TRAINING: Mon-Wed-Fri: grappling at Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu in the morning and striking in the evening with Nate Petitt and Mark Beecher.
Tues-Thurs: sparring in the morning, and grappling and S&C in the evening at Syndicate MMA
Sat: sparring and S&C in the morning.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started to train Jiu-Jitsu in 1998 at the age of 14. I started training on and off for fighting in 2004, when I moved to California to train/teach at Cesar Gracie's Academy. Having many high level guys around (such as David Terrell, Jake Shields and the Diaz Brothers), made me want to fight as well. I didn't really take MMA seriously until I got cut from the UFC for the first time though. I was so used to performing at the highest level in BJJ/Grappling, so it was hard for me to accept that I wasn't getting the results that I believed I could get also in MMA. That's when I decided to move to Las Vegas and dedicate myself full-time into MMA training.
What titles have you held? 3x BJJ World Champion (Gi), 2007 No Gi BJJ World Champion, 2009 ADCC Worlds Bronze Medalist (-99kg division and Absolute Division), 2011 ADCC Worlds Gold Medalist (Over 99kg Division, beating Fabricio Werdum in the Final), M-1 Challenge Light Heavyweight Champion (MMA)
Do you have any heroes? My heroes are my dad and mom. I couldn't have done anything that I’ve done in my life if I didn't have them as inspiration.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? It means everything to me. I have accomplished all I wanted in Grappling and in BJJ, and I feel like I do have the heart and the skills to do the same in MMA, and the UFC is the place to be if I want to one day be considered one of the best fighters in the world.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I was in the university studying Physical Education when I decided to move to the US. I didn't finish it though. I also graduated in "being a gangster" after spending some time in the Mean Streets of West Linn, Oregon with current Undefeated and Undisputed UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Chael Sonnen.
What was your job before you started fighting? I never had a job before I started fighting.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? All my titles in BJJ and Grappling.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? ADCC World Champion, 2x ADCC Bronze Medalist (Grappling) M-1 Challenge Light Heavyweight Champion (MMA)
Ranks in any martial arts styles: I'm a 2nd degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Under Vinicius Aieta and Royler Gracie). I got my Black Belt after winning 13 matches (10 by submission) at the 2005 BJJ World Championship as a Brown Belt.
Favorite grappling technique: Flying Armbar
Favorite Striking technique: Whatever Steven Seagal tells me to do during a fight is my favorite favorite Striking Technique.