The Missouri lightweight on silencing a hometown crowd and embracing the new order at the UFC
You are fresh off your TKO victory over Sergio Moraes at UFC Fight Night 164. Now with some time for reflection, what are your takeaways from the fight
We, as fighters, want to be overcritical of ourselves but I will be honest with you, I feel like it was a pretty solid performance on my end. Everything that I thought would happen, in terms of game plan, happened. I put a good pace on. I landed some good strikes. At the end of the day, at that level, getting a win is good, getting a finish is better and getting a bonus with that is best. I really don’t have a whole lot to complain about.
You scored that elusive UFC Trifecta, right?
Seriously, what more could you ask for? There isn’t much more you could ask for.
You hit Moraes with that crisp right that dropped him. You followed with some punches until the stoppage came. What do you remember from the finish?
If you can’t tell by watching me fight, I am very in tune with what is going on. I talk a lot. I am looking at my corner. I am very aware of what is going on, not just in the cage but around me as well. Even with a minute left I felt like I was still going to finish him. I made the decision to start punching him hard rather than just touching him. I wanted to pace him and get him tired. I hit him hard with the right hand a few times and I could see in his eyes that it hurt him. I never landed it clean. I was just looking for a clean 1-2. I knew as soon as that right hand landed that he was going to fold. I hit that right hand and I saw him start to fall. I immediately had a hammer fist waiting for him. I knew the right hand hurt him really bad. If the right didn’t get the job done the hammerfist sure as hell did.
You mentioned being in tune with what is going on around you. We know how passionate the Brazilian fan base has always been. They are basically calling for any non-Brazilian’s untimely death inside the cage. What was the experience like fighting in front of such a passionate and proud crowd?
In terms of fight week prep, everything was great. The people were awesome. The culture is very fight-oriented. The people were great. The food was amazing. The weather was beautiful. I will be honest with you, the fans weren’t as hostile as I expected them to be. I thought it was going to be crazy. It really wasn’t. I got some cheers when I came out. I only got the chant once when I got taken down. After that, there isn’t a whole lot you can chant when you are pitching a shutout. There isn’t much to say. I got some cheers. I took some pictures with fans afterward. I am happy with the performance and the whole week.
You kind of gave the crowd the international sign to be quiet after the finish there.
You can’t talk shit and then whenever it goes the way you don’t want it to go you are going to hear from me. You can talk all you want. You can say all you want but whenever it’s my turn, you are going to hear me, too. I was like ‘Be quiet and let me do my thing.’
That makes it six in a row for you. Not to call people out or call shots, but what are you looking for next?
I think everybody is calling for someone in the top fifteen. That’s cool. To be honest, I really don’t care about the rankings. The rankings, to me, are bullshit anyway. I don’t care about stuff like that. What intrigues me are names. There is nobody specific that I can think of right now, but the reference I was given earlier was the BMF title. There is no real implications for Diaz in that fight. For Masvidal there was, you are talking about a top three guy in Masvidal fighting a guy who isn’t ranked. That was a money fight. Those type of fights intrigue me way more than rankings do.
With the current ownership group, it feels like we are headed more and more in a direction of entertaining fights and fun fights rather than matching guys based off of any ranking system. It sounds like you are good with that?
Why not, right? When you have the rankings, that is all chosen by the sport and by the game. The champ is going to fight the number one contender. If they can’t fight, then the champ will fight the number two contender and down the line. Stuff like the BMF belt, the people choose the fight. They put all rules aside and say they don’t give a shit what is happening otherwise, that is the fight we want to see. We don’t care about rankings. I like that. I’m not saying we need to get rid of anything else but that is a great addition.