(Video courtesy YouTube/Heavy)
According to the UFC president, who was asked whether or not Brandon Vera was on the bubble if he loses against Thiago Silva Saturday night at UFC 125, job security in the Octagon isn’t necessarily contingent on wins and losses.
"It’s a big fight for him, no doubt, and it’s a big fight for Thiago. Nobody wants to be in this sport and lose. Everybody wants to win. People always ask me, ‘Is this a do or die for this guy?’ Everybody’s gonna lose here and there. All I ask from guys is that you come out and you perform on Saturday night. I can’t stand the guys who come out and talk all the smack, ‘I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that," and then go out and they don’t do anything," White explains. "Those are the guys who are gonna get cut. The guys that stick around are the guys that go out and perform. I don’t see how [the Vera-Silva] fight isn’t a great fight. Brandon’s head is back, he’s very talented, well-rounded and Thiago Silva comes in to finish people."
When asked by Olivi in the same interview if he has spoken to guys like Gray Maynard, who is fighting for the 155-pound strap Saturday night about being more exciting in fights, White danced around giving his own opinion on the new lay-and-pray decision style of wrestling that seems to be dominating the sport these days, but said that it’s not his place to change a fighter’s style if they’re winning fights.
"I don’t ever tell guys how to fight Gray Maynard is who he is. It’s been said about Jon Fitch. Jon Fitch is who he is. I don’t ever try to change a guy’s style or tell him how to fight or any of that stuff. Gray Maynard has conducted himself as a true professional," he says. "When I went in and said, ‘He’s not gonna get this next title shot, Frankie is," never once did he come out and have anything negative to say. He waited for his turn and now it’s his turn."
One fighter White says has raised his stock in the UFC is Chris Leben, who the Baldfather calls the fighter of the year for 2010. Ironically, Dana says he has matured immensely as a fighter and as a man, even though he continues to act as a child by getting behind the wheel with more than the legal limit of alcohol in his system.
"Chris Leben is probably the fighter of 2010. He literally catapulted himself back into the mix and had a bunch of exciting fights. I think he won Knockout of the Night, Fight of the Night, and fought back-to-back in two weeks — two tough fights. A win over Chris Leben for Brian Stann is huge right now and for Leben to get back in there and mix it up and get another win under his belt, he’s chippin’ away and gettin’ himself back into the mix," White says. "Chris Leben is one of these guys, who, even though he still has some problems here and there, he’s a completely different person than he was season one of The Ultimate Fighter. He’s grown up a lot. He’s matured as a fighter. He’s matured as a man. Things are gonna happen sometimes. Today’s Wednesday. The fight’s on Saturday and Chris Leben looks awesome. He took this fight serious. He’s ready to go. I think Chris is right where he needs to be."