Brad Tavares Talks UFC on Fuel, Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva and More

G DAnalyst IIIApril 30, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Mixed martial artist Brad Tavares arrives at the third annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2010 at the Palms Casino Resort December 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Injuries are a part of the game.

This was shown to be true as UFC middleweight Brad Tavares was slated to take on Tim Credeur at UFC 137.

Two injuries later, both Tavares and Credeur were scratched from the card allowing each fighter time to recover.

Now, nearly a full year later, Tavares will take the Octagon when he meets Dongi Yang at UFC on Fuel TV 3 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. on May 15th.

In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Tavares discussed his journey to MMA and his future in the sport.

Garrett Derr: I think it's fair to say you've established yourself as a legitimate contender in the UFC. Fans are well aware of who you are as a fighter, but a lot of fans don't know how you became that fighter. Talk me through your journey to MMA.

Brad Tavares: I've always been interested in the sport even as a young kid. I liked the sport of martial arts because I loved anything that involved contact, conflict or collision. But as a young kid, I wasn't able to box, do karate or anything like that. I stuck to your traditional team sports in football and baseball.

When I grew older and went my own way, MMA kind of stuck with me. I got to the point where I wanted to make something of it. I always thought fighting was fun, so I joined a gym and took it serious. I never actually thought I would be a real fighter, though. But I began to excel on the local circuit and I did well for myself. Before I knew it, I was trying out for the Ultimate Fighter show, made it on the show and now I'm in the UFC.

GD: So you win your first two fights inside the Octagon and you run into a roadblock and suffer the first loss of your career to Aaron Simpson at UFC 132. How difficult was this loss to overcome? Is it something that was easy to overcome or is it still bothering you today?

BT: While I was in the house, I lost to Court McGee even though it didn't count as an official fight. Losing is a bad feeling. I've never been on an undefeated team throughout high school, so I tasted defeat before. I've been taught to handle it graciously.

In my opinion, there's no need to cry or dwell over it. After the loss, I went straight back to the gym and worked on the things I needed to work on. My mentality needed a change and that's what I did. I went right back at it.

GD: You'll look to bounce back in your upcoming bout when you meet Dongi Yang at UFC on Fuel 3. Talk me through your matchup. Are there any areas where you feel he can defeat you in?

BT: I'm not saying he's not a good fighter, but I don't think he's a better fighter than I am in any aspect. If he has the advantage in anything it will be judo because of his background. When you break down his overall game, I don't think he has better wrestling. I don't think he has better striking. I don't think he has better conditioning. I think he could give me a good fight, but I think I'll be able to take it really wherever I want it to go.

GD: If you have the advantage in nearly every aspect of the sport, I guess the million dollar question would be, how are you going to defeat Dongi Yang?

BT: I definitely don't see it lasting all three rounds. If that's what happens, then that's what happens. If you look at my record, I have a bunch of first-round finishes. I'm looking for the finish as much as any other person. I want to put on an exciting fight for the fans. They pay the big money to come watch us. I want people to remember it and that their money was well spent.

I'm not going to get in there and go crazy, but I definitely will be looking for the finish in a smart way. I'm always looking for the finish early. He's a tough guy, but so am I. I think I'm better in every aspect. There's a chance it goes to the judges, but it's not likely. Whatever way it presents itself, I'm going to take it.

GD: So let's look back on your career; what's been the most memorable experience so far?

BT: There are a few that stand out actually, and they all hold different meanings. One of the biggest moments was when I fought Phil Baroni. That was phenomenal to me. I watched him fight growing up and then I beat him. That was my first big show. It was at the MGM and it was the real deal. I walked out and saw all the fans. Just the full effect of the show was huge for me.

GD: Obviously, everyone wants a title shot, but looking into your future, is this a realistic goal?

BT: That's definitely my goal. That's something I want to work at every day. I don't know when it will come, but I'm confident that it will come one day. I'm not here to fight a few times and make some money. I'm here to be the best. I don't know where I'll be in years from now, but I know I'll definitely be in the UFC. I'm surrounded by great people, so I'm confident in my future."

GD: If you plan on becoming a future middleweight champion, chances are you'll have to get through Anderson Silva or Chael Sonnen. So, who do you have winning this fight and why?

BT: I'm a big fan of Anderson and the way he fights. Chael is a tough fighter too, and he's probably the second best in the middleweight division. The first time around, I didn't think his style was really spectacular. But when the fight happened, I was like, wow! This guy is a beast. He dropped Anderson and he controlled him the whole fight.

This time around will be tough to call. I didn't think Chael stood a chance, but he dominated only to get caught with 30 seconds left. It's going to be hard to say, so I'm on the fence right now. I think both of them had so much time to work on their weaknesses. Chael is working on his submission defense and Anderson is working on being taken down and controlled on the ground. I don't know who will win, but I can't wait for it.

GD: You've had a ton of success but I'm sure you haven't done it alone. So, who do you credit a lot of your success to?

BT: My mother has been there for me through it all. She never wanted me to do this pro fighting thing. I don't think anyone wants their kid to go and get knocked out. Even still, she supported me and helped me along the way. I've had a ton of help from so many people. Many people have helped structure me.

I was just a kid who wanted to do this for fun. A lot of people have helped me to believe when I didn't believe in myself.

For additional information, follow Garrett Derr on Twitter.


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