Pride Bushido Fighter: Q&A with the man who beat the man, Marcus “Maximus” Aurelio(ATT) Spotlights, flashes, interviews, pictures and etc; this is what the ATT fighter Marcus Aurelio ‘faced’ when beat by submission the until then undefeated at Bushido and number #1 lightweight fighter, plus the belt holder, “the Fire Ball” Kid Takanori Gomi. Aurelio was being considered a dark-horse on that fight of Bushido, but he proved once again (in the practice) that favoritism does not win a fight, and with a very tight arm-triangle, Aurelio put the Japanese ace Gomi to sleep in 4:34 of R1 in that night of Pride Bushido 10 in April 2nd. After that fight, Aurelio was featured the card of Bushido 11 (June 4th) and he had in front of him Mitsuhiro Ishida. Fans and insiders didn’t expect an outcome different than a victory of Aurelio. But once again, favoritism didn’t win and Ishida was able to win a unanimous decision over the Brazilian fighter after 2 rounds of fight. Take a look in what Aurelio says to us. DENIS MARTINS: The question is, what did happen to you in that Bushido 11’s match?
Marcus Aurelio: I went to fight pressured by myself, inside my head that I had to knock Ishida out or to submit him. I tried too from the beginning of the fight. I was with good posture, I was able to trade on the feet and I had good moments, where I knocked him down, and a few minutes later I sunk a guillotine-choke and he nearly tapped-out. However after this moment he got to impose his game and I accepted it, because I believed I could submit him in any moment. The fight continued and he kept his strategy, when I noticed it the time had over. I used a wrong tactic; I had in my mind that I could finish the fight, so he got the top position on the ground and took that match.
DM: People already talked you ducked Ishida as a fighter, so you lost because of it. What do you have to say?
MA: About these people who said it, I can’t do anything. The opinion of my friends and teammates is what matters to me, they know how I respect my opponents and I’d not duck an opponent in an event like Pride Bushido. All of the fighters who are on this event have a very-high level. Any fighter can be beaten inside the ring and I proved it when I choked Takanori Gomi out. The case into the match against Ishida wasn’t the duck over his game; he had his merits and got to work his game plan perfectly. I know I committed mistakes, I accepted the fight with only 2 weeks for trainings and etc. My it doesn’t mean I lost due to these facts, Ishida had his merits of beating me.
DM: But didn’t you know his game? Didn’t you expect what he done against you?
MA: I knew he’d make his closed game, but I believed I could submit him due to the imposing of my game. This was my mistake, if I had worked to put his back on the mat, the outcome could be different, but I didn’t. I went ahead with a frank trade of blows, and when we did it, it’s hard to sprawl a takedown and it happened. I had my moment when I knocked him down; I tried to take advantage of it, but Ishida shot and took me down. DM: Do you think this defeat will impede you of fighting for the lightweight belt in a re-match against Gomi?
MA: I talked to everybody I wanted to show all who’s the real champion. For me there’s no a real champion. All fighters who are in Pride have tools to be a champion, I want the re-match against Gomi and this time it’ll be for the belt. I keep my words! Let me ask, if I’m not going to be the contender, who is going to be? The fighter who lost to him? Joachim Hansen, who beat him by split/controversial way in another event? Hayato Sakurai who got KO’ed? Or Kawajiri who was submitted? So I stayed sad with the comments of the people who didn’t recognize me like the real contender after my match against Ishida, they took me out. Nobody wanted to fight Gomi, I took it and I beat him without any doubt. People forgot of talking about the pressure that a fighter has when he faces an undefeated fighter in Pride Bushido. I beat the number one fighter! I hope the mentality of the people around this sport changes, MMA is a high-level sport and everything can happens.
DM: Do you think this re-match will happen soon?
MA: This is in negotiations. I want it a lot; I do not see gaps for other fights before I take what is mine, the belt of lightweight division of Bushido. DM: Is not there any fighter well ranked into this division to take Gomi before you?
Marcus Aurelio: All of them are qualified in my opinion. But I do not see anyone more qualified than the guy who imposed the first defeat of Gomi at Bushido… DM: Do you believe your resume of 3-2 in Pride would put you to be the #1 contender for this belt?
MA: Of course, I faced tough combatants at Bushido, and I came like the winner. The toughest one I submitted in my last fight.
