cezar-ferreira-2.jpgAfter winning the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” in 2012, Cezar Ferreira now counts blue-chip companies such as Gillette and Head & Shoulders among his sponsors. His first real backer, though, may surprise you.

Like many Brazilians, Ferreira (5-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who meets Thiago “Marreta” Santos (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 163 pay-per-view main card at Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena, found his way to MMA through capoeira, a martial-arts hybrid that combines dance and acrobatics with music. He began his training when he was just 6 years old.

As a teen, Ferreira would often travel throughout the country and search out the best training possible, even though he didn’t have much money. He ultimately ended up at an academy in Belo Horizonte, a city where UFC fighter Vitor Belfort also trained.

It was at that academy, run by Master Mao Branca, where Ferreira first got his nickname, “Mutante” (Mutant). Because the facility was open to outsiders, an unknown German unknowingly gave Ferreira a nickname that’s stuck to this day.

“Master Mao Branca’s academy is called Capoeira Gerais,” he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “It’s one of the world’s best capoeira groups. When I was training there, tourists from other countries would always come to see us. Around that time, I was teaching a group of Germans. They saw a couple of my photos, one where I was thin and another where I was stronger. So they jokingly decided I was a mutant.

“After that, everyone called me ‘Mutante.’”

Soon after, Ferreira eventually crossed paths with Belfort and joined his academy.

“I met him through a friend,” Ferreira said. “We started training together at his academy. He gave me full access to his academy and to his trainers. He funded my membership. He helped me in various ways. This was nine years ago. We’ve been together ever since.”

These days, Ferreira and Belfort are now teammates at the Florida-based Blackzilians camp. Ferreira’s been a member for the past three months, so nearly his entire fight camp has taken place there.

In fact, while in Florida, he does nothing else outside of family commitments with his wife and 5-year-old daughter.

“I only train,” he said. “That’s my only focus.”

The array of top-level training partners, including Belfort and Anthony Johnson, gives Ferreira plenty of confidence heading into Saturday’s bout. In fact, Santos replaced original opponent Clint Hester just two weeks ago, but Ferreira said he’s not bothered at all by the late change.

That, at least partially, can be credited to his time on “TUF,” where Ferreira fought a variety of opponents on short notice. That also means he doesn’t have a problem fighting a fellow Brazilian in front of Brazilian fans.

“Since my camp is done, it doesn’t matter who I face,” he said. “Since I came through ‘TUF,’ I feel I’m well equipped for this. When I was in ‘TUF,’ I didn’t know my opponent one day before my first fight. And once in the house, my opponents were only announced three days before our fight. So if that happens to me going forward, it won’t bother me or change anything. I’m ready anytime.”

So come Saturday, it’s business as usual.

“It’s going to be a first-round knockout,” he said. “And if he wants, we can have a beer later.”

For more on UFC 163, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Zagreb Free Fight: Ben Rothwell Submits Matt Mitrione with Gogo Choke

  • 28 days ago
  • 20 views

Ben Rothwell rides a four-fight winning streak into his fight with Junior Dos Santos. Rothwell has finished all of those fights, including this Matt Mitrione sub. read news >>

Three on the Rise to Watch at Fight Night Zagreb

  • 29 days ago
  • 5 views

While the majority of the attention for this weekend’s inaugural event in Zagreb, Croate will be focused on the big boys at the top, Sunday’s fight card is laced with European talent. Here’s a look a read news >>

HOT TWEETS: Conor McGregor on Winning Friends

  • 26 days ago
  • 63 views

There's no denying that Conor McGregor has had a tremendous impact in the Octagon and on the UFC's bottom line... and he's not shy about saying so. read news >>

Oluwale Bamgbose in for Caio Magalhaes against Cezar Ferreira at UFC on FOX 19

  • 24 days ago
  • 3 views

Caio Magalhaes is injured and out of his UFC on FOX 19 bout with Cezar Ferreira. Heavy hitting Oluwale Bamgbose will step in to face Ferreira on the prelims of the card.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fight Night 86 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

  • 22 days ago
  • 24 views

Following Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 86 event in Croatia, several of the winning and losing fighters took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters. Check out some of tho read news >>

Benson Henderson not thinking of historic implications of winning Bellator title

  • 19 days ago
  • 12 views

Benson Henderson is just over a week away from his chance to become the first fighter in MMA history to win Bellator and UFC championship belts in a career.Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC read news >>

Cezar Ferreira enters career crossroads at UFC on FOX 19 with clear mind, healed body

  • 19 days ago
  • 5 views

If anyone might have an excuse for a couple of disappointing performances, it might be a guy with eight screws in his neck and fighting in a weight class in which he never belonged. Cezar Ferreira is read news >>

UFC on FOX 19 results: Cezar Ferreira outgrinds Oluwale Bamgbose after wobbly start

  • 17 days ago
  • 16 views

TAMPA, Fla. – Cezar Ferreira found himself clinging to consciousness and dodging blows off his back after being dropped by Oluwale Bamgbose in the first round.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Bellator 152 Results: Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire, Alessio Sakara Pick Up Wins in Italy

  • 17 days ago
  • 11 views

Bellator MMA staged their inaugural international event, Bellator 152: Pitbull vs. Souza, at Italy’s Pala Alpitour this weekend. read news >>

UFC on FOX 19 post-fight facts: Insane winning streak for Nurmagomedov stays alive

  • 16 days ago
  • 11 views

Saturday’s UFC on FOX 19 card was ravaged by injuries and fight changes. However, the FOX-televised card in Tampa, Fla., produced some eventful outcomes. Check out all the post-fight facts.Filed unde read news >>