As Lando Vannata walked into the UFC APEX for his UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Lemos pre-fight media obligations, it was impossible not to feel a certain type of vibe from the featherweight veteran.
Donned in an unbuttoned Master Roshi (Dragon Ball) Hawaiian-style shirt, Vannata coolly grabbed the UFC.com microphone and leaned back just about as far as the chair placed in front of the UFC APEX Octagon would let him.
He cracked a smile as I had to adjust my camera framing for how he was seated then he jumped right into the interview without a question even being asked.
“I’m feeling confident man, super super confident,” Vannata stated to UFC.com. “Life’s good, I’m good, this fight is going to be good. Everything is good. What’s there not to be confident about?”
Vannata is right. He’s coming off a win last year in his featherweight debut and is excited to make his twelfth walk to the Octagon. For a guy like Vannata, who genuinely loves every second of his life in the fight game, it’s weeks like this that bring out his true personality.
This is where Vannata thrives.
“For me it’s like a click. I feel like a f****** rockstar. I call myself the ‘Groovy King’. It’s like as soon as the music hits and I see anybody in my f******* line of sight, I see a fan, I see a camera, whatever, it clicks that I’m there and I’m ready,” Vannata said. “There’s no problem with me clicking in. I’m always on go.”
Vannata’s attitude is just one of the reasons that fans think so highly of the New Jersey native. The other reason is Vannata’s exciting style of fighting, which has earned him Fight of the Night honors four times.
Being exciting and bringing swagger to the Octagon is something that Vannata prides himself on and it’s something he is happy that fans can recognize.
“They just see swag a lot of time or a dude who is a dog. One of those two. I don’t feel like an average fan will see the intricacies that go on, like I wouldn’t understand the intricacies of their jobs in their daily lives; that’s beyond me,” Vannata said. “But I got the swag, and I got the style and I’m a dog. Those things usually don’t go hand in hand.”
Vannata believes that his UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Lemos opponent Charles Jourdain only has one of those traits.
“He’s got the mindset for it, he’s a dog for sure. He’s here to fight he’s here to get down,” Vannata said.” But he’s still got a lot of growing to do when I watch his fights from a technical aspect.”
Vannata sees potential in the 26-year-old Jourdain, who has had an up-and-down start to his career thus far. One of the areas that he believes Jourdain excels in is his will to win and his desire to be exciting, but he feels he has yet to see a performance from the Canadian that displayed true skill.
“He’s got ferocity. He likes to rip hard kicks and he likes to throw hard punches, but when I watch him that’s really all I see. I see ferocity, I see aggression, but I don’t see skill. Lack of skill in a lot of areas, lack of layers to his game. It’s very, ‘I’m going to come forward and I’m going to throw,’” Vannata said. “That’s cool, it’s exciting, you put on a good show but there’s a reason he’s got the losses he does and there’s a reason that most of his wins are against bantamweights.”
With that being said, “Groovy” is more than up to put on a good show and potentially notch his fifth Fight of the Night bonus.
“I think it’s going to be a banger,” Vannata said. “But I think it’s going to be a one-sided banger.
“Those are my favorite as long as I’m the one winning,” he laughed.
UFC Fight Night: Lemos vs Andrade, took place on Saturday, April 23, 2022, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!