On this week’s UFC TONIGHT, we have an exclusive interview with Ronda Rousey and preview the stacked UFC 157 Pay-Per-View card. Kenny Florian and Chael Sonnen offercandid thoughts on Dana White’s new, tougher stance on TRT in the UFC and more.
Quote of the Week: UFC TONIGHT Guest Ronda Rousey on if there’s another girl better than her: “No. I don’t think any girls do anything better than me, and that’s why I’m deservedly the champion.”
Rousey on if preparing for a judo match or MMA fight is mentally tougher: “Some judo tournaments are not that mentally pressing, but I’d say the Olympics are much harder than a UFC title fight. If you lose a title fight you can come back a few months later. It’s not like if you are training your whole life and in one second you could lose by not paying attention and never have that chance again. That’s real pressure. This is a really huge deal, but it’s not as irreparable as losing the Olympics.”
Rousey on if she’s planning on winning by arm bar in this fight: “I’m interested in winning as quickly and efficiently as possible. If that’s through striking and that’s the first opportunity, then I’m going to go there, but if I see the first opportunity on the ground then I’m going to go there. It’s not like I walk in planning an arm bar because I want to have a legacy.”
Rousey on Carmouche being the first openly gay fighter in the UFC: “I think it takes a lot of courage. In MMA, we have a reputation for being homophobic, where I really don’t think that’s so. If you ever come to the weigh-ins and see some of the things the guys wear, and the fans are going nuts. You know they’re not homophobic. The fans love it. It takes a lot of strength to do and she has my utmost respect for that.”
Rousey on if she saw Tito Ortiz and Cyborg’s press conference: “I didn’t watch the press conference, but I heard that Tito spoke eloquently and Cyborg was very fashionable.”
UFC TONIGHT’s Chael Sonnen on Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche: “Ronda Rousey reminds me of an old-school baseball player where she comes out to the mound and points to where she wants to put the ball and that’s what she does with the armbar. She doesn’t hide her strategy. She doesn’t lock cameras out of her training sessions. She says come and look at it, I’m going for the armbar, I’m going to get it, and seven straight times she has.”
UFC TONIGHT’s Kenny Florian on Carmouche not being intimidated by Rousey: “Liz Carmouche is not intimidated by this whole event at all. She is not intimidated by Ronda Rousey. She’s going out there to win. Really she has nothing to lose. That’s a dangerous girl.”
Rousey’s predictions for Rousey vs. Carmouche: “I’m going to win, but I don’t know how. I don’t have a game plan. We just have some ideas for the first exchanges.”
Sonnen’s predictions for Rousey vs. Carmouche: “I’d like to say to Liz, I’m impressed she’s even getting in there. She’s 7-2, she’s outstanding. Ronda needs to take this seriously, but in the end the title stays intact.”
Florian’s predictions for Rousey vs. Carmouche: “Rousey.”
Florian on if Henderson’s injury could be a problem in the fight versus Machida: “I think that Dan’s style may hurt him, especially as he’s coming off a knee injury and it can be really difficult considering mobility. If you want to beat Machida, you better be mobile. However, if you get caught by that right hand by Dan Henderson, I don’t care if you’re a heavyweight, you’re getting knocked out.”
Sonnen on Henderson’s mental strengths vs. Machida: “The one thing about the injuries and ‘ring rust’ is that really affects a guy mentally, more than physically. A guy like Dan Henderson doesn’t care that his knee hurts. He was getting ready to fight Jon Jones on one leg. It’s just not going to hold him back. I would like to make one relevant point: Dan Henderson is the underdog according to Vegas. He has never lost a fight when he is the underdog. He’s only stubbed his toe when he’s the favorite. This is a spot he likes to be in.”
Rousey’s predictions for Henderson vs. Machida: “Henderson, I think he’s going to throw Machida off.”
Sonnen’s predictions for Henderson vs. Machida: “Henderson, in a very awkward fight that I would never miss.”
Florian’s predictions for Henderson vs. Machida: “Machida.”
Sonnen on Faber vs. Menjivar: “Menjivar is like a fine wine. This guy gets better with time. He’s better today and beating guys more decisively and impressively than he did three and four years ago. And this is actually a rematch. Menjivar threw an illegal kick to a downed opponent and was disqualified. So these guys know each other, they’re prepared for each other, they’ve done this dance before.”
Florian on Faber: “What worries me about Urijah on the other hand is that he hasn’t improved like Menjivar has. Urijah is so athletically gifted. This guy has trained with such great guys. But I always expected Urijah to evolve a little bit more than what we’ve seen from him. Of course, he’s still one of the best in the world. But just based on his athleticism and what we’ve seen, I always expect to see a little bit more.”
Rousey’s predictions for Faber vs. Menjivar: Faber, he’s a sweetheart and I like him.
Sonnen and Florian both predict a Faber victory.
UFC TONIGHT Insider Ariel Helwani on Tyron Woodley’s next fight: “After knocking out Jay Hieron at UFC 156, Tyron Woodley said he had a feeling a spot would open up for him at UFC 158. Two spots opened up yesterday. Unfortunately he didn’t get in, but he signed a new four-fight deal with UFC late last night, and he told me he wants Jake Shields next in April or May. Jake is moving down to 170. I spoke to Jake’s manager, and he said they’re interested in the fight, but Jake really wants to fight Josh Koscheck. If Koscheck beats Robbie Lawler this weekend at UFC 157 he thinks that fight makes much more sense for Jake. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Helwani on Frankie Edgar’s next fight: “Frankie Edgar is hoping to get back in the mix after the loss to Jose Aldo. His manager told me he wants to fight either Cub Swanson after a big win in London, or Dennis Siver. Now, he wants to fight Cub in a five-round fight on FX or FUEL TV. If that can’t happen, he’d fight either one of them at UFC 160 on Memorial Day Weekend. That’s shaping up to be a very big card.”
Sonnen on UFC President Dana White’s new stance on TRT: “First off, I admire Dana on many levels. But for me, this is his crowning moment, both as a leader, but also with his integrity. You are never going to find a chief executive of any corporation, be it sport, business or otherwise that shines a light on his own organization and says, ‘We have a problem.’ Guys, we’re not talking about testosterone use, we’re talking about testosterone abuse. The testing has already started. I can tell you firsthand, I have already been tested since this announcement.”
Florian on news of a new fight for UFC 160: “This is just announced, Donald Cerrone will fight K.J. Noons on UFC 160 Saturday, May 25.”