UFC 147's Milton Vieira Ready to Make His Mark at Featherweight

Steven MuehlhausenContributor IIIJune 23, 2012

From Tapout
From Tapout

When fighters make there UFC debuts, they usually don't get a home-crowd advantage. Milton Vieira is getting that tonight as he will make his UFC debut by squaring off against Felipe Arantes (14-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a key featherweight bout.

A former Strikeforce and Elite XC fighter, Vieira (13-7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has fought a "who's who" in MMA that includes the likes of Jake Shields, Hayato Sakurai and Johnny Eduardo.

When you say the name of Milton Vieira, you think of the creator of the anaconda choke.

"I did the anaconda a long, long time ago," Vieira told Bleacher Report. "I lock this position. I take this position, it's really easy. I have many friends at Brazilian Top Team, everybody training for me. I showed the finish, show the men the finish and when they wanna take, they take. It's my best position. It's really really easy for me."

Soccer is wildly the most popular sport in Brazil, but Vieira says MMA is making an impact to get to that level.

"Soccer is more popular, but MMA now is a great time here," Vieira stated. "The important people: the actors, everybody speaks for MMA and is a great movement and great warmth."

Vieira's last fight took place in Strikeforce, when he defeated Sterling Ford in August. But when the opportunity to join the UFC came, it included a caveat, and that was a drop to featherweight. Vieira jumped at the chance, even if it meant dropping a weight class, to become a part of the biggest MMA organization in the world.

"I came to Strikeforce to make my name, to show my techniques," Vieira said. "But all the time, I wanted to fight in the UFC. After my fight, they (UFC) asked me if I can fight at 145. I think of course I want to fight at 145 because Strikeforce don't have a 145. Just the UFC. Of course I want to fight at 145."

After fighting at welterweight and lightweight his entire career, Vieira is ready. The featherweight division in the UFC is relatively thin, and Vieira really loves this move to his new weight class.

"I love this division," Vieira said. "For me, it's special. It's the best division for me. But they have tough guys, very good wrestlers, ji-jitsu guys. I'm training a lot to fight the wrestlers. Crazy division, a lot of really tough guys."

You can watch the Vieira-Arantes fight on the Facebook portion of UFC 147 starting at 7 p.m. ET.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

You can also follow me on Twitter @fightclubchi.