‘Cyborg' Starts Busy 2008 in Canada


Evangelista Santos (Pictures), better known as "Cyborg," has a tough fight on Friday against Gegard Mousasi (Pictures) at the Hardcore Championship Fighting event in Calgary, Canada.

After that bout, the Chute Boxe athlete will fight twice in March and has eight fights total already scheduled.

Sherdog.com recently caught up with "Cyborg" to discuss his busy schedule.

You haven't fought since last April. What are your expectations about being back in the ring?
Last year was a very bad year to Chute Boxe and to a lot of people who fought in PRIDE. All of us lost our contracts without PRIDE. Starting now, I'll fight under 84 kg [185 pounds], but for this fight, the promoters asked us to fight under 88 kg. I want to fight a lot because I haven't fought since April, but I kept training. Now is time to start the year well. I think it will be very important to the team if I win. We passed through bad times last year, but we overcame them.

You were a light heavyweight, and now you're a middleweight. What motivated your change?
It was a very natural transition. My last fight was in April, so I've been cutting weight slowly. When I was weighing 93 kg, I felt heavy, and it was affecting my conditioning during the fights. Plus, the light heavyweight guys have a longer reach. And if they're weighing 93 kg at the weigh-ins, they stepped into the ring weighing 98 kg, while I was weighing 92 kg without any diet. I thought it was better for me to fight one class below because MMA is very competitive and any weight difference can affect the result of the fight. I think I'll adapt myself very well. My conditioning is better. My techniques are better. I want to fight for titles in this weight division.

At the HCF you'll face Gegard Mousasi (Pictures). What do you know about him?
I saw his record. He is a very tough guy. He has good Muay Thai, a good reach and he knows ground fighting. This is the kind of guy I want to face because I want to be among the top, and that's why I need to face good ranked guys. It is a good match. He has been showing great performances. He has five wins in a row, and the audience will be pleased by this fight. This will be my first fight in Canada, so I want to fight well and leave a good impression on people there.

You have a fight scheduled in Sengoku, the new Japanese organization. Do you know who will be your opponent?
I'll face Makoto Takimoto (Pictures), who defeated Murilo Bustamante (Pictures) last year. I'm focused on this fight in Canada, but on March 5, I will fight against him. And March 29, I will fight in Canada again, facing David Loiseau (Pictures). I have a lot of will to fight. I have eight fights signed; I'm starting this year with a full schedule. I love to fight, to feel the adrenaline backstage, to be in touch with the crowd. I miss it all when I'm not fighting.

Chute Boxe went through hard times since its main stars left the team, like Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) and the Rua brothers. Does this affect your training?
Absolutely. We didn't miss a thing -- they missed. I think that for their stars to keep shining, they needed everybody who stayed here. Beto Leitão [Ruas Vale Tudo's coach] was here once teaching us wrestling, and he said a very interesting thing: "When a star shines, it can be talent from the guy -- his own merit. But when a constellation shines, this is not because of one single star, but it's because the whole team, coaches, etcetera."

At Chute Boxe we have more than 40 professional athletes, and every one of them helps the one who's on the main stage, preparing for the fight. The ones who left the team opened spaces for the ones who stayed, and everybody is working hard to prove that the team didn't depend only on the guys who left the team. I felt offended when people said Chute Boxe is over because three fighters left the team. Chute Boxe has been there for 30 years, and now the guys who remained here will have their own light. Now the team is more joined than ever.

What are your thoughts about your teammate Fabricio Werdum (Pictures)'s last fight against Gabriel Gonzaga (Pictures) at UFC 80?
This victory was very important to Werdum and to the team. We all knew that would be a very tough fight and that Werdum would win. Their first fight was very hard, at the Jungle Fight. I was talking to Luis Brito (Pictures), and we knew that the fight would be hard, but Werdum is truly a warrior, and it made the difference. He worked hard at the gym, training everyday like a workaholic. He knew how important this victory was because he was coming off a loss.

Everybody training was focused on him, to help him. He trained in the gym from Monday to Friday and then he traveled to Porto Alegre to visit his family. He was very focused on this fight; he was hungry to win. Werdum overcame his bad moments. He improved his Muay Thai, and you will see him better in his next fights. He will be more calm and conscious about his striking skills. In that fight he clinched, unleashed knees, found his timing. The fight was hard, but he had a great spirit to beat Gonzaga. Now he must get ready for his next fight. Werdum is a great person, and soon he will be fighting for the title.

And to finish, what can your fans expect from your performances in 2008?
I think the people who like to watch fights and are always watching us can count on a lot of will to fight and a lot of determination. I'll always look for the win. Everybody who will face me knows that they will have hard moments in the ring. I hope my opponent gets ready for a war because as long as I can breathe, I'll look for the win. The ones who fight in my weight division, get ready because I'll go for a war. I won't get lazy. I'm not saying I'll beat everybody, but I'll exchange blows with everybody. You can count on it.

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