The woman responsible for the only blemish on the record of
“Cyborg” Santos is setting her sights on a Strikeforce
title -- but not the one previously held by her old opponent.
Paes hasn’t fought since 2005 -- the same year she submitted
Santos in what was both women’s pro debuts -- instead taking time
off from combat sports to focus on her career as a singer. Last
year, however, the Rio de Janeiro resident and sister of late
Brazilian Top Team coach Eraldo Paes
returned to training with designs on joining the stateside
promotion’s burgeoning 135-pound division. Paes is currently
training at Rio’s
X-Gym alongside some of the sport’s biggest names, like
Silva and Ronaldo
Sherdog.com recently caught up with Paes to find out more about her
Sherdog.com: When did you return to training
Paes: It’s been a year that I’ve been back in Rio de Janeiro,
training at X-Gym. I was coming off an injury, but I’ve been
cleared to train by my doctor and physiotherapist. Now, I’m
counting the days until my next fight, and I think I’ll come back
to climb into the Octagon next month.
Sherdog.com: How is it training with Anderson Silva, who’s
generally considered the best fighter in the world?
Paes: Anderson is a darling, a guy who we all try to emulate, and
he always gives me the greatest attention. Not just him, but
Feijao, Ronaldo Jacare, Erick Silva.
The guys give me special attention here and I’m proud to be part of
the X-Gym family, in which I’m the only woman.
Sherdog.com: Do you want to face anyone in particular?
Perhaps a second fight against Cris Cyborg?
Paes: I don’t have any opponent in particular who I want to face.
Everyone always talks about Cris; people think there’s a rivalry,
but it doesn’t exist. It was a fight that happened and I won. After
that, I only had one more fight, and then I stopped to dedicated
myself to music.
Sherdog.com: What is your main goal in returning to
Paes: I’m returning to MMA seeking the belt of the world’s biggest
event for women, which is Strikeforce. But my coaches -- Josuel
Distak, Rogerio Camoes and Sylvio Behring -- first want me to get
back into the rhythm of fighting. I need to have one or two fights
here in Brazil to prepare myself and then go abroad.
Sherdog.com: So, ideally, you’ll be the champion at 135
pounds and Cyborg at 145, right?
Paes: In Strikeforce, there’s only Cris, an excellent athlete and
an exemplary professional. I hope she overcomes this difficult
stage. We are both Brazilian, but if we need to fight again, I’ll
accept it. Whoever is there can come. I’m training to face
Leonardo Fabri contributed to this report.