“I have no animosity towards him, I have a lot of respect for him â€“ itâ€™s just one of those things where heâ€™s an awesome competitor and I canâ€™t wait to get in there to fight him. Itâ€™s a huge fight for me. Itâ€™s the biggest one Iâ€™ve had and Iâ€™m looking forward to it.”
“I feel heâ€™s that gatekeeper to the Top 10 or Top 5 in the lightweight division. I think heâ€™s put himself in that position by being one of the best fighters in the UFC. Heâ€™s had a couple really close decisions and that (Roger) Huerta loss set him back a little bit. Those minor setbacks have stopped him from actually fighting for the title, but heâ€™s right up there….The UFC is throwing him at me to see what I can do. If I get past him that automatically puts me in a position where everyone knows that Iâ€™m the real deal and Iâ€™m ready to make a run for the title in another year or two. If I donâ€™t get past him, itâ€™s one of those things where it definitely sets me back.
Heâ€™s a wrestler, but he doesnâ€™t stall, and heâ€™s just 100 percent intensity all the time, so it should be fun. I think Iâ€™m the smarter fighter, more technical, and I know I can beat him. Iâ€™m 100 percent confident; I wouldnâ€™t have taken it if I didnâ€™t think I could win.”