When Danillo Villefort steps into the cage for the second installment of World Series of Fighting in Atlantic City, it will bring his 17-month hiatus from mixed martial arts to an end.
Over this time the elder of the fighting Villefort brothers has dealt with a lengthy recovery from injury, and the tedious—and oftentimes stressful—situation of finding a new promotion to call home.
The first step on his quest to carve out a place on one of MMA's newest stages comes against former TUF alum Kris McCray on March 23. It is an opportunity the Blackzilians team member intends to make the most of and he plans on wasting no time getting down to business.
"I'm bringing the action, bro," Villefort told Bleacher Report. "From the first second of the fight until it ends, I'm looking for the finish. This fight isn't going the distance, but if it somehow does, it is going to be really bloody. I'm going to try to rip his head off and I'm sure he's looking to do the same to me. I'm coming into this fight very aggressive and I'm going to do my best to rip his head off.
"I'm going to come out very aggressive in this fight. I'm going in there to finish him. I don't like to fight for three rounds and I'm going to be looking to finish this fight as soon as possible."
On paper, the match-up between Villefort and McCray has all the makings for a classic "wrestling versus jiu-jitsu" pairing. While Villefort acknowledges the Toms River-natives greatest strength, he believes he has the skills not only neutralize "Savage's" wrestling, but show off a sharper striking game in the process.
"I believe I am a well-rounded fighter," Villefort said. "My striking and grappling are good. I'm not a great wrestler but I'm a Judo guy and I'm confident in my Judo skills. In all of my past fights I have done well using my Judo technique. He's a good wrestler who likes to grind and push on his opponents. We'll see which one will work best between his wrestling and my Judo.
"I have been developing my striking a ton. Since I joined the Blackzilians we've brought some real high-level Dutch strikers in. I have been getting my ass whooped really bad and that has only brought my striking level higher. I want to see what happens from here. I want to try striking as much as possible in my next fight."
After nearly a decade in the sport of mixed martial arts, Villefort is looking to start a new chapter. While the delay in his return to action brought about speculation that the 29-year-old Brazilian had hung up the gloves for good, "Indio" is eager to get back to doing what he loves.
Fighting is in the Villefort blood. Younger brother Yuri recently competed under the UFC banner, and now Danillo is looking to do his part to further the family's fighting legacy. Nothing makes him happier than mixing it up inside the cage, and it is a love that goes far beyond numbers in a bank account.
"Fighting is a sense of pride for our family," Villefort said. "My father (Francisco "Master Indio" Silva) has been fighting forever. He has more than 200 Vale Tudo fights back in Brazil. He's been helping and training us since we were little kids. I believe we have the fighting gene in our blood. That's what we do. We fight and we love it. We don't really fight for the money. We never jumped into an MMA career looking to get rich. It's just what we love to do.
"A lot of people thought I had retired because I've been away from the cage for so long. But I had a really bad injury and surgery on my shoulder. For my last fight with Strikeforce I fought with a big injury. I tore three ligaments in my shoulder and I still fought. But after that I had a long recovery and then got back to training very hard. I have so many good guys here in the gym. I just can't wait to jump in that cage man.
"I have a good feeling," Villefort added about WSOF. "They have a good roster of fighters right now and I believe they have all the potential to come up with a great show. I know it sounds strange for me to keep saying it, but I can't wait to jump in that cage, man."
Duane Finley is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.