It’s clear that as UFC 200 approaches on Saturday, the combatants occupying the main card are starting to get into fight mode.
UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was likely speaking for his nine peers Wednesday on the dais at the KA Theatre in MGM Grand when he said of his main event rematch with Jon Jones: “This is no game to me. I’m here to kick his ass on Saturday. I’m here to fight.”
There was a little more talking to be done at the final press conference, though. While Cormier, his teammate and former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Velasquez’ foe Travis Browne, as well as interim featherweight title challengers Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo all had their game faces on, the returning Brock Lesnar and interim 205-pound champ Jones were quite popular with the media and the fans on hand, and both were more than willing to engage.
Of course, WWE superstar Lesnar did so in his own unique way, dodging questions about his MMA future by saying he’ll see what happens on Saturday night, while noting that he is booked for August -- a reference to his appearance at WWE’s Summerslam.
“It may be a teaser,” he smiled. “Never say never.”
As for the preparations for his first fight since 2011, Lesnar -- when told that lightweight contender Eddie Alvarez sparred 150 rounds for his Thursday challenge of Rafael Dos Anjos -- said he sparred “3,000.”
Later, in a more thoughtful mood, Lesnar did admit that he’s taking everything in the second time around, which comes after two bouts of diverticulitis that left him with plenty of questions about his future following his 2011 loss to Alistair Overeem.
Jones’ challenge of Cormier comes after a difficult 2015 in which he lost his title due to legal issues, sat out until April of this year, and then returned with a decisive, but not explosive, win over Ovince Saint Preux.
Cormier believes Jones’ previous party-heavy lifestyle has left him older than his 28 years. Now cleaned up and back on track, Jones, who defeated Cormier in their first bout in January 2015, had a simple retort to that comment:
“I beat him in the prime of my partying,” Jones shot back. “We’ll see who the 40-year-old is on Saturday.”
As for one of the most highly anticipated showdowns of the weekend, featherweights Aldo and Edgar kept it respectful and pithy. But both made it clear that as soon as their fight is over, the winner needs to get a fight with champion Conor McGregor, or see the title of the Dubliner stripped if he decides not to return to 145 pounds after his welterweight rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in August.
“She (Nunes) has a tendency to break in fights,” Tate said, “and I have a tendency to break people in fights.”
Oh yeah, it’s almost fight time.