How is your preparation for the next fight against Gabriel Gonzaga? What parts of the training you think is important step especially for this fight?
I was about to make a fight with him before, but he got hurt and they put me to fight with Gilbert Yvel in his place. Therefore, we had studied him a little at that time and again we are doing this now in order to make our strategy. My workouts are very good; I was in San Diego training with Minotauro for his fight and I trained a lot of wrestling. Now back to Bahia, I will continue to train wrestling to not let the fight go to the floor, since everyone knows that Gonzaga is a great black belt and will want to take the fight to the ground.
What are his strengths that you can already identify to win this fight?
He is an excellent black belt and world champion, and is also good at striking up and a very hard and complete opponent. I think the fight I'll need much of attention and that’s what we are working, speed and attention. I think so, if I'm fast and being on time, I can surprise him.
Gonzaga in interviews says that he has no fear of striking with you and will give his best. You believe that?
I think that everyone knows his own strategy and if he is saying one thing like that, I hope that he will do it and exchange with me. If he wants to fight with me standing, I believe it will be a great fight. Even he saying that, I do not think he will do this. For me, he will try to take me down.
Minotouro said in an interview before you fight against Gilbert Yvel when you were training, had a foreigner in your class to train with you and that you trained falls with him as an equal. What you have to say that developments in wrestling after training in the United States?
The United States as everyone knows is very strong in wrestling and I could count on the help of staff Mark Muñoz which is four times All American wrestling and is very good. He took enough staff there to help me and the heavyweights of wrestling, so I really could do some good drills to test me a little. I actually evolved in this area and I'm more concentrated, more focused and I believe I'm also better in takedown defense and knocking down. I'm feeling much better than before.
Talking about his master Minotauro who fought recently with Cain Velasquez and didn’t go well. What you have to say about this fight?
This fight surprised us, but Cain is a pretty tough guy and is very well in the UFC. He has done great fights in the tournament and the last was no different with Minotauro. Rodrigo was very good, in his best moment and in shape. He was well trained and fast, but it wasn’t his day. God knows what do and it wasn’t his moment, and Cain passed by himself. Now is look in front and then try to get back to the path of victories.
The next fight of UFC heavyweight is between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir to see who will dispute the belt against Brock Lesnar. What is your expectative for this fight?
They are also two great fighters and I will not bet on anyone, but I believe that if the fight remains standing Carwin has the most chances and if on the ground Mir can end the fight.
The UFC said something about the dispute for the belt if you beat Gonzaga?
No, they didn’t say anything yet. Nevertheless, I believe that beating Gonzaga, our intention is to think about the belt for sure and my goal now is this. I am very excited and I'm going to pursue it.
*Photo: Josh Hedges/UFC