Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga Talks about his UFC possibilities in 2007DENIS MARTINS: Carmelo Marrero was undefeated until he fought you at UFC 66 in December. Do you think he was too relaxed?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: Marrero is a very tough guy and he proved that in his prior matches. In the interviews he provided, he said he had had a very good preparation and he hoped to keep himself undefeated. I am sure that he prepared himself a lot and he was not relaxed. He was taking the fight serious like I did. I really have extraordinary training and everything worked.
DENIS MARTINS: You dominated the fight on the feet and on the ground. Do you think this was the most perfect fight you ever had?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: I think so. I am perfecting my game day after day, because I want to be on the top of the heavyweight category. I need to train a lot of stand-up and a lot of ground game and this is what I do. I already fought other good matches, but no doubt against Marrero, I had no problems and this fight gave me more recognition.
DENIS MARTINS: What did you know of Marrero?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: I did not know him before, but my team studied his game a lot and we knew exactly what would happen. My preparation was impeccable.
DENIS MARTINS: Were you surprised by the way you were able to develop your game so easily during that fight?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: No, I was not surprised. I would get surprised if he has schooled me, because my training sessions were fantastic. I abdicated many things in my life and I dedicated myself a lot to this fight. I do not believe in luck, I believe in hard work and dedication. This was what I did and the result everybody saw.
DENIS MARTINS: How was your training? What can you specify about that?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: I started my trainings in Brazil with my boxing coach Cebola and with Jorge “Macaco” Patino, as well as Chute Boxe. With 45 days left before the UFC, I moved to the USA and finished my training with Teal Link and my partner Marco Alvan. We elaborated a high level structure here, where we have excellent boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu coaches, besides my teammates who supported me and in little time we will surpass the expectations in these events.
DENIS MARTINS: Dana White and the fans stayed happy with your performance. Do you think you got to erase any wrong image that fans may have had of you being a boring fighter?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: I do not have this in my mind, because I was treated very well by all of them. If I am training every time more and more, it is to show them I am a good fighter who deserves to be where I am now. UFC is the best organization in the world and if you want to stay there, you need to render 110% in your training and give superb performances. I guess I’m in the right way.
DENIS MARTINS: Fans have mentioned that you are now in the contender’s position. How do you feel about that?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: I think if they mentioned that it is because I deserve it, due to my fights in UFC. I am the current Jiu-Jitsu Mundial champion and I am 5-0 on the road at MMA, where three of them were in UFC, two KOs and one submission. So the media cogitated my name to face the UFC champion, Tim Sylvia. My mind is to dedicate myself exclusively at training and be absolutely certain I think I can take on the heavyweight champion. However, this is a UFC criteria and when they need me, I will be ready. DENIS MARTINS: Is there a chance of that happening in your up-and-coming match?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: Like I mentioned this is with the UFC. By what my manager Marco Alvan told me, I will figure to be on April’s fight card, but I do not have anything signed yet. DENIS MARTINS: Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic is a UFC fighter now and Randy Couture just came out of retirement and is back fighting as a heavyweight, again. How do you see the division now?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: The heavyweight division is one of the toughest of the entire show. Danna White said he wants to bring the best fighters into the UFC and he is bringing these fighters. Mirko and Randy are inside that category and this is excellent for everybody.
DENIS MARTINS: Do you think to be a real contender; you need to beat one of them or Brandon Vera?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: I do not choose my opponents. If the UFC books me with anyone, I will fight. To be the champion, I need to face the best fighters. Brandon proved he is top of the category and I know a fight between us would be a great one for the fans. DENIS MARTINS: The fighter who promoted you black-belt in Jiu-Jitsu, Wander Braga, may be fighting in UFC soon. What do you think about this?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: Braga has all tools to be the champion of the 155 lbs. division. He is undefeated in MMA and he will arrive in the UFC to be on the top of this division. DENIS MARTINS: Do you have any last words that you’d like to add?
GABRIEL “NAPÃO” GONZAGA: I would like to thank Team Link for all of the help that they have given. I have one of the best training sessions here and I would like to invite fighters who are interested in training in Massachusetts. We have a great structure in Ludlow and our doors are always open. I would like to thank my fans for the support and believing in me. They can be sure that Gabriel “Napão” Gonzaga will seek this UFC heavyweight belt. I would also like to say thanks to my sponsors Red Nose and Kimonos Dragão. For seminars and sponsors, please shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org