LOS ANGELES, CA – The following quotes are from tonight’s UFC POSTFIGHT SHOW ON FUEL TV for FOX UFC SATURDAY: HENDERSON VS. MELENDEZ. The show was hosted by Jay Glazer, with UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and middleweight Brian Stann offering analysis. Ariel Helwani conducted fighter interviews on-site.
UFC POSTFIGHT SHOW ON FUEL TV Analyst Dominick Cruz on the key to Henderson’s victory: “I think the difference in this fight has to do with the counters of the significant strikes of Benson Henderson. Gilbert controlled the ring, he controlled the center of the ring and he pressured the way he should. But Benson was able to catch him, similar to the way he did to Frankie Edgar with the counter. Any time he could get those legs up the middle, he would kick the back leg of Melendez.”
UFC POSTFIGHT SHOW ON FUEL TV Analyst Brian Stann on the split decision between Henderson and Melendez: “I was very impressed with Gilbert’s ability to stifle the takedowns of the champion, and the few times this fight went to the mat, it didn’t last long. He was extremely well prepared to fight the champ tonight and it was razor close the first three rounds. And I still don’t think anyone is quite sure who should have won the fight. I think we need to see part two.”
Henderson on the split decision: “I’m a fighter, not a judge, so it’s not my job to judge the fights. I thought I lost the first round, but I won the next four.”
Henderson on if he wants a rematch: “I’m not sure. I know some guys are not too big on the rematch. I had to do that whole rematch thing again. If it is, I’ll do it again. But there are some true killers at 155 in the UFC. Perhaps the most stacked weight class there is, so I know I got a long list of guys who want to beat the crap out of me.”
Henderson on getting Dana White’s approval to propose before the fight: “Dana White brought me to his office downstairs to his office during the prelims. He told me, ‘We heard you want to do this proposal thing. Are you sure you want to do it?’ I said yeah I want to go through with it. He said, ‘Ok, you have to put him away early, because there’s not time after that.’ So you need either a submission or a knockout. As if there’s not enough pressure on my shoulders, now I have to put him away.”
Melendez on the controversy around his loss: “I thought I did bigger attacks, I landed cleaner punches. He hit me, but all on the forehead. I left him pretty bloody. And he had some good kicks. I thought I won 1, 2, I can see him winning 3, 4, but I thought I came strong in the fifth and stole the fight.”
Melendez on whether he thinks he deserves a rematch: “You know, I’m not going to say that right now. I’m just happy to be part of the UFC, and I’m just heartbroken right now.”
Cormier on if he has unfinished business in the heavyweight class: “I just want big fights. If they can promise me a big fight at 205 pounds, I’ll think about doing it. I’m not going to fight Cain [Velasquez], so if there’s a UFC title shot on the horizon and it has to be at 205, then yes, I would do it.”
Stann on Thomson’s win: “The thing that stood out to me the most in the beginning of the fight was Josh Thomson’s game plan. He was giving up a whole lot of reach against Nate Diaz. He was hitting angles. He was switching righty and lefty and not really letting his hands go that much, but what he was doing was setting up that high kick by dipping his shoulder making it appear like he was going to kick low and he came over the top of Diaz’s hands and kicked him high. He landed it three times and the third time was the charm.”
Cruz on if Thomson ended the way he would have predicted: “I thought it was going to be close on takedowns. I didn’t expect him to get the finish.”
Thomson on his first UFC fight in nine years and if he could have scripted it any better: “No. I played it over and over in my head and I even had myself losing a couple of times too, which is never good going into a fight. But you have to be prepared for every scenario and I felt that I played it over and over in my head for the last eight weeks, and it came out the way that I wanted it to, thank God.”
Thomson on if he thinks he’s the number-one contender in the lightweight division: “I hope so. I did something the champ here couldn’t do. I finished [Diaz], and I finished him in three. So, I feel like I am, but it’s not my call. I’m just asking for that one chance to fight for the UFC title and my career will be completed.”
Cruz on Matt Brown defeating Jordan Mein: “Let’s not forget, Jordan Mein took this on short notice. It’s a big fight for him against an experienced Brown who’s extremely tough. He was just a little too tough, a little too experienced, and a little too grimy for Mein. The guy was on a three-fight win streak and he’s going to come back. He’s only 23 years old. The kid’s still a stud.”
UFC President Dana White on who he would score the Henderson vs. Melendez fight for: “I had it three rounds to two for Ben Henderson and the second round was one of those wishy-washy rounds.”
White on if he was surprised with how calm Melendez looked: “No, he’s a veteran. He’s been around for a long time, and more importantly, he’s been waiting for this moment. I knew he’d be ready to go tonight.”
White on if he was surprised that Melendez didn’t try to take the fight in the final minute: “Yeah, neither one of them really went at it in the final minute. I think when you’re in the fifth round, and you know that you’re losing the fight, try to pull guard, roll around — do anything to try and win the fight.”
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