be the first fight, I think, that you don’t have (Tom Von) in the corner and making the transition to a new corner and having people in there with you is that – how do you think that’s going to work out? And what are some of the differences from the way you’ve been trained up until you went to Arizona Combat Sports from what you’re learning now?
Carlos Condit: Well, this will be my first fight with my new trainers. I’m training under (Trevor) and (Todd Lollynod) of (AZ Combat) and I’ve very confident in the way they’ve prepared me and I think that I’m going to do fine with them in my corner.
As far as differences in the training I’ve been – they’re very, very technical. My former school was technical but I think (Trevor)’s a little bit more technical as far as the standup. I got a lot of my well-rounded abilities from my former camp and my dynamic style from training over there but I’ve been able to tighten up a lot of things as far as my basics here at (AZ Combat).
(Josh Gross): The decision to leave (Tom) and go off was that one of the harder ones that you contemplated moving to Arizona? Because, it’s not as simple as picking up and moving to another state. This is someone that you’ve worked with and you’ve had a lot of success with. Was that a very difficult decision for you?
Carlos Condit: Oh, yeah. Without a doubt. It’s probably one of the hardest decisions that I’ve made but I really had to kind of take a step back and look at where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with my career. And I felt like I wasn’t improving any more training there and I really needed guys who were on my level to train with. So that was the bottom line for me.
(Josh Gross): Can you talk a little bit about Martin’s style? It seems like both of you are very similar in that you’re very well-rounded and don’t have a lot of deficiencies in any area and you keep a pretty high pace. Can you just talk about his style and what kind of fight do you expect?
Carlos Condit: Martin comes straight forward and he likes to get in there and throw down. Which is very similar to my style. Like you said, we have similar skillsets. He’s got great standup and good jujitsu and those are – I’m pretty solid in those areas as well. So, I’m expecting fireworks. I’m expecting a very, very tough fight and I think we’re gonna give the crowd a very, very entertaining show.
(Josh Gross): Martin can you talk a little bit about some of the difficulties that you’ll face. And Carlos it seems that his length might be a problem – it’s generally something that he has over most components. How do you deal with that?
Martin Kampmann: Yeah. Like Carlos said, I think he’s well-rounded too and he’s a long lanky guy. So I’ve got to get in on him to get him. And he’s got real good tips, good (submissions) from the bottom but I’ve got tall guys to spar with too, you know. I’ve just got to move my head and get in on him.
Martin Kampmann: (Unintelligible) too.
(Joss Gross): Having fought at middle weight and fought some larger guys, do you think that’s a benefit for you as you come down in weight? And now Carlos is not considered a large welterweight simply because he’s a little lanky but he’s a big guy. Do you think having experience in those types of situations will help you in this fight?
Martin Kampmann: I don’t know, Carlos is a big guy too and obviously he’s (unintelligible) I thought is a little bit more thick but I think Carlos is used to sparring a lot of strong guys too and I think we’re going to match up well.
(Joss Gross): Okay. Thank you for the time.
Operator: You have a question from the line of (Jeffrey Harris).
(Jeffrey Harris): Thank you (Jeffrey Harris), 411mania. I recently spoke with another UFC welterweight contender Josh Koscheck and he told me that he doesn’t watch tape of his opponents and he generally leaves that to his trainers and his coaches.
So, for both fighters, do you ever watch tape of your opponents or do you leave that to your cornerman and you’re trainers to tell you how to – to watch the film and tell you how to go against your opponent?
Carlos Condit: Well, I watch some. I try not to get to focused on what they do. But I think it’s good to see if you can find any openings. So, I’ve watched some video.
Martin Kampmann: Me too. I watch some videos too. It’s good to see – you can see if there some stuff that your opponents particularly good at and then you’ve got to be extra careful about that of course and just watch out for that and you can maybe train a little bit specific for that. And, yeah. That’s pretty much it. But not over studying.
(Jeffrey Harris): Okay. Also another question for both Mr. Condit and Mr. Kampmann. Do you think – what is like the single hardest part of the training for you? If you can name like a single thing off the top of your head?
Martin Kampmann: The single what?
(Jeffrey Harris): The hardest part of training for a fight?
Martin Kampmann: Audio. Audio training sucks.
Carlos Condit: For me it is the length of the camp. Staying focused. This is – I’ve been training for months for this fight and you just staying mentally focused and staying – keeping my head in the game. For me it’s more the mental part.
