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Rousimar Palhares: “My dream is to fight for the title”

Sometimes in mixed martial arts, as crazy as it sounds, the positives that come from a loss can outweigh the negatives.

Former PRIDE middleweight and light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson put recently put an end to Rousimar Palhares‘ six fight when streak at UFC 88, out pointing Palhares by unanimous decision. Although it was a losing effort, the Brazilian Top Team stand out showed the kind of heart and determination in a fight that few gave him a chance in. It was the kind of performance that let people know that, given the proper development, Palhares could be a serious force to be reckoned with in the future.

Easily one of the middleweight division’s most promising prospects, submission phenom Rousimar Palhares makes no bones about the fact that his ultimate goal with the UFC is to become it’s 185 pound champion but the 28 year old Brazilian told in an exclusive interview that he has to take things ‘fight by fight’.It’s an extremely intelligent way to view things, especially considering the fact that his opponent at UFC 93 will be one of the sports most experienced and combat tested athletes.

A veteran of over a hundred mixed martial arts bouts, Jeremy Horn promises to be a handful for any man that he fights and he will be sure to provide Palhares with the exact kind of test that he needs at this point in his career.

At 5’8″ tall and weighing in at a massive 185 pounds, it’s not very hard to see how Palhares obtained his nickname. The Portuguese word ‘Toquinho’ translates to ‘tree stump’ in English.

“It was a joke from my friends at the Brazilian Top Team,” explained Palhares. “They gave me the nickname because I’m short and have really big shoulders.”

Palhares is in good hands at the Brazilian Top Team. The school has long been recognized as one of the top mixed martial arts gyms in the world while producing numerous top fighters including his head coach and former UFC middleweight champion, Murilo Bustamante.

“I feel great right now,” said Palhares. “I’m completely ready for this bout. I have been working really hard with my coach Murilo Bustamante, my physical trainer Marcio Pimentel and all of the guys from Brazilian Top Team.”

Already respected as one of the UFC’s most dangerous grapplers, Palhares utilizes a combination of strength and technique that is rarely seen in mixed martial arts. The powerful Brazilians bone splintering leg locks have sent countless opponents straight to the emergency room.

Palhares knows that there is one area of the game that he needs to focus on in the gym in order to really take his game to that next level and has been putting in the work in hopes to be able to showcase a new set of skills in the near future.

“I have been working on every aspect of my game but I have been spending a little more time focusing on my striking skills,” said Palhares. “My striking is the area that I need to improve the most.”

“I know that I need to work and improve my stand up game and that is exactly what I am doing. I hope that someday I can surprise my fans with a TKO in the octagon.”

Palhares is excited to have the opportunity to test himself against one of the game’s most seasoned veterans. To test himself and to showcase to UFC fans exactly what they should expect from him in the future all while moving that much closer to his dream.

Jeremy Horn is a great fighter,” said Palhares. “He has more than 100 fights which means he has a lot of experience. He is also really good on the ground so I think it will be a great match for me.”

“I am confident in my skills no matter where the fight goes with Jeremy. I am even confident with my stand up game.”

“Testing myself against someone like Jeremy is exactly what I need right now. I want to fight the very best fighters on the way to accomplishing my dream. My dream is to fight for the title one day.”

“It is my dream to become the UFC’s middleweight champion. I think to become champion has to be the dream of every fighter in the UFC.”

To accomplish that dream the jiu-jitsu powerhouse would have to get past the seemingly unstoppable Anderson Silva. Palhares doesn’t see the current middleweight as unbeatable but knows that he would have to play to his strengths if the two were ever to lock horns.

“If I could take Anderson Silva down, I think I could submit him,” said Palhares. “However, it isn’t easy to grab him because he moves very fast in the octagon.”

Palhares is smart enough to know that you have to take things one step at a time in this business and he will worry about Silva when that challenge presents himself. Right now he has his radars set on Horn.

“My mind works fight by fight and I will just worry about Anderson when the time comes,” said Palhares. “I will have my chance to fight for the belt but right now I have to think about Mr. Horn.”

“I need to thank God for giving me the strength to work hard and reach my dream. I also have to thank all of my family and friends for believing in my skills and pushing me to the top.”

  • Grappo says:

    I love that little monchichi.

  • ihateemo says:

    Palhares looked great even losing to Hendo. I have to say that I don’t think it was one of Dan’s best performances that night.

    Either way, I think this fight is a gimme for Palhares – he’s driven and talented, whereas Horn is pretty much phoning it in these days.

  • HexRei says:

    He’s way too short for this division, imagine how Silva would handle him on the feet, the reach difference would be ridiculous. He is going to be at a reach and height disadvantage against almost everyone he fights. He might have a chance at WW or LW.

  • Lyquid says:

    Hendo had to be cautious of him because he knew how great Paul Harris is on the ground. Wasn’t the best fight for dan to take in my opinion.

  • shiki31 says:

    at this point he is too green on his feet (although he was throwing some interesting kicks against henderson) and too slow because of his size (5’8″ 185!) to compete with anderson silva. silva is too quick and elusive and he would pick palhares apart. but who knows what would happen if it did get to the ground? palhares is supposed to be the man when it comes to lower body locks and subs and anderson silva did tap via heel hook v chonen…

  • Tyler says:

    “Hex Rei” I don’t think Palhares can make 155 he’s way to thickly built to cut another 30 lbs. I think that at 170 with his grappling skills he could be a force but he seems comfortable at 185. Also I think he’s the same height as Paulo Filho and Filho said he’s leaving 185 and moving UP to 205.