Lion Fight Promotions held its pre-fight press conference outside The D Hotel and Casino on Fremont Street in Las Vegas to promote the Lion Fight 11 card taking place on Friday, Sept. 20. MMA fans will be familiar with two of the headlining names: Invicta's Featherweight Champion Cris "Cyborg" Justino and Blackzillian's Bellator product, Cosmo Alexandre.
Both "Cyborg" and Alexandre were asked about the difference in training Muay Thai, as compared to MMA.
"You know when you're [training] for MMA you train a lot of things," Justino said. "You train boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai. When you train for Muay Thai [fight], you train only one thing. It is not easy, but you can make your focus only one sport."
Alexandre admitted that the grind of daily training in Muay Thai can be tough, but made it clear he prefers the stand-up sport overall.
"I think when you fight for a long time, and you have been doing this for a while, the hardest thing to do is train. When I train MMA it's fun for me now. When I train Muay Thai I know what I [will be doing] every day. You run, bags, clinch. Every day [is] the same thing. For me [training] is the hardest thing to do now. It is hard to keep focused. But for the fight, of course I prefer to fight Muay Thai. On Friday night I want to show a good fight. I do not want to come to the fight out of shape."
When asked about taking a Muay Thai bout while still under contract for MMA, Cyborg responded that her preference was simply to stay active.
"I think I can have more motivation to keep training every day. I like to fight. I like more fights per year. I don't want one fight per year, so I'll fight Muay Thai and MMA. I think it is a good for me—a good experience for me. I can stay busy and have work every day."
"Cyborg" had originally been set to take on Martina Jindrova before a neck injury forced the Czech fighter to bow out. Lion Fight was able to sign Jennifer Colomb of France to take the fight on short notice.
Colomb comes into the event with a 10-0 record with 10 knockouts in her Muay Thai career. The French Muay Thai champion was in stark contrast to "Cyborg" at the press conference. Colomb was lean, almost slender, and was wearing an elegant blue off-shoulder asymmetrical shift dress and designer shades. The look contrasted heavily from Justino's large muscular frame that was covered with a black single-shoulder tank top, cartoon jiu-jitsu leggings and puffy velcro high-top shoes.
"I understand that 'Cyborg' has knockout power, but I also have knockout power," said Colomb through an interpreter when asked about taking on "Cyborg" on short notice. She then added, "Yes, there is a lot of pressure, but I love pressure."
Alexandre was respectful to his own opponent, "Nampon," when asked directly about the fighter from Thailand. However, he did give a noticeable scoff when "Nampon's" 94 wins were mentioned. It was a brash move, but the Bellator veteran's own Muay Thai record of 40-13 gives him some room to critique.
There are six additional professional bouts and three amateur fights kicking off the night of full-rules Muay Thai. Fights include American Kevin Ross (26-9) vs. Japan's Tetsuya Yamato (29-11), Malaipet Sasiprapa (143-27) vs. Caio Uruguai (13-2) and Scotty Leffler (5-5) vs. Jose Palacios (7-5).
Lion Fight 11 will air on the AXS TV nationwide on Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
ZG Harris is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.