(Jeffrey Harris): Thank you.
Operator: You have a question from the line of (John Morgan).
(John Morgan): Yes, this is (John Morgan) with MMAjunkie.com. Let’s start out with Carlos please. This is your first fight after what most people consider a fight of the year candidate last year but it’s been an eight month layoff since then. I’m curious how you see that? Whether it’s a positive or a negative in that you lost some of that momentum from the fight or if it’s a positive in that you had a chance to recover from such a war.
Carlos Condit: Well, I would have liked to stayed a little bit more busy but I feel like I’ve definitely had a chance to improve some aspects of my game that I needed to. Specifically my strength conditioning but I think that – I don’t think too long of a layoff is necessarily a good thing but I definitely think that I’ve improved.
(John Morgan): Absolutely. And to follow-up on that can you talk about the transition of being a top dog in the WC and now come into the UFC and obviously the welterweight division is so stacked in the UFC. If you could talk about the mental aspect of that, from going from the top to one of many contenders. And also the difference in physically preparing for a five round ballet versus a three round ballet?
Carlos Condit: Well, now I feel a little bit less pressure honestly. I fee like I’m in a mist of a lot of other guys that are trying to make a name for themselves and for me that’s motivation to really climb. I’m not the guy with the target on my back anymore. I’m the guy who’s just trying to make a name for himself again.
And I really haven’t changed much as far as my preparation between a three round fight and a five round fight. Just now when I’m fighting three rounds I’m training pretty much the same but looking to push the pace through the three rounds.
(John Morgan): Thank you Carlos. And for Martin, please, obviously this is your second fight at 170 pounds but this is a big step up in class from your last opponent. Were you surprised that the UFC handed you a guy that many people consider top 10 in weight class?
Martin Kampmann: Well you know I had some other offers before that fight. I had an offer in March too but that was a little to close to my other fight. I had my mom come up and visit me so it didn’t really fit in well I said I want to fight in April and they offered me Carlos and I thought that was a great match up. I think we match up real well against each other and I think it should be a fast-paced explosive fight.
(John Morgan): Absolutely. And just a quick follow-up again. Was there any hesitation on your part in accepting that ballet just because it is your second fight at this weight?
Martin Kampmann: No. It was a good opportunity. Of course before I accept the fight I say I want to talk it through with my training partners and with my coaches and they all thought it was a good fight too. So, I’m game.
(John Morgan): Great. Thank you gentlemen. I appreciate the time.
Operator: Your next question comes from the line of (Jack Bratcher).
(Jack Bratcher): Hi, this is (Jack Bratcher) with promma.info. My first question is for Carlos.
Carlos, if you defeat Kampmann how far do you think you are away from a title shot?
Carlos Condit: I think that if I put together maybe three or four impressive wins that I can get an extra (tender) spot but I’m not looking past this fight by any means. That would be a mistake.
(Jack Bratcher): Thank you. And Martin, obviously you’ve been with the UFC for a while now. How determined are you to keep Carlos from coming into your house at the UFC and defeating you in his first fight and getting some momentum there. How determined are you? Have you thought about that at all?
Martin Kampmann: I’m just determined to win now matter what. It doesn’t matter whether he’s coming in from the UFC or WC or where – if it’s another guy it doesn’t matter. I’m determined to win whoever I fight.
(Jack Bratcher): Right. Thank you guys.
Operator: You have a follow-up question from the line of (Steve Favort).
(Steve Favort): Martin, can you talk a little bit about how it’s a different training at Extreme (Kator) versus other camps that you’ve trained at in the past?
Martin Kampmann: Extreme (Kator)’s really the only camp I’ve trained at here in the west. I used to train in Denmark and the main difference between that is that in Denmark I have some good training partners but all the guys that’s not full-time fighters. They’ll be guys with jobs and kids and lots of other stuff to look out for so it was also sometimes a hassle to set up a training camp.
Now when you have a gym that’s full of other full-time professional fighters there’s always going to be somebody to work with when you come down to the gym and that was a problem training at home. Sometimes guys would have to work or whatever. But – yeah. Back then I trained there I had jobs and school on the side too. Now I’m able to do what I love full-time and I’ve very happy about that.
