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« | Home | »

Enthusiastic, mildly interested, neutral, not interested: Rate your motivation for #UFC 132

By Zach Arnold | July 1, 2011

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Video interview by Ariel Helwani for MMAFighting.com

ARIEL HELWANI: “Is this sort of the culmination of your career in a sense? Because you’ve always wanted to fight in the UFC. At one time, you were thinking about even running your own promotion. You’ve always felt like you needed that attention or deserved that attention. Now you’re here in the main event, the first ever Bantamweight title fight, the first Bantamweight fight in the main event. All that stuff. Does this feel like this is the culmination of your career?”

URIJAH FABER: “I feel like this, uh, a high point in my career for sure and, like I said, I look forwarded to capitalizing on that and I think that, you know, it’s hard to take back all the high points and be like, oh, this is a new high point, because I’ve had a lot. Being at the top of my division for years now, it’s been 8 years since I’ve started fighting and I’ve been in over 20 title fights, so I didn’t not prepare for those, I took those just as serious. But the way this sport’s evolving and where it’s at now and the understanding and the notoriety and what’s at stake, yeah, this is the biggest.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “How tired are you of thinking and talking about Dominick Cruz?”

URIJAH FABER: “Pretty tired of it, yeah.

“Oh man, I’ve just been having fun with this process. You can tell that by what I’m doing out there. Life isn’t about being bitter, to me, it’s about having fun and it’s going to be fun to have that belt around my waist.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Do you think he’s bitter?”

URIJAH FABER: “Yes.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Is that the root of all this, in your opinion?”

URIJAH FABER: “Um, I’m not really sure, I haven’t quite figured the guy out completely yet but he’s got an interesting combination of a bunch of different stuff that fuels him and, um, being bitter is a little bit of it, yeah.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Do you think when the fight is over, for a lack of a better word, you will squash it?”

URIJAH FABER: “I don’t see why not, but, you know, we’ll see how he reacts to losing, he didn’t do very well the very first time so hopefully he takes it like a man this time.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “How do you expect the fight to play out?”

URIJAH FABER: “I think it’s going to be real competitive and I think I’m going to win and I’m not exactly sure but, uh… I know I’m going to be, you know, posing a threat at all levels.”

Video interview by Ariel Helwani for MMAFighting.com

ARIEL HELWANI: “Finally, you get a chance to make your UFC debut. How does it feel, the days leading up to this, does it feel any different from your WEC days?”

DOMINICK CRUZ: “No, actually, it’s very similar. Feels exactly the same. The difference is the media is a lot more, there’s a lot more to take of, but I mean I accept the challenge, it’s awesome. It means that I’m doing my job and it’s just a cool experience and really I feel exactly the same like I’m fighting a main event in the WEC, just more media.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “How’s the hand?”

DOMINICK CRUZ: “Hand feels great. It’s actually stronger than it was before. I’ve been fighting with an injured, busted up hand for two fights now and now I don’t have to do that, so it leaves a good feeling in my gut and it’s exciting.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “At this point, we don’t have to rehash why you don’t like Urijah Faber. … But are you almost tired of talking about this guy? You’ve had to talk about him for so long, even prior to some of your other fights in WEC, like the (Scott) Jorgensen fight.”

DOMINICK CRUZ: “I think that’s exactly what it is. I’m tired of hearing about it, I’m tired of talking about it, I’m ready to settle it, get in there and fight, make the talking stop and I can start hearing about me being champion instead of my loss to Urijah Faber.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “When you lost to Faber, he was in the midst of his dominant run in WEC. Do you feel as though he’s the same fighter today as he was back then?”

DOMINICK CRUZ: “I feel he is the same for the most part but the difference is, you know, he has improved in a lot of different areas but for the most part he’s the same fighter being he hasn’t evolved that much. His hands, he’s gotten more comfortable with his hands but he’s still not a striker. He’s still a grappler at heart and a grappler until the end and that’s where he’s the most comfortable. In essence, it’s the same fight I had back then but there’s a lot of, there’s some differences in weight class, speed maybe, things of that sort. Little things here and there but, for the most part, it’s the same style match I guess is the best way to put it.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Do you think that there’s a chance, when you get in the cage with him, you see him there and all the animosity that’s been building up inside of you will come out and you might get too emotional, that you might let it get the best of you?”

DOMINICK CRUZ: “No, I mean, when I’m in there, before they bring us to the middle, that’s probably going to be the only time that I feel any nerves or bubbling feelings in my stomach or anything like that. Once they blow the whistle or ring the bell and we go, it’s all slow motion and I’m just fighting just like I do in practice every day. It’s time to fun.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Do you need to finish this fight? Do you need to actually finish Faber in order to stop having to answer those questions about the fact that you don’t try to finish fights?”

