Paulo Filho continues his battle with depression. Having relapsed, he had to cancel his October commitment to Dream. Keen to recover again, Paulão contacted promoter Amaury Bitetti repeatedly asking to fight at the next Bitetti Combat event, to take place December 12, in Barueri, São Paulo.
When he saw how determined his friend was, Amaury didn’t think twice about adding Paulão to the card. The cure for depression will be his matchup with Japan’s Tatsuhiko Nishizaka. Check out the exclusive interview below:
This announcement was made just 15 days before the bout. Were you already in preparation?
I’m really focused on what I’m going to try and show. I’m working on what needs to be worked on and let’s see how far I can really go. I don’t guarantee I’ll be 100% for this fight, but my project is to follow through and show I can recover.
At the last Bitetti Combat you were criticized for performing below par. Will things be different this time?
I’m already in good shape and have been training hard for ten days. I’m lifting weight with Julio, my physical conditioning coach, and hard at it with Josuel Distak. He runs me to complete exhaustion, at fight pace. We work specifically on the fight and I feel really great. I’m training right, eating right and doing all the things I didn’t used to do!
Why didn’t you show up for your fight at Dream?
My head wasn’t in the right place and I ended up without enough time to get my visa. I was heavy, unmotivated.
What is it like to deal with depression? Is it a tough battle to overcome?
It’s a series of things we don’t choose. It’s a really complicated disease and we always go through highs and lows. Sometimes you’re alright and sometimes sad, life loses its meaning. We’re human beings, but training properly I’m still hard to handle. That’s where I’m getting now, but I know I haven’t won the battle yet.
And what do you expect from your adversary?
I’m not concerned with that – I’ll fight whoever Amaury gives me to fight. There’ll be three five-minute rounds. I’ll fight at 88kg, with my head in the right place and I’ll be better.
Have you been keeping up with the fight scene during your down time?
I still keep up with it. I saw Dan Hardy’s fight. That kid is good, but St.-Pierre, with his greater effectiveness in Jiu-Jitsu, will have a field day with him. Bisping has also been fighting with a lot of heart. The truth is that what we see in action these days is health, defense and non-stop attacking. Technique, in some cases, is foregone. I’ll still go for technique, through Jiu-Jitsu, which is what I know best how to do.