Earlier today, Strikeforce hosted a media conference call for their upcoming event “Henderson vs. Babalu”.
The fight card, which takes place on December 4th from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, features a plethora of compelling matchups headlined by a rematch that is 10 years in the making between Dan Henderson and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
Yours truly, the sexiest columnist in MMA was listening in to the conference call but was unable to ask any questions due to having my mouth taped and being handcuffed to a chair by my stalker, Arianny Celeste.
But fear not my loyal Mitchaholics, I managed to turn on my voice recorder with my foot and record the entire conference call.
I have all the juicy quotes from Paul Daley, Scott Smith, Robbie Lawler, Matt Lindland and Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. I am going to provide you with those quotes as well as my own sexy analysis in the following slideshow.
And as far as Ms. Arianny Celeste is concerned, I let her have her way with me and then she kindly took the handcuffs and the duct tape off before retreating back to her home.
In case you didn't know, she lives right outside my window under my bushes.
Being sexy isn’t as cool as you may think it is, it can be tiring at times.
“Well basically cutting to 185-lbs is too easy and I’ve been soft a couple of times. Fighting at 170 is going to force me, well it has forced me to diet and the worst part of my training is having a clean diet,” Smith said.
"Three weeks after my last fight I was walking around at 189-190-lbs and I didn’t think there was any reason why I couldn’t cut down to 170-lbs. I’ve been walking around at 185-lbs and eating a ton of healthy food so I think the cut should be good for me."
“I think this will be a new and exciting way to boost my career. I feel just as strong, if not stronger, walking around at 185-lbs than I did walking around at around 200.”
Dropping down a weight class is something that Smith should have done a long time ago. With that being said, I have a hard time seeing Smith emerge as a legitimate contender in the welterweight division.
He is and always has been a tough but extremely one-dimensional fighter that relies entirely on his punching power and resiliency.
But what most fans overlook is the fact that not every competitor in this sport is going to be a world champion, or even a top contender for that matter.
Fighters like Smith who consistently put on exciting performances in the cage should be appreciated regardless of their “ranking” or lack thereof.
“Obviously first it’s Scott Smith, to get him out of the picture pretty quick, and then really I just want to take the biggest names that Strikeforce has on the route to the title or the people that I think that are going to present me with the most challenge,” Daley said.
“Without being disrespectful to [Evangelista] Cyborg [Santos] or to Mr. Coker, I don’t think a fight with Cyborg is something that I’m looking for at the moment to be honest with you.”
“I’d rather fight K.J. Noons or Nick Diaz straight away or a Tyron Woodley, who’s really not a bigger name, but I respect him and think that a fight with him will not only be a challenge for me, but will also be an exciting fight and a fight Strikeforce can promote,”
“Ideally, I’d like to fight Noons after I knock out Scott Smith,”
I can’t say I blame Daley for not being all that interested in a fight with “Cyborg”. Nothing against Santos but—despite what Coker believes—he is not a top contender.
Should Daley knock Smith out in devastating fashion, or win at all for that matter, his next fight should be against one of the best welterweights that Strikeforce has to offer.
K.J Noons would be the most marketable matchup but if they decided to launch Daley immediately into a title fight with Nick Diaz I wouldn’t complain either.
Diaz needs a fresh new challenger and Strikeforce has yet to produce one for him. Although Tyron Woodley certainly can make a case for the next title shot as well.
“I think I’m still one of the top 10 contenders in the sport,” Lindland said. “Of course, I lost to the champion, ‘Jacare,’ and I think this fight is a great path back to title contention.”
“I faced two of the top guys in the sport. I lost to “Jacare” and he’s arguably one of the best submission fighters in the sport and the Strikeforce champion. My other lost was to Vitor Belfort. A lot of guys get caught trading punches with Vitor, he’s quick and hits hard.”
“My last two losses were to fighters that, frankly, a lot of other fighters didn’t want to fight. People were turning down fights against both of those guys. I wanted to get in the ring and compete and I’ve never shied away from any matchups with anyone.”
While I do believe that Lindland has the style to frustrate most middleweights, he hasn’t beaten a ranked fighter in over four years. I’m not saying he isn’t a top contender anymore but he needs to string together some recent wins over relative opponents in order to make a case in the rankings.
This fight against Robbie Lawler is going to answer some of the questions that pundits have about Lindland and whether or not he still has what it takes to make a run at the Strikeforce title.
“When you lose you have to figure out why it happened so you can improve. That’s what I’ve done. If you lose and you’re not a smart fighter and not trying to improve you shouldn’t be in this sport. After losses I always come back stronger,” Lawler said.
“I don’t really want to talk about all the little things [I’ve worked on], just that I’ve trained hard and worked on all of those aspects.”
“I don’t really care who I fight. It could be a striker, it could be a grappler. I just like to fight, I like to compete and I’m willing to fight the best.”
If Robbie Lawler’s answers were any more robotic his nickname would change from “Ruthless” to “Robocop”.
All joking aside, Lawler isn’t one to promote a fight with his mouth. He does most of his talking with his fists. Seriously, ask him what he wants for Christmas and he will probably punch you in the face.
It’s nothing personal. It’s just his way of telling you that he would like a new pair of slacks and some silverware for his kitchen.
“[Lawler vs. Lindland] is going to be very important for title contention for the 185-pound weight class,” Coker said. “Matt has fought [champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza]. That was about a year ago, so we could revisit that.”
“In the 170-pound weight class, I think this fight has title contention [implications]. It's going to depend on [champion Nick Diaz's] health, and where he's at and who he's fighting. We have plans for Scott or Paul.”
“Another name in [that conversation] is Evangelista [‘Cyborg’ Santos], who just beat Marius Zaromskis. I think it's interesting after this fight, who's going to go where.”
The only super-intriguing championship bout that can come out of this would be a welterweight title fight between Nick Diaz and Paul Daley. Anything else just simply wouldn’t stand out as a must-see matchup which is quite sad.
Diaz dominated Smith before choking him out in their 2009 fight so I doubt anyone would particularly care to see a rematch. Lawler vs. “Jacare” could be interesting but, again, it wouldn't be a fight to jump for joy about.
The same can be said for a rematch between “Jacare” and Lindland as well. In fact that would probably be the least compelling matchup out of the bunch.
Mitch Ciccarelli is the sexiest MMA columnist on the planet. A featured columnist for B/R and staff writer for Heavy MMA, Ciccarelli is also a future United States Airman.
Alongside the beautiful Erin McDougall, Ciccarelli co-hosts TUF Crap Radio every Sunday night on Blog Talk Radio. Click here to listen to the latest episode featuring Conner Cordova and Tuff N' Uff ring girl Stephanie Ann Cook.
Follow him on Twitter if you're looking to read some interesting tweets about Asian women, busty zombies, and MMA. @MitchCiccarelli