UFC 247: Conference Call Highlights

UFC 247
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: (L-R) UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes face off during the UFC 247 press conference at T-Mobile Arena on December 13, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The UFC 247 conference call was held recently. The conference call gives the opportunity for the fighters to answer some media questions. We’ve taken some key quotes from the call.

 “I think it’s the bar I’ve set for myself”

Despite his impending fight at UFC 247, the majority of questions presented to Jon Jones concerned his past and future. Jones dismissed criticism about his performance against Thiago Santos, drawing upon his long career of systematically destroying the division’s legends: “I think it’s the bar for myself.” 

He stated his desire to keep a high pace and to fight three times in 2020 and pondered the possibility of competing at heavyweight and fighting outside of the US. Jones suggested Australia as a place he’d consider fighting in the future. The UFC 247 headliner was also asked about a potential match with Israel Adesanya. Jones dismissed him and questioned Adesanya’s own preferred timeframe for a super fight: “He says he wants me later… If he thinks I’m getting slower or weaker, he’s sadly mistaken.” 

“If you don’t really understand it then you don’t understand it. That’s all there is to it”

Most challengers would be irked by the series of questions for Jones that seemingly dismissed their chances. Dominick Reyes was unfazed and maintained his characteristic calm confidence. Several reporters probed about the one subject on which he had been vocal, his athleticism and athletic background. Reyes brushed them off: “If you don’t really understand it then you don’t understand it. That’s all there is to it.” 

Though this provoked an outburst from Jones, Reyes consistently identifying his athleticism as his main tool is an interesting turn. To suggest that an elite athlete becomes so, simply by putting in more hours and nothing else has become an insult. Reyes’s open acknowledgement of his natural talents is refreshing.

“Every time it’s different, how you end the fight is different feelings, stay the champion, this is what matters…”

Valentina Shevchenko started by answering bubbly questions about Texas BBQ (she was apparently enjoying the Mexican food there). She made it clear that she wasn’t going to let the pressure of a legacy affect her at UFC 247: “I don’t know how I want people to remember me, I’m just living my life right now.” 

“I win strategically, that’s my gameplan… stay focused for 25 minutes and hopefully come out with my hand raised”

Despite arriving at the most important fight of her life, Katlyn Chookagian remains determined to see it as business as usual. She acknowledges the great opportunity in front of her as well as Shevchenko’s achievements: “To be able to have [Valentina] as the champion is even more amazing, you don’t want the easy fights, you want the hard fights to show what you can do.” She also suggested that the way in which she wins is “strategically“. She also knows and that she must “stay focused for 25 minutes” in order to get the win.

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