MENU
#UFC Fight Night 117 #UFC Fight Night 52 #Jessica Andrade #Claudia Gadelha #Ovince St. Preux #Gokhan Saki #Bellator 183 #Fight Night Pittsburgh #Yushin Okami #Takanori Gomi #Dong Hyun Kim


rafael-natal-6.jpgFORT CAMPBELL – After Brazilian middleweight Rafael Natal outpointed Tor Troeng at UFC Fight Night 28, he told his trainers that things were going to change when he came back to his adopted hometown of New York City.

“‘We’re going to rest, we’re going to train without pressure,’” remembers Natal. “But I was feeling great.”

Considering his schedule that year, it was a blessing just to be able to focus on his technique. He had fought three times in the octagon thus far this year, and UFC fights aren’t the same as those on the regional circuit.

“In the UFC, you have more pressure,” Natal told MMAjunkie.com. “When you fight a lot, you put your body under a lot of pressure. You need to rest. That’s important for your body.”

Not long after announcing his intention to ease up, Natal got a call from his manager asking if he’d like to fight on Nov. 16 at the UFC’s 20th anniversary show, UFC 167. So much for rest and relaxation.

“I said, man, that’s a huge opportunity. I can’t say no,” he said. “I’m ready. I’m always in shape; I always train hard.”

Natal (17-4-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) was training to fight Ed Herman when he saw on Twitter that he was among several fighters Tim Kennedy (16-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC), called out when Lyoto Machida was moved from “UFC Fight Night 31: UFC Fight for the Troops 3? to this past month’s “UFC Fight Night 30.”

Natal was open to the idea of fighting Kennedy, but he already had a fight. Then UFC President Dana White called his manager, and his plans changed yet again.

Now, the Brazilian is headlining his first UFC card before a partisan crowd who will heavily favor Kennedy, a former Army Ranger and Special Forces soldier.

“This is the biggest opportunity of my life, (and) of my career,” Natal said. “Tim Kennedy is a tough guy. He’s got a big name. It’s a huge opportunity for me.”

“UFC Fight Night 31: UFC Fight for the Troops 3? takes place tonight at Fort Campell in Kentucky. Its main card airs live on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and MMAjunkie.com.

In camp, Natal returned to the grind of fight preparation and switched his training to accommodate Kennedy’s wrestling ability as opposed to Herman’s brawling standup style. He’s confident that he belongs in the cage as a headliner and will prove he’s a contender by winning the fight.

“I just turned 30 years old,” Natal said. “I feel like I’m a new guy. I had three fights this year, and I my body recovered pretty fast.”

Tonight’s fight will be his fourth bout in 2013, which is unusual for most UFC fighters, who compete an average of three times a year and often settle for two.

It’s unlikely Natal will say no if he’s offered yet another fight early next year. But it he had it his way, a little break would be nice.

“I’m just going to start a little bit later,” he said. “Maybe I’ll fight in March of next year.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 31, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Comments

Show Comments

Related News

Conor McGregor Guaranteed to Make 10 Times His Biggest UFC Payday in Floyd Mayweather Fight | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 69 views

Win, lose or draw on Saturday night, Conor McGregor is laughing all the way to the bank. The reigning UFC lightweight champion will make a guaranteed $30 million payday for his fight against Floyd Ma read news >>

Mayweather vs. McGregor Odds: Final Betting Lines Roundup, Props Update

  • 29 days ago
  • 3 views

With UFC champion Conor McGregor set to step into the ring for the first time as a pro boxer against one of the greatest pugilists of all time in Floyd Mayweather, the latter is finally starting to s read news >>

Cody Garbrandt Wants to Be the Bo Jackson of MMA and Boxing | MMAWeekly.com

  • 29 days ago
  • 40 views

UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt might be the next fighter looking to crossover to boxing. read news >>

Francis Ngannou: Since Alistair Overeem can''t fight, how about Stipe Miocic at UFC 218?

  • 28 days ago
  • 32 views

With things being the way they are currently, Francis Ngannou figures he might as well cut to the chase.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Demetrious Johnson Predicts Mayweather vs. McGregor Upset | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 56 views

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson breaks down the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor super fight and predicts an upset. read news >>

SNL Gets in on Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor with Hilarious Skit | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 148 views

UFC champion Conor McGregor (Alex Moffat) explains how he''s going to defeat undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2520 with Stipe Miocic and Gerry Cooney

  • 28 days ago
  • 10 views

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Stipe Miocic and Gerry Cooney.Filed under: News, Radio, UFC read news >>

Heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic didn''t know UFC planned Jon Jones fight, wants better contract

  • 28 days ago
  • 84 views

Stipe Miocic simply wants to get paid what he feels is right as the UFC heavyweight champion.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Conor McGregor Intends to Return to the UFC, Reveals Timeline | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 15 views

Conor McGregor steps into the biggest fight of his life on Saturday night, but he''s already revealed a timeline for his UFC return. read news >>

Dana White''s custom Conor McGregor T-shirts for fight week

  • 28 days ago
  • 7 views

UFC President Dana White has been Conor McGregor’s No. 1 fan during the entire build-up to “The Money Fight.”Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC read news >>