When heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga returns to the Octagon next month at UFC 142 he will have been away from the infamous eight-sided cage for more than a year, opting to recompose himself after a pair of losses in 2010 led to his release by taking some time off to focus on his love of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
However, with his mind back on Mixed Martial Arts, the 32-year old Brazilian is ready to get back into the mix starting with unbeaten newcomer Edinaldo Oliveira at the UFC’s return to Rio de Janeiro on January 14.
Five Ounces of Pain was able to catch up with Gonzaga as he prepares for the bout to get, his reaction to hearing from his former bosses at Zuffa, as well as his opinion on Oliveira and what fans can expect to see this time around.
“It was natural,” Gonzaga explained of return to the UFC. “I feel I never left. The UFC is my home, they take care me very good (and) I have a lot of friends there. I am excited to see everyone again!”
As far as his opponent, a 13-0-1 Jungle Fight veteran with eight TKOs, “Napao” isn’t concerned about the relative unknown nature of what Oliveira brings.
“I know what everyone knows,” began the 12-6 Gonzaga. “Ednaldo is though fighter and come from a great camp. But at this point I am not worried about him; I am worried about my training and I am going to be very well-trained for this bout.”
Gonzaga also expects a return to the form that saw him earn a shot at the UFC heavyweight title in 2007.
“I am ready to have a big run in the UFC again and it will start now at UFC 142. I want to thanks those who have been contributing for my training camp here at Team Link. It is going great,” said Gonzaga enthusiastically.
The bout between Gonzaga-Oliveira is expected to take place on the FX-broadcast undercard portion of UFC 142, a show headlined by featherweight champion Jose Aldo putting his gold up for grabs against unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC