UFC 87 has officially concluded, and the event lived up to most MMA fans’ expectations. The event was held this past Saturday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The card was headlined by the highly anticipated welterweight title bout between champion Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch. Here are quotes from some of the fighters at the post-fight press conference.
“I have to give props to Kenny. He fought a good game plan and he fought a very technical fight.
We came in there and I was doing good things in the first round; fighting really good technical wise. But, (I) went back to my old habits and started trying to chase him down and he just started picking me apart from there. Being the stubborn kid that I am I guess, I gotta give him props. (He) fought very technical.
I had a lot of energy. Kenny just fought a really really good fight. (He) fought a really good technical fight and those are things I gotta go back and see the mistakes that I did.
I gotta train with the guys that I’ve been training with, cause they help me improve a lot still. I think that I improved a lot from my past fights. I gotta go back and do that again. I just gotta go back and train with the guys I was training with. I’m going to learn off of this and come back stronger.”
“That (footwork) was something I worked on a lot with my coaches, Peter Welch, Tommy Carner, Marc Deligratti, those guys just kept on yelling at me to circle, circle, circle. Having my brother out there, he did his best to mimic Roger. But I tell you what, Roger was the best that I’ve seen him and I really had to work and circle away.
Powerful kid, he hits hard. I had to make sure I didn’t go straight back against him. So footwork was a huge part of the strategy against him.
I was just listening to my coach that just kept telling me to keep my hands up, keep my hands up. They must of told that to me a thousand times before I went out there. We respect Roger a lot in his power. You can’t get into a brawl with this kid, cause he’s gonna come out on top in that regard and we wanted to play a smart fight and I did my best to execute that.
I just want to keep fighting top guys, because I’m in the right division, in the right organization. I just gotta keep winning, that’s it. Keep winning and I can’t be denied. That’s what I’m here for.”
If he would wait until after BJ Penn fights St-Pierre in December or fight someone else in the meantime:
“(In) regards to that, I don’t really want to wait around either. I want to fight before the end of the year. Hopefully I can fight around that same time and then fight BJ after that.
Obviously the fans will love the fight. I think I’m gonna win every fight. I’m not gonna go in there and lay down for anybody. Yeah, he’s a great talent, he’s a great fighter, but when the UFC tells me to fight someone, I’m going to train to win and that’s it.”
“I’ve been working on everything. Not just the right hand. It’s one of those things where we broke Heath Herring down. The advantage we had in our camp was Heath didn’t have any footage on me and we had everything on him.
He was expecting me to shoot at him, but I faked a shot, faked a jab, and came with a right hand and put it where I needed to put it. It was just one of those things. I jumped back because I was stunned for a second. It’s crazy. I’m excited.
I think a victory anywhere is sweet. It was really cool for Dana to bring this show and to allow me to prove myself in my home state.
The hardest part of this week was just to pull off today…flip that switch when the referee said it was time to go.
Like I said, you gotta keep evolving. This fight is in the record books already and I’m turning the page and back at the gym.”
“The biggest thing in strategy towards Georges is to be in his face. And to never really sit still and let him get off first. You’ve seen a lot of fights when his opponents just sit and wait for him, and with his speed, you can’t do that. Even tonight it took all of the first round to adjust to how fast he is. By that time, he hit me so many times in the left eye that I couldn’t really see him.
So..he’s a great champ.
He’s a little bit faster than I even expected. I thought he’d be fast, but not that fast.
His overall strength I found wasn’t super imposing, but his hips are incredibly strong and quick. Even when I was in on the single leg, changing directions, and he would adjust quickly with his hips. Most guys can’t do that. It’s a god given gift that you can’t really learn.”
If he thinks he hurt St-Pierre at any point:
“I hope. God I hope so. I was trying (laughs).”
“I knew Jon Fitch was the toughest guy I’ve fought so far. And it was my first title defense. And I [learned] from my [mistakes]before, and I was the best Georges St-Pierre I have ever been. I want to say thanks to Jon Fitch, he stood up [for] five rounds and he give me a war. A fighter is known for the war. I’m glad that I made (it) five [rounds], it give me a lot of experience, a lot of octagon time. Same thing for Jon Fitch, [we’re] both gonna come back stronger for that experience.
I want to be a real champion. I want to be the best in the world and to be the best in the world you need to fight the best in the world. I want to give a shot to everybody who deserves it. BJ Penn deserves it. He’s an incredible fighter…I’m not a guy who (is) gonna duck people…I have courage and I can stand in front of everybody. I’m not afraid to fight nobody.
When you do five [rounds], it [gives] you a lot of experience. It’s my first time I [done] five [rounds] in my life and it’s tough. I’m telling you after (the) 3rdRound I was looking at the clock and Jon Fitch he never die, and I try to finish him every time. After the 1stRound I (tried) everything. I saw him [fall] down and come back and I was like, my god, what do I have to do to beat this guy. It’s discouraging. At one point, my goodness I made many mistakes in that fight, and I’m going to look back (at) the replay (at) what I did wrong and come back stronger next time.
I think it was a nice strategy. I think when Jon Fitch [opened] (the fight) standing up, I went for the shot to make him scared of my shot. It would make him more shy the next time if he would rush me like crazy. That was my strategy. My strategy was to go standing up with him. I didn’t want to go much on the ground, but if he [goes] crazy, I was going to [shoot]. It was my game plan. I [watched] a lot of his videos (from) his (previous) fights, but actually he came today as a way better version than he was in his fights before, so I was impressed of how he was. Also very impressed (on) how much of a warrior he is. He’s unfinishable, he’s crazy.”