Whoever said that the pressure of fighting in the UFC wrecks nerves forgot to tell the four men that will take center stage at UFC on Fox 7 next weekend.

Reigning UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, and undefeated former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier took time out to speak to the media about next Saturday’s card.

Henderson rides a six-fight winning streak into his title defense against Melendez, who rides a seven-fight winning streak into this fight. Unsurprisingly, the composure of the defending champion remains intact because he knows what Melendez brings into every fight. Therefore, no shock comes from Henderson’s anticipation of a difficult challenge once the cage door shuts.

Oh, and those who wanted to know his take on a superfight with Jose Aldo?

“I’m not looking past Gilbert Melendez with all the Jose Aldo superfight talk,” Henderson said.

Melendez, like Henderson, doesn’t feel much pressure coming into this bout, but the reasons why Melendez would feel pressure differ from those of Henderson. Henderson faces a man in Melendez who pushes as hard a pace, if not a harder pace than some of Henderson’s past foes.

Meanwhile, Melendez comes off of an injury-related layoff to face the best lightweight in the sport in his UFC debut. He last fought in May against one Josh Thomson, but injuries postponed two fights with Pat Healy.

Melendez, though, feels no added pressure. He simply wants to win this fight and bring some gold back to the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu camp.

“I really try not to put too much pressure on myself,” Melendez said. “I try to fight my fight. I think it’s a great accomplishment for my team to get title fights. It’s an accomplishment for the team and I’d love to bring the title back to the gym and share it with those guys, but it’s no added pressure.”

Mir knows much about fighting his fight, as he made a career out of beating people with the things he excels at. However, like Melendez, Mir will also return after a layoff due to injury. For the umpteenth time in his career, the “return from a layoff” situation leaves many asking questions about cage rust, specifically if Mir will have any.

“I am not concerned about ring rust,” Mir said, “in the heavyweight division, sometimes fights get spread out.”

Cormier, fielding questions left and right about whether he will move to light heavyweight to face Jon Jones or stay at heavyweight, just focused on his immediate goal. He wants to focus on Mir and come out on top. However, don’t rule out a move down to “the Jon Jones division” just yet.

“I’ve stated time and time again I want to be a UFC champion and if it means dropping down a weight below, I’ll do that. I have the toughest fight in my career ahead in two weeks and once we’re done with Frank Mir we’ll worry about all that other stuff.”

Photo: UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (Sherdog.com)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.