DOMINICK CRUZ: “Um, no, I don’t need to finish him in order to prove that. I mean, who’s finished Joseph Benavidez, who’s beaten Joseph Benavidez, who’s finished Brian Bowles, who’s beaten Brian Bowles? You know, who’s done that? Nobody. So, these are the guys that I’m fighting. Scott Jorgensen was going on a rampage, who’s finished him? It just doesn’t happen. So, the guys that I’m fighting are bar none best in the world, top of the weight class. So, I am going out there and I am trying to finish from beginning to end, I know that and when I go out there and lead a boring back and look like I’m laying back and just trying to come out with a win and not trying to kill the guy, then I’ll be mad at myself. Until that happens, I’m very happy with my performances and I can always strive for a finish and that’s what I always do.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 40 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

40 Responses to “Enthusiastic, mildly interested, neutral, not interested: Rate your motivation for #UFC 132”

  1. If this fight happened last year, it would have been on Versus and watched by less than a million people. Now, with no real buildup, its on PPV for $55. Meanwhile, boxing has the biggest heavyweight title fight in 8 years happening on HBO. I know which one I care about more.

    • The Gaijin says:

      I gotta agree with Alan. I’ll probably be enjoying a few cold ones and watching one of the most anticipated and important HW boxing bouts in a decade.

      I will be checking results/highlights for the Wandy/Leben and Faber/Cruz fights though.

      • The Gaijin says:

        This crowd is electric…always a little odd to see James Thompson doing security detail for David Haye…he’s gonna have to Gong’n’Dash just to get him through the crowd.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      It’s a Light Heavyweight fight according to the online ads….

      It can’t be that big of a fight if they can get that simple part of the promotion right…

      • It’ll only be in front of 60,000 fans, millions of viewers in the UK (where it might be the biggest PPV fight ever there) and probably the biggest audience for a live fight that HBO will see this year. But yeah, clearly it isn’t a big fight because 45 knows better.

        • Jason Harris says:

          Wait, the guy from the boxing blog is more excited for the big boxing fight than the UFC card? Color me shocked!

        • I’ve never heard that one before! Maybe you should create a blog post about how the UFC won’t sell as many PPVs because the commercials aren’t good and not because people don’t give a damn about this fight.

          Its a fight card that should be on free TV to drum up interest in the main event participants and create some new fans and….and it’s not. When the free fights being given away are often as good or better than some of the sad sack stuff on the PPV (i.e. shotass Ortiz fighting a good fighter and the battle of the lightweight journeymen), it’s a non-buyer.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I was joking around… I’m interested in the boxing fight as well.

          I just found it funny that I have been seeig advertisements online for the fight and they are calling it a “Light Heavyweight Unification!” fight….

      • The Gaijin says:

        Really? I’ve missed those, that is pretty funny…apparently it doesn’t take much to get into marketing these days. LOL

    • timmy t says:

      I’ll be watching both but isn’t the Haye/Klitschko fight on in the afternoon? Where I’m sitting I think it will be 2:45…

    • Jason Harris says:

      The boxing fight looks like it might overlap the prelims but will probably before before the SpikeTV card even starts. I might throw it on since it’s a freebie and hope Klitschko doesn’t make it as boring as everyone says he is.

    • Chris says:

      All I know is that fight airs on HBO at 445pm on the east coast so I can watch that live in the afternoon and then watch 132 at night.

      And if I had to pick one I’d go UFC 132 all day, one boxing match, which is solid but its far from a great HW title fight, I’d take a BW title fight, Wandi/Leben, Condit/Stun Gun, Tito/Bader, Melvin, G Sot, Bowles, Njokuani, I’d take a full card over one fight anyday but I will be watching both.

  2. Fighting Onion says:

    Mildly interested and that’s only because I’m a huge MMA fan. On an excitement level, it’s a 3.5 out of 10.

  3. Kelvin Hunt says:

    Mildly interested….some cool matchups and storylines…and well..I’ll watch anything with Wandy fighting

  4. Jonathan says:

    Neutral tending towards not interested. I know it is dumb, but it is tough for me to realize and/or give credit to the 135ers as true UFC fighters. Maybe that is because I was bigger than them in fourth grade.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    One card to see Tito Ortiz retired from the UFC and Faber get a beatdown is worth the price of the PPV.

  6. Brad Wharton says:

    I’m first and foremost a fan of good fights, and there’s no reason for me to believe that the Faber/Cruz fight wont be just that. Wand/Leben should be a good ol’ fashioned shoot-out, same with Winner/Njokuani. Wiman/Siver and Bowles/Mizugaki should be fun too.

