The newest world BJJ champion to join the UFC, Augusto Tanquinho, started 2017 on the right foot. After a losing debut that also injured him, he has now achieved his first win under the organization, and also the first by any Brazilian this year.
Tanquinho talked to Graciemag about beating Frankie Saenz on MMA’s biggest stage and discussed plans for the future.
GRACIEMAG.COM: This is your first win in the UFC. What is the feeling, especially coming off of an injury?
AUGUSTO TANQUINHO: It was incredible. I had a rocky 2016. Defeat; injury; being away from competition basically the whole year. So winning my first in the UFC and starting the year right, and giving this joy to the Brazilian people to boot, was really special.
You did very well taking him down. Did you use the takedowns learned in BJJ?
BJJ is a complete thing. So all I’ve learned in these 20 years of BJJ will always help me, but I’ve been doing wrestling work here at Arizona MMA Lab, so I believe they are mostly the ones responsible for my evolution in wrestling.
You were surprised by an elbow strike that almost knocked you out, but you managed to recover nicely. What belt would you say you rank as nowadays in the striking game?
I still consider myself a white-belt, but maybe I’ve gotten some notches on it. There’s no lack of tenacity and willpower, even as a white-belt.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I intend to have a very full, productive year — do three or four MMA bouts. This year I’ll be back fighting more BJJ as well, so yeah, I hope to be at the next ADCC.