DM: Fans from Brazil said you got lucky against Gomi and it was proven when you lost to Ishida. Is this the kind of mentality you talked about?
MA: Well, like I told you before, what matters for me is the impressions of my teammates and friends. For me nothing was proven with this defeat to Ishida, I lost to a very good fighter. Ishida is a high level competitor and he’ll be a name inside this lightweight Bushido division. DM: You talked about your mistakes and etc. But what do you believe you did or didn’t do in that fight?
MA: The defeat left me really sad. But the defeat makes us analyze the mistakes. I already did it and I reviewed my mistakes, and I don’t have intention of repeating them on the future. For example competing with only 2 weeks to prepare myself, it’s something I won’t do again- this is not enough time for me. All Bushido fighter are tough and I can’t give chances to any of them anymore. DM: Talking about Gomi’s fight- do you feel yourself such as the Brazilian avenger after that victory over Takanori Gomi?
MA: I guess I do like it. Because Gomi was undefeated at Pride and I avenged my homeland with that victory over him. DM: Everybody knew your strategy would be the ground, Gomi surely knew also. But what did you have in mind to surprise him and take the fight to your battlefield (the ground)?
MA: First a detailed study about Gomi’s game, second a tough physical training planned and third(and last) bravery, determination and heart…. DM: Based in what you watched from his videos, which were the main mistakes of his opponents?
MA: All of his opponents were taken by the enthusiasm of trading blows on the feet against him. They went ahead of him, and this is a perfect moment to open gaps and Gomi unloads his famous punch combos. Gomi kept the fight where he wanted and where he is strongest, at standing. DM: What did you think you got to prove with this victory over Gomi?
MA: Inside the modern MMA there is no place for favoritism, it does not win a fight. What is responsible for a victory is a very-well planned work and a modern MMA team, like ATT is. DM: What did motivate you more? The people who did not believe in you or the own Gomi who did not show much will of facing you?
MA: What motivated me more was the fact I my dream coming true of being the #1 fighter. I do not care about people who did not believe or believe in my faculties, and Gomi’s opinion has the same weight for me, anything. I went to Bushido 10 and I did what I expected to do since I was a boy staring on this game. I beat the number #1. DM: What did you think about Gomi?
MA: Like a fighter he(without doubts) a phenom. Like a person outside the ring I felt he is calm. I did not have much contact to him to talk more than it. DM: Did you have something different in your preparation for that fight against Gomi?
MA: Kept the same complete training-sessions with my whole team(and brothers) and my coaches of ATT. With have the best at ATT: headcoach Ricardo Liborio (the legend), Howard Davis Jr. (Boxing, Olympic gold medalist), Quali Muhamed (5x World Muay Thai champion) and BENKEI Naga hall of fame conditioner) DM: We know Ricardo Liborio did not go to Japan in that Bushido. Did his absence at your corner motivate you more to offer Liborio that victory?
MA: No doubts, he is my master, my friend and responsible for my success like BJJ black-belt fighter. Did you like my performance against Gomi? So, imagine in the re-match with Liborio in my corner… DM: You only faced Japanese fighters at Bushido. Is this coincidence? Would you like to face any other fighter?
MA: Only coincidence, I fight against anyone… DM: If you were the current champion and DSE elaborated other lightweight GP. Would you take part? Do you think Gomi would do?
MA: I would like to fight in a GP anyway. Last year I did not fight because I had an injury at my hand. About Gomi, I think he would do, I would do if I was him. In the position of number one- we have that ‘to kill a lion per day’ to be worthy of the number one position. DM: What is your opinion about open-weight? Would you like to participate of it?
MA: I think it is interesting, but with reasonable proportions. I would fight an event like this, because I love challenges, and this would be a big challenge. DM: Was this victory over Gomi the most important conquest for the ATT’s story?
MA: I think so. This was landmark for our story. To beat the number one by the way it was… We displayed a highly-professional work of a team of coaches and teammates of ATT. It was an ATT’s victory. We are all only one fist! DM: Would you like to add anything else?
MA: I want to thanks GOD, my family, my team and my coaches Liborio and BENKEI. I want to leave a message to my fans- they can have confidence on me. I give my best to conquer great results at the Bushido’s ring.