Toronto, Canada – The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization returns to Toronto, Canada, next Saturday with a stacked card featuring six of the most exciting names in all of mixed martial arts.
In the fascinating main event, reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones fights a record fifth consecutive UFC title-holder when he matches his unique skill set against the speed and explosive power of “the Phenom” Vitor Belfort,
Then, in the second part of the first world title double-header in a year, the first ever UFC flyweight champion will be crowned as Joe Benavidez and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson collide in the final of the 125lbs tournament.
Plus, in a middleweight showdown which has captured the imagination, Michael “the Count” Bisping will swop leather with the devastating striker “All-American” Brian Stann.
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones said: “Vitor is a walking classic, he’s a legend. The word ‘legend’ is often abused in sports, but he truly is. I feel honored to be fighting him on September 22. In many ways, this is a tougher fight that the one I had scheduled on September 1 against Dan Henderson. He has a lot of speed and is aggressive. He’s another former champion at this weight division, and that’s the kind of fight that adds to a career and helps you build your legacy.
“When he fought Wanderlei Silva (UFC Brazil, 1998) and got that really fast knockout it was one of the iconic moments in our sport. He pertains to the old school generation of martial arts and I sort of pertain to this new generation. And right now there’s a lot of buzz around my name, whether it’s good or bad, and I think between those two factors a lot of people are going to tune in to watch a phenom versus another phenom.”
Challenger Vitor Belfort said: “This is the old lion vs the young lion, it is the original Phenom vs the new Phenom. I have a pedigree and a history in the UFC; I fought Tank Abbott, I fought on a card with (UFC Hall of Famer) Dan Severn, I’ve had wars with Randy Couture, I’ve fought in PRIDE and around the world. I’m an old lion but I’m not an old man, I am 35, I am experienced.
“I have a right to be the replacement (for Henderson) I have history at 205lbs, I held this same belt before, and I am the last of my generation. It is fitting that I get to fight the best of this new generation. I’m from the old school of fighting, I was the UFC 12 tournament, I fought guys on no notice. Some people need to get ready to fight, I am always ready to fight. I feel that I was meant to fight Jon Jones like this.”
Joe Benavidez: “I was shown some stats on the flyweight division where we are throwing and landing way more strikes than the UFC average* as well as landing more takedowns and being way more active. I know heavyweights are the biggest and strongest, but I believe the flyweight division is the most exciting, most entertaining in the UFC already. The champion of this division, I think, will became one of the true fan’s favorite champions.
“The creation of the UFC 125lbs division changed my career. I kept hearing it was coming but I sort of stopped believing it would ever happen. When they told me I was going to be in a four -man tournament for the new UFC 125lbs title, it was like my career started again. Now I get to fight in the style I wanted to all along but couldn’t, because I was fighting bigger guys. Now I get to walk forward, intimidate, seek and destroy. I couldn’t do that against guys like Dominick Cruz (UFC bantamweight champion) because he had that extra 10 or 12 percent more natural size and strength.
“I want to be the first UFC flyweight champion so bad I can taste it. Everyone remembers No1, everyone remembers George Washington was the first president. I want to be remembered in 20, 30, 80 years, I want to be the first name in the record books and no-one is going to stop me from making that dream a reality.”
Demetrious Johnson: “Winning the UFC flyweight title means everything to me. I first walked into (trainer) Matt Hume’s gym after catching an episode of the Ultimate Fighter, the season with Rashad Evans in (season two, aired 2005) and wanted to be UFC champion. I didn’t know there wasn’t even a 145lbs or 135lbs much less as 125lbs division on the UFC back then.
“I think I could have won the bantamweight title, but 125lbs is where my body performs best and I think, as a flyweight, I have the chance to do some really cool things. Being at 125lbs I think I’m the fastest fighter in the UFC.
“Winning the title before anyone else will be the proudest moment of my life. I was supposed to get married right after the semi-final fight (UFC on FX, March 3) with Ian McCall. I was supposed to win that fight, go get married and have a honeymoon, and then come back and fight Joe for the title. But the fight was ruled a draw. The UFC said that I didn’t have to cancel my wedding and honeymoon, and that Joe could fight McCall for the title and I would 100% fight the winner.
“I said ‘no way’. I want to be the first UFC flyweight champion. I told my wife that I was going to have to training three times a day while we were on our honeymoon. She understood and we make our honeymoon about running along the beach or climbing this hill. We make it work. She understands I have to because the first ever UFC 125lbs champion.”
Michael Bisping: “I was kicking arse in the UFC while Brian Stann was peeling potatoes, shinning boots and getting called “maggot” by red-faced sergeants in the Armed Forces. His military career is very impressive, but this isn’t the military. He’s not allowed to bring guns and grenades to the fight with him. This isn’t a battlefield, this is the UFC Octagon, my battlefield.
“He’s got a puncher’s chance. He hits very hard and from what I’ve been told he’s very physically strong. But I’m a better striker, better grappler, better wrestler – the better fighter, period – and nine times out of 10 I mince his arse like burger meat.
“I want my title shot and I know a points decision with cute striking techniques isn’t going to cut it. I need to smash this guy up and that’s what is happening in Toronto.”
Brian Stann: “Mike is very intelligent, very quick (witted) and he knows exactly what he’s doing when he says these things. If you look at the guys in major sports who all earn life-altering money, they are almost all loud and talk a little trash. It is all part of Mike’s routine and – great. It doesn’t affect me at all and one of the reasons I wanted to fight him is because beating Michael Bisping means something. It means something because when he fights, people care because he has this way of talking fights up.
“This is a huge fight for the 185lbs division. It is not going to end well for him. He’s been at this longer than I have, but he has his weaknesses and I think when I land on his chin it will be the beginning of a very bad night for him.”
*FightMetric stats show the average flyweight fighter attempts 60% more strikes than the UFC average and lands about 70% more strikes per minute than the average UFC fighter. The flyweight average is 4.4 strikes landed per minute, while the UFC average is 2.6. The average flyweight attempts seven takedowns per 15mins, significantly more than the 4.5 UFC average.