[...] “We gotta recognize and thank Anderson Silva for all he’s done for the sport, for all the doors he opened. Anderson is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and nobody can deny it.”
Dos Santos also shared his thoughts on the monetary aspect of the sport (past and present) with regards to what he and his Brazilian counterparts received in payment for services rendered.
In addition, he gives his insight into what it entails to be a fighter and makes a comparison between the sport of MMA and soccer. Furthermore, he appraises the current state of MMA in Brazil as well as the misconceptions surrounding its continued development in his country.
How do you see the worship of Brazilian fighters in terms of the purses they get?
Thank God it’s better now, but it has to do even more. I’ve fought for a R$ 300 purse, but the winner would get a R$ 1000 bonus for the victory. Thank God I won two fights and earned R$ 2300. The conditions are still bad in Brazil. I have many friends who fight for R$ 500, which is nothing compared to what he had to invest to get prepared for that fight.
It’s outrageous for such a magnificent sport that demands much dedication. MMA is not for everyone. A fighter must have blood in his eyes, and it has to be worshiped. You see many times in soccer, a non-expressive player winning great amount of money who doesn't bring anything good to Brazil. Many are seen as drunks who set bad examples; while fighters raise the Brazilian image, go through hard times and have to do other things in order to survive. It’s a shame.
But things are changing, thanks to the moment that Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo and I’m living in the sport.
We gotta recognize and thank Anderson Silva for all he’s done for the sport, for all the doors he opened. Anderson is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and nobody can deny it.
How do you evaluate the growth of MMA in Brazil?
Thank God MMA is going through a special moment, and that’s excellent mainly for us fighters, and for everybody who works with the sport. TUF coming to Brazil will also create many opportunities for fighters who dream about fighting in the UFC. Now the kids don’t dream about becoming soccer players, they all wanna become MMA fighters. I’m really happy it is happening with the sport. UFC releasing this game here in Sao Paulo is cool, especially being hosted at Pretorian, which is a branch that embraced the sport and has been helping many Brazilian athletes. It feels like home.
Do you believe Brazil is ready to see MMA grow even more?
I’m sure it is, people just gotta believe it more. It doesn’t matter how much we talk about it on the news, it doesn’t matter it’s getting big, there are still few managers who really believe it. It may not seem like that, but there’s still prejudice towards MMA as a violent sport. The sport needs this aggressiveness. I can guarantee you there’s no such thing, because the athletes are really well-prepared to be in there, and they know what is going on. We have to take the leap and make the entrepreneurs really look at the sport so they believe in us. I know it’s better, but it could do a lot better.
“Cigano” made his debut for the Zuffa-based company almost four years ago in the co-main event at UFC 90. There he would register his primary win—a first-round KO of fellow compatriot and submission expert Fabricio Werdum.
He followed that up with impressive victories against Stefan Struve, Mirko Filipovic, Gilbert Yvel and Gabriel Gonzaga, before going on to win unanimous decisions against Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, the latter of which set him up for a championship bout with Cain Velasquez at the inaugural UFC on Fox event.
Thus far, the Brazilian is 14-1 MMA and 8-0 in the UFC, with his sole loss coming via armbar submission, courtesy of Joaquim Ferreira, someone he’d already defeated in his fourth professional bout.
Dos Santos is currently convalescing following a knee injury and is expected to defend his title against former Strikeforce heavyweight champion and No. 1 contender Alistair Overeem in the summer of 2012.
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