‘UFC Tonight’ Previews UFC Fight Night Hidalgo, Dan Hardy Discusses Possible Comeback

/ September 15, 2016 - 12:26pm

Los Angeles – UFC TONIGHT host Daniel Cormier and guest host Dan Hardy interview Dustin Poirier, who’s headlining this weekend’s FS1 UFC FIGHT NIGHT: POIRIER VS. JOHNSON, as well as former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Karyn Bryant adds reports.

UFC TONIGHT host Daniel Cormier on Jon Jones wanting to fight for the heavyweight title: “Obviously he’d do well if he fought for the heavyweight championship, but the guy’s not eligible to compete. If they’re going to let a guy go up and fight in a fight, I’d do it. Why not me? I’m the one who’s here competing. The question is: what would I do after I beat Stipe? I’d probably hand the belt over to Cain Velasquez, because I want none of those problems.”

UFC TONIGHT guest host Dan Hardy on Michael Johnson facing Dustin Poirier: “He didn’t look comfortable in his last fight. He didn’t establish a low kick game. I believe he has the speed advantage, but not the power, with his striking. He needs to establish the jab.”

Cormier on Poirier vs. Johnson: “Dustin has a very good ground game, but it’s been his hands that have gotten him his recent wins. If Poirier wants to move up in the ratings, he needs to win impressively.”

Hardy on Johnson’s keys to victory: “Johnson has got a lot of power in his left hand. First, he needs to throw leg kicks and chop away at the legs. Second, he’s got to use his takedown defense and keep it standing. And finally, he needs to use his footwork, stay on his feet and stay moving.”

Cormier on Poirier’s keys to victory: “Poirier’s got killer instincts. His first key is he’s got to go forward and pressure Johnson. Second, he needs to win the clinch. And he’s got to land the takedown. He’s got the better submission game and needs to get it on the mat.”

VIDEO: Strikezone and Predictions: Poirier vs. Johnson

Dustin Poirier on what he thinks about Michael Johnson: “He’s a strong-willed fighter. He sticks to the game plan and executes. I don’t think he’s great anywhere – I’ll outclass him everywhere.”

Poirier on if he thinks he has an advantage on the ground: “This fight’s 25 minutes, so I’m not going to put myself in a dangerous position to look for the takedown. If this fight hits the mat, he’s getting tapped.”

Poirier on the difference moving to 155 pounds has made: “My training camps are smoother. Everyday life is smoother. I used to dread training camps and felt run down half way through. Ten pounds isn’t much, but when you train every day carrying less body fat, I felt like I was carrying bumps and bruises more.”

Poirier on how fatherhood has changed his approach: “Yes. I’ve always fought for myself and I wanted to be the world champion. Now I have a daughter at home. It’s one thing to fight for yourself, but it’s a whole different game to fight for my family and that’s what I’m doing now.”

Poirier on if he feels like this is a battle between ATT and Blackzilians: “It’ll be cool to slap high fives with the guys when I get back in the gym. But I’ve got mouths to feed and I’ve got to continue this thing. I want that belt.”

Poirier on if he wants to fight Conor McGregor again if McGregor moves to 155: “My goal isn’t to avenge losses. My goal is the title and if he’s there, what a great Cinderella story that would be.”
 
VIDEO: Interview: Dustin Poirier believes he will dominate Michael Johnson

Cain Velasquez on what he thought about Stipe Miocic’s performance: “He looked good. He moves around very well. He’s hard to put away. He’s out there for the grind.”

Velasquez on what’s next: “If Stipe doesn’t want a break, I want him. If he wants to fight in 2017, I’d like to fight Werdum in December. This is personal.”

Velasquez on if Jon Jones came back and got a title shot at heavyweight: “After everything that’s been going on, I think it’d be BS if he got a title shot right away. That shouldn’t happen.”

Velasquez on his frequent injuries: “Yeah, it sucks getting injured before a fight. That’s the worst thing. You’re a fighter and this is how you make your money and I love being in there and fighting. Things I’ve changed: A lot more drilling. I’m only sparring twice a week now. With that, my body is feeling better. I’m also doing a lot more body maintenance.”

Velasquez on filming Kickboxer the movie with Werdum: “It was real hard to do. Having the guy who just beat you right there. I would say it was tough. Knowing there was nothing I could do to right what happened. I want him in December to get revenge.”

VIDEO: Interview: Cain Velasquez

Hardy on a possible comeback: “I’d very much like to. I have a few fights left on my contract. I need to get cleared by a doctor and I’m in the process of getting cleared. I’d just jump in for some fun fights. I’m a lot lighter than I used to be. I’m closer to walking on the scales at 170. I fought twice at 160 and it was a comfortable weight for me. I was always so much quicker and agile when I was lighter. I think 155 would be better for me now. I’m not interested in belts. I’d like to be challenged and tested by people I look up to.”

VIDEO: Dan Hardy may return to the UFC at lightweight

Cormier on what fight he’d like to see fight at UFC 205: “I’ve got to see Chris Weidman on that card. He fought to get it legalized in that state. He should get the opportunity and he should fight Yoel Romero. It’d clear up the division.”

Hardy on who he’d like to see fight at UFC 205 in New York: “I think Matt Hughes should fight Matt Serra. Hughes said he’d come out of retirement to fight Serra and Serra said he’d come back to fight in New York.”

Hardy on who Georges St-Pierre should fight if he returns: “It’s got to Demian Maia. He’s the backpack of the division, but GSP has the best wrestling. Would he let Maia take him to the ground?”

Cormier on who GSP could fight in his return: “Give him Woodley. Give Tyron the money fight. GSP has been the best in the division. Let T-Wood get the fight he wants and GSP the title fight.”

Cormier on Olympic gold medal wrestler Kyle Snyder wanting to fight in the UFC: “This is as blue chip a prospect in any sport as there is. I talked to him and told him to go for the Olympic gold again. When he’s done in four years, he’ll only be 25 and will have plenty of time to fight in the UFC.”
 
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