by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
UFC 56: ‘Full Force’ features four Monte Cox managed fighters in the four premier bouts on the card: Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin, Jeremy Horn, and Sean Sherk. Monte spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio, and broke down the four fights he and the fans are most interested in.
Sean Sherk makes his return to the UFC octagon against a guy the UFC president, Dana White, proclaimed to be “the future,” George St.Pierre. Breaking down the match, Monte said, “I think that Sean’s stature is both a positive and a negative. If the fight ends up on the feet obviously having the short arms, reach, and height is going to be against him. On the ground it’s a real advantage to him. They just showed the replay of him fighting [Benji] Radach. I had forgotten how quickly he had opened up that cut on Radach. He got him down and methodically got into position and wham, wham with the elbows, and the cut opened up. He’s a guy that can do damage in a hurry. He’s a great wrestler. He’s in great shape. It’s a heck of a fight. I think it’s the best fight on the card. I really do.”
Jeremy Horn will be making the move back down to the middleweight division after losing to Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell for the UFC light-heavyweight title at UFC 54: ‘Boiling Point.’ He takes on Trevor Prangley. Discussing the bout, Monte Cox commented, “Prangley will definitely put back on 25lbs, 20 at least. Jeremy will put on about ten, but he’ll look great for the weigh ins. The last time he showed a little bit of abs and stuff like that at the 205. Now, take 20lbs off of that and imagine what it will look like. He’s going to look really good for this one.”
Cox went on to say, “Another exciting fight. I think Prangley will probably try to stand with Jeremy because he knows on the ground he’s in trouble. I’d look for Jeremy’s cleaner punching. We only really got to see him punch against the best puncher in the game. It will be nice to see him punch against somebody else because people will realize he’s actually pretty good standing up there.”
Monte thinks Trevor Prangley will try to keep this fight standing. He went on to say, “I think he’s got to. Everyone knows, on the ground, he’s a straight wrestler. Some submission knowledge and stuff like that, but nowhere near Horn’s league on the ground. Horn’s never been grounded and pounded in his career, and don’t see it starting now….I just see him trying to use his strength and size to knock Horn around a little bit. We’ll get to see what Jeremy’s got. Jeremy thinks he’s going to knock him out…It’s going to be a good fight. I mean, that’s another one. It’s a good fight. There are a lot of good fights on this card.”
Rich Franklin will defend his UFC middleweight title for the first time against rising star Nate ‘The Rock’ Quarry. Questioned about Franklin’s first title defense, Monte said, “It worries me. I mean, I’m always worried before one of my guys fight. I guess I know my guys weaknesses more than most do. I just think that knowing Rich likes to stand up and bang, and knowing Nate Quarry likes to stand up and bang, it gives Nate a better chance than maybe he deserves by making it a stand up fight. Rich has been caught before, so it’s not like he’s never been caught. I think it’s dangerous. I don’t know why people don’t want to give Quarry any kind of credit. I mean, he is 3-0 and knocked everybody out. I thought the [Pete] Sell guy looked pretty decent against [Phil] Baroni, and he knocked him out which surprised me. I thought maybe Sell would beat him. He went right through him. I don’t know. I hope the other people are right. I hope Rich has an easy time, but I’m afraid it’s going to be a little harder than that.”
Monte added, “They’re very similar guys. I just think Franklin is a little bigger, maybe just a little better version of Nate. You know…When you’re out there swinging away, both guys do have power, anything can happen. It’s not one of those fights where you’ll be able to be laid back crossing your legs. I’m going to be nervous as crap the whole time.”
Monte may be nervous, but he’s confident Franklin will retain his UFC middleweight belt Saturday night. “I just read an interview that he (Franklin) did, and Rich is a really smart guy. He gets himself motivated by all different ways, and he went through everything. When he fought [Jorge] Rivera he said it was his first fight at 185. With [Ken] Shamrock, he was fighting a legend. When it was [Evan] Tanner the second time, it was for the title. Now, this one is to defend the title. There’s always something that he gets himself motivated for. Rich is not the kind of guy to take anybody lightly. He’s just not like that at all.”
UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes will attempt to defend his title for the 8th time against Joe ‘Diesel’ Riggs. Riggs accepted the fight on short notice after Karo ‘The Heat’ Parisyan was forced out of the bout due to injury. “I definitely think this is a tougher fight than Parisyan was because with Riggs, he’s got the power to finish the fight at any moment. He’s got knockout power. If he gets on top of you, you’ve got to hold your breath because he can really pound from there. I know he’s a good wrestler. That’s the thing. He hasn’t shown it all the time because he commits so much to his stand-up. I hope this just comes down to Matt just doing his thing, which is jabbing his way in, taking a guy down, and methodically working him over. If that happens, I’ll be a happy camper, but anytime that Riggs does anything as far as getting back to his feet, or getting on top of Matt in his guard, whatever, you’ve got to hold your breath.” Monte told MMAWeekly.
Cox continued, “Every single guy that has come in saying they were going to be as strong as Hughes doesn’t get out of the first round. I mean, it just doesn’t work that way. St.Pierre thought it. Frank [Trigg] did it twice. Sean [Sherk] made it the five rounds, and Sean said he’s the strongest guy he’s ever been under. We can talk about Riggs’ strength, and I’m sure he’s real strong. I never worry about that. There’s no one out there at that weight division going to throw Matt around.”