Vinny Magalhaes returns to the Octagon on Saturday night for his second tour of duty with the promotion. He faces Igor Pokrajac at UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
It’s been three-and-a-half years since Magalhaes last set foot in the Octagon. Looking back, it’s easy for him to realize the mistakes of his youth.
“Being back in the UFC means a lot to me,” Magalhaes said in an interview for his sponsor, Xyience. “This time, actually, I feel like I’m prepared to be in the UFC. The first time, even though I thought back then that I was prepared, I wasn’t really prepared. I was training with an MMA team, but I wasn’t training MMA myself.”
Magalhaes, now 28, believes he has the maturity to be successful in the UFC. Life has come at him full force, so his outlook is quite a bit different than it was as a young kid making his way to the Octagon via The Ultimate Fighter reality series.
Magalhaes finished as the runner-up to Ryan Bader on TUF 8, but losing to Bader in the final and then Eliot Marshall in a follow-up fight left him searching for answers. With a record of 2-4, he needed to right the ship… and fast.
He’s done just that. Magalhaes has gone 7-1 since his UFC exodus, including racking up five consecutive victories as he heads back to the Octagon, his sights dialed in on his career and providing for his family.
Magalhaes has a difficult task before him, however. With a 25-8 record, Pokrajac has more than double the experience of Magalhaes and has a penchant for knocking out his opposition.
“I feel like I’m a horrible match-up for him,” said Magalhaes, not intimidated by his opponent’s reputation. “He’s a good striker, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think he’s as great as people think he is.”
Saturday night’s fight will tell the tale.
Check out Vinny Magalhaes’ full Xyience interview and training video, as he talks more about his UFC return, his workouts, and discusses training Chael Sonnen and the backlash he received from fellow Brazilians.