I made it into the UFC too early in my career - LowKick.com exclusive interview with Vinny MagalhaesPosted on March 2, 2011, 11:52 AM by Daniel Cassidy
Vinny Magahlaes caught the eye of MMA fans during his time as a participant on the 8th season of The Ultimate Fighter, submitting opponents on way to the final bout against Ryan Bader. Regarded as one of the best BJJ practitioners in the world today, Magalhaes holds notable grappling victories over Marcio Cruz, Dean Lister, Glover Tiexeira and Gunnar Nelson.
During his time under coach Frank Mir on TUF, Magalhaes defeated heavily touted Krzysztof Soszynski. Currently enjoying a two-fight winning streak, Vinny Magalhaes (6-5 in MMA) recently signes a six-fight deal with M-1 Global, which ensures we see more of his talent in MMA competition.
Lowkick.com caught up with Vinny to ask him a few questions about his time at TUF, UFC and the future with M-1 Global.
You recently extended your contract with M-1 Global to six fights. Can you talk about your experiences from fighting at M-1 events, and what was the main reason behind signing a long-term deal?
I have fought for M-1 only once, but It was definitely a good experience, I got to travel to Russia, meet a new culture, and got to fight in front of different types of fans, and all I can say is that all that experience was really positive.
The main reason for me to sign with M-1 was because of the fact that there were no other big promotions that would keep me busy, as much as M-1 promised me, and giving the same exposure that M-1 can give me. Before signing with M-1 the only way that I'd get have fights every other month, would be if I took fight with smaller local shows, and If I had done that, firstly I would not have the exposure that I can get with m-1 (specially now with the showtime deal), plus I'd be taking the risk of have checks bouncing, opponents pulling out of fights in the last minutes, etc, etc. Things that happen really often, and have happened to me in the past, now I'm sure that I won't have to worry about these things anymore, since I'm fighting for a respected promotion that's been in the business for over a decade.
You are 4-1 since your release from the UFC. Do you feel like your career is now at its high point?
No, not yet. I feel like I'm definitely going on to the right direction though. I have definitely improved a lot since my release from the UFC. But this will never be a fair comparison... When I got into the UFC, I wasn't as focused as I am now, I wasn't working on the other aspects of the game as much as I am now, and I wasn't as ambitious as I am.
What's the main difference between Vinny Magalhaes of the UFC, and the one we know today?
I made in the UFC too early in my career, at that time I wasn't really prepared to fight, not even in the small local shows, let alone the UFC. Even though, I was working at Team Quest when I got on TUF, I wasn't really training like a professional fighter should be, I didn't have a striking coach working 1-on-1 with me like I have Mark Beecher nowadays, I wasn't even consistent at showing up for sparring days, and If I did, I'd do 2 or 3 rounds and sit out the rest of the time that we'd have left in practice, plus at that time I was still into BJJ/Grappling competition, so MMA wasn't anything like it is for me nowadays.
Nowadays, I only focus on my MMA career, that's all I care for. I love to fight, more than I ever loved to do Jiu-Jitsu (Ok, I might be over exaggerating at that one haha , but I feel like now I compete in MMA with the same passion that used to compete in Grappling/BJJ).
Are you still in touch with Frank Mir, your coach at TUF 8? What kind of influence he had on you as a coach?
I haven't talked or seen Frank in a while, we both live in Vegas, so we got to train together for a little bit after the show. I like Frank as a person and as a fighter, He's not much of a coach though, so I always took more advantage of him as a training partner than as a coach.
When people hear the name "Vinny Magalhaes", right away it gets associated with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But do you work on your striking? How important it is for you to improve as a striker?
Yes, I do work on my striking with Mark Beecher, I started to work with him, before my first M-1 fight, last december. As for the importance of improving my striking, it's plain and simple: people know that once I take the fight to the ground, longer reach, better striking, straight punches won't mean anything, so they will avoid that situation as much as they can, so the main thing for me is to have a at least good enough striking game, where I can stand and shorten the distance without take any damage, and take the fight to where I need to.
Will you participate in 2011 ADCC (Nottingham, England)? Does the fact that it's the one competition you never won gives you extra motivation?
I will not be able to go to Brazil to do the trials because of my fighting schedule, but If I get invited again to the main event in England, I will definitely be competing. I don't have any fight scheduled after july, so that would give me at least a month and a half to train for the ADCC. As for giving me an extra motivation... Yes, this definitely a title that I'd like to have.
Many people say that Fedor Emelianenko should work on his BJJ. Do you agree with this statement? As a multi-time BJJ Champion, what will be your advice for him? Would you like to train with him?
I do have to agree with that. After watching his last 2 fights, I do have to say that he lacked at showing some knowledge in some fundamental techniques on the ground. But it might be hard for a legend like him to accept to make changes at this point of his career, considering the fact that he was so dominant for over a decade without changing anything on his game. I'm not in the position to give any advice to one of the greatest fighters of all time. And yes, I'd love to train with him.
What's your main ambition for 2011?
I need to fix my MMA record, so I do want to keep myself really busy this year. If M-1 could give fights every other month, I'd be more than glad to take those fights. I'd also like to get a shot at the m-1 light heavyweight title.
Any message to your fans / Shout outs to sponsors?
I'd like to thank all those who support my career, fans, friends, family, my training training partners at Xtreme Couture, my trainer Mark Beecher and of course my main sponsors Xyience and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Image Source: M-1 Global