Sotiropoulos eager to fight Saturday, then in Australia

DETROIT -- George Sotiropoulos has quietly worked his way up the UFC's lightweight ladder. Since losing in the semifinals of season six of "The Ultimate Fighter," the Australian fighter has had six straight wins in the UFC.

However, he wasn't quiet at the press conference for UFC 123 at the MGM Grand in Detroit on Wednesday. Sotiropoulos, who is fighting fellow TUF alum Joe Lauzon on Saturday, was assertive in asking for a spot on the UFC's planned February event in Australia. A reporter asked Sotiropolous if he wanted to be on that card.

Sotiropolous: I will definitely be on that card. It's an absolute.

("Oh, really?" look from Dana.)

Australian reporter: Dana, can you confirm that?

Sotiropoulos: Say that again?

Reporter: Can you concur, Dana? Will you hope to see him on that card? That question is for Dana.


Dana: Are you talking to me? First, I didn't know you were talking to me, and second I couldn't understand a word you said. I'm going to turn to my Australian translator. (To Sotiropoulos) What did he say?

Sotiropoulos: He said, do you concur, would you want to see George on the Australian card, and of course, the answer is yes, he does.

This fight has him in the spotlight. Though Sotiropoulos has recent wins over Kurt Pellegrino and Joe Stevenson, both decisions, the expectations for him have grown with each fight. That hasn't changed the way he has gotten ready for this fight.

"The intention, the goal and the lifestyle is the same. Everything is the same. Nothing like that changes."

He shared the dais with Matt Hughes, the opposing coach during his season of "The Ultimate Fighter." Sotiropoulos said that was a sign of how far he's come.

"It's a culmination of a long road, and many years of training. Guys I was watching many years ago, now they're fighting on the same card as me."

And if he gets through Joe Lauzon on Saturday, maybe he'll get his wish to fight with more of his heroes in his native land.

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