It's hard to believe that, after one victory over Dennis Bermudez at The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale, a look into the eyes of Diego Brandao is a look into the eyes of a man who has already cemented his status as a great Featherweight. However, whether you'd think as much or not, the fact remains that Brandao is already a great Featherweight in his own right.
He had the raw tools and the experience needed to make some serious waves in the MMA world before he even set foot in the Octagon, but then he became a member of The Ultimate Fighter 14 and cemented his case as an explosive knockout artist with a lot of potential and some determination to boot.
It probably only helped Brandao's image as a focused and disciplined fighter, albeit a hotheaded fighter, that he liked to always look at his opponents, namely Steven SIler and Bryan Caraway, as if they truly did say something disrespectful to him beyond the lines of "I will defeat this man if we ever get paired up to fight in the cage."
Wins over Steven Siler and Bryan Caraway in the TUF house only further supported the claim of Brandao's early brush with greatness, but it was last night's win by armbar against Bermudez that had people confident about Brandao's future.
Brandao answered plenty of questions about what he can do in certain situations by dropping Bermudez but not immediately going in for the kill. Brandao then got dropped about two or three times by Bermudez, who almost got the finish and escaped a submission attempt before getting slammed to the ground.
The armbar that ended the fight came out of nowhere, but it was the final answer to the final question asked about Brandao, and he answered all the questions asked of him correctly through his performance.
When he gets hit, he finds a way to get out while also causing some harm to his opponent in the process, and as can be expected from the level of competition that exists below the 155-pound limit, he does not stop until he finds his "W." And while it may be premature to talk about the UFC Featherweight Title with this kid, it's a subject that will one day be associated with him.
Diego had to pull off somewhat of a comeback in order to beat Bermudez, but he showed that he's not afraid to fight through situations in which he's close to defeat, and if this kid is given the chance to shine, it may be no more than four to five years, minimum, that we start talking about how close Brandao is to the top of the UFC Featherweight mountain.