Ahead of their forthcoming clash at UFC 151 on 1st September, a media conference call was set up earlier on today between the headlining fighters Jon Jones and Dan Henderson. Dana White, also present for the call, joined in the mostly respectful banter between the two fighters as the hype machine keeps on rolling ahead of this eagerly awaited fight.
We’ve got the full call transcript below….
Dana White: I thought Couture was wrapping it up at 37. Dan Henderson is a three time world champion. He’s a great wrestlers, has knockout power in both hands and has fought everyone from 170 pounds all the way to heavyweight. He continues to impress no matter how old he gets.
Dan Henderson: This is a fight I’ve been waiting for and working towards. One of the final goals I have is to get the UFC belt. I’m excited to get the opportunity.
Dana White: Jon Jones has been on a tear. If he wrecks Dan Henderson, that would be even more impressive. No one has ever knocked out Dan Henderson. He’s got a rock solid iron chin. If he did that it would be quite feat.
Dana White: Whether Dan Henderson wins or loses, he’s a UFC Hall of Famer.
Dan Henderson: I definitely plan on beating him to the punch and putting him on his back during the fight. I’m excited but everyone’s gonna have to wait to see how it unfolds.
Jon Jones: I feel as if my chin has been tested. It slows down your career and makes it so you can’t take punches. The more you get punched, the faster you’ll get knocked out. I train with Travis Browne and Andrei Arlovski and Lyoto Machida and Rashad both hit me pretty good. That conversation should be over by now.
Dan Henderson: I would have liked to have gone a little bit earlier. It is what it is. I’d have been ready to go in April but I’m excited about this. This timing has been great for me.
Dan Henderson: I typically want to fight three times per year.
Jon Jones: I think our PPV will do really well. Dan has a very strong and loyal fanbase and I’m starting to get a good fanbase.
Dana White: The thing between Rashad and Jon Jones was a big deal but the real fact of the matter was people thought Rashad had Jones’ number. If anybody thinks Dan Henderson can’t win this fight, they’re out of their minds. Fans who really know the sport know that Dan Henderson is the true threat.
Dan Henderson: The betting line doesn’t bother me at all. It’s funny to me. I know what I’m capable of and if it means proving people wrong, that’ll make it sweeter.
Jon Jones: I don’t think it’s fair to Dan. He’s done a lot of great things in this sport and it’s sad that people are more focused on my future than my immediate future. Everything I do is based around Dan Henderson, my study, my tactics. People may be overlooking Dan Henderson but I’m definitely not.
Jon Jones: I don’t feel like there will be extra distractions. There’s a little bit more controversy around me this training camp. My team doesn’t care about Nike or what I’m driving. It’s all about Dan Henderson for all of us.
Dana White: He’s fought the who’s who. He’s been around forever and fought everybody at every weight class. If you look at his skillset, I don’t know how you can discount this guy. Him and Rampage went toe-to-toe for five rounds blasting each other. The amount of disrespect has been ridiculous.
Dana White: Dan Henderson is probably one of the most overlooked and underrated fighters in the world today.
Jon Jones: I’ll be wearing a different outfit for weigh-ins, shoes, hats, different shirts. It’ll be like an official uniform. I saw the signature shoe and it’s pretty sweet but this is just a package they put together. It’ll be really nice, very professional.
Jon Jones: Dan’s definitely made a few statements about my style that have been unnecessary and uncalled for. My intentions are to go out and try to win in the most devastating fashion no matter what they say. When a fighter talks trash, I use it and it motivates me.
Jon Jones: Dan Henderson is high risk and high reward. He’s someone who had a Pride belt and a Strikeforce belt. I feel like I’m fighting the Pride champion and the current Strikeforce champion. He left both of those organizations on top. He’s just as experienced as all the guys I fought in 2011. Beating Dan Henderson is very important to me. He beat Fedor and Fedor is one of my idols. Beating Dan Henderson means the world to me. Dan Henderson is a monster, he’s a lion. I don’t want to look past him or talk about anything that’s past him.
Dan Henderson: For me, it’s more about two different styles fighting against each other, more of a chess match and Jon Jones is tougher to figure out than most guys. For me, that’s a fun challenge to try to figure that out. It’s more about that and the styles than the age. My conditioning and my training camp went perfect.
Dan Henderson: The Shogun fight was really close from the beginning. I felt like I got a little tired halfway through the fight trying to finish him. Maybe one or two more punches and being a little more busy and the fight could have been stopped or maybe I should have paced myself. I came out of it feeling pretty well. I hurt my thumb in the middle of the fight but my body felt great afterwards.
