Although he is coming off a decision loss to Kyle Kingsbury at the TUF 13 Finale: Team Lesnar vs Team Dos Santos, in an interview with Tatame magazine, Fabio Maldonado expressed extraordinary confidence in his game. The Brazilian striker is currently training with JDS, the Nogueira twins, and others.
Guilherme Cruz: How is Junior doing?
Fabio Maldonado: He’s doing great. For a sparring training with him you gotta have three guys fighting at the same time against him (laughs).
Dorea brought Cleisson Mamute, who’s a guy I fought against once in MMA and he was four-time Brazilian amateur Boxing champion. Mamute does like one or two rounds against Junior, then the American (Josh Janousek, wrestler) does another one and I go and we train for four rounds. Dos Santos is fantastic.
Of course there’s no perfect training. How would you compare me to Cain Velasquez? Cain Velasquez is like ten times better on takedowns than me, but Junior is doing amazing on the takedown defenses. We believe that, even if Cain takes him down, Junior will be prepared to stand-up again and bang.
He plays it well against me on the stand-up, and I’m much better than Cain Velasquez on the stand-up, I know how to dodge better and how to punch better. He’s more explosive and stronger than me, but my game on the stand-up is much better, so we’re trying to adjust it.
GC: In December the Nogueira brothers will be fighting on the same night. How are their preparation?
FM: Both of them will smash their opponents. It ain’t easy taking Frank Mir down, everybody knows that, but, the way I see it, Rodrigo will knock him out. It’s not that his game plan is to strike, but and what if he can’t take him down? He ought to fight him on his feet. He’ll knock him out, I’m pretty sure of it.
GC: And about Rogerio? He’s under a lot of pressure entering this fight against Tito Ortiz...
FM: Everybody knows how good Rogerio is, he has nothing to prove. It’s just that he’s coming from two not so good bouts. Even that fight on which he lost to Ryan Bader was a good one. Ryan Bader lost to Tito Ortiz and then beat Rogerio… Since we all know it’s not like that in MMA, I bet Rogerio will win. Rogerio wasn’t focused for that fight, and now he is. Everybody knows that, if they didn’t set a time for the guys to fight in MMA, no one could defeat the Nogueira brothers. I believe he’ll defeat Tito Ortiz. On the stand-up, he’s a better fighter than Tito Ortiz.
GC: And what about you? When you’ll be back in UFC?
FM: I talk to my manager (Alex Davis) like three times a week. You know I rather spank an American striker. Maybe Quinton Jackson. Despite coming from a loss, he fought the champion. If I could, I’d fight him or Dan Henderson. I can knock them out, I’m sure of it. If I could pick someone... But I can’t. If you wanna be a UFC champ, you can’t pick your opponents. You gotta fight whoever crosses your way. I’ll work so I win.
I want to hurt, smash the Americans. In two weeks I believe Alex tells me my next opponent.