Dana White was in Toronto yesterday with a handful of the fighters from the UFC 129 card and although he didn’t drop any remarkable news during the press conference, a few interesting tidbits came out during the fan Q&A session they did at Rogers Centre.
The April 30th UFC event at the Rogers Centre in Toronto will play host to pound-for-pound king Georges St. Pierre, a French-Canadian superstar who helps move everything from action figures to videogames for his UFC bosses. Jake Shields hasn’t quite reached that level of mainstream acclaim, but when he faces off with GSP at UFC 129, he’ll be carrying a 15-fight win streak thanks to an arsenal of tools that could be the wildcard against an experienced champion who has yet to show any stylistic weaknesses nor signs of decline.
Catching up with Shields during a tour of Ontario, the friendly Cesar Gracie team member seems to effortlessly surmount a packed schedule of seminars, media appearances, interviews, photo shoots and autograph requests with a smile and his positive attitude. A former welterweight champion in Elite XC and middleweight champion in Strikeforce, Jake wants to add the most important belt to his collection — the UFC 170-pound title.
Shields won’t play into a war of words with St. Pierre in the grand tradition of B.J. Penn, Dan Hardy and Josh Koscheck. “He’s a great guy. I don’t know him that well, so I’d have no reason to suspect him as being fake,” Shields says.
As he once told FIGHT! magazine’s Danny Acosta, “When you’ve been in fights, fighting 10 people at once, people with knives and bats and guns and whatnot, it definitely takes fear away in the cage,” however, on this day, Shields shied away from elaborating too much on his tumultuous youth.
During last night’s episode of Sportsnet’s MMA Connected, the show’s host "Showdown" Joe Ferraro revealed that if Mark Hominick handily beats George Roop at UFN 23 and comes out of the fight without injury, he will fight Jose Aldo at UFC 129 in Toronto on April 30.
"If London, Ontario’s Mark Hominick can defeat George Roop and come out unscathed at UFC Fight Night 23, look for "The Machine" to earn a title shot versus featherweight champion Jose Aldo," Ferraro stated.
A veteran of 27 MMA bouts, Hominick’s only losses in the past six years have come at the hands of three highly-touted fighters: Grispi, Rani Yahya and Hatsu Hioki. His second bout with Hioki, which he lost by a razor-thin majority decision and was contested under the TKO banner is widely regarded as one of the greatest featherweight fights in Canadian MMA history.
For an idea what Aldo-Hominick might look like, check out that fight after the jump.
First reaction: Pretty cool fight, right? The consummate game-planner versus the man who, despite recent back-to-back losses, remains the light heavyweight division’s most intriguing puzzle. It sort of makes sense for both guys too, I mean, as much as paying a 47-year-old man money to get punched in the head can ever make sense. For Machida, it would be a nice win for a guy who sorely needs to prove he still belongs among the 205-pound elite. For Couture, well, he said he wanted interesting challenges and opponents don’t get much more interesting than Machida.
Second reaction: Hold up. Should we really be excited about this? Like, aren’t we just enabling the old man now? And at what point do we all become complicit in Randy Couture’s demise?
"I want to make my next fight for here in Toronto, maybe in April. I started my rehab for my knee right now and I started to lift weights, but I don’t train martial arts right now. I’m gonna wait two weeks to see what’s gonna happen with my knee," Wand explains. "If it feels better I’m gonna fight on the first show in Toronto. [Chris Leben] is a really good opponent. His style’s like my style. He likes to fight. He’s no afraid to fight toe-to-toe, so he’s a good opponent. He’s going to fight right now in one of the next UFCs, but I want to fight against him."
As far as a possible fight with Sonnen goes, Silva thinks that unlike Anderson Silva, he’ll have the upper hand if the bout comes to fruition, citing a certain sparring session he had in Vegas with the testosterone deficient, smack talk abundant middleweight to support his opinion.
"Sonnen, he’s more of a wrestler. I think that’s a good fight for me, too," Silva says. "I trained with him one time at [Xtreme Couture] and I killed him there, you know? I think he’s a good opponent too. He’s tough.
"I know there’s been talk of March 19 potentially happening. While we’re looking at delivering a pay-per-view (event) around that time, nothing’s been defined in terms of whether Abu Dhabi gets it or someone else."