Below are some of the comments from fighters set for action at UFC 203 Saturday night.
The event features Stipe Miocic defending his heavyweight title against Alistair Overeem from Cleveland and the Quicken Loans Arena.
Stipe Miocic: “This is business. I’m going to go out there and do my job. I’ve trained really hard. I’ve trained too hard to just give it up. I worked hard to get this title. I’m going to win. You’ll find out how when my hand is raised. Overeem’s a veteran, he’s fought the best in the world. He’s a great kickboxer, he’s a big and strong guy who’s good on the ground, too. It’s going to be crazy walking out there, but all I’m focused on is the task at hand.”
Alistair Overeem: “I’m here for one goal and one goal only—cement my legacy, get that championship belt and go down in history. I expect Stipe to come with his full arsenal. He’s a very dominant fighter. He’s got power, but everybody at heavyweight has power. I have to be ready for everything—strikes, counter strikes and wrestling. My training camp was great and I feel very comfortable. It definitely feels special and there’s a little bit of nerves. I use those nerves to my advantage and will come out on top. I predict a second or third round knockout.”
Fabricio Werdum: “I want to fight for the title again. I told UFC I wanted to fight soon. Stipe got a nice punch (to win the championship at UFC 198). I don’t have excuses. I’m very excited for this next fight. I want to beat Travis Browne again; this time I want to finish him. After I beat Travis I will sit next to the Octagon and watch my next opponent. Whether it’s Stipe or Alistair, I don’t know. I asked UFC to fight on the same card as Stipe. This is my plan. Our fights are on the same date. I can then get a rematch with him or Alistair Overeem. I finished Alistair in 2006 with a very nice kimura. I’ve fought with Overeem two times. We’re 1-1. My big goal is the belt. It doesn’t matter who I fight. I just want my belt again.”
Travis Browne: “I want to erase our last fight from my memory. The only way to do that is to get right back in there. The opportunity presented itself and I took it (on short notice). Whether it was four weeks or two weeks, it doesn’t matter. Fabricio has continued to round out his game since our last fight. He’s always made improvements. You don’t just wake up as heavyweight champion. He’s continued to evolve his game. The guy’s ranked the No. 1 contender. A win over him puts me right back into the talks for a title shot.”
CM Punk: “I’m just trying to enjoy this week. I’m trying to do everything I can to remain healthy. Right now, I’m cool as a cucumber. I’ve stated before that I’m sure I’ll have pre-fight butterflies, but I’m actually looking forward to feeling that again. They’ve been gone for a long time, I’m glad they’re back. Fans should expect a fight. This is MMA—it’s chaos. I’m coming in to win. I don’t care how it happens. There are a lot of victories already here, but the goal is obviously to get my hand raised. If you think anything but that, it doesn’t matter how hard you’ve trained because you’ve already lost. I belong here and my team belongs here. I’m confident in my preparation. To me, it’s never too late to start something. If you think otherwise, I’m sorry your dreams are so small.”
Mickey Gall: “There are a lot of MMA fighters that have stayed in absolute obscurity. I’ve been given the opportunity to fight CM Punk and now I’m on the damn poster—that’s crazy. I’m going to make the most of it, it’s a lot of fun. Saturday night is going to be the best night of my life, I can’t wait. It’s high risk, high reward. There’s a lot of upside to fighting CM Punk. Any fighter would take this chance. I’m not worried about what CM Punk does. I’m going to go in there and be myself. I keep waking up at night and picturing the ways I’m going to dominate him. I can’t wait to see which one it is.”
Urijah Faber: “I’ve had a lot of fights where the guy is virtually unknown, but very tough. The ones that stand out are obviously the big fights—title fights and super-fights—but this is part of the game. Part of the reason people love to watch me is because I fight. I’m not here to protect a legacy or anything. I’m excited for this fight. I like this kid’s attitude. I like what he represents. He’s a hard-working guy and a respectful guy. He’s put in his time and it sounds like guys are dodging him, because he’s tough and not many people know him. There are a bunch of wussies out there. This is not a sport to be a baby.”
Jessica Eye: “This is an important time in my career. This is do-or-die for both Bethe and me. I’ve not been told I’m getting cut, but I’m looking at it that way. Up until now I’ve been underestimating myself, but now it’s time to turn it on. I believe there’s a reason I’m here under these circumstances. Maybe I was feeling sorry for myself, or thinking I’d made it this far so I should be happy, but how can I just settle? I’ve always told people I’m the kind of woman who doesn’t just settle. I keep going. It’s going to be a knockout Saturday night. I’m not settling for anything less.”