Article

Gabriel Gonzaga: Napao Rises Again

"My fans can expect a warrior in the Octagon and I want to finish this fight." - Gabriel Gonzaga
UFC heavyweight Gabriel GonzagaBy the time Gabriel Gonzaga lost to Brendan Schaub in October of 2010, it was assumed that we had seen the Brazilian heavyweight’s best days. Sure, he was only 31, a prime age for a heavyweight, but when your resume includes battles with Randy Couture, Mirko Cro Cop, Fabricio Werdum (twice), Shane Carwin, and Junior dos Santos, it can have a way of aging you in the athletic sense.

So Gonzaga, a family man with a healthy teaching career with Team Link in Massachusetts, walked away from the game for nearly a year, recharging his batteries before the itch to compete came back.

“After taking some time off to take care of some business and expand Team Link with our association program, I could refocus on my fighting career and have another run for the belt,” said Gonzaga, who returned in a local New England show against Parker Porter, submitting his foe in the third round. He wasn’t back in the form that saw him sail to the top of the division in 2007, but it was a start, and it also earned him a UFC bout against Ednaldo Oliveira in January of 2012.

Not only was it Gonzaga’s return to the UFC, but it was his first bout at home since 2004. For anyone else, that would be an unbearable pressure to deal with, but not for “Napao,” who took less than four minutes to submit Oliveira.

“We have pressure all the time, but I am doing this long enough to manage it well,” he said. “So it (fighting at home) was great. I could fight in front of my family and friends and it gave me even more motivation. It was a great experience.”

More importantly, it announced Gonzaga’s return to the UFC heavyweight picture, and though injuries would keep him out of action for a year, his next bout in January of this year (also in Brazil) was even more impressive than the previous one, as he submitted Ben Rothwell in the second round.

“I believe that I belong in the top ten and I want to be there,” said Gonzaga, who is back in action this Saturday against Travis Browne. A big win and the 33-year-old vet will likely get his wish of being in the top ten again, but he knows he’s in for a battle in Las Vegas.

“He is a good fighter,” he said. “Tall, fast, powerful, and with a great camp. But I am very well prepared for it. I had an awesome training camp, I’m injury free, and I want to put a great performance against Browne. My fans can expect a warrior in the Octagon and I want to finish this fight.”

It’s something you may not have expected to hear in 2010, but two and a half years after the Schaub bout, and over seven years removed from his UFC debut against Kevin Jordan in 2005, Gabriel Gonzaga is still standing and still ready, willing, and able to make another run at the heavyweight crown.

“I started in the UFC in 2005 and I’ve enjoyed it a lot and am still having fun,” he said. “I think I am having a great moment and I want to have another shot for the belt.”

Watch Past Fights

미디어

최근
조 로건이 UFN 올버니 대회 메인이벤트 데릭 루이스 vs. 샤밀 압두라키모프 대결을 분석한다.
2016. 12. 8
토론토 UFC 206 대회 메인대진에서 컵 스완슨은 페더급의 초신성 최두호를 상대한다. UFC 해설가 조 로건이 스완슨 vs. 최두호 대결을 분석한다.
2016. 12. 8
금주의 매치업, 토론토 UFC 206 대회 공동메인이벤트에서 맞붙는 도널드 세로니와 맷 브라운의 출전 각오를 들어보자.
2016. 12. 8
UFC 웰터급 도널드 세로니, 맷 브라운이 UFC 206 대회 공동메인이벤트 경기에서 맞붙는다. 세로니는 캐나다에 도착하는 순간, 과거 훈련 파트너였던 브라운이 더 이상 자신의 편이 아니라는 것을 깨닫는다.
2016. 12. 8