Paulo Thiago: “I knew it would be easier to submit him”

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Beyond his opponents, Paulo Thiago has been facing another challenge in MMA: mistrust. Ever since he knocked out Josh Koscheck at UFC 95 – who should have been the opponent this time, but was injured – each fight has been a test. For those unfamiliar with the fighter prior to his clash with Koscheck, he was lucky.

Against Mike Swick on Saturday at UFC 109, the Jiu-Jitsu black belt consolidated himself once and for all as one of the promises of the welterweight division, now dominated by Georges St.-Pierre. After scoring a knockdown, he went for the finish, formalized with a tight arm triangle.

Ismail, in the background, was all smiles after Paulo Thiago’s victory. Photo: Josh Hedges

“I improved my counter-attack a lot. I knew he was a very aggressive fighter and I waited for the right moment to attack. I had been preparing for a very tough opponent in the division, who was supposed to be Josh Koscheck, so not much had changed. A little did in terms of style, reach, but I trained the same way,” he said at the post-UFC press conference.

For the challenge, the fighter had the support of Anderson Silva’s team and Nova União, news published first hand by GRACIEMAG.com.

“I always try to improve myself and improve training. I always try to learn more and find the right people for it. I have to improve in all areas not to leave holes in my game.”

Before getting the fight-defining submission hold, Thiago managed a knockdown on Swick. He could have carried on striking his downed opponent, but opted for the arm triangle.

“I knew the likelihood of finishing him was greater than knocking him out. He could have tied me up there so I went straight for the submission.”

MMA provides an energy unlike any other,” Paulo Thiago.

Always queried about his being a police man on the elite BOPE force, in Brasilia, the fighter commented on his professions.

“I’m happy with my two professions, but, of course, MMA is more exciting. It gives me energy like no other in the world. I would choose to be a fighter for the dream I’ve had since childhood of being champion, as well as for the financial side, a chance to provide my family with greater comfort,” he says in finishing..

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