(Steve Favort): I know you mentioned earlier that you didn’t have too much difficulty in cutting weight to 170. Did you have to make any specific changes to your training whether it was more cardio, which you said you didn’t care for, or some other change to your training to ensure that you were able to cut that weight?
Martin Kampmann: Actually, not really. The only difference I’ve made is when I fought 85 I was drinking weight gainers everyday trying to keep my weight up but I quit those and now I just drink protein shakes instead and that’s pretty much the only difference. I still eight whatever I want to eat but now closing in on the fight I just try to keep it healthy and eat healthy. But, yeah, the weights actually really low right now and after this fight I’m gonna try to pack on some more muscle because I think it can be much heavier.
(Steve Favort): Excellent. Thank you sir.
Operator: There are no further questions on the phone line.
If they have a question they can press star 1.
And there are no questions in queue.
Salil Gulati: All right, well, thanks Martin and Carlos for taking part today. I think that we can bring in Dan and Mike Bisping. Again, Carlos and Martin will be fighting on Wednesday night headlining Ultimate Fight Night in Nashville Tennessee at eight o’clock on Spike.
Operator are Dan and Michael still waiting?
Operator: Let me see here.
Operator: Okay. Michael’s here.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, Dan’s here.
Salil Gulati: Cool. All right. Well, we’ve got the coaches from the new season of the Ultimate Fighter, US versus UK. Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. So, I’ll turn it back over to (Dawn) if you have questions for any of these guys (unintelligible) one.
Operator: Okay, if you have a question for the speakers now please press star 1 on your telephone keypad.
You have a question from the line of (Jeffrey Harris).
(Jeffrey Harris): Hi gentlemen. Thank you so much for coming out today. This is (Jeffrey Harris) 411mania.com. My first question is for Mr. Henderson. I know you’re a family man so I know you had that tough fight with (Rich Franklin) in Ireland so you had to go out for the fight in Ireland and then – how are you balancing being, doing the family thing and then also going to be a coach on the Ultimate Fighter for, I think, the first time ever. I’m very excited about that by the way.
Dan Henderson: Well, my wife does a great job putting up with my travel schedule and my kids, the one’s I hear from more than anything. But it’s just tough being away from the kids and there are a lot of things I’d like to be a part of. So, it’s tough but it’s not going to be forever and right now that’s just the way it is and we’re all okay with it.
(Jeffrey Harris): For Mr. Bisping how excited are you that you’re going to be a part of the UFC 100 event and you’re going to be facing Dan Henderson? I mean, this is about three years off you’re Ultimate Fighter win. Do you feel that you’ve come very far? Just wondering how you’re feeling at the moment.
Mike Bisping: I’ve very excited to fight in the UFC 100. I think it’s quite an honor to be on that card. In terms of how far (unintelligible) yeah, I’ve come a long way since then and that’s kind of all behind me now. I’ve kind of come full circle because obviously I’m on the new season.
But, yeah, that fight on UFC 100 is a great honor, like I said. (unintelligible) I look forward to fighting Dan. He’s a fantastic fighter and legend in this sport. So, I’m looking forward to the challenge.
(Jeffrey Harris): Also for Mr. Henderson and Mr. Bisping, how excited are you guys about the new action figures that are coming out? Hopefully you guys are going to get some nice action figure play and also some new video game play as well.
Michael Bisping: Yeah, I mean yeah it’s fantastic. I never thought I’d have an action figure of myself. Never in my wildest dreams or in a video game. My 7-year-old son, I’m sure, he’ll get a kick out of it and his friends at school. I mean, yeah, it’s nice. It strokes the ego a little bit but yeah, it’s very flattering.
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I’m excited about all that. My kids are probably more excited than anything. So, I’m not going to sit there and play with my own action figure. I’m kind of – they will.
(Jeffrey Harris): Also again for Mr. Henderson. This was your first experience being a coach on the Ultimate Fighter. We did see you make an appearance last season. Can you tell us how you like coaching this season?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I thought it was a very good experience. I enjoyed it and it was tough being gone that much and was pretty time consuming to do but it was a great experience and I had a great time and felt like I definitely helped some of the guys to become better fighters.
So, that’s always a good thing to feel.
(Jeffrey Harris): Thank you.
Operator: Your next question comes from the…
Michael Bisping: I do have kids.
Operator: Your next questions comes from the line of (Todd Martin).
