Carreira’s Heavenly Chin

“On the First Day, God created Wesley Correira’s chin from hollowed out, standard stock bone. On the Second and Third Days, He poured concrete and steel into the cavity, then fashioned the rest of Carreira’s body. Over the next Three Days, God went about his business creating the Universe. On Sunday, contrary to religious belief, God did not rest. He created a steel cage and put Himself in with Correira to personally test the chin. God broke two knuckles on Correira’s chin, and that is why he took the rest of the day off.”

Source: “The Gospel According To MMA”

Wesley Correira, one of MMA’s best knockout artists is truly an athlete who uses his head. Not only is he a smart fighter, but one of his best “weapons” is that God-given chin.

“People say I have a concrete head, but I dunno,” Carreira said. “I think it helps that I ride the punches like boxers do. Or maybe it’s my brain sending signals to my chin telling me this guy can’t knock you out.”

What ever it is, Correira enjoys a big psychological advantage every time he steps in the ring.

“Sometimes a guy will hit me with all he’s got, and I just smirk back, ‘is that all you got?’ It discourages them. The guy has to be saying to himself, ‘I rocked this guy and he’s smiling. What is this guy made of,’” Carreira said.

Carreira’s chin will be on exhibit for Showtime subscribers and fans at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, MS. on Feb. 10, when Pro Elite and Showtime present: EliteXC Destiny, headlined by a much anticipated middleweight fight between Frank Shamrock and Renzo Gracie.

Although Carreira is known as a stand-up fighter, he also has excellent skills in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and is one of MMA’s great masters of Psyche Ops Technique.

“I have a good defense, but once in a while I let a guy hit me to see what he has, and if he can’t hurt me, it takes him out of the fight mentally,” Correira said. “It amazes me sometimes that guys who know how hard it is to hurt me, will still come right at my head. (laughs) I guess I should give them credit for consistency.”

Carreira has other methods to psyche out his opponents.

“When I am in with a ground fighter, what I do is when they try to take me down, I keep getting right back up,” said the 6’-3” 260-pounder. “That discourages the wrestlers and Brazilian Jui Jitsu guys. They’ll keep trying to take me down for the first round, then they think, ‘Damn, I can’t take this guy down.’ Usually what happens after the first round is they stop trying to do it.”

The 28-year-old Carreira, who lives and trains in Hilo, Hawaii, doesn’t limit his Psyche Ops Technique to the ring.

“I like to mentally break down a guy, not only during the fight, but before, at press conferences and in interviews. I work on their minds,” Carreira said.

Only once has Carreira suffered what some say was a dose of his own medicine. In May of 2005, David “Tank” Abbott inflicted the only knockout loss on Carreira’s six-year career record. For a while afterwards, there were whispers that the knockout had lingering affects on him.

“I know people have said I wasn’t the same after that loss, but who is after you get knocked out. I came back and started winning again,” said Carreira, who rebounded with three straight victories.

Carreira is constantly trying to grow in all aspects of MMA, as he did after suffering a TKO on strikes to hard-hitting Andre Arlovski in April of 2004.

“He has been my toughest opponent, because he moves around a lot” Carreira said. “After that fight, I went to Thailand to train in Muay Thai.”

Carreira also revamped his approach to training.

“The biggest change I’ve made over the past few years is my training work ethic,” Carreira said. “Before, I hardly used to train. Then my trainer, Rudy Valentino, said to me one day, ‘You’ve been in with the best, and the only reason you lost is you didn’t train hard enough. The only guy who can beat you is you.’

“I was resistant in the beginning, but after a few fights for which I had trained hard, I found that I wasn’t even tired during or after the fight. Right then I knew that this is the way to do it, train hard.”

Carreira has been with Valentino, a former professional kickboxer, for the last five years.

“Rudy is a good coach because he is open to suggestions. He knows there isn’t just one way to fight,” Carreira said.

Rudy is also the one who does most of the tape watching of Carreira’s next opponent.

“Sometimes I watch tape, but I don’t like to because I might pick up some bad habits. So I let Rudy watch them, and then he shows me what we need to do to win,” Carreira said.

Carreira came to mixed martial arts out of frustration with boxing.

“I boxed a little as a kid, but my coach said I was too big to fight kids my own age, and the ones my size were older,” Carreira said. “I got frustrated, so I tried Jui Jitzu. Then a boxing trainer I knew suggested I try martial arts. I got a lot of support from my dad.”

Carreira began his professional career in 2000, with three straight losses. Then he won seven straight, and after losing once, came back and reeled off another streak of six victories. Winning 13 of 14 over that three-year stretch put Carreira’s name on the MMA map.

His goals for this year are ambitious.

“I want to have gold around my waist in two weight classes. First, heavyweight, then go down to light heavyweight for the other. I walk around at 250, and I can drop the weight with no problem. Personal trainers I have worked with tell me I carry a lot of water weight, and could easily walk around at 235, and then get it down to 205. I remember one fight, where the week before I dropped 20 pounds, mostly water,” Carreira said.

When he retires, Carreira knows exactly what he wants to do, and that’s stay involved in MMA.

“After my career, I would like to open up a school in the States,” Carreira said.

Carreira has a solid base of fans, none more fanatical than in Hawaii.

“Mixed Martial Arts is huge over here,” he said. “Every time I go out in public, people recognize me and want my autograph and to have a picture taken with me,” Carreira said.

Carreira’s popularity is not limited to the island, however.

“I even flew into Los Angeles (International) Airport and a bunch of Mexicans who worked there came up to me because they knew who I was,” Carreira said.

Recognition is sure to grow after he appears on Showtime.

“This is really big for me to be on Showtime, and good for Showtime because I bring a lot of fans with me. For MMA, this is a huge step,” Carreira said.

Carreira knows his accomplishments have a lot to do with good team work.

“Besides Rudy, I owe my success to my sponsors, Uncle Jeff; J. Onaja Construction, and Da Hui,” Carreira said.

Most of all, he can thank God for his chin.

The Showtime card will be broadcast from the DeSoto Civic Center. Tickets are $25 to $250, plus service charge. Fans can call the Center (662) 280-9120, or buy through Ticketmaster.

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Jordan Kaye