Tony has a 10-3 MMA record having fought 3 times in the UFC in 2001, then fighting twice more in the UFC at the end of last year. Most recently, he was one of the coaches on Team Penn for The Ultimate Fighter 5 reality series on SpikeTV.Back in 2000, Tony DeSouza competed at the first Grappler’s Quest West against the huge MMA veteran Homer “The Rock” Moore in one of the most classic “David vs. Goliath” battles in grappling history, defeating the much larger grappler via Rear Naked Choke. This footage is featured on OTM’s “Mat Burn” and helped mark the start of DeSouza’s stellar jiu-jitsu and MMA career, which features his unique style of fighting known as “Cholitzu”. Tony has a 10-3 MMA record having fought 3 times in the UFC in 2001, then fighting twice more in the UFC at the end of last year. Most recently, he was one of the coaches on Team Penn for The Ultimate Fighter 5 reality series on SpikeTV.
Bevois: Tony, you were a stand out collegiate wrestler, while attending Cal and also have world-class jiu-jitsu skills under Andre Pederneiras and John Lewis. What are your credentials in both?
Tony: I placed three times in the Pac 10 championships in wrestling and won it once. I also have a black-belt in jiu-jitsu under Andre and John.
Bevois: You are a native of Lima, Peru and have moved back to teach your own form of jiu-jitsu called Cholitzu. Could you talk about your DVD “Cholitzu”, which is available on OTM?
Tony: It’s pretty much a combination of jiu-jitsu and collegiate wrestling, but the grips are different than your usual jiu-jitsu grips.
Bevois: Could you briefly explain to us the difference between the Monk Guard and the Monkey Guard?
Tony: The Monk Guard is while the person has you on side control and the Monkey Guard is while the person has your legs and you have your hands wrapped around his waste.
Bevois: You have taught in many South American countries, not just in your native Peru or jiu-jitsu’s native Brazil. How popular is MMA and jiu-jitsu in Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and the rest of South America?
Tony: The game has not evolved in many of the South American countries. The good thing is that they are eager to learn and have the hunger to compete.
Bevois: So you split time between South America and southern California. Those happen to be the homes of two of the most beautiful types of women in the world. In your expert opinion, which region has the more beautiful of the two?
Tony: Women are great anywhere, as long as they are paying attention to you. I like living in South America a lot better though, as it is my home.
Bevois: You are a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 5, which is currently airing on SpikeTV. How did you enjoy starring in your first reality show?
Tony: I have not seen any of the show yet. It was a fun experience and I’m just glad I did not have to live in the house. I could feel the pressure of being watched and we were only being filmed a few hours a day.
Bevois: On the show you were one of the coaches for Team Penn. You and B.J. are both black-belts from Nova Uniao, but you are also very good friends and training partners. Could you explain your relationship with B.J.?
Tony: We are both in search of the best way of fighting. It is hard to find people so dedicated to the sport.
Bevois: In episode three of TUF 5, you had some words for one of your fighters Gabe Ruediger. Was teasing him about getting colonics, your way of motivating him to train and fight harder?
Tony: This would only bring more attention on Gabe, so I will not answer the question.
Bevois: You fought twice in the UFC at the end of 2006. Your first in October was a win in your return to the Octagon after a 5-year hiatus. You won via Kimura over a very good jiu-jitsu based fighter in Dustin Hazelett. How good did it feel to win so convincingly in your return?
Tony: It felt great to be back home in the UFC.
Bevois: In your second fight of 2006, you lost controversially to Thiago Alves in December. After the fight, Alves tested positive for diuretics, which are used to mask the use of steroids. Considering how tough the NSAC was on Nick Diaz for smoking marijuana, do you feel that they should have at least ruled your fight a “no contest” since Alves had a more serious infraction than Diaz?
Tony: Thiago came better prepared and I do not feel that they should rule that a “no contest”. I also do not think they should have ruled Nick’s fight a “no contest”. Especially since marijuana is not a performance enhancer.
Bevois: Unlike most welterweights like GSP, Hughes, and Koscheck, you walk around at 169 and fight at 169. Do you believe that fighting at your natural weight is more beneficial to you?
Tony: I never liked cutting weight in college, so I do think it is beneficial, because I come into the ring on a happy note.
Bevois: The UFC’s welterweight division is arguably the deepest and most talented, even with B.J. moving back down to lightweight. However, you are widely considered to be the most talented grappler in a group, which includes GSP, Serra, Hughes, Koscheck, Fickett, Parisyan, Fitch, and Sanchez. Who do you feel has the second best ground game?
Tony: That is very nice of you. I would say that Serra has the best ground game out of the bunch.
Bevois: Is there anyone in the UFC right now that you would like to fight, such as Matt Hughes who is Jens Pulver’s training partner?
Tony: I would love to fight Matt Hughes. My style clashes well with his and it would be an interesting match.
Bevois: How do you feel about Zuffa’s recent acquisition of Pride? Do you see this as an opportunity to fight some of Pride’s best fighters, such as Shinya Aoki, Hayato Sakurai, or even Nick Diaz?
Tony: I think it’s great that everybody will be able to fight each other.
Bevois: Last summer, I saw you, Sean Spangler, and Diego Sanchez training together in Las Vegas at Marc Laimon’s Cobra Kai Academy. You’ve known Marc for a long time, so what do you think of his level of jiu-jitsu?
Tony: Marc is one of the best grapplers around. His matches speak for themselves.
Bevois: Speaking of Cobra Kai, Ulysses Gomez seems to mimic a lot of your stuff. Everything from modifying your signature “Peruvian Necktie” submission into a “Mexican Bowtie” to even growing out a full DeSouza’esque beard on occasion. Were you aware that you had a real life “Mini-Me” living in Las Vegas?
Tony: That is funny. I actually coached Ulysses when he was in High School. I used to coach at El Dorado High School, before getting involved with MMA.
Bevois: You are currently one of the poster boys along with B.J., Diego Sanchez, Anderson Silva, and the Ribeiro Brothers (Saulo and Xande) in the OTM Fight Shop ads. What are your thoughts on Scotty and OTM?
Tony: My relationship with Scotty started on a rocky note. He wrote some stuff I did not like and we had some words on it. After that, Scotty has been a good friend to me, like always helping me out with a place to stay while I’m in Brazil. That is why I decided to do the DVD with him.
Bevois: The ADCC World Championships just took place in New Jersey. Everyone always talks about how well you would do at that competition. Have you ever wanted to do it or is MMA more your thing at this point?
Tony: I would have liked to compete, but I have been getting settled in Cusco, Peru at this point. For the first time in life, I have rented a place to live, and plan on staying here.
Bevois: Who are some of your sponsors that have helped you out with your career?
Tony: OTM has always been a good sponsor. Other than that, I have been sponsored by HCK and Sprawl.
Bevois: Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
Tony: Be on the look out, because the best of my fighting skills are still to come.