(Todd Martin): Good afternoon guys. Question for both of you. In terms of the format of the show, the US versus the UK theme. In previous years we’ve had, we’ve seen that – I mean, there were teams that competed with each other but that didn’t necessarily mean that everyone was on the same side. Michael, probably your biggest (title) on the show was a guy on your own team (Scott Hamil).
With the US versus UK teams do you guys find that those fighters were more polarized this time around? That they were in sort of different camps or was everyone just sort of mixed together like in previous fights?
Michael Bisping: Well, I can only speak for what I’ve done with my team, and the, excuse me – they bonded very strongly and works fantastically as a team. I think the fight that was controversy (unintelligible). I mean ultimately (unintelligible). We definitely worked as a team and helped each other out (unintelligible). Obviously not everyone (unintelligible). The guys that actually lost the fight they were actually the team as well.
(Unintelligible) actually give an actual sense of pride and help them bond a little.
(Todd Martin): And, Dan, what was your take on that?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I think definitely having the country aspect to it helped the teams come together a little bit. And I’m sure you guys will all see that once to starts to air that they definitely come together and feel a little bit more pride, I guess, on how they do. They’re not just there for just themselves. They’re helping each other out quite a bit.
(Todd Martin): And also, second question for both you guys. The perception going in for a lot of people is that the US, UK fighters still haven’t quite caught up with the US fighters. Based on your interactions on the show, how did you feel that it came out in general? Did the UK fighters make a better showing than you expected or what did you think about that versus your expectations going in?
Dan Henderson: For me I think I was surprised at how tough they were and I can tell you this that the season’s very competitive. So, it’s going to be a good season for a lot of good fights.
(Todd Martin): And, Michael, what are your thoughts on that?
Michael Bisping: Yeah, you know, I mean, I suppose some people may have the perception that the UK isn’t competitive. I’m think I’m probably not (unintelligible) with the UFC that we’ve got a bunch of great fighters who are coming up in the UFC that are now doing well and there’s a (unintelligible) talent in the UK.
And, I think this show’s a testament to that. As Dan said it was competitive and I feel we did ourselves proud.
(Todd Martin): All right and best of luck to both of you.
Michael Bisping: Thank you very much.
Operator: We have a question from the line of (Josh Gross).
(Josh Gross): Hey guys. Thank you again for taking the time. Dan, you’ve had the occasion of representing the US many times throughout your athletic career and I’m curious, the US versus the UK concept, where this stacks up versus other times that you represented the US. Primarily, I guess, in wrestling. But is it all similar?
Dan Henderson: I guess in some aspects but I wasn’t the one competing this time. I guess in a way I was competing as a coach but for the most part it was these guys. And I think that it helped – my experiences a little bit helped with all that but all in all it’s a different experience when you’re not competing. But I definitely enjoyed it and would do it again. It was a fun time and I definitely enjoyed it.
(Josh Gross): Over the course of your wrestling period have you had a chance to coach internationally at all and, if yes, was this at all similar?
Dan Henderson: No. I mean, we’re helping each other coach a little bit here and there in different tournaments but for the most part when I competed in the Olympics and world championships it was – we all had coaches. So, no I didn’t really do much international coaching. So…
(Josh Gross): Do you find during the Ultimate Fighter that there’s a lot of – clearly there’s a lot of learning going on but even professions like you that have that kind of experience learn things along the way. Did you come to find new things or different approaches as you were working throughout the season?
Dan Henderson: Absolutely. The more that you coach the better you get technically yourself. Even if it’s your own technique that you’re showing. You’re learning how it works a little bit better before you do it. And I learned a good amount of things from the other guys as well. So, I’m always open to learn. It doesn’t matter who it’s from.
(Josh Gross): Michael, the chance to fight Dan, a victory over him would clearly put you in the top 10 middle weight division. That opportunity to jump up and sort of seize that spot, and perhaps have the opportunity down the road to fight for a title. If it sits in front of you what do you think about that chance and how excited are you to get the opportunity?
Michael Bisping: Well, firstly, I wouldn’t consider myself to be top 10 and I think it’s (unintelligible). If you don’t already it (unintelligible), as you said. It’s a fight. I’ve got a lot of respect for another fighter so I’m really looking forward to it.
As you said, keep your fingers crossed I get passed down and then Mr. Henderson were in line as well. So, I feel I’m ready for these level of fights now. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve worked my way up and I’m ready for the challenge.
