Well folks, "UFC 107: Penn vs Sanchez," featuring the only title defence between "UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun" and "UFC 111: St-Pierre vs Hardy," is just around the corner. As you'd expect, there are plenty of fighter-quotes circulating the web about this event. On top of that, there's a good deal of chatter surrounding the fallout from Strikeforce's signing of Dan Henderson. So lets just get straight to it.
BJ Penn says,
“I think Diego’s good in all areas. He’s got great takedowns and jiu-jitsu and has improved his striking a lot. All that said, I think his greatest strength is his tenacity... Marv is on a different level. Every [other] trainer out there is doing the same stuff. It’s all built the same way. It’s mindless stuff. Everything I do works the right side and left side of my brain, uses my balance. Marv’s exercises are based on performance. It’s head-over-heels beyond the other stuff that’s out there. Marv’s really tapped into something.”Diego Sanchez says,
I suppose I’ve wanted to fight him since back when he beat Matt Hughes for the [welterweight] title. I always wanted to train with B.J., but it never happened. I suppose it was for a reason. It’s a good thing we never got together and trained. Now, we’re going to go to war. It’s going to be like chess.... I’m rigged differently. In my mind, I’m going to beat whoever I’m in the cage with. You’ve got to believe in yourself. I believe it’s my time. Everything in my career built up to this moment. Everything feels right."Kenny Florian says,
"Georges is good for a reason. He has the best people around him... I look at Georges and how hard he trains, it's amazing to me... I work with him every single day that I'm in Montreal, he's such a huge help and gives me so much confidence... I've learned so much from Georges, I've learned so much from all the guys up there...My body definitely has changed. I definitely am at my biggest and at my leanest. ... I feel very, very strong. I feel I'm at my quickest, and I'm in tremendous shape right now. (GSP's longtime coach, )Firas (Zahabi) has been an amazing addition... He's a guy who I believe is the smartest coach in mixed martial arts today. And I think everybody's at least a couple of years behind what Firas is doing."Kenny Florian also says,
"He keeps coming, he keeps going. He has a head like a brick. He's one of those guys who's a survivor, and he's very, very tough. I have my work cut out for me. This is a great fight for me to get back on track. He's a very well-respected opponent, he's one of the best out there and that's who I want to fight. That' the only people I want to fight."Clay Guida says,
"I have the utmost respect for [Kenny] and he’s one of the top fighters in the world. Look where he’s came from. He came from being a soccer player, to a jiu-jitsu practitioner, to an MMA fighter. The guy played soccer in college, which is awesome. And the guy turned out to be, he was in the finals of 'The Ultimate Fighter' against Diego Sanchez at 185. A year and a half later he cuts down and fights Sean Sherk for a five round title bout, which was fight of the night I believe. Nonetheless, he only maybe won one round, but going to a decision with Sherk is awesome… And then he won his next six or seven fights, or something, to come and fight the best fighter in the lightweight division, BJ Penn."UFC's Dana White plays damage-control:
" He's happy, but the reality is that I pushed him into signing that deal. I told people over the weekend that he'd sign within the next week. I wanted him to s**t or get off the pot. He was in this limbo forever, and he needed more motivation to make a decision. Do you think that there's any guy we can't get that I want? Other than Fedor [Emelianenko]? So far, he's been the one guy we can't get. But everyone else that we've wanted, we got. If I wanted Dan Henderson, I could've signed him. For the money he wanted, he's not worth it. He's not a big pay-per-view star, he's not a big attraction, and he's not going to sell out arenas. He wants way too much and he doesn't bring anything to the table. Here's the reality: If I wanted him, he'd be in the UFC. It's not like, 'F***, Strikeforce beat me out.' He's been a free agent for a long time. If I wanted him, I would have signed him by now."BC MMA Fan wonders: if Henderson isn't a star, then why did he appear in the main-event for three of his four UFC fights? Not to mention scoring "Knock Out of the Night" in the other one (UFC 100)?
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker responds:
Well, I don't want to get into the whole Dana White thing. All I can say is, how often does a guy like Dan Henderson become available? He's a main event fighter. Every promotion would like to have Dan Henderson fight in a main event for them. Main event fighters are few and far between, and when you get a guy like Dan, who can contend for titles in two weight classes, it's a good day for Strikeforce. Dan said he'd let me know after Christmas what weight class he wants to start in. He and Gegard (Mousasi) is a natural fight and he against Jake Shields for our middleweight title is a fight he would want. He would like to fight in both weight classes. We're excited to get Dan in the mix, and we're going to have more signings soon. We're continuing to build Strikeforce as a mixed martial arts company and Dan is a big part of that."There you have it. UFC 107 will be a huge MMA event, and so will Dan Henderson's eventual Strikeforce debut. Look for a detailed UFC 107 preview post coming soon and, of course, my full-card UFC 107 predictions shortly thereafter.