Strikeforce had a conference call earlier today with four of their fighters who are fighting on December 19th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose,Callifornia. Here are some of the news, notes, and quotes from the call.
Cung Le:I am returning sooner than I expected, but it is good to be back and I am excited. I am taking it one fight at a time.
There are not many movie roles for a Asian character.
It ws really hard to vacate the belt but it was the honorable thing to do. It was not fair for all the middleweight contenders to fight for an interim belt. I made a commitment to Scott Coker(Strikeforce CEO) that I would fight when I'm not doing a movie project.
I'm a martial artist first before being an actor. I love to teach, and I love to coach and compete.
It is very exciting and at the same time very nerve-racking to fight at the HP Pavilion. (Le is from San Jose and all his friends and family attend the fights).
Scott Smith: I think both of our ground games are underrated because we are outstanding stand-up fighters. The chances of us going to the ground are slim to none. If I get in trouble standing up, I can't be afraid to take it to the ground.
When you get rocked, you have to fight back with fear.
People will tune into the fight to watch us bang. I am 2-0 at the HP Pavilion so I am exited about that. Fighting there seems to bring me good luck.
Josh Thomson: I am very excited to be back in the ring.
Melendez is the best fighter in our division and I wouldn't want to have it any other way.
This is a completely different fight from our first fight.
Gilbert, I think is a new fighter, and I expect something completely different. I got to bring the fight to him again. I am not looking at the last fight.
I can't prepare for the ring rust until I get into the cage. I train everyday with the best guys but the actual showing up the day of the fight, and the nerves and the crowd is what affects fighters in the ring.
I have been grappling and training with guys that are my size so it helps me avoid getting injured.
I am 100% and ready to fight. i am ready to bring my title back home. If Gilbert wins, it will be because he was the better fighter that night.
Gilbert Melendez: I am honored to be on this card and to be a aprt of the co-main event.
It will be a five- round war. I expect a lot of fireworks and we both have been training hard.
I wish the best of luck to Josh and all the best. I am here to win. I'm in it to win it.
I just want to perform bettter than I did last time. If I want to be in the sport, I got to bring my A game everytime. Josh took it to me every round in the first fight.
I am looking to put in a better performance than last time. I love fighting at home. In Japan, they are so silent there, and in Hawaii, they boo the heck out of you.
Mike Afromovitz, Strikeforce's Director of Communications: I am excited to see Cung Le's long awaited return.
I think Strikeforce is a geat promotion that has made great strides in 2009.
Our roster has strengthened and we can have more compelling fights in 2010.
Dan Henderson is a great ambassador to the sport.
Strikeforce has been around since 1994.