From Jiu-Jitsu champion to UFC fighter. This path traced by the beasts of the gentle art to the largest MMA organization in the world is becoming common place. But fleeing from labels, Antonio Braga Neto didn’t put his black belt aside to join the UFC, but prefers to distance his image from the group of Jiu-Jitsu champions already there.
Chatting with GRACIEMAG.com, during a break at Circuit Team Nogueira 3 on Friday, May 24, Braga Neto talked about his expectations of the world’s most famous octagon, commented on the debut against Anthony Smith and said he doesn’t like to be compared with Demian, Roger and Jacare, MMA superstars who came from Jiu-Jitsu.
“People compare me to them. But I don’t like it. They are on another level, and I’ll still get there. I want to go after my space and thus be able to stand next to them,” said the humble Braga.
Check out the best parts of the conversation of Antonio Braga Neto with GRACIEMAG:
GRACIEMAG.com: World champion of Jiu-Jitsu twice and now signed to the UFC. How is it to be part of the group of great names of Jiu-Jitsu in MMA?
I am very happy to have signed with the UFC and be able to show my work in MMA, but I don’t like to be compared with Demian Maia, Roger Gracie and Ronaldo Jacare. They are very good, and I hope one day I reach the level they are. I just arrived, I want to work hard, do my best and get there.
How about your UFC debut? How is your mental aspect?
I am eager and happy. I hesitated a bit about the opponent. When you sign with the UFC, you don’t know who you will fight. We’ve had rookies fighting experienced guys in the organization. The fact of fighting against another UFC newcomer takes away this feeling, but still acknowledging the danger of my opponent.
Speaking of opponents, what do you already know about Anthony Smith? Were you already able to analyze and strategize?
Anthony Smith is a wrestler, who despite debuting in the UFC is very experienced and comes from Strikeforce. He didn’t let any of his fights go to decision, and I think that’s good. I imagine the pace of the fight will be cool to do a good job and get the victory.
How about the training? Are you improving your striking or sharpening your Jiu-Jitsu to submit?
I’m training everything. I trained a lot of boxing and also worked on muay thai. I have also trained Jiu-Jitsu a lot. I’m paying attention to all parts of the game, there’s no way to know where the fight will go. I’m ready for whatever comes.
TUF Brazil 2 Finale
Ginasio Paulo Sarasate, Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
June 8, 2013
Rodrigo Minotauro vs Fabricio Werdum
“The Ultimate Fighter Brasil 2″ Final
Thiago Silva vs Rafael Feijao
Daniel Sarafian vs Eddie Mendez
Erick Silva vs Jason High
Rony Jason vs Mike Wilkinson
Raphael Assunçao vs Vaughan Lee
Ronny Markes vs Derek Brunson
Godofredo Pepey vs Felipe Arantes
Ildemar Marajo vs Leandro Buscape
Rodrigo Damm vs Mizuto Hirota
Caio Magalhães vs Karlos Vemola
Antônio Braga Neto vs Anthony Smith