It has been nearly three months since Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante shocked a fairly large number of people by handing Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal the first loss of his career this past August at “Strikeforce – Houston” and little has been heard from the newly crowned Strikeforce 205-pound champion. In fact, Cavalcante, who TKO’d Lawal a minute into the third round of their headlining bout, has never been known for providing particularly juicy soundbytes.
However, the 10-2 Brazilian broke his relative silence in a recent chat with Tatame and spoke openly on a number of topics including his victory over Lawal, his interest in testing his skills inside the Octagon, who he looks up to in Mixed Martial Arts, and why he believes the UFC is purposely putting Brazilians in the cage against each other.
When asked to point out the lows and highs of his bout with Lawal, Cavalcante expressed a great deal of content with his performance. “I think there wasn’t a worst moment, everything was according to the plan, I managed to study him a lot and I think that my highest peak was that I did a good job on the takedown defenses and my Muay Thai, which was very aggressive and functional.”
“I think that my best moment was on the exact moment I knew I could attack him,” he continued. “I was happy. These were my best moments: both on the takedown defenses and the fact I could dominate the fight on the right moment. That was what made it work.”
However, while he was more-than satisfied with his showing, Cavalcante has maintained a unique perspective on exactly what the win means when looking at the big picture, saying, “For me, it’s a great thing…it’s another goal conquered among many others that will come…but the important (thing) is this journey that we’ve been through – everything we learn from our fights…in the 16 years I’m here in Rio de Janeiro…all this time, all the friends I’ve made…all the wins, the loses…what I’ve learned from my defeats, what I’ve learned with my triumphs…”
“That’s what is most important to me – (the entire) road,” he elaborated.
“The important is the learning. I always say it…To me, the belt is important, but it came from another win – another fight I did, won, and learned from it.”
When the subject changed from his match-up with “Mo” to fellow fighters he idolized, “Feijao” listed a number of his training partner, as well as Randy Couture, and explained it wasn’t simply their in-ring success his respected.
“I have several… Rodrigo (Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira) is my idol, Anderson Silva… I have many idols and the chance to train with them. That’s excellent to me. There’re some guys, like ‘Minotouro’ (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira)… Most of them train with me, so it’s even better. (Couture) is an idol and an example of a good fighter. I see the fighter as a full person, not only inside the ring, but I see the person, how does they act outside the rings, their attitude as a fighter, I see them all, so I like these people.”
However, just because he looks up to a number of UFC competitors doesn’t mean fans should expect to see Cavalcante in the Octagon any time soon. “I intend to stay where I am. They’re treating me kindly and I think there’re still many good fights for me here, (like) Dan Henderson, ‘Babalu’ (Renato Sobral)…”
Perhaps also affecting his interest in signing with the world’s largest MMA promotion in the near future is his opinion his Brazilians are being paired up against each other in an effort to thin out his countrymen’s chances to compete for a championship.
“I think it’s a strategy to decrease the number of Brazilians on the top. I’m sure it’s something like it, and I think they should put the Brazilians to face other guys,” Cavalcante began. “There are many fights they could (make)…When (it) comes to an end, like ‘Shogun’ (Mauricio Rua) and Lyoto Machida it’s okay…Both are going to dispute the title, but before that there’s no need.”
Cavalcante is currently riding a three-fight win streak and has emerged victorious six of the last seven times he’s set foot in the ring. His TKO of Lawal was the ninth of his career with the other dubya coming by way of a strike-based submission.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE