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Top Heavyweight contenders Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin will headline the stacked UFC 131 (Vancouver BC, Canada ) fight card, set to take place June 11th from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The co-main event will feature a Featherweight showdown between former Lightweight title challenger Kenny Florian and Diego Nunes, while Golden Glory stand-out Jon Olav Einemo takes on fellow promotional newcomer Dave Herman. Mark Munoz will square off with Brazilian submission specialist Demian Maia and Donald Cerrone takes on Vagner Rocha.
Below are highlights from today's Media Conference Call, which included headliners Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin:
Junior dos Santos
• I really want to be the UFC Heavyweight Champion. So, now I got one more big challenge in front of me. Shane Carwin is a very dangerous fighter and I have to respect him. But, I believe in myself so much and I will give 100% to keep myself in line for a title shot.
• I am very excited to be fighting Shane because my last fight was almost ten months ago. So thats too much time without fighting and I am very excited to be fighting again.
• The Ultimate Fighter was a great experience for me and I learned a lot there. But, also, I have very good coaches and teammates and they are with me all the time to teach me and help me with my training camps, so I'm feeling great for this fight. I know its going to be a tough fight, but I am ready for it.
• Both me and Shane Carwin are good stand-up fighters. I believe so much in my boxing and that's what has brought me here up until now. I feel very comfortable fighting on my feet, so I will try to keep the fight standing, but I am ready to fight wherever the fight goes - on the ground or on my feet, it doesn't matter where.
• No, I don't talk to Lew (Polley) anymore, because I just don't have very close contact with him. I know, somebody told me he was talking some bull about me, but I don't care about that.
• My training camp didn't change (when Carwin stepped in for Lesnar) because I train hard all the time. But, my strategy will now be a little bit different because with Brock I could be a little more comfortable on my feet, as to with Shane I am going to have to be a little more cautious standing.
• I learned a lot from my loss and that was really the defining moment of my career. After that I felt like I was a lot more experienced and relaxed. I saw that losing was really not that big of a deal and I really matured and grew as a fighter.
• (Asked 3 things that Carwin doesn't know about him that he should fear) Well... That's secret (laughs). I think I'm a fast fighter in both my hands and movements and I think I'm a strong guy and one more... I think I have enough skill to make a hard fight with him.
• Right now my focus is on beating Shane Carwin to get to Cain Velasquez. Of course I'd love to fight at UFC: Rio, but that's not one of my priorities right now. I'm aiming for the title.
• At first I was a little upset (when Lesnar pulled out) and my opponent changed because I haven't fought in nearly ten months now, but I realized it was in God's hands and all I can really do is prepare for this fight and wish all the best to Brock.
• I've really missed doing what I love to do, stepping into the octagon and doing what I am trained to do. But, really the main thing is to keep fighting, you've got to always be fighting to keep yourself up to date. I think that this fight is going to be great and will get me ready for the title shot.
• If I could go back (knowing that Lesnar would be pulling out of the fight) I would definitely still do The Ultimate Fighter again. I made some good friends and I really liked the guys on my team. I think its really important for me to have that appearance in the U.S. and to be a mainstream fighter.
• I'm always looking for the knockout in my fights and this fight will be no different. Shane Carwin can walk through some punches, he's a really tough guy, but I have a lot of belief in my hands and the power in my hands and I think Shane may have never felt power like I have.
• Its something that I've struggled with over the course of my mma career. I've got foraminal stenosis in my neck, which basically your vertebrae grow in around the nerves and start to pinch and close them off. So obviously I was feeling pain and the middle of my back and right arm were going numb... The surgeons were able to get in there and correct all that.
• Its night and day. Its the same thing, back in 2000 I had the lower back surgery were I had a ruptured disc that was pressing on my sciatic nerve, and as soon as the surgery was over, you know you feel complete relief from that. Its a great feeling when you get the feeling back in your arms or your legs right after surgery and you know you are going to be better.
• You know, I don't know if there are any warm-up fights in the UFC. You're fighting the top group of guys in the world that have competed to get to that level and Jon (Olav Einemo) was no exception. He is a very tough opponent, but just hasn't run the course that Junior dos Santos has run through the UFC. So either way I had to make sure I was prepared to fight my best.
• Junior is one of the top guys in the world. I've got a ton of respect for him and all of the opponents that he's fought. But, in the same sense, the focus is on me and me becoming a better fighter and that's what we try to do throughout the whole year. So, like I said, this is a super exciting time for me and you get very few opportunities like this in life.
• (I train year round because) this is something that I love to do and just to be able to compete, I'm living a dream. I couldn't ask for something better to do and beyond that, I have guys in here in camp that are helping to push me and when I get out of camp, I have to help push them.
• (Cardio, conditioning, and patience) Lets say that those are fair changes that I've made since (the Brock Lesnar fight). We've worked on diet and nutrition and conditioning and just a number of things. Every time you come out of a fight, you always try to make yourself a better fighter. There were a lot of things that I learned in that fight.
• Yea, lets face it, both dos Santos and I got to where we're at by knocking people out on our feet. I think we're both explosive fighters and I think the fans are going to have a real treat come UFC 131 (June 11th, 2011; Vancouver BC, Canada )when it gets to that main event, knowing both guys have knockout power in their hands.
• I'm weighing about 255-260. I've been working with Forged Fuel and my diet is mostly organic now, a lot of fruits and vegetables. We get some chicken and fish in for protein. Everything we do now is for recovery.
• Before the Lesnar and Frank (Mir) fights, I was cutting around 15-pounds for that Friday weigh-in. I feel like I have more energy now and I just feel generally better.
• Anytime that one of our competitors go through something like this, my prayers are with them. Every time before I enter the octagon I pray for both fighters that we come out injury free and that God be with us. So you know where my thoughts are with Brock right now, I hope that he's able to make a full recovery and get on to living life... Hopefully we will be able to meet again.
• I don't think the camps change so much, everything is the same. Obviously my strategy has changed a little be too. I was going against a BJJ champ and I had to prepare for him taking me down or trying to take me to the ground and now I am going against dos Santos, who knocks people out. So the strategy has changed, but the camp stays the same.
• (dos Santos and Lesnar) are different threats in different areas. Brock is obviously a big threat on the ground and Junior is a big threat on his feet. It doesn't matter, if you are looking at who we're fighting, my past several fights have been against top 5 or top ten guys in the world. So, Junior is no exception.
• I learned a lot (from the loss to Lesnar). I learned some things about picking my shots when you got somebody hurt or down, I learned some things about my nutrition and cardio - I don't know if it was so much a cardio issue, but we'll see come future fights. But, those are the kinds of things that I worked on for this fight.
• (Losing) is part of life, I'm not going to dwell on it. There were definite positives and the one thing that I can say is that I left everything in the octagon (against Lesnar). I was barely able to walk out of there, so I didn't hold back. I put everything I had, every ounce of energy I had into that fight. So, when I walked out of that cage door, I knew in my mind I was ok with myself.
• (Asked 3 things that dos Santos doesn't know about him that he should fear) I think like all guys that reach the UFC level, once you watch tape you can see what their strengths are. Big heart is one, toughness, and never giving up. And you see that in a lot of fighters in the UFC, like I said, you're fighting the top guys in the world.
• We're knockout artists and that's how Junior fights and that's how I fight. I just believe in my power and my strengths and boxing and he believes in his, so we'll find out come June 11th.
• What I missed most was being able to compete, that's what I love to do. To be able to step into that octagon with all of the crazy UFC fans going wild and show off my skills.
By Joey Santosus UFC News
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