Fighters Only’s UFC 229 Fight Week Diary is brought to you by 5Dimes.
LAS VEGAS — Things were eerie in Las Vegas on Monday, but come Tuesday things turned a little weird.
Official fight week activities kicked off at the UFC Performance Institute with media availability for Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson – the stars featured on UFC 229’s co-main event.
You can always tell the size of the event from the media that turn up and yesterday there were members of the press from all over the world: United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Singapore, Australia and many more. It makes for a cramped and somewhat chaotic scene behind the cameras, but it was good to see colleagues covering the sport who’d not been to a UFC fight week for a long time.
The strapline for the event this week is “The world is watching,” and judging by the media presence here in Las Vegas, that looks to be the case.
Pettis was first up with the media and strolled in with an air of confidence like he had back when he was the UFC lightweight champion three years ago.
In a fascinating 15-minute scrum, Pettis admitted going through a period of listening to criticism online and placing too much emphasis on what others thought of him and his shortcomings. It was great to hear that he’s adjusted to the mindset of being himself and play to his own strengths instead of worrying about others and what they are trying to do. This should unlock the best of him and we will hopefully see the free-flowing innovative striker we know he can be on Saturday night.
Pettis was relaxed, calm and confident. However, Ferguson was intensity personified. At times he was funny, at other times aggressive; for the most part though he was just downright confusing.
“This is a rat race. But I’m no rat. I’m a f***ing turtle, ninja turtle. So which one is your favourite? I like Michelangelo. Next question.”
The source of Ferguson’s distain was evident from the opening few questions. The former interim UFC lightweight champion is less than impressed with the way that his belt got stripped and he’s planning on taking out his frustrations on Pettis and putting himself in prime position to fight for the title again.
“It’s been five months since my injury. Took a long f**king time for me to be here. They took my belt, they took a bunch of zeroes from my paycheck. How do you think I f**king feel? It’s all fun and games, right?
“I’m the f**king champ. See this gold right here? I didn’t lose my belt. They took it from me. The one thing they didn’t take was my smile.”
It’s all eyes on the T-Mobile Arena this Saturday to see if Ferguson is still smiling come Saturday night.