While there are plenty of fans who have never heard of Siyar Baharduzada or seen him fight, those who have are familiar with the threat the 20-4 Afghani fighter poses to any opponent he encounters inside the ring. One of those with respect for the 27-year old’s style and substance is the very opponent he’ll make his UFC debut against on April 14 at UFC on Fuel 2Paulo Thiago.

Thiago recently gave his thoughts on Baharduzada in an interview with TATAME where his appreciation for his upcoming adversary’s abilities was evident as was his own self-assurance in terms of handling things inside the Octagon.

“He’s really tough, he is a champion in other events, and he’s experienced, “said Thiago of Baharduzada.

“I’ve watched his fights many times,” he continued. “I know he wants to stand-up and has strong hands, but he also has some flaws. I believe I can stand-up against him and I believe my ground game is better than his. Let’s see what happens, but I’m prepared to fight him both on our feet and on the ground.”

Part of Thiago’s faith in the likelihood of victory has to do with his latest camp, both based on how well his training has gone as well as the motivation his fellow Brazilians have given him.

“I’m really confident and I’ve never done such a good preparation in Brasilia, I’m feeling great and I’m going for the win, absolutely. I want to get this win for the Brazilians…There’s a little girl whose birthday is the same day I’m fighting at, so I told her I would dedicate it to her. And that’s it: I’m well trained and I’ll do a good fight.”

Thiago is coming off a convincing decision win over David Mitchell at UFC 134 this past August and was set to return at UFC 142 against Mike Pyle before suffering an injury in the gym. He holds an overall record of 14-3 with notable victories against Mike Swick, Jacob Volkmann, and Josh Koscheck.