UFC LIGHTWEIGHT #1 CONTENDER?INTERVIEW WITH HERMES FRANCA OF TEAM ARMORYDenis Martins: Do you feel yourself as the number #1 contender for the UFC’s lightweight belt?
Hermes Franca: I had a great time in 2006 and early in 2007, this was ten months, eight fights and three title disputes, none of them went to the distance. I think I deserve to face Sean Sherk.
Denis Martins: After your last fight (against Spencer Fisher at UFN 8), you implored for the fight against Sherk. Why did you take this attitude?
Hermes Franca: This was a last time decision of making that, but a fighter in my situation would have that attitude. We battled toughly and we hope a chance for a long time. I do not think I have to prove anything to anyone anymore.
Denis Martins: That fight against Fisher was very good, but I think you had total dominance of the contest. Did you see that fight by this way too?
Hermes Franca: This was what everybody said, until the end at the R2 I had total control of him. I took him down, passed his guard and I worked a good ground & pound.
Denis Martins: Did not Fisher offer you an eminent danger?
Hermes Franca: Nothing, I was too much focused for this fight.
Denis Martins: Fisher is known for a good muay thai and good submission game (wrestling and submissions). What kind of strategy did you have to fit against him?
Hermes Franca: The deal was to take him down and tolook for the submission, but I pressured him on the feet and it worked more than I had planned. To knock him out was better the submit him.
Denis Martins: What did you think about his ground game?
Hermes Franca: Weak, I dominated him on the floor. But I was fighting at UFC and I could not stay on the ground without hits, or the referee would call the fight to the feet again, and I think this would be an advantage to Fisher. Because of that I used a ground£, however I passed his guard with a huge facility.
Denis Martins: Your hands are nearly fatal, you strike and the opponent reels. What is the secret?
Hermes Franca: (laughs) My teammates say that all the time, in the trainings always one of them eats a ko (laughs). They said to me: -“believe in your hands, nobody can keep standing when you hit”. I followed what they suggested to me (laughs).
Denis Martins: Did you expect a tougher fight than that one against Joe Jordan?
Hermes Franca: Of course I did. Fisher fought tough guys and beat all of them. I had a tough fight against Joe Jordan because I was not calm, I was back to UFC and the adrenaline was huge in my veins. Today, when I fight UFC, I feel myself in my home.
Denis Martins: Do you have two belts to defend this year, plus a UFC title dispute to handle?
Hermes Franca: That WEC belt is not mine anymore, I had an agreement with UFC about that. The AFC does not have a scheduled date to happen, so I am 100% focused in the UFC lightweight belt. This situation is better for me preparation.
Denis Martins: Did you like of fighting early (January 2007)?
Hermes Franca: This was only tough due to the diet during the end of year celebrations and because I was planning to stay away of the trainings at the end of the year. But that’s okay, my Christmas and my New Year is now a bit later, but with the same intensity. This is the price we pay in our job and I take this seriously. Thanks GOD the things worked!
Denis Martins: Thanks for you time Hermes, last words?
Hermes Franca: I would like to thank the fans fropmBrazil, I received several e-mails from Brazil and this is really gratifying. I know I am so far from Brazil, but I never forget from where I came, I will always carry the Brazilian flag. I want to thanks my teammates, a phenomenal team: Rapahel Chavez, KurtPellegrino, Wald Bloise, plus Pablo Popovitch and his team, we always train together. God bless all, and have a nice 2007.