When and why did you start training for fighting? I started doing taekwondo for fun when I was around 10 years old, and it was, believe it or not, always my sister that gave me the incentive to do martial arts. When I was a teenager, I started in boxing when I was around 13 years old. It started to become more serious, and I started competing at an amateur level, and it became my main activity for many years. Later, at around 18, I started with BJJ, as well, as I wanted to learn more and be a more complete fighter, and through my boxing trainer, Ivan “Pitu” de Oliveira (who trains Demian Maia, Shogun Rua and others) I started training some MMA around eight years ago.
What ranks and titles have you held? I am a BJJ brown belt for seven years (as I don’t train with the GI too much anymore due to MMA, I can’t be promoted to Black Belt yet). As an amateur boxer I was state champion in São Paulo, and won several bronze and silver medals on a national level in various tournaments. In BJJ I was state champion of São Paulo as a blue belt, and Brazilian champion as a purple belt, and I also got some titles in submission wrestling.
Do you have any heroes? My father. Without him, I wouldn’t be here right now, that’s for sure.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It means a lot. That was a goal of mine that I set in my mind from day one when I started training MMA. I had quit competing in boxing and was pursuing other things, working with my father to help him, as boxing in Brazil won’t pay the bills. But I wasn’t happy and I missed training and competing, and “Pitu” brought me to train with Demian Maia, Shogun Rua and others, and it was a big motivation and inspiration, and I knew that I that this was what I wanted to do, and the UFC was where I wanted to be. I spent many years traveling with the team to UFC shows to help training, do corner work, etc, and was always in pursuit of this opportunity.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? Yes, I graduated in public relations in college, in Brazil.
What was your job before you started fighting? I worked as PR for my father’s company during my boxing competition days, and I also ran a branch of a cosmetics company franchise for around a year. When I started in MMA, I quit my other activities and focused only on training.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? BJJ: São Paulo state champion as a Blue Belt in 2011 , Brazilian National champion as a purple belt in 2011. Submission Wrestling: CBJJE world champion (purple belt in 2012, and CBJJE world champion (brown/black belt division) in 2014. Boxing: Silver Medal at “forja dos campeões” and “Kid Jofre” tournaments in 2006, silver medal in “Luvas de Ouro” tournament in 2008, and São Paulo state champion in 2007.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? Gladiator Combat Fight Middleweight Champion (2018)
Favorite grappling technique: Armbar
Favorite Striking technique: Flying Knee