Browne, Bigfoot, Hieron and Ellenberger talk UFC on FX
The Ultimate Fighting Championship® organization returns to Minneapolis this Friday for an all-action card at the Target Center, which will be broadcast on FX at 8pm ET/PT, immediately before an all-new episode of The Ultimate Fighter Fridays airs.
Following on from last Saturday’s heavyweight thriller, which saw Stefan Struve knock out Stipe Miocic, two other top heavyweight contenders collide as undefeated Travis Browne takes on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
The 6ft 7inch, 250lbs-plus Browne has showed rapid improvements to both his striking and submission games, knocking out Struve and tapping Chad Griggs in two of his last three fights.
Meanwhile, “Bigfoot” has the opportunity to reassert himself at the top of the division with a victory and, able to match size with Browne, will be looking to unleash the devastating ground and pound which famously accounted for his win over Fedor Emelianenko.
In the co-main event, top welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger has a chance to avenge his first professional defeat when he takes on the returning Jay Hieron. Ellenberger – a winner of 10 of his last 12 fights – has thunderous power in his fists and has stopped the likes of Mike Pyle and Jake Shields. Hieron, though, is more motivated than ever in his first UFC fight in seven years and is in the form of his life, having only dropped one controversial split decision since 2007.
Also on the four-fight FX card, elite flyweights John Dodson and Jussier Formiga clash in a fight to determine the No.1 contender for newly-minted UFC 125lbs champion Demetrious Johnson. Dodson believes he is the one man in the division who can match speed with the reigning champ, but first must contend with the other-worldly submission skills of the best flyweight in Brazil, the 27-year-old Formiga.
Check out some highlights below:
Travis Browne on fighting for the first time in six months:
“I’m happy to be back. I haven’t fought since April and missed out on a huge opportunity when my opponent dropped out of UFC on FOX. But fighting Bigfoot on FX – in the main event – is a great opportunity for me, too. The heavyweight division is more stacked than ever, it is so hard to get into the top five right now, and everyone is looking so impressive, so you have to be consistently impressive.”
On facing Bigfoot:
“I’ve had some good wins, and I’ve had wins where I wish I could have shown more. The key now is to fight at the best of my ability for every fight. I’ve got a huge chance against a big name in Bigfoot, he’s beaten some top guys, and I’ve got to go out there and show the best of myself. I’m always looking to finish, but if it goes five rounds I am ready.”
“Bigfoot” Silva on fighting Travis Browne:
“This is a very important fight for me, and I won’t let it go past the second round. It is a five round fight but, five rounds or three rounds, I don’t like decisions on my record. I will do my best to finish Travis Browne inside two rounds. He’s the second or third person I’ve fought who is bigger than me, but it does not matter, it is no problem. I know I can take him down to the ground and ground and pound him – for sure that is where I am very dangerous. But I have been training very, very hard on my standup. He is a very tough guy, undefeated, but I am so, so confident I will beat him inside two rounds.”
Jake Ellenberger on facing Hieron again:
“I’m a completely different fighter from the one he beat all that time ago. He’s a different fighter, too, so the first fight has nothing to do with Friday. I’m going to be happy to avenge that defeat, for sure, but it isn’t like I’ve been thinking about it since the fight. I feel I can win this fight and get back to the top of the division and challenge for the title. That’s the reason I am here.”
On his growing maturity in the fight game:
“I know I can compete with the best but I will never look past any opponent. That is where you lose consistency and have disappointing fights. I’ve learned to be more patient when I hurt someone, and I feel I’ve tightened up a lot of things since my last fight. I realize now I’ve got 15 minutes to finish fights and I think you’ll see this new maturity in my fight this Friday.”
Jay Hieron on fighting in the UFC:
“I’ve never had anything handed to me, and I’m glad it went this way. It is a shame UFC 151 got cancelled, as it would have been cool to fight in my hometown of Vegas, but I am just glad I’m going to fight in the UFC. I always believed I belonged in the UFC, that I was as good as the guys in the UFC.”
On fighting Ellenberger:
“I couldn’t ask for a better comeback fight than Ellenberger. I beat him before, and I will beat him again. I fought him back in 2006 and he was a hot prospect, he didn’t know he could lose and I beat him on points. I know he’s super-tough, and a much different fighter with a ton of experience, but I know I can beat him again. I know him very, very well.”
On knowing Ellenberger’s weaknesses:
“I beat him in our fight and then I cornered Mike Pyle and Martin Kampmann against him. Jake’s last loss was to Martin and we spent a lot of time breaking down Jake’s style so Martin could take advantage of his weaknesses. I feel I know what Jake brings to the Octagon as well as anyone. I taught him how to lose.”