    Also, living in the UK doesn’t disadvantage me as a fight fan for a change. Haye/Klitschko will finish at around 11pm here, just as the first UFC prelims start. Should be a good night of fights.

  7. Tommy says:

    I predicted >350 k PPV for 132.Maybe its just the fight week aura but I am now mildly interested & leaning towards enthusiastic.

    For hardcores a handful of juicy storylines to chew on. Cruz-Faber beef, 1st BW title fight in UFC history, a Wandy fight, most likely Tito’s last match in the UFC, how will Bader bounce back from his 1st loss, Condit vs Kim, etc.

    On holiday weekend without a proven PPV draw will causual fans flock to 132? Probably not but UFC’s baseline should enjoy this event.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    The problem for Zuffa is that they are transitioning smaller fighters from free TV to PPV. And that will always take some time for the consumer to swallow that pill, no matter how good or bad the fights are. And they have never had to do it before because back in 2005 they gave the prospects away for free (TUF) and still made people pay to see the champions (coaches).

    2011 was always going to be a transitional year for the UFC due to their TV contract coming up and the addition of the new weight classes.

    It’s going to take 2 to 4 title fights in each of the smaller weight classes for the fans to start embracing it more. But that will happen in time and then people will view them no different then the rest of the weight classes.

    This is no different then UFC 35 with Penn/Pulver as the first ever Lightweight main event. It didn’t do great numbers for the time, but it got people talking about it. And when they revamped the division and had a few stars, a Lightweight title fight was doing around 500,000 buys as the main event. All it took was time for fans to embrace those weight classes and become more familiar with the athletes.

    Title fights like Aldo vs. Florian will help push things in the right direction….

    People forget that this is Cruz’s FIRST UFC fight….

    • So long as Aldo wins, yes, it moves it in the right direction. Otherwise, no one will continue to care for sometime.

      • fd says:

        Actually, Florian is pretty popular; if he wins I expect it’ll draw some interest to the division. Possibly even more than Aldo winning.

        • Florian is known to the fans, but his limitations at the championship level are known too. If he becomes the latest lightweight washout to find glory at 145 it does nothing really for the division except devalue everyone that’s been in it. Which, for what it’s worth, is a very real possibility. One I even expect.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I don’t think it matters who wins. As long as the fighters are the typical “WEC” level of excitement. I just think fans need to be become used to the size of the fighters and who they are, and things will be fine in a year or two.

          In a perfect world, Zuffa would have implemented a new weight class every 2 years and made the transition basically seemless. But it’s not a perfect world and it was all or nothing with the WEC going away.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I can see both sides of the coin here, but 45 you do have to admit that if fans see a guy like Florian that constantly failed/choked in the big fights go down and be a dominant player in the 145 division they’ll think it’s not really a division worth a damn or $55 ppv main event.

          I mean there’s lots of fighters that give “WEC level excitement” that probably don’t draw a single extra buy.

          If Aldo smokes him out then I think it will add to the division’s credibility. I mean we’ve seen that Joe Daddy and some others could not bottle the magic that earlier 155 washouts had, so I think there is a good talent pool there that’s not going to get totally wiped out by any ’55er cutting down.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I think it’s going to take a while for a lot of perceptions to be washed away from the lighter weight classes.

          I agree that if Florian wins, there will be some of the: “Lightweight washout wins Featherweight Title” sort of stuff.

          But that is just short term. The wave of Lightweights moving down for a 2nd chance will be over soon. And then whatever happens at Featherweight will be able to stand on it’s own eventually.

          But it will take time….

  9. ergface says:

    The boxing is on in the afternoon, so there is a chance it will whet my appetite for more fights and (after drinks) I may end up getting this one afterwards. Plus though Haye and Klitschko can have exciting fights neither has really been consistent on that count. There is a very real chance they put on an ugly stinker with Haye on the bicycle like the Valuev fight, while W.Klitschko attempts his usual jab jab grab routine. If that happens then I’ll really need the UFC to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.

  10. Jason Harris says:

    I am solidly interested in this card and very enthused for Silva-Leben.

    It’s a good spot we’re in as MMA fans that people are looking at a card this stacked and thinking it’s so-so.

    I remember a time when you got Arlovski and Buentello as headliners and you liked it! Whipper snappers.

    Should be a solid card. It seems like a card really has to work pretty hard for the internet fanbase to not complain about it these days. Nowadays we’re getting fights like Griffin/Gamburian on a Facebook prelim of a free show and people are griping that they won’t watch.

    • I’ll consider watching a decent fight for free on Facebook before watching a decent fight for $55 on PPV. Plus, I don’t remember anyone being like “Oh man, Arlovski fighting a nohoper on PPV! What a great main event!” It was more like “Oh, Arlovski against that guy? Yeah, I’m busy this weekend.”

