LOS ANGELES, CA – On this week’s UFC TONIGHT, Chael Sonnen makes his official debut on the show, breaking down this weekend’s massive UFC 156: ALDO VS. EDGAR card with Kenny Florian. Plus, UFC President Dana White gives an exclusive interview. For the full interview including comments on the Eddie Alvarez situation and a possible New York stadium arena fight, visit www.youtube.com/fueltv later tonight.
Quote of the Week: UFC TONIGHT’s Chael Sonnen picks Frankie Edgar in an upset over Jose Aldo: “I think Edgar is too fast for him. I think he can out box him, out wrestle him, and – should he need to – out condition him. I’m taking an upset – I’m taking Frankie Edgar to become the world champion once again. I think they’re going to go 25 minutes and I think it’s going to be a fantastic thing to watch.”
UFC TONIGHT’s Kenny Florian on the title fight between Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar: “I’m very surprised that Frankie Edgar is such an underdog in this fight. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that Edgar is never an underdog. If you’re talking about a Rocky in MMA, Frankie Edgar fits that mold as good as anybody out there. Frankie Edgar has all the skills to go out there and beat Jose Aldo, especially because of his wrestling and his speed, but this is the first time we’re going to see him at 145.”
Sonnen on Aldo vs. Edgar: “The story here is that Frankie Edgar is battle tested. He’s beaten world champions like Sean Sherk. He beat a world champion of BJ Penn, they made him re-match BJ Penn and he beat BJ Penn again. A lot of people think Edgar should still be the champion.”
Florian picks Aldo over Edgar: “If this was a rematch, I’d say 1000 percent Frankie Edgar. He’s going down to 145 for the first time, he’s facing Jose Aldo for the first time and I think Aldo has a little too much weaponry for this one and he’s going to be the bigger man.”
Florian breaks down Rashad Evans vs. Antonio “Little Nog” Nogueira: “Rashad Evans and Little Nog are going to get it on at 205 pounds. We’ve seen two different Rashad Evans at times. We’ve seen the confident guy who’s just a straight killer and goes out there and destroys two guys, Tito Ortiz and Phil Davis. We saw the other guy who was very hesitant against Jon Jones and cautious. Rashad Evans has one of the best records out there. He’s a tremendous fighter, but which Rashad are we going to see out there against Little Nog?”
Sonnen on Evans vs. Nogueira: “There are some times when Rashad absolutely shines and there are some times when he’s a little bit reserved. Either Rashad is a very dangerous guy. Either Rashad has beaten world champions and been a world champion. Let’s not forget about Little Nog. He’s so good with his hands. He’s been sitting out. I don’t know where he’s been. I’ve heard reports he’s hurt. I’ve heard reports he’s gotten married. I’ve heard reports that he just doesn’t want to do this sport anymore. I don’t know where he’s at, but if he’s not training, this is the wrong fight to take.”
Florian picks Evans over Nogueira: “Rashad, even on a bad day, is going to get the win here. You can mark me down.”
Sonnen breaks down Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva: “This is a close fight. A lot of people aren’t seeing that – they think Alistair is going to blow him away – but I’m not seeing that. Bigfoot has had a tremendous three-year run. He ran into Daniel Cormier, who may be the best heavyweight alive. He ran into Cain Velasquez, who was recognized as the best heavyweight alive. Let’s not forget, he beat Fedor Emelianenko, he beat Andrei Arlovski. He beat everyone else they put in front of him. This is a tough fight. And Overeem is used to having the size advantage. As you mentioned, they’re both going to weigh in on-the-dot at 265.”
Sonnen’s picks for Overeem vs. Silva: “This is a lot closer fight than people think it is. For the first time in a long time, Overeem will not have a size advantage. In a war, I’m going to take Overeem.”
UFC President Dana White on a potential Weidman vs. Silva fight: “That fight’s closer and more possible than people think. I actually thought that Weidman was going to be out a lot longer than he was because of his injury, but he’s healed up pretty well and he’ll be ready to start training in a couple of months. So we’re looking at a couple of different options, some options we like, and Weidman is one of them.”
White on if the UFC will re-sign Rampage Jackson after the last fight: “First of all, Rampage has lost three in a row. He wasn’t very nice to us leading up to the last fight. Despite the whole thing, I don’t dislike Rampage. Through all that crap leading up to what happened, I treated Rampage the same as we always have. Yes, we have a three month right to match. I don’t know, I’ll have to see. I talked to his manager yesterday. We’ll see how this thing works out.”
White on if Josh Barnett will come to the UFC: “We’re talking to Josh Barnett. Yes, we’re open to bringing him into UFC. It’s about making a deal now.”
White on if Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will come to the UFC at the 135-pound division: “It’s the only division we have. What I get out of this is that she wants nothing to do to with Ronda Rousey. We don’t have a 145-pound women’s division, so I don’t know how this is going to end up.”
White on a 115-pound men’s division getting added to the UFC: “As the sport continues to grow and we go into other markets like Latin America and Asia, yes, we will eventually open up a lighter weight division.”
White on where there will be a stadium fight if it happens in 2013: “Yeah, it could be Canada, Dallas, or Brazil, if we do it, one of those places. But we have nothing planned.”
Chris Weidman on when he can fight again: “In a perfect world, I’d be back July 4 weekend against Anderson Silva. Then I’ll grant him an immediate rematch at Madison Square Garden in New York.”
Weidman on why he thinks Anderson Silva’s people never mention him: “They don’t mention my name ever. They don’t want to fight me. They’re running.”
Weidman on if he would train with Chael Sonnen for a fight against Silva: “I definitely would. If he was willing to train, which I’m sure he would, that would be good. He did take it to Anderson for a full fight and got caught at the end, so he’s been in the ring with him, he knows how Silva works. I’m sure I’d get a lot of information from him and get a good idea of where I’m at.”
Florian on Anderson Silva picking his fights: “This is my problem. I give Anderson Silva a pass for pretty much anything. But when he starts calling out guys like Luke Rockhold and Cung Le and you’re saying you want big name fighters, those guys are maybe at the same level as far as name recognition. I believe Chris Weidman is just a bad style matchup for Anderson Silva and that’s why he’s being avoided. If you’re calling out those guys, you better include Chris Weidman.”
UFC TONIGHT is the official weekly news and information show of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The show is co-hosted by veteran UFC fighter and multiple title contender Kenny Florian and UFC light heavyweight contender Chael Sonnen. Leeann Tweeden contributes, while three-time World MMA Awards Journalist of the Year Ariel Helwani adds insider news.
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