Paulo Thiago's recent win over Mike Swick at UFC 109 has opened up some eyes that should have been opened much sooner. Then, perhaps, they would have noticed what was right in front of them the entire time.
Well there is no more hiding: Paulo Thiago is for real, and he is a true welterweight contender. Boasting a phenomenal record of 13 wins with only one loss, this judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has caused an entire division to take notice. Heading back home to Brazil after UFC 109, Thiago sat down with Tatame.com to answer a few questions about his latest win, and the direction of his career.
You can view a transcribed version of the interview in English below:
What did you think about how the fight went?
"Awesome, everything went fine. What we thought would happen in the fight happened."
What did you expect for this fight?
"We knew he was aggressive, so we trained a lot to catch him coming. It worked very well. He hit me once, so I took a step or two back. He thought I was hurt from his punch and came in, but I hit him twice and he fell right into D'arce Choke position, so it was easy."
Did his punch hurt you?
"Not much. I lost my balance a little bit, but my vision didn't get black."
Do you think it was the punches or the choke that did him in?
"I don't know. I had the choke locked in, but he may have been rocked by the shots. I know I only held the choke for five seconds or less."
What did the United States guys think about your victory?
"Everybody liked it. The UFC guys said I'm starting to shine, but I have to keep it up".
And you won the submission of the night bonus.
Yeah, it saved me (laughs)
Whats the next step now?
"Its a big division, but there are a lot of fights happening. I don't know if I'll have to wait. I really have no idea right now."
Do you think about the belt?
"I'm not worried about it yet. The UFC will give me a shot when the time is right. Right now I'm gaining experience and feeling a lot more comfortable. I'm just not ready for a title shot yet."
What do you have to do to beat St. Pierre?
"St. Pierre is a very smart fighter, its going to be a chess match. Whoever can stay calm and execute their game plan will win. He works a lot of take down, the ground, the guard...You have to exchange with him, be aggressive. There are a lot of things to cover when you prepare for him."
How much did training with the guys from Nova Uniao and Anderson Silva help you for this fight?
"The trainers are very good, there are a lot of good guys at these gyms that fight all over the world, but I can't forget about my team here in Brasilia, its my home."