WEC 51 Media Conference Call Live Blog

Our live blog for the “WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan” media conference call will begin shortly. Refresh this page for constant updates.

– And we’re under way. We’re joined on the call by Reed Harris, Peter Dropick, Jose Aldo, Manny Gamburyan, Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner. Harris says he believes the deepest card they’ve ever produced at the WEC. I would have to agree.

What makes Manny believe he has the tools to dethrone the dominant Aldo? Says he has the skills, the power and the technique. Had his best camp ever. Every fighter has hole in his game, including Aldo, and it’s just up to him to exploit them.

What changes has Cerrone seen in Varner’s game since the first time they fought? Not many at all. Obviously, he’s working on his wrestling. Everybody wants to keep evolving, including him. Has Cerrone worked on becoming a faster starter? Says that unfortunately that’s just how he fights.

What changes has Varner seen in Cerrone’s game? He’s a lot better off his back with jiu-jitsu. He wasn’t worried about it the first time they fought, but it’s definitely a concern now because Cerrone has added a bunch of new weapons. What kind of improvements has Varner made since the first fight? Instead of just being a wrestler/boxer, he’s working on being more well-rounded.

What Gamburyan tools present the greatest threat to Aldo as a fighter? Manny’s wrestling, judo and heavy hands are what he’s going to be watching out for. How has he been preparing to match Manny’s judo skills? He and his trainers have been watching tapes of Manny’s fights and have created a strategy on top of that judo game.

Varner has stayed silent about Cerrone’s comments. Does he want to clear the air? A lot has changed since the last time they fought and he’s done a lot of growing as a man. Cerrone has been wanting the fight for two years and now he has the chance. He doesn’t need to get caught up in the name-calling, and they can settle their differences on September 30. He’s not concerning himself with negative energy anymore. He finds out through Twitter and Facebook what Donald is saying, but he doesn’t care about it. The animosity has skyrocketed Cerrone’s career. He feels good about the first fight, that he executed a great game plan. With only three rounds he feels he can push a bit harder and look for a finish. How will the fight be different than the first one? Cerrone is tough. If he makes a mistake, he’ll catch him, but if not it’s going to be a three round war.

Does Cerrone want to clear the air about his comments? He apologizes again. He spoke with the WEC and everybody and cleared it up.

How is life different for Jose since winning the title? The fans approach him much more than they used to. Everything has changed for the better. Is the fan attention a distraction? He likes when the fans come up to him because it shows that he’s been working hard.

Do Jamie and Donald approach a three round fight differently than a five rounder? Varner says he trains the same way that he did for a five round title fight. But it’s a huge difference because those ten minutes make all the difference in the world, especially for his style where he goes after his opponent immediately.

– Reed Harris says Jose Aldo has another year or two of title defenses before he can go into another division.

– Varner says he’s not going to feel sorry for himself about past fights he felt he should have won, like the Kamal Shalorus fight. He’s just going to move forward with his career. Kamal is one of the toughest dudes on the planet and has one of the hardest heads in the sport. He says his dream is to fight on the Phoenix card in front of his home town for the title. Harris says that decision is ultimately up to Sean Shelby, but that they don’t make those decisions until after the fight ends.

Why did the animosity between Cerrone and Varner begin? I can’t understand Cerrone’s response because he has a bad phone connection. Varner says he definitely didn’t start the battle. Says that after the first fight, Cerrone went home to all of his homies and decided that there was some kind of injustice from the fight. Varner heard the chatter and got upset because he felt like he won four of the five rounds of the fight, including a first round which could have been a 10-8. Says he wishes no ill will towards Donald. Wants him to accomplish his goals. He doesn’t need that weight on his conscience. He just wants to win the fight and then fight in his hometown.

– Jose says he’s going to come into the fight and be the aggressor, and that it’s going to be a great fight for the fans to watch. Gamburyan says Aldo is a great champion, but he’s going to go out there and show the fans that anybody can be stopped.

Is there any intimidation for Manny going into the fight with someone who has developed a reputation like Jose? Definitely. He’s a great fighter and he’s highly-regarded for a reason. He’s got great kicks and knees. But Manny has been working hard and he’s in great shape, so he’s going to go out there and prove what he can do.

– Reed Harris says he doesn’t see any weaknesses in either of the guys in the main event. Gamburyan came from 155lbs and is undefeated at 145lbs. He has a black belt in judo, which Aldo has never dealt with before, and Aldo will have a tough time dealing with that if he’s not prepared. But Manny also has to realize that he’s fighting one of the best guys in the world.

Are they disappointed by the recent show ratings? Dropick says they always want better ratings. They are getting a lot of promotion through Versus for this card, and expect a good rating for this one. They aren’t discouraged.

What was the major difference for Manny in moving from the UFC to the WEC? Says mostly the weight cut.

Does being the underdog add motivation for Manny? He doesn’t pay attention to it.