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What’s on the minds of the UFC Stars of UFC 202

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Eric Kowal

Eric Kowal

Owner/Editor/Journalist at MyMMANews
Founder of - After writing for Ultimate MMA magazine and serving as the editor for U.S. Combat Sports, both of which went on hiatus, I decided to venture out on my own and enlist a staff of writers and photographers that could help me achieve my goal of telling stories that would otherwise go untold. We pride ourselves in taking a deeper look into the fighter, and understanding what makes them click. - #1 Dad, Marine Corps Veteran, 80's and 90's Pro Wrestling Fan, MMA Commentator, Beer Lover, and avid movie watcher. Seriously..... I watch a lot of movies.


 ufc 202

Las Vegas – As fight night approaches, here is what the stars of UFC 202: DIAZ vs. McGREGOR 2 had to say leading up to their Saturday night matchups:

Nate Diaz: “I have to keep it real. I have to stay true to myself and if he comes in with his whole team, well I have a whole gang here ready to ride. I’ve been training like normal for this, not taking this differently than any other fight. I’ve been working with Richard Perez, Cesar Gracie, Randy, Gilbert, Jake, Nick. I did bring in some pro boxers and some kickboxers to work with this time but that’s all. I expect all kinds of surprises from Conor so I’m making sure that I’m ready for whatever he brings. I’m not making any predictions. I’m just going in there to win.”

Conor McGregor: “It’s a big fight, it always was. We’re ready to fight, so let’s go. This invincible feeling Nate has that he can’t get knocked out, he’s going to get knocked out on Saturday. My legacy was set in stone when I knocked Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. This is a straight fight, I came for a straight fight.”

Anthony Johnson: “I’m going to get the win because I’m going to try to whoop him. He’s going to try to whoop me and I’m going to try to whoop him. Glover is a warrior, I respect him, his camp is great and that’s what it’s all about, respect. Glover has tremendous knockout power. Am I worried about it? No, but I’m not going to ignore it. Something crazy is going to happen. It’s going to be a fight, that’s what Glover and I are going to give you.”

Glover Teixeira: “I’m really excited for this fight. This is my time to be aggressive. I’m looking forward to this fight and I feel that I’m ready to go. With Anthony, I want to make sure that I stay away from the cage and don’t give him any opportunities. I definitely have the advantage on the ground. He’s a great boxer but I feel that I am ready to do whatever it takes to win.”

Rick Story: “I feel really confident and I’m excited for the opportunity to face a guy like ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. It’s been a long road to get here. I came into this sport just fighting to make ends meet and trying to learn as much as possible. It’s been a little different lately, I’ve started training with the Blackzilians and they’re a really cohesive unit with a bunch of high level talent. So, the cool thing is that I was learning stuff from every single person in the room – not just coaches. I would go in there and anytime I got beat in sparring or grappling, the person would school me up on it and you can really grow your bag of tricks that way. I think I’m going to be the spoiler in this fight. I never go into a fight unprepared and I think I’m going to get the win.”

Donald Cerrone: “The UFC is a multi-billion dollar company, they need to keep it strong. Why wouldn’t people want the money fights that come with that? I’m okay with it. I live every day to its fullest, I enjoy life. A lot of these guys are probably sitting in their rooms all week thinking about the fight, but that’s not me. I’m fortunate to have a job that lets me have fun while I make money. If that means taking the money fight instead of the title fight, that’s what it means.”

Hyun Gyu Lim: “I feel very good coming into this bout. I was originally supposed to face someone else but Mike Perry stepped in on two weeks’ notice so I have been studying him and I think this will be a great fight. I anticipate it will be a striking battle and I plan to come out on top.”

Mike Perry: “Making my debut on a big card like this feels like a true blessing, an opportunity to seize the day. People who aren’t familiar with me can expect a lot of aggression, drive and relentlessness.”

Tim Means: “I’m very happy to be back. I went around and checked out some of the smaller promotions with my teammates and there’s not another promotion out there like the UFC. No one else treats their athletes the way the UFC treats us, from the rooms they put us up in to the equipment they provide for us, there’s no one that does it better. This is a great company to be part of. My opponent is making his debut, there will be a lot of pressure on him to live up to expectations and being a part of a card like this. No one batted an eye when I made my debut, I was just a skinny, scrawny guy from the sticks – it won’t be that way for him.”

 Sabah Homasi: “I’m taking the fight on short notice so my preparation was short, but I’m ready. I’m in shape because I just fought a couple weeks ago and I’m just glad to be getting back in there. Stylistically, Tim is a perfect matchup for me. He likes to strike and so do I so I’m ready to get in there and mix things up. I feel great, I’m really excited to go out there and do my thing. I expect a victory. I don’t want to call the shot because Means is a tough guy but I’m going out there to win and I’m going to shine bright!”