    • The Gaijin says:

      With MMA consolidated under one roof for all intents and purposes, we should be getting ridiculously stacked shows each time out.

      Instead we’re getting inundated with PPVs, sometimes 2 in a month that are grossly watered down. For $55 a pop that’s unacceptable and people should be complaining…where’s all the Subos of the world that were telling us consolidation was the best thing because we would get only relevent fights and stacked cards? Just with everything else, now we get consolidation and one provider and we’re getting “more of less for more”.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        But due to the TV contracts, they still can\’t consolidate really…

        And is this card really that bad? It has SEVEN Top 10 fighters. Which means of the 7 weight classes being used by Zuffa and Bellator, that is 10% of the Top 10 talent.

        And Wanderlei Silva, with his win over Michael Bisping is Top 10, only he hasn’t fought in a long enough time period to be ranked still.

        And they are giving us 2 Top 10 guys for free on Facebook. 1 Top 10 guy on SpikeTV Prelim show. And then the rest on the PPV.

      • Jason Harris says:

        My point being that even a year or two ago any of the 3 main fights on this card probably would have headlined the card.

        A title fight between a champion and a popular contender, a fan friendly brawl between two guys who are huge fan favorites, a LHW contender fighting an aging superstar, two WWs who are a couple of fights from being contenders, and two exciting middle tier lightweights.

        It really feels like short of every single title being on the line on every card (135 and 145 free on Spike TV) that the internet is just going to whine. The same guys who were bitching and begging for the WEC guys to come over are now saying they aren’t headliners. Internet will complain.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Bullllsh*t. In what world would these two (of the three) fights ever be $55 PPV main events?

          1. A 0-4-1 fighter without a win in 4.5 years who fights an old and boring style vs. a guy coming off a loss where he got totally dominated.

          2. A fringe top 10 fighter (with a 2-3 UFC record) coming off a 1.5 year layoff vs. a fighter coming off a crushing KO loss.

          These would likely have been UFN main events a couple of years ago. Or maybe if we warped back into time and Tito and Wanderlei weren’t in the place they are now…but those fights would never be PPV main events. Not now and not 3 years ago.

  11. Ajax says:

    Enthusiastic because Cruz won me over in all these interviews. I want to see him put Faber away. I also want to see how Faber handles the loss post-fight.

  12. david m says:

    I will enjoy watching Klitschko savage Haye’s soul.

    On the other side, at first I wasn’t particularly interested in Faber v Cruz, but the countdown show was helpful. I still think Urijah getting his legs broken in half against Aldo kind of ruined his drawing power, but who knows.

    Kenny Florian has as much chance of beating Jose Aldo as I do. The difference in athleticism between them is night and day. Aldo is significantly better than Kenny at everything.

    Leben v Wanderlei should be an awesome, dramatic fight ending with someone, probably Leben, entirely unconscious. This could be fight of the year.

    Tito wouldn’t be a contender in EliteXC at this point.

  13. edub says:

    Great weekend for fight fans. Haye finally put up instead of faking another injury to get out of fighting a Klitschko. Wladimir finally facing someone with speed who can punch. Cruz trying to defend his BW belt for the third time. Faber trying to complete his comeback in a new division. Silva and Leben swinging til one hits the ground. Guillard and Siver trying to enforce their top ten status that they both share at the moment. Condit attempting to show that Dana made the wrong decision bringing in Diaz to fight GSP.

    Honestly, I don’t see where all the negativity is coming from. The UFC card is great from top to bottom, but we’re not supposed to like it because it won’t sell well? (Cris Carter voice) Cmon man!

  14. The Gaijin says:

    Wooooaaaah…guy gets a gig blogging for LowKick and he turns into a demanding diva overnight with foul language and all! 😉

    • edub says:

      Diva rules to keep edub at FO from now on:

      -All articles will begin with “I wonder what edub thinks about…”

      -Each time a post is made it will end with “…this probably isn’t as smart as edub’s opinion…”

      -All articles pretaining to Robbie Lawler, Nick Diaz, or BJ Penn will have a title along the lines of “Close personal friends of edub think ______…”

      🙂

      In all seriousness I apologize for the curse. It’s just hella annoying finishing out a though, hitting submit, and seeing nothing on the comments screen!

  15. Chuck says:

    I am mildly interested. I will see if I can order the ppv. I am definitely watching Klitchsko/Haye.

  16. jt says:

    It’s a monster snorer. This happens every 3rd UFC these days. Trying to do WAY too much.

  17. David m says:

    Haye did nothing for twelve rounds and got embarrassed. His constant flopping evoked memories of Bernard “black racist” Hopkins feigning getting punched in the balls in his loss to Calzaghe that was about four points closer on American scorecards than it was in reality.

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