Jon Jones: I don’t believe anyone’s invincible. When you’ve fought for so long and taken so many big shots, I think your ability to take a shot and it fades away. I’ve watched his whole career about six times and I’ve realized there are some strikes that make him fall. A lot of times when they drop him, they rush into him. We’ve really dissected a lot of things that people do right and wrong when it’s time to finish him. A lot of fighter he’s fought didn’t have the necessary ground and pound to finish him. People get him hurt and they gas out and can’t finish the deal. I won’t gas out. I really believe I’ll hit the spot to make him fall and get the job done.
Jon Jones: Shogun Rua is not a wrestler and he took Dan Henderson down with ease. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be able to take Dan Henderson down. I’ve been wrestling since I was 14 years old.
Dan Henderson: If you’re trying for the knockout, you’ll be taken down sometimes if you’re not careful. I don’t have any type of competition with anybody in MMA in terms of wrestling. It’s a fight out there.
Jon Jones: I try to keep the martial arts spirit alive as much as possible. I fight for my family. This is a sport where we don’t have a retirement plan. The money that I make today is the money I’ll draw from when I’m 80 years old and I have to pay for several colleges already. Thinking about the business aspect, fans can be upset about caring about pay-per-views. If I don’t evolve with my time, it would be a shame. I refuse to be a broke athlete when I retire. It’s all about being business savvy. There’s a lot of broke guys that were famous as some point. I’m evolving and changing and growing as a person. If I was the same person I was when I first got into the sport, I would be failing.
Dan Henderson: He’s definitely probably up there in the top of the game as far as the guys that I’ve fought. I fought them over different eras so it’s tough to compare sometimes when you have different times and the way the sport has evolved. Jon Jones has improved more than anybody I’ve seen in the last few years and he’ll be tougher to beat as he gets more experienced in the sport. He’s right up there as far as the toughest guys I’ve fought.
Jon Jones: The positive ways things have changed is being more familiar with suffering. Knowing the numbers I’ve had on the treadmill and weight lifting from the last camp and trying to beat them. Also, I’m always trying to innovate and I feel study is much easier now. I feel you can do anything you put your mind to. When my coaches get together, we know how to study. We know what to look at, what to stare at. The biggest issue is coming up with new ways to make it fun, come up with new ways to learn, new ways to suffer.
Jon Jones: I’ve grown a lot. Life is like anything else. What people don’t realize is just because your’e a pro athlete doesn’t make you a professional. We all do things we regret. It happened and I’m moving forward in my life. Things could have been so much worse for me. I could have been sitting here thinking about a life I ruined or be on trial for injuring someone. It couldn’t have happened at a better time in my life. I’ll be a better man because of it all, more responsible. Only god can judge me. I’m moving forward.
Jon Jones: The biggest thing that hasn’t changed and the key to my stability is the people in my life. It’s not about whether I made it, it’s how I handled it when I made it. Greg has seen champions go down. They start believing they’re the greatest. I have the same woman, the same coaches, the same relationship with my friends. I have a very strong support base. You’re only as strong as the people around you.
Jon Jones: The difference is an extreme speed difference. Dan Henderson has solid wrestling and he’s got a bear hug and a few greco roman throws. The difference is Rashad has strong cardio and he can bring it for five hard rounds but I don’t think Dan can do that. It’s a slight insult but it’s the truth.
Dan Henderson: My cardio could be a little better but I attribute that to the pace of the fight. I’m not worried about the pace of this fight at all.
Jon Jones: I believe that if you’re healthy enough to play a sport, you shouldn’t take any performance enhancing drugs or anything. Fighters make a lot of money in their 20s, their 30s and when they’re in the 40s, you shouldn’t take a drug to get the strength of a 30 year old again. I think things like TRT or steroids should be for the sick or people who need the drugs. If you’re an athlete, you’re an athlete. I don’t think anybody should take anything that enhances them.
Dan Henderson: Team Quest means a lot to me. I started with Randy a long time ago and it’s grown to be a big family. We’ve got a great group of guys and a pretty international group as well. Cyrille Diabate is long and tall and great with his striking. Another tall guy I brought in is Christian M’Pumbu, the Bellator light heavyweight champ. Everybody pushes us.
With still just over a week to go, we’re sure there will be more to come from the UFC ahead this fight, so stay tuned for more updates!