Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante has crafted a reputation for domination. With a record of 10-2, with nine of his wins coming via TKO/KO, “Feijao” is on a roll like few others in his division.
Tomorrow, he’ll face the toughest test of his career to date in Dan “Hendo” Henderson, a man with similar striking power. A former two-division Pride titleholder, as well as UFC middleweight title challenger, Henderson is a certifiable MMA legend.
I spoke with “Feijao” earlier this week to get his thoughts on the fight.
Phil Lanides: You haven’t fought since you won the title in August. What have you been working on in your training?
“Feijao” Cavalcante: I was in Brazil helping my teammates prepare for their fights and also working on my training. We have a lot of great guys helping us in all aspects of the game, so I feel confident overall.
PL: What does it mean to you to face a bona fide legend like Dan Henderson?
FC: It’s an honor. He is a legend in our sport, and he has fought many tough guys in his career, including my teammates Anderson Silva, Rogerio Nogueira and Rodrigo Nogueira twice. I think it’s a great fight for my first title defense and a great fight for the fans.
PL: Your strong suit is your striking. Dan is known for his clinch work and Greco-Roman wrestling, though he possesses a lot of power. Does this alter your approach to the fight at all?
FC: I have trained with and fought some great wrestlers, including my last fight against King Mo. I like to keep fights standing to use my striking, but my base is jiu-jitsu, so if the fight does end up in the ground I am very comfortable [there] as well.
PL: Your last loss was to Mike Kyle. He’s someone who’s been rumored to be in the title mix. Is that a fight you specifically want?
FC: I am not looking past my upcoming title defense yet, but I will be ready to fight whoever Strikeforce decides.
PL: Do you have a message for Dan Henderson? How about the fans that will see you defend your belt this Saturday?
FC: I think this will be a great fight for the fans. It will be my first title defense against a veteran like Dan Henderson...don’t miss it.