Cody Garbrandt: “Takeya is a very tough guy and a very durable competitor. He’s known for going in there and taking people’s best shots, but I don’t think he can take mine. I feel amazing coming into the fight. Some people may look at our records and think that he has an advantage just from the amount of fights he’s had but I know I’m the better fighter. I’m going to get a first-round knockout and then I’m coming for Dominick Cruz and I’m taking that title.”

Takeya Mizugaki: “Cody’s a good striker with heavy hands, so I have to be careful of that. But I’m also an experienced striker, so I’m looking to beat him at his own game. I checked out the odds this morning. I knew he would be considered the favorite, but the odds are really too close. Before the previous fight, I was on a two fight losing streak. So I got back in the win column, so I’m looking to get a two fight winning streak going and fight against top-ranked guys.”

Raquel Pennington: “I proved to myself that I’m a better fighter in my last fight. I got to a point where I was giving my opponents too much credit and I was taking it away from myself. To go out and win fights, there’s no better confidence booster than that. Elizabeth hasn’t fought in a while, so I’m sure she’s going to come out with a lot of aggression, it’ll be my job to counter that and get the win.”

Elizabeth Phillips: “I’ve been preparing for months for this fight. We work hard, five or six hours a day just drilling and drilling. I’ve been working on my standup a lot and I feel more in shape for this fight than any to come before it. Raquel is really experienced. She’s a pretty basic fighter. She’s got a good 1-2, strong jab, doesn’t move around a lot. I know that she’ll be really strong. I’m a big underdog here but I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people with my improvements. My cardio is a lot better and I’m going to come in and put the pressure on her. I’m going to dominate and come out of there with a submission or a TKO.”

Artem Lobov: “There’s always a lot of pressure to fight in the UFC, but I’m training with Conor McGregor and it feels really, really good to be in that position. In my fight, I’m going to break him in the first and finish him in the second. In Conor’s fight, I see Conor finishing him in the third. Nate’s toughness will carry him that far, but it won’t be enough.”

Chris Avila: “It was cool that Nate would push for me to be on this card. My goal was to get into the UFC and here I am. It feels like something is brewing between our team and the SBG guys. We definitely don’t like them. I’m not letting that play into the fight though, it’s another fight for me and I’m going to go in there and beat Artem’s butt. I’m staying focused on going in and winning this fight. I’m going to go in and do my best.”

Randa Markos: “I’m a big fan of both Nate Diaz and Conor, so it really motivates me. I’m really excited to be on a card with them and be a part of a card of this magnitude. I just want to be better than I was last time. I don’t care who I’m fighting or who I’m going to face. You have to be ready for everybody.”

Cortney Casey: “Randa is well-rounded and I’m expecting a good war. She doesn’t want to lose that top-15 spot. I think most of the pressure is on her. I’m coming in to put on a show and let everyone know I’m a top competitor. It’s going to be a good fight. There’s a lot of good fights on the card, but we definitely have a chance of getting Fight of the Night. As long as I put on a show, I’ll be just fine.”

Neil Magny: “When I found out that Jon Jones was out of the Cormier fight, I called Joe Silva and asked for it. I figured, I’m in Las Vegas, I’m 190-pounds and this is a great opportunity – UFC 200 and fighting a champion, why wouldn’t I do that? Now, I’m here fighting on another one of the biggest cards of the year and I’m just as excited. This fight will be just like my other ones, I’m going to dominate my opponent and go out and get the win.

Lorenz Larkin: “I guess I feel like the underdog in this fight. It’s one of those things where with last minute fights you’re always considered the underdog. Nobody knows what you’re doing before the fight – if you’re injured, how you’re feeling, or if you’re just off the couch. I don’t care whatsoever about being an underdog. I would hope that he (Magny) wouldn’t underestimate me and that he’s been training hard. I want the 110-percent Neil in that fight. I don’t want the 50-percent or anything like that. I’m fully ready and fully prepared and you’re going to see that on Saturday.”

Colby Covington: “Fighting on a huge card like this is surreal, this is what I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little kid. He’s not going to last all three rounds, he’s going to be finished before then, I know that.”

Max Griffin: “I’m excited to be here, I just got signed and I like my opponent. It’s a good matchup. He’s an up-and-comer, and I’m going to take him out. I’m knocking him out. Probably in the first-round, he can’t take my punches. He’s going to be surprised. He’s talking a lot of trash and he underestimates me. I can’t wait to put him on his face, or put him on his back, whichever way he decides to fall.”

Alberto Uda: “Everything is going well, my schedule is awesome. I’m very well prepared and I am ready for the fight.”

Marvin Vettori: “To get here was just the first step. Now I have to show everyone I belong in the UFC. Every fight put in front of me, I have to win. To keep winning means everything. I think I’m a better fighter all-around. I have better jiu jitsu, better stand-up and better wrestling. That’s what I think and I’m going to show everyone on Saturday. I think I will finish the fight in the first or second round, but for sure I will finish the fight.”