Galvão reflects and finds lessons in bitter defeat

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Galvão (right) at weight-in against Tyron. Photo: Esther Lin

One who always stood out on the mats, a world champion of Jiu-Jitsu, André Galvão seeks the same success in MMA. However, the black belt suffered a painful setback on the way to his objective. Coming off a win over Jorge Patino two months ago, Galvão was unrecognizable against the undefeated Tyron Woodley at last weekend’s Strikeforce event. The poor performance cost him in suffering a knockout for the first time in his career and delays his dream of capturing the promotional belt.

In the following conversation with, the fighter comments on his mistakes and the big lesson derived from the trying moment he faces.

I read on Twitter that you didn’t prepare properly. Is that correct?

Tyron did everything just right and is to be congratulated. But what we do in training reflects in the fight. I accepted this matchup on four weeks notice. I’d just fought Macaco and was totally unfocused, taking care of my gym. Ed Soares (his manager) called me and I accepted right there and then. I feel I should have had outside advice. If I’d spoken with my coaches in Brazil, like Distak and Rogério Camões… If I’d spoken with Jacaré, Feijão or Anderson… I’m sure they’d have told me not to fight. But I ended up embracing the idea.

Did your move to the USA hinder you? Was this last fight too short after your fight with Macaco?

I thought I’d be ready. But as the weeks went by, I realized I wasn’t. I wasn’t at weight and couldn’t sleep right. I don’t have a house here in the USA yet and am sleeping a friend’s place. My thoughts were on finding a home, being far from my family, and on personal problems. I know saying that after the fact draws criticism and Tyron deserves his due credit, of course. But this sort of stuff influences the fight. I confess I was disappointed. Two weeks away from the fight, I was close to calling my manager to say I wasn’t well. But I said I’d fight and did.

Photo: Asther Lin

What was it like in the cage? What did you think of Tyron?

Tyron hits hard, but I don’t know if my being in such a bad state got in the way of my recovering from the punch. I don’t remember anything after the first punch. What you all saw me do I did on automatic pilot. He was one of the options as opponent for the Macaco fight, but he didn’t accept. I feel that’s what makes the difference. He’s doing things right, fighting once every five months. There has to be an interval between fights, at least three months. Anyone who trains knows that the ideal training camp lasts eight to nine weeks, at least. It was a mistake; I hope I don’t repeat it.

What’s the big lesson you derive from all this?

I feel the big lesson… There were many. I have to be near my family; I’ve been away from them for two months. I have to be with the right coaches. I was at Brandon Vera’s academy for three weeks, a great team, but the guys there didn’t know my game. And, very importantly, to say no. In MMA we’re always in there to win. Losses happen, of course, but I don’t need to go making it easy for bad luck to happen. I should have said no to this fight.

Now in the USA, how are you going to program your training?

The truth is it’s much easier to work in Brazil. But I made this decision and I have my gym here. Now Minotauro’s going to have a training center here and, if it seems right, I’ll end my training camp in Brazil. Anderson, Distak, Jacaré, Feijão, Corvo… Those are guys I trust and who motivate me. Training in Brazil is different. But I’m going to go after the best here to train with. I’m going to seek out the best trainers and take care of my gym. Everything will be fine. I have faith in God; I feel it was a learning experience, and I’m still in the hunt for the belt. That’s my dream and I’m going after it.

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