A Lightweight title clash between division Champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard will headline the stacked UFC 136 fight card, set to take place October 8th from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. A second Championship bout pitting Featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo against veteran Kenny Florian will serve as co-main event, while top Middleweight contenders Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann will go head to head with sights set on earning a crack at the 185-pound strap. Also featured will be a Lightweight showdown between Melvin Guillard and Joe Lauzon, as well as a Featherweight rematch between Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan.
Below are highlights from today's UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III Conference Call, which included headliners Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, as well as Jose Aldo, Kenny Florian, Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann (via MMAMania.com):
• We met each other two other times before and I fought B.J. back to back, did two training camps for him so I've fought two guys the past two years so I'm used to it. It's pretty challenging, coming up with a new gameplan and a new series of attack. You have a lot of situations to base your training camp off of. The main thing is you've got to come up with new stuff.
• Respect will keep growing the more I do and the longer I keep this belt. I come into every one of my fights with a chip on my shoulder and it helps me to win. My goal in every fight is to be a better fighter each time out and I feel I did that for this fight.
• With the draw, that hurt a little bit. I'm pumped to face him again and I can't wait for the 8th.. I've come close to a lot of goals. I've had goals that I did accomplish. I'd feel really good to meet my goals but at the end of the day, it's on to the next one.
• It was easy to get back. I love to train. I only took off about 3-4 weeks because of the scope on my elbow but the whole time I planned out the camp I would have and it was all good.
• Since I started training back from my jiu-jitsu days, I've cut a lot of weight. I feel there might be a point where all that weight takes a toll on the body and hopefully when I reach that point I'm mature enough to do what I have to do and potentially move up in weight.
• A lot has changed since UFC Rio. There's a lot more respect for the fighters. Soccer is always gonna be number one in Brazil but MMA is right up there as number two and it's grown a lot since UFC in Brazil.
• There's a big difference between middleweight and featherweight for sure. You've got to find different training partners but other than that, it's not a major difference for me. I was never a middleweight, I was a chubby 178 pounder.
• He's a very fast, explosive guy similar to B.J. but he's more of a kicker. He's dangerous on the ground and we're about the same in wrestling. He's a unique opponent and I'm preparing differently for him for sure.
• I'll speak for everybody. Nobody wants to fight Brian. Our paths have to cross. We're in the same weight class and it's not that big of a pool. He keeps whipping everybody. If he wasn't beating everybody I wouldn't have to fight him. At the end of the day with everything going on the world, the fact that we have to compete for 15 minutes isn't that big of a deal.
• It's getting harder and harder to deny that he [Anderson Silva] shouldn't be shown that appreciation. He ducked Okami for years but he went out there and made it look easy. If you're ever thinking that I would conceive that he's better than me, I would refer you to the tape. I also thinks he ducks and dodges opponents constantly. His wins and losses speak for themselves and the fact of the matter whether I'd like to admit it or not is that he is the champion. It doesn't mean that I'm gonna quit poking my finger in his chest but at some point I think fairness needs to kick in.
• Training has gone very well. I'm down here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I'm ready to compete. There has certainly been a greater amount of fan response and media response. I think a lot of it has to do with the match-up. When you fight the number two middleweight in the world, it generates a lot of heat. I think that's where a lot of the attention comes from.
• I told everybody from the start that I didn't think (trash-talking) was going to happen. I said this a couple times that I believe Chael is very genuine that he said that if he has a problem with someone he'll speak it and if he doesn't, he won't. I wouldn't have taken it personally anyways. I think our skill-sets and the way that we fight generates all the hype we need.
Photo: Chael Sonnen at the UFC 104 Weigh-Ins in Los Angeles, California on October 23, 2009. Francis Specker