Welcome to our running live blog of today’s UFC 115 conference call, featuring Chuck Liddell, Rich Franklin, Mirko Cro Cop and Pat Barry. The call is scheduled to begin at approximately 2 p.m. ET, so join us for the latest updates and comments from all four fighters.
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2:05: The media conference call has yet to begin, but will be starting up momentarily.
2:06: And just as I say that, we are underway. UFC Director of Public Relations gets us started, explaining the several different methods of catching UFC 115 live on pay-per-view come June 12.
2:08: Rich Franklin is asked the first question of the call. He says the UFC is pushing him into the 205-pound direction and he is planning to stay there. Right now, though, he is just focused on his UFC 115 bout with Chuck Liddell.
2:10: “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there,” states Liddell when asked about his next move after this fight. He says he desires another run at the 205-pound title he held for so long. Also explains that he feels Franklin is a tougher opponent than his original opponent Tito Ortiz is.
2:13: Franklin explains when he first learned of the opportunity to fight Liddell and coach “The Ultimate Fighter” in place of Ortiz. “Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do,” he told Dana White when the UFC president first contacted him about the fight.
2:15: Franklin was originally looking for some time off, but, after White explained the situation, he felt it was an easy decision to take the fight with Liddell.
2:16: So far, neither fighter has anything negative to say about one another. This call is a complete 180 from the Jackson-Evans call from last month.
2:17: Liddell is asked about ring rust. He has not fought since UFC 97 when he was knocked out by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but the former champion does not feel that ring rust will be a problem at all. Also says he is in great shape and entered his training camp already in good condition.
2:19: “I think it’s gonna be an exciting fight. We’re both gonna go out there and punch each other,” states Liddell regarding why fans are excited about this fight. Franklin agrees with his opponent and believes their styles will lead to an exciting main event. States that each fighter’s track record is proof enough that the fight will be a good one.
2:23: Cro Cop gets in on the action when asked about mixing up his camps. Cro Cop states that his former sparring partners did not have a trouble over-respecting him, but they were just not on the level to help him improve. He says his training has helped him relax much more for this fight than previous ones in recent history.
2:25: “I never met Pat, but I definitely like the guy,” states Cro Cop. “I like him because he’s very polite. Pat is definitely a sportsman.” Barry has stated numerous times that Cro Cop was one of his favorite fighters when he was younger, and Cro Cop certainly seems to appreciate that and the way Barry carries himself before the fight.
2:27: A type of fighter like Pat is always a challenge,” states Cro Cop, who also explains how happy he is to take on a man who will be ready and able to stand and strike with him.
2:29: “He was in my top five list of scariest guys on the planet. This was a guy that I idolized,” states Barry. “I blame Mirko for the evolution of MMA. He caused the rest of us to evolve.” Barry further explains his respect for Cro Cop, stating, “This is like a childhood dream come true.”
2:30: Barry states that he has gotten in arguments with people who say Cro Cop is over-the-hill. He believes that the Croatian knockout artist is still as dangerous as he has ever been.