(Josh Gross): Dan has been one of those fighters that has had a lot of success. Fought pretty much everybody in the sport and now the chance to fight him. He’s he someone that you watched as you’ve progressed in your career and what have you thought about the way that he fights and the successes that he’s had?
Michael Bisping: Dan, he’s a great wrestler and he’s very aggressive and that’s a (unintelligible) factor, so it will make for an exciting fight. Obviously I’ve followed his career in Japan. I used to watch all the (unintelligible) fights. So, as you mentioned, he’s fought a lot of guys around the world. So, as I said, I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s going to be fun.
(Josh Gross): Okay. Thank you guys.
Michael Bisping: Thank you.
Operator: You have a question from the line of (Jeffrey Harris).
(Jeffrey Harris): Thank you. (Jeffrey Harris) 411mania. Mr. Henderson, you’ve had a lot of success in your career fighting at both the middle weight level and heavy weight level. You won your last fight light heavyweight against (Rich Franklin). You beat Rousimar Palhares at middle weight.
At this point in your career are you feeling you might make another run at light heavyweight and maybe another light heavyweight title shot, or are you focused at staying at middleweight now and making another run at the middleweight title?
Dan Henderson: I don’t know. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m comfortable at both weights. Obviously not cutting weight and fighting light heavyweights a little bit funner to not – I guess, leading up to the fight a few days before I don’t have to worry about my weight at all.
So, in that regard light heavyweights a little bit funner. And I don’t feel weak by any means or outmatched at light heavyweight and I don’t feel too slow and sluggish with the middle weight. So, I feel good at either weight class and I definitely would like to get back in there for a title fight in either weight class, or both. Who knows.
But right now I’ve got a tough fight in front of me and that’s pretty much what I like to do is just focus on who I’m fighting next and not worry about the other things. They kind of take care of themselves as long as I do my job in the cage. So…
(Jeffrey Harris): For Mr. Bisping, did the aftermath of your win over Chris Lebon, did that anger you or affect you in any way when he tested positive and did you think that had a major affect in the fight at all or did it surprise you?
Michael Bisping: Yeah, obviously I was shocked when he tested positive for steroids. To be honest, I didn’t really have any emotion about it. I wasn’t particularly angry or whatever. He made a bad decision and he has to pay the price. He got suspended and he (ruined) his reputation.
I won the fight so it didn’t really change anything for me. I suppose if I had lost the fight then I would have probably had something more to say about the matter but I won the fight. I felt I won the fight convincingly. He did feel very, very strong in the clinch. I just assumed he was a strong guy. He was definitely in the best shape that we’ve seen him in. So, I think maybe that contributed to that. Like I said, I won the fight so I wasn’t particularly bothered.
(Jeffrey Harris): Mr. Henderson, what do you think of Michael Bisping as a fighter and are you doing anything specifically to prepare for him for July?
Dan Henderson: Yeah, I think, Michael is just becoming a really well-rounded fighter and (unintelligible) speed and scrambles well on the ground. He’s going to be a tough fight and I’m preparing to fight a really tough opponent.
I’m not doing anything specific quite yet. Just kind of getting in general conditioning shape right now. I took a little time off and have been training a lot while we’re filming. So, right now I’m just kind of getting my body back in shape.
(Jeffrey Harris): And, I’m sorry, one more question for Mr. Bisping. Do you have any really crazy story you can tell us with your friend and training partner Quinton “Rampage” Jackson?
Michael Bisping: What do you want to know? What kind of crazy story? I’m sure there’s many. I’m sure Dan’s got some as well. Dan’s probably got a bunch. But, (unintelligible) “Rampage”.
(Jeffrey Harris): Thank you.
Michael Bisping: Thank you.
Operator: You’ve got a question from the line of (Mike Geapeta).
(Mike Geapeta): Dan, sorry for another question but how important is it for you to become a champion again? I guess it’s sort of like the difference between another crack at Anderson (unintelligible) which I know you weren’t. or instead of falling back into middleweight line. So, how important is winning this fight for in becoming the number 1 contender?
Dan Henderson: I think this fight was just as important as any of the fights I fight at this stage of my career. I always want to progress and be the top guy as my goal and any loss puts me further away from that goal.
