R.J. Rico
Wednesday January 2nd, 2013

Costa Phillippou hopes to see MMA become legal in New York. (AP) Costa Phillippou hopes to see MMA become legal in New York. (AP)

SI.com tracked down some of MMA’s best athletes at UFC 155 to ask them what the sport should aspire to in 2013.  Here’s a rundown on some of their answers:

COSTA PHILIPPOU, winner of UFC 155 middleweight bout:

“Since I’m coming from New York, I’m looking to see New York getting legalized. Legalizing MMA in 2013, that’s the one thing I’d like to get in 2013. They’re going to run out of excuses.  Everyone else said okay already.”

TIM BOETSCH, lost to Philippou in the UFC 155 middleweight bout:

“I want to see the popularity continue growing, public awareness, understand that we’re not all barbarians. It might be a violent sport but there are certain things that the fighters all understand going in.  We’re all trained to the same thing.  It may look violent and rough on TV but there’s a lot of athleticism, a lot of technical things going on there. It’s really just a chess match using different martial arts techniques.  It’s education, understanding. . . understanding that it’s not a bar fight situation. It’s two highly trained athletes matching skills and trying to figure out game plans to overcome your opponent. We have a long way to go.”

DEREK BRUNSON, middleweight victorious in his UFC debut against Chris Leben:

“Sponsorships could be better. It’s a little lacking right now.”

JOE LAUZON, lost to Jim Miller in the UFC’s 155 Fight of the Night:

“I would like to see less injuries. Overall way too many people are getting hurt in training. We’re training to beat each other up and sometimes we’re too good at it. I think everyone’s trying to push it to the limit. Everyone’s trying to train as hard as they can to get ready. Unfortunately, guys get overtrained a little bit and injuries occur.”

LEONARD GARCIA, lost to Max Holloway in a controversial split decision at UFC 155:

“A payraise.  . . . I feel like I’ve in places with NFL players and I’m the one getting asked for autographs. It’s awkward that they’re making millions and I’m making thousands.”

- Melissa Segura

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