BJJ specialist Vinny Magalhaes has trained some important UFC names thanks to his ability in the gentle art.
The former Ultimate Fighter competitor has already helped Dan Henderson and more recently Chael Sonnen, both of whom are major rivals of middleweight champion Anderson Silva. After the finale of TUF in 2008, in which he lost to Ryan Bader, the athlete didn't last much in the biggest stage of the mixed martial arts.
He travelled around, including a stint as the light-heavyweight champion of the M-1 promotion, but his most recent bout of high-profile was gained via working with Chael Sonnen for the challenger’s second fight with Anderson. However, Magalhaes drew some criticism from fellow Brazilians for the move and now he is keen to move on.
“Training Chael was something professional. And he is really nice, we created a friendship and I even lived in his house. But I don't consider it a great deal in my career. This is not a highlight of my CV. It ended up drawing negative attention - but if I didn't mind it at the time, I won't pay any attention to it now,” he explained to UOL Esporte.
“Besides, I am sure that with this upcoming fight [of mine], the negativity will fade away.”
Magalhaes makes his return to the UFC this weekend in a light-heavyweight fight with the Croatian fighter Igor Pokrajac. Despite being a competitive weight class, Vinny says that it has few fighters in it and so he predicts that a good series of wins will take him up in the rankings, contrary to the first journey he had in the UFC.
“That first time, I was not at the level that I needed to be. Now this is my real test. I'm more complete and I know I can go longer in the wrestling field, on the feet, and there is always space to improve the ground game.”
Without worrying with high profiles of the light heavyweight division, Magalhaes hopes to get a spot among the top-ten in two years. “I think in two years I can get in the top 10 list. This is a tough category with less fighters, though. Obviously they are guys of very good quality but you can't be worried about that.”
The 28-years old fighter has nine wins, five losses and one no-contest on his score card. The black belt comes off a five-victory row, all by the way of submission. Vinny is also a standout athlete for the results that he achieved in ADCC, where he won the championship in 2011 against Fabricio Werdum.