So, I don’t consider this one any less or more important than any of my other fights and it’s just a different opponent. They can all be real tough. Like I’m said, I’m gonna be preparing for a very tough component for this fight and Michael’s going to be a tough component. I’m looking forward to it for sure.
(Mike Geapeta): Is being the champion again still the biggest and only motivation for you?
Dan Henderson: I wouldn’t say it’s the only motivation. It’s a big goal of mine to be on top. I don’t think any fighter out there that’s fighting right now doesn’t have the goals to be the top guy in the sport. So…Of course it’s a goal of mine.
(Mike Geapeta): And sir, both of you guys if you could just answer, what was it like working with each other – well, obviously you weren’t working together but you were in the close proximity during the course of the taping. Did you guys get along well? Was there any tension? How was that?
Dan Henderson: You might have to watch and see. Well, we got along all right. It wasn’t (Ken) and (Tino), put it that way.
Michael Bisping: Yeah. It wasn’t like that. I mean, yeah, we’re going to fight in July but we’re professionals aren’t we? It’s not bearish. It’s not like I’ve put a vendetta against the guy and (unintelligible). So, like I said. We’re professionals. This is what we do for a living. We acted accordingly.
(Mike Geapeta): Thank you guys.
Michael Bisping: Thank you.
Operator: There’s a question from (Jeffrey Harris).
(Jeffrey Harris): Yes, for Mr. Bisping. You’ve been at middleweight for a little while now. You’ve had quite a bit of success there. How generally, do you feel even better at middleweight than at light heavyweight and do you want to stay at this weight class for the remainder of your career?
Michael Bisping: I mean, I had a good career. I only ever lost one fight and that was a split decision to (unintelligible). So, I was definitely competitive. I do feel better as a middleweight. I think it’s more my natural weight class and I feel faster and just my body type is more suited to be middleweight to be honest.
I put goals at what I want to achieve as a middleweight. I want to – like Dan said before, every fighter wants to be in the top 5 in their weight class and one day I won’t have to (unintelligible) because that’s what I’m working towards. That’s my vision.
That said, (unintelligible) middleweight. I would like to go and fight heavyweight again and this time do it properly. I’ve (learned) things about my body and about nutrition and diet and all kinds of things. I’ve gained experience in the sport and it’s almost (unintelligible) thinking a lot differently now.
So, yeah. I mean right now I’m focused on middleweight but there’s no reason – I certainly wouldn’t rule out fighting light heavyweight again in the future, further down the line.
(Jeffrey Harris): Okay. Second question, what was the experience like going from a contestant to a coach on the Ultimate Fighter? Was it a rough transition at first or do you think you took to it rather well?
Michael Bisping: I think I took to it pretty well. I mean, I’ve been there before obviously so it was quite familiar surrounding. I knew how things were going to work. Obviously I was a contestant so, I pretty much knew the gist of how things were going to run. It was definitely surreal though. I walked into that gym in January of 2006 like all new to the UFC and kind of in aw of stuff. So, to walk into the gym and see a big picture of myself on the wall that was certainly – it felt nice. I’ve come so far in my career.
Yeah, like I said, it was kind of surreal but I say quite often it was all about the business.
(Jeffrey Harris): Thank you sir.
Operator: There are no further phone questions.
If there is a question you can press star 1 at this time.
You have a question from the line of (Mike Geapeta).
(Mike Geapeta): Just wanted to ask Dan. You were talking about before about being away form home for such an extended period of time. Obviously you had the fight camp leading up to the Franklin fight then you started going into Ultimate Fighter taping. How much time were you away from home altogether with those two things going on?
Dan Henderson: My training camp was in my gym and I stayed at my house for that so I wasn’t away for that but I did go to Dublin a little bit early. I was gone probably 10 or 12 days for Dublin and got back for one night and went to Vegas and I was in Vegas for five weeks. So it was – that’s about the timeframe right there. It was tough.
(Rachel): Are there any further questions from this line?
Operator: There are no further questions. Thank you.
Salil Gulati: All right everyone. Thanks for coming. Again, the Ultimate Fighter US versus UK airs Wednesday night at 10 pm on Spike and thanks again to Michael and Dan for joining us today.
Dan Henderson: No problem. Thanks guys.
Salil Gulati: Okay. Take it easy.
Michael Bisping: Hey Salil? Salil? Salil? Salil?
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