UFC 232 Main And Co-Main Fighters Trade Jabs At Press Conference in New York City
November 02, 2018
Seated on one side of the dais were women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and Alexander Gustafsson, with featherweight titleholder Cris Cyborg and the returning Jon Jones taking up residency on the other side of the stage.
Separated by UFC President Dana White, the heated rivals who are set to resolve their differences inside the Octagon on Saturday, December 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada exchanged verbal jabs in the build-up to what should be an explosive night of fights to end the year.
For Jones and Gustafsson, who will battle to determine the new UFC light heavyweight champion, this is a rematch numerous years in the making.
“I didn’t train as hard as I should have. I was winning so many fights, I was being a wild dude and I was still winning and it caught up to me,” he continued before being interrupted by Gustafsson.
“Excuses. Only excuses. That’s all I hear. Nothing else,” said the two-time title challenger from Stockholm. “I beat you once and I can beat you again.”
That difference of opinion on the outcome of their first encounter remained a sticking point throughout Friday’s festivities, as Gustafsson repeatedly suggested that he defeated Jones in their previous meeting, prompting the returning former champion to get his upcoming opponent’s thoughts on some of his other results for clarification.
“It was a split decision, but I will beat you, Jon,” responded Gustafsson, who took the provocation in stride. “It’s all about our fight. That’s the only thing that counts.”
While Jones and Gustafsson have already gone five rounds together inside the Octagon, Cyborg and Nunes have been battling for months on social media as they’ve each shared their thoughts on this historic meeting between female UFC champions.
“I accepted to fight her when I fought Holly Holm,” said Cyborg, who earned a unanimous decision win over the former bantamweight champion last December at UFC 219. “She asked for nine months to train for this fight. I think when you call somebody out, you have to be ready; you shouldn’t need nine months to get ready.
“Keep working hard and make sure that you’re there because I know you pull out before fights,” added Cyborg later in the press conference. “I’ll believe you when you’re in the cage. When you’re in the cage and they close the door, that’s when I know you’ll be there.”
“I gave my timing to the UFC,” countered Nunes, who has always maintained she would be ready to fight on this card. “I have to be ready for her. She’s strong and she’s powerful and I have to be ready. I gave my timing, my date and now we are here, ready to go.
“I’m here for that; that’s why I asked for this fight,” she said when asked if a victory over Cyborg would make her the greatest female fighter of all-time. “I want to be remembered as the best female ever. Champion-Champion; I want these two belts. I want my name in the Hall of Fame.”
Although there are tremendous fights on tap this weekend at Madison Square Garden and a slew of outstanding events on the calendar before these bitter rivals finally collide in the Octagon at the end of the year, Friday’s press conference lit the fuse on these explosive contests and now it’s just a matter of time before the fireworks go off at UFC 232 in Las Vegas.
T-minus 57 days and counting until these two championship blockbusters blow the roof off T-Mobile Arena.