Next weekend, PRIDE veteran and former EliteXC Middleweight Champion Murilo “Ninja” Rua will headline the sixth BAMMA fight card, challenging the reigning Middleweight Champion and a local crowd favorite Tom “Kong” Watson. It will be Rua’s fourth fight on the British soil and his first under the BAMMA banner. Older brother of the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Ninja is currently 20-11-1 (8 KO’s, 10 Submissions) in his Mixed Martial Arts career, after competing all around the world, from Japan to Canada.
The event will take place on May 21st at the 12,500-capable Wembley Arena in London, England. Other than the headlining bout between Murilo Rua and Tom Watson, BAMMA 6 will once again present a strong line-up, with Frank Trigg, Che Mills and Aaron Wilkinson all expected to take part in the main card action.
Here’s what Murilo “Ninja” Rua had to say about fighting in England, the future of his career and much more:
It’s not your first fight in England. How do you feel about fighting in the UK, and how it compares to other countries, such as Japan and USA for instance?
I feel great. I have friends in the country, like Robbie Olivier, and I also had great times fighting in the UK. The crowd is very energetic and it’s a bit like the USA. Japan is a different thing, as the crowd is very quiet and respectful to all fighters, so it makes a different atmosphere.
Can you talk about your training camp coming to this fight? Were you preparing at UDL, or you moved together with your brother Shogun to Rafael Cordeiro’s Kings MMA?
I trained hard and a lot with my team UDL, and also did some training in the USA and in Sao Paulo with our friends Demian Maia, Daniel Sarafian and others. I’m feeling ready and I’m sure it’s going to be a great fight.
What kind of role Shogun Rua plays in your MMA career? Do you consider him a role model?
Shogun is my younger brother, and I love him very much. It’s great to see how he grew as a fighter and a professional, and I get very happy for him. Obviously I admire him a lot and I’m extremely proud! I wouldn’t say I look at him as a role model, as I’m the older brother so it should be the other way around (Laughs).
Tom Watson is the current BAMMA Middleweight Champion. How do you rate him as a fighter, and what in your opinion you should do in order to take away his title?
I think Tom is a great fighter. Has a lot of heart, is aggressive and well rounded. I think he is dangerous and capable of bringing a good fight against anyone. I think I have to be ready in all areas, and to be in a war.
British crowd is expected to be all behind Tom Watson. Do you feel prepared mentally for fighting on “enemy territory”?
This is actually not new for me or to any Brazilian fighter for that matter. Usually we have to get used to be traveling all over the world to fight and rarely we have the crowd behind us. I have fought in Japan, UK, Australia, Canada and the USA, and have fought local guys in many of those shows. It’s part of the business and in the end it’s two guys there to fight each other.
You will turn 31 next day after the fight. Do you feel like you’re currently at the prime of your career, or coming close to its end?
I don’t think about it, you have to take one step at a time and focus only in your next fight. Right now, all I’m focusing is to fight Tom Watson at BAMMA 6, which will be a great show and should be a great fight!
What’s your approach coming to this fight? Will you be looking for Submission or a Knockout?
I’m looking to win! I’m an MMA fighter and I know anything can happen in a fight. I have to be ready to fight standing up and on the ground, and how the fight will end we will only know on May 21st!
Any message to Tom Watson or your fans around the world?
I want to thank all the fans for the support and let them know that as always I’m going to give my all in the fight! It’s going to be a great show will top fighters, so I want to see you all at the Wembley arena on May 21st. BAMMA is doing a great job and we need to support the show so it can continue to grow and bring great fights to the fans.
Would you like to mention any sponsors?
I would like to thank my sponsors Bad Boy, and BVA Bank, for all their support. It means a lot to us, and they are not only sponsors but outstanding partners. See you all in London!