Diego Saraiva will take on Jorge Gurgel at UFC 73
Denis Martins: You are going to fight for the second time at UFC. How did the first opportunity come to you?
Diego Saraiva: Everything was quick, I was not waiting for that when my manager Ken Pavia called and asked me if I would fight Hermes Franca within three days in Florida, and it did not matter the result I would reach a three fight contract with the association. On this fight at UFN 8, I would be like an alternate, because it seems Spencer Fisher, who would fight Franca, had an injury and probably would not fight. I did not think twice and accepted. This would be an opportunity of having a dream coming truth.
DM: So you finally debuted in UFC 67 against Dustin Hazelett, but this was not in your weight class category. Was this another opportunity you could not lose?
DS: Oh yeah. After one week of the first request, I got to debut at UFC 67 against Hazelett at 170lbs category and in a chance where I trained only one week. In fact the troubles mentioned were not the worst part of this fight, but it was his reach advantage over me. He used a lot his reach to come across like the winner of that fight.
DM: You had several troubles, but even so you only lost by decision. Do you think you could make better if enough preparation?
DS: I think so. Hazelett is a great fighter, but I only had one week and I lost by decision. In reality he should have faced Melvin Guillard, but he broke his hand and could not fight. So they called me to be in the position of last minute replacement once again. I guess the referee harmed a little my tactic too, because he re-started on the feet when I was in good positions. Like for example: I was in Hazelett’s half guard, working a pass and the referee stopped and started on the feet.
DM: This time, at UFC 73 (07/07), you are going to fight a Brazilian, Jorge Gurgel, who is the Hazelett’s coach. How do you face this situation of brawling against a Brazilian?
DS: I have to say, I do not like to fight a Brazilian, but like we are professional fighters, we need to. Another fact is that Gurgel and myself are from the same city in Brazil, Fortaleza.
DM: What is your opinion about Gurgel?
DS: He is an excellent fighter, with great cardio and very explosive. We know each other in person, before he coming to USA, we trained in same team, but in different academies. I expect him coming to trade on the feet against me at July 7th.
DM: You are fighting at 155lbs at July 7th, and this is a good point. However how do you compare you preparation’s level this time with the last time against Hazelett?
DS: I am feeling better, very well trained than when I fought at UFC 67. The pace on the trainings is high, my conditioning is superb and my on the feet game is good too. I am training several hours per day focusing the victory.
DM: Do you feel an extra responsibility on winning this time?
DS: I do. I lost my first appearance and I need to have a victory this time. This not only for the UFC, this is for me and for the people who believe in me.
DM: The Brazilian fans do not know you very well, and I guess a small portion of the American ones either. So what can you tell about your career?
DS: I came to live in Atlanta in 2003, where I taught BJJ in an academy named Knuckle Up. IN Brazil I am natural of Fortaleza, Ceara and I trained with Master Guilherme Santos since I was 12 years old in Nova Uniao academy. Master Santos gave me the black-belt when I was 18 years old
DM: You have 14 fights and if you beat Gurgel in July 7th you will reach 10 victories. What do you expect for your career after this fight against Gurgel?
DS: I will be ready for the requests of UFC, I am confident in the victories and on climbing the ranking. This lightweight category and its fighters are tough, a lot of competitors come lose weight to fit themselves on this weight class, and when they arrive on the day of the fight, they are heaviest. I still did not know what will happen in 2008, but I am confident in a excellent rest of 2007 and in the years which are coming.
DM: What do you pick in the fight between Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca?
DS: This will be a war. I hope Franca wins and brings more one belt for Brazil, he has a great BJJ and hits with power on the feet.
DM: Five Brazilians will fight at UFC 73, how do you see this Brazilian invasion?
DS: I think we will dominate the UFC, the Brazilian fighters are tough and have heart for the MMA.
DM: Thanks for your time Saraiva, would you like to add anything else?
DS: Thank you very much. I would like to leave a big HuG for my all friends in Brazil and to thank the sponsors Knuckle Up Fitness, Punishment Athletics and Discount Nutrition.