Three-time Jiu-Jitsu World Champion (2001, ’02, ’05) Fredson Paixão is coming off back-to-back wins in the WEC, and as it will cease to exist, sending the bantam and featherweight fighters on its roster to the UFC, the black belt is getting ready to make his debut in Dana White’s organization.
The said debut will go down December 4, at TUF Finale 12, marking the end of the twelfth season of the The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Fredson will square off against Pablo Garza, who counts nine wins and just one loss on his record, with six submissions and one knockout. The bout won’t be in the lightweight division Fredson has been fighting in, however. It will be at lightweight.
Check out what the black belt had to say to GRACIEMAG.com.
What was it like to, from one moment to the next, become part of the UFC?
I’m still trying to assimilate it. Everybody who pursues a career in MMA dreams of fighting in the UFC. It’s like what the World Cup is to a soccer player. Soccer players want to get on their national team and then dispute the Cup, you know? It’s a huge emotion and I thank God for it happening December 4.
What do you make of your opponent, Pablo Garza?
I watch his fights every day and he has some strengths, he’s a dangerous guy. He kicks well and a lot of folks are overlooking him because he lost on his UFC debut. But he accepted that fight against Tie Quan Zhang when there was only a week to go. Losing weight like that is rough and, this time, he’ll be much better prepared. I’m going to impose my game, try for the takedown, and be all about Jiu-Jitsu!
Garza has six submissions. Did you focus primarily on your ground game?
I focused on everything for this fight. These days you can’t go thinking Jiu-Jitsu will take care of everything, that boxing will take care of everything… You have to be prepared. But I did do ground work specifically targeting him. I have my eye on that aspect and I’ll be prepared.
Do you miss Jiu-Jitsu competitions?
I go to Carlinhos’s (Gracie, IBJJF president) events here in the United States and I always get struck by longing. I really miss the competitions and I’ll be back in them some time. I even participated in some events recently, but I took it easy. I’ve done a lot for Jiu-Jitsu already and I can’t go getting hurt before a fight. But I do think about returning. Next year, if my schedule isn’t too full, I’d like to compete at the Worlds or the Pan. Who knows? – maybe even in Brazil.
I want to face the Mendes’, I want my throne back!” Fredson
What is your take on the fighters who currently dominate your division (featherweight) in the gentle art?
Cobrinha is a really aggressive guy and a finisher, his game pleases me the most. But I’ve seen the Mendes’ (Rafael and Guilherme) and they are on a roll. They came out of nowhere and, man… The only thing is that I feel this 50/50 business hampers their game some. But they are some of the toughest I’ve seen. I want to fight them, I want my throne back (laughs)!
Who are your favorite Jiu-Jitsu fighters these days?
What can you say about Roger (Gracie)? He’s way ahead, more mature and more technically aware. He’s beating everyone. There’s a lot of new guys who have been doing great as well. I like Cobrinha and the Mendes’ right now. Those are the names that will be at the forefront for some time still.