The UFC and FX hosted a media conference call with four of this season’s The Ultimate Fighter Live quarterfinalists today.
The first four quarterfinalists, facing off in the Octagon on Friday, May 11, are: James Vick (#3 Cruz) vs Joe Proctor (#2 Faber) and Justin Lawrence (#1 Cruz) vs Michael Chiesa (#4 Faber). The remaining two quarterfinals are slated for May 18 followed by two semifinal fights on May 25.
The 13-week season will culminate with a three-hour finale on June 1, when The Ultimate Fighter Live champion is crowned at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater in Las Vegas.
Originally expected to be on the call were the two coaches, Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz, however both pulled out of the call due to Cruz’s recent injury which forced him out of his fight with Faber at UFC 148.
Highlights below thanks to MMAmania.com.
- Dominick sat us down yesterday to inform us on his injury. He didn’t didn’t disclose how it happened.
- My offensive wrestling is not great. I’m not a takedown guy but you can ask anyone on my team, it’s very hard to take me down. I didn’t come from a wrestling background and I’m very tall so it’s hard for me to change levels but as far as defense, I think I’ve got the best.
- I didn’t take any damage in either fight so I haven’t missed a day of practice. I’ve had the best, longest training camp of my life and I’ve got to train two-a-days which I never got to do because I had a job. My technical training standpoint is so much better than it was eight weeks ago.
- Alliance has enough guys around that we’d rather stick with Dominick.
- Eric del Fierro is the Alliance head coach. He has the last say because he’s the head trainer. If he thinks we need to work harder or relax, that’s what we’re gonna do. When he’s here, he’s pretty much behind the scenes running the practices anyways.
- My takedown defense. When I’m sparring now, I feel like it’s impossible to take me down. It’s a confidence thing but for the most part, this whole experience has been so great for me and I haven’t been overwhelmed. I have only been pro for 10 months, not even a year. I feel like it’s just really hard to take me down now.
- When she first walked in, I was thinking, “Man, she’s amazingly beautiful,” and then she started doing techniques and hip-tossing guys with less effort than I could. It’s all technique with her. She’s definitely a highly trained athlete. Even Nate Diaz said she went out last week and trained with them. As far as having her in the house, we stayed away from her. There was a big gap between her and everyone in the house.
- I thought this experience would go by a lot quicker. I’ve made a lot of friends on my team inside the house.
- James Vick has some good boxing, good jiu-jitsu. We’re all here to do one thing and that’s to win. If you don’t have confidence, you might as well not come here. I’ve put in the hard work and I’m just going for the win now.
- We’ve all sat down as a team and talked about fighting each other. We got so close being here so long. We said that we’d rather fight and lose against a teammate than lose to the opposite team. When it comes down to it, we’re 100 percent ready to fight each other.
- To relax, I write a lot of letters home to my friends and family. They can’t read them but it feels like I’m talking to them.
- We had no idea she was coming here. When she walked in, we were all in shock and awe.
- It gives me confidence training with guys like Anderson Silva. That’s what gave me a boost to get in the house, “I bet none of these guys have stood toe-to-toe with Anderson Silva before. It was one of the most pressured fights I’ve ever been in, seeing the range of emotions from both wins and losses. You can’t overlook anybody in MMA.
- We all know that being a wrestler and fighting my entire life, records don’t mean anything. Being a number one pick means nothing. Pressure is what I strive for. People counting me out and this and that. When we get in that cage, we’re both 0-0 and honestly, we’re all 2-0 right now in this tournament and I’m striving to be 4-0.
- Me being the youngest guy in the house, hearing all the stories of my teammates when they were my age is pretty funny.
- It’s gonna be nice that we have an extra week to prepare and get our weight down and keep ourselves in check. We’ll have a little extra time to heal and watch the other quarters and just kind of chill, get myself mentally prepared.
- We’re limited on how we can use that but it’s kind of nice to use twiiter a bit. Being able to post statuses on our facebook and being able to twitter is a lot of fun. When we get a computer, we’re all crazy for it. It makes you appreciate the little things in life.
- We’ve got Eric Del Fierro and Wilson Reis who have stepped up. Lloyd Irvin is a jedi and he’s got a lot of great things that he brought to the table when he was here. Wilson is a phenomenal high level black belt. Lloyd Irvin leaving was a loss but Wilson has stepped up in his footsteps and done a great job with jiu-jitsu.
- I never thought the female aspect of MMA was going to live long but having her show how her judo was incredible, it made me respect it. You’ve got 16 guys locked up in here that hadn’t seen a female in quite sometime. I’m sure a lot of us guys won’t even be sure how to communicate with a female when we get out of the house.
- The technique in judo and the placement of the hips were two things she really emphasized and I liked a lot. It was really cool to have a high level judo specialist like that show us some sides of judo. It was really cool.
- The loss of my dad gave me a lot of inspiration. I only went home for less than 24 hours, saw the funeral and I’ve proven a lot about how tough of an individual I am by staying here. In terms of my fight, I wasn’t happy with my performance. I didn’t get to showcase my skills. I feel blessed that I get a tough opponent in Justin Lawrence. He’s one of the best guys here. A lot of guys get on the show and really cut loose in the wrong ways. I’m not letting my dad down.
- I’d be honored to fight any of my teammates. We’ve all pushed each other very hard in the last few weeks. I have all the respect in the world for every guy on my team and it would mean we had the winning formula if we had to fight each other. I know it would be a good fight.
- I definitely feel that it’s an advantage to have the two week break and to sit back and relax and prep. It gives me some extra time to get my weight in check.
- They’re gonna have eight guys that are really upset if they decide to change our coach after nine weeks. The way that guy trains is incredible. I’m surprised that guy is still alive with the grind he puts his body through. It makes me want to win this tournament even more, to put him on my back and beat Faber.
- Sam and I were friends before this show. Fighting him doesn’t even cross my mind and I don’t think it’s something that will ever happen.
- She’s a world champ so it’s just like another one of the dudes. I’m friends with Miesha Tate so it’s kind of funny. It was cool having Ronda around.