NATAL, Brazil – Diego Brandao had prepared himself for hand-to-hand combat. Instead, just hours before he was supposed to face Will Chope today at UFC Fight Night 38, he was hanging out in a beachside pool, doing his best to enjoy an otherwise frustrating situation.
“I really wanted to fight,” Brandao told MMAjunkie. “I was ready.”
Brandao’s bout was canceled at the last minute when a few unsavory details from Chope’s past came to light, and the promotion elected to terminate his contract. Brandao (18-9 MMA, 4-2 UFC) admitted he feels some sympathy for Chope (19-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) but understands the UFC’s decision.
“I’m disappointed, but I have to say thanks to God for taking me here to Brazil,” said Brandao, who will be paid his “show” and “win” money. “I feel for Chope. I know he worked hard for this moment. I worked hard for this fight, too. But he had a bad moment in his life, and this is the UFC. You can’t make mistakes and expect to stay in the UFC. That’s why I thank God every day that I have this opportunity because I’ve made mistakes, too. But from now on, I’m never going to make those mistakes. I’m only going to learn from the mistakes of others.”
Brandao said he still plans to attend tonight’s card at Ginasio Nelio Dias in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, but he’ll watch the fights from a VIP seat rather than the locker room. And while he’s going to enjoy a few days off in his native country, Brandao said he’ll be back in the gym next week and hopes that UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby will book him for a June UFC Fight Night event in his newly adopted hometown of San Antonio.
“I’ll be back in my home in San Antonio, Texas, on Wednesday, and I’ll start training right away,” Brandao said. “The UFC is going to San Antonio, and I’m going to ask all my fans to let Sean Shelby know to put me to fight on that card.”
Based on the timing of the June 28 event and the location, the booking seems to be a bit of a no-brainer for the promotion. Who he could potentially meet remains to be seen, but if it were up to Brandao, it would be a rematch of his UFC 168 loss to Dustin Poirier (15-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC).
“I’d like to fight Poirier,” Brandao said. “He disrespected me.
“I want you, Poirier, and I know I’ll knock you out. You know that, too.”
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 38 and UFC Fight Night in San Antonio, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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