Rafael Natal promises Ed Herman is in a world of trouble at UFC Fight Night 40.
A black belt under Vinicius "Draculino" Magalhaes and Renzo Gracie, "Sapo" takes on Herman on Saturday night in Cincinnati, Ohio, and wants to prove he can tap a fellow jiu-jitsu expert inside the Octagon.
"My jiu-jitsu is good enough to submit anyone, but everybody trains a lot of defense on the ground these days," Natal told MMAFighting.com. "It’s hard to submit now, but I believe in my jiu-jitsu and anything can happen and I can submit him."
Natal doesn’t expect an easy win, but feels Herman comes up short against Brazilian jiu-jitsu experts.
"He doesn’t do well against jiu-jitsu guys," Natal said, referring to Demian Maia, Ronaldo Souza and Thales Leites. "He has good attacks, but if he makes one mistake I will submit or knock him out. I have everything to finish him."
"He’s tough," he continued. "He has a good chin and a good jiu-jitsu. It’s hard to finish him, but I know that a win over him puts me higher in the rankings. I’m happy with this opportunity, and I guarantee you it’s going to be a great fight."
Coming off a tough first-round loss to Tim Kennedy, which spanned a three-fight win streak in the UFC, the middleweight wants to move up in the rankings again.
"I was coming off three wins and I was excited when they offered me the fight," he said. "I don’t regret taking that fight. I would obviously needed more time to get ready for Tim Kennedy. I was doing well in the fight, took him down and even hurt him. I dominated him for four minutes, but he beat me.
"I was in a main event in the UFC, it was a great opportunity. I can’t say no to Dana White. If I had beaten Tim Kennedy, I would be in the top 10, but I don’t know if I would be ready for that now. I know that I will get there. Sometimes we need to take a step back to go two steps forward."
Before taking another step forward, Natal took a time off.
"After my fight with Tim Kennedy, I asked the UFC some time off to rest and fix some holes in my game," he said. "I knew I had flaws and I asked for a break, I even declined an offer to fight in February. I’m working hard since January and I had the perfect camp for this fight. I’m sure I will do a great fight and win."
"We always evolve and become more mature after a loss because we train even more to fix your mistakes. I’m more confident. You will see a better ‘Sapo’ this time."