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When and why did you start training for fighting? When I was 11, my mother wanted me and my brother to choose a sport so that we wouldn’t be hanging out on the street. My brother chose football, I chose karate. Then, when I got 18, I got bored with the high-level karate strategies. All were based on speed but no real efficiency, because the most important thing was to score points. So, I decided to change for another discipline with more contact. I wanted to turn to Muay Thai. So I met Cyrille, who was running a Muay Thai school next to my parents’ home. He was starting to practice MMA, so he also made me try it. I liked it. And now, it’s been nine years I’ve been by his side.
What ranks and titles have you held? I’ve just won the WAFC 2008 World tournament and I’m the XFC European Champion.
Do you have any heroes? Well, I don’t have heroes because I think that we, human beings, all have flaws. So, I’d rather just get inspired by the qualities of the people I admire, and keep on building my own personality. Heroes are for cinema…
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? I’ve been working a long time to become and prove myself as one of the top ranked fighters in the world. And I’m still working hard for it, everyday. Becoming a UFC fighter was one of my goals because that’s where all the best fighters on the planet are. So, that’s where I want to be and I want to become a champion one day. I know it’s a long road which takes a lot of work and patience, to build myself as The Man…. But work has never frightened me. I’ll be a champion one day.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? Yes. I have a bachelor degree in audiovisual studies. Audiovisual is my second passion. I started practicing it in clubs and associations at the same time I started martial arts.
What was your job before you started fighting? I used to be a cameraman and director’s assistant for TV and cinema.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? Pancrase amateur fights: 10 fights – 10 wins.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? Cage Rage veteran, Deep veteran, Jungle Fight veteran, PFC veteran
Ranks in any martial arts styles: Karate brown belt.
Favorite grappling technique: Triangle choke
Favorite Striking technique: Knee strikes