Thales Leites was supposed to fight Croatia's Goran Reljic at UFC 90 this weekend. But Reljic pulled out last week and Drew McFedries has been drafted in on two weeks' notice. Fighters Only correspondents in Brazil caught up with Leites to get his thoughts on the change of opponent.
What is your opinion of McFedries as an opponent?
I think he is a dangerous fighter. He is very aggressive
You have two weeks to prepare for a different opponent; does this piss you off when such things happen or do you just say "hey, no problem, that is how the fight game is"?
I think like the second one. Sometimes I can be pissed off because no replacement is available which means I cannot fight.
But to get injured, to get hurt, this kind of thing can happen to anyone. Actually it happened with me before.
How do you prepare for this new challenge? And who are you training with?
I am watching his fights on DVD to prepare my fight strategy against him. I train with my team, Nova União, and also specific physical training elsewhere.
Most times McFedries loses, it is by submission. Is your strategy to take the fight down and look for the submission?
Sure. This is always my game plan, no matter who I will fight!
Last time we saw you in action it was against Nate Marquardt; were you happy to get a decision win over him?
Yes I'm happy, but ideally it would have been in a different way without all the illegal things that he did. But this is in the past now.
Marquardt delivered several illegal techniques during the fight, did these affect your performance?
Of course. I was completely out after the illegal knee.
Martin Kampmann is the only guy to beat you in the UFC thus far. Would you like a rematch to avenge that or do you prefer to look for opponents that will help you climb the ranks?
I don't care about revenge. I do care about whatever UFC decide that will be better for me. I'll fight with anyone.
Any prediction for the title fight between fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva and Patrick Cote this weekend?
No, I don't like to do predictions. They are both very good and fights can have big surprises. Anything can happen.
Thales, thanks a bunch. Any message for your fans before we go?
I would like to say thanks to all my fans! I appreciate your support very much. And also I would like to thank my sponsors, MTX and Sprawl.