There is a reason why Freddy Assuncao (4-1) carries the weight of expectation on his shoulders each time he steps into the cage. Not only did he grow up practicing mixed martial arts, but he is also the younger brother of current UFC fighters Junior and Raphael Assuncao.
Freddy, who trains with the rest of the Assuncao trio at Ascension Mixed Martial Arts outside of Atlanta, GA, is looking to continue his family’s MMA legacy by following in the footsteps of his two older brothers.
Just last month it was announced that Assuncao had signed a deal with Aggression MMA in Canada where he will look to add to his current three-fight win streak.
“We are very excited to have added a fighter the caliber of Freddy to the Aggression stable of competitors,” Aggression MMA co-owner Moin Mirza said in a press release last month. “We expect him to compete for our featherweight belt sooner rather than later.”
But if Assuncao is to challenge for the title “sooner” he must first win his debut fight for the organization.
This Friday, September 16, Freddy Assuncao will take on Baz Cunningham (6-2) at “Unfinished Business” emanating from the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
ProMMAnow.com’s Josh Cross spoke recently with Assuncao about his upcoming fight, what it’s like training with his two older brothers, what he will be doing at UFC 135 and what other fight at “Unfinished Business” he will be keeping his eyes on.
PRO MMA NOW: Can you talk about your training camp for this fight and who you have been working with?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: My training camp has been going really well. I think I had a six-week camp since we got the fight. It wasn’t a full eight-week camp, which is what I usually like to do, but six-weeks is still good enough. I always try to stay in shape. I’ve been working out a lot with the guys here in Atlanta like Douglas Lima, Diego Saraiva, my brother Junior Assuncao, and my other brother Raphael Assuncao who just got back in town from his fight. So yeah, camp has been going really well. I’ve been able to push anywhere from wrestling to boxing to ground so I’m pretty happy with the camp. I’ve been very healthy. My weight is good. I’ve been eating really well and feeling really strong. It couldn’t be better. I’m doing really good and I’m really excited.
PRO MMA NOW: Now you’ll be fighting Baz Cunningham on September 16. How much do you know about him and how do you feel that you two match up going into this fight?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: I don’t really know much about him. I know that he has more fights than I have and I think he has been fighting a lot longer than I have. He’s a little older than me I think. As far as his style he looks like a very strong guy and a very powerful guy. It looks like he has a good wrestling base and heavy hands. So my plan is to go wherever the fight goes. I train everything and I’m ready. I think we will match up pretty well. We are both 5’6” if I’m not mistaken and so we’re right there. I think it’s going to be an exciting match.
PRO MMA NOW: Now Aggression has said that they expect you to be fighting for the featherweight title sooner rather than later. With there being a featherweight title match between Adam Lorenz and Alvin Robinson on the same card as your fight will you be watching and scouting those two guys in their fight?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: Definitely I will be keeping an eye on that fight. I think my fight is either one or two fights before their title fight so once I get my fight done, which I plan on ending it quick, I’m going to go out there and watch the fight and make sure I do my homework. I want to go in there and get this win and I want to go for the belt. As far as the title fight it doesn’t really matter. I train with world-class fighters every day.
PRO MMA NOW: What’s it like to train in Atlanta with your two older brothers Raphael and Junior Assuncao, and what would you say that you’ve been able to learn from them?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: It has definitely benefitted me a lot. The downfall is that I was never hand-fed like as far as my fights and opponents. I’ve fought guys with a whole bunch of fights and much more fights than I’ve had, so it requires me to train a lot harder than some [fighters] coming up. I’ve had to push myself a lot more than any up and coming guy that is just starting MMA with a couple of fights. I mean I’ve been doing martial arts all of my life, but it has definitely helped me improve a lot faster because I have to keep up with my two brothers and my training partners. All the guys that I train with have more experience than me so it requires a lot from me and it has helped me a lot. My Jiu-Jitsu game, my wrestling, [and] my striking has improved. I have had to push so much to keep up with them, but I have definitely benefitted from having them as my brothers. [My brothers and coaches] have a lot more experience than I do, so whatever they tell me I believe in it. I believe in our style. I believe in our game plan. You have to have confidence in your style. Confidence is a big part in winning the fights. Fighting is very mental. It’s very psychological.
PRO MMA NOW: Will either of your two brothers be in your corner during your fight?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: Junior fights the following week at UFC 135 in Denver so he won’t be there. My other brother Raphael is going to be in my corner.
PRO MMA NOW: What’s it like for you to be able to have one of your brothers in your corner during a fight?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: It benefits a lot. The fights themselves, when you’re in there, you’re in there alone. Even though whenever I fight or when either of my brothers fight we feel like jumping in to help each other in the cage, we can’t. It’s a very solo sport. [Having my brothers there] can only help you so much, but it definitely helps. I try to keep my ears open during the fight and do whatever they tell me to do and execute the game plan. So it benefits a lot. It’s an extra boost. I have a lot of confidence in myself and my style, but it definitely helps having my brothers there. We always try to go to each other’s fights. I always go to Raphael’s fights and Junior’s fights. I’ll be in Denver cornering Junior the following week after my fight. So I will fight on September 16, fly back, and then I’ll fly out on the September 22 to Denver for my brother’s fight.
PRO MMA NOW: Obviously you’re fighting for Aggression, but looking to the future what would it mean to you to be able to fight for the UFC one day like your brothers and continue that legacy that they began?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: That’s our goal. There has never been three brothers in the UFC ever. Our plan is to be the first ones and of course being there and not just gatekeepers but being successful. It would mean a lot. I’m not a big 145’er. I believe that once I get to like the UFC I’ll probably drop to 135 pounds. That’s my goal. Right now I’m fine where I’m at being 145. My brother Junior, who is a bigger guy and taller than me at 5’9”, is going to be fighting at 145, and so 145 pounders nowadays are very big. They’re cutting a lot of weight, which is fine. Strength only counts for so much, but once you get to the elite level you have to use everything you can. My plan is to definitely get into the UFC with my brothers and maybe drop weight.
PRO MMA NOW: Are there any people you would like to thank or sponsors you want to plug?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: I definitely want to thank first of all my family, God, and my training partners. I want to thank everyone here in Atlanta that has been helping me. I want to thank my brothers. Also want to thank Brian with SuckerPunch. He’s the one that gets me the fights and all. I want to thank my sponsors Simos, Synergy Release Sports. They’ve been taking care of me and they’re the best in the business. I want to thank Tripod Sports. They do extreme sports clothing and they’re new on the market. They’ve been helping me a lot also. So just thank to all my training partners and everyone for the support.
PRO MMA NOW: What would be the best way for fans to keep track of what you’ve got going on and coming up in the future?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: Definitely. I’m on Facebook and I’ve got a Facebook page. I’m also on Twitter (@Freddy_Assuncao). We always keep both updated with how are training camp is going. We take pictures and tell how everything is going with all of my training partners and my brothers. So definitely follow me on Twitter.
PRO MMA NOW: Is there anything else you want to add?
FREDDY ASSUNCAO: I’m just really excited about my fight and then the week after that is my brother Junior Assuncao’s fight. I’m super excited about him. He’s finally back in the UFC. I want to wish him luck. I’m going to be there supporting him and that guy is a beast. What he has been doing in training is unbelievable. If he is able to do 50 percent of what he does in training in his fight UFC 145’ers are going to have a hard time with him. It’s amazing how much he is capable of. We have a hard time getting training partners for Junior because they know they’re going to get hurt. Also Diego Lima is fighting pretty soon too. He is Douglas Lima’s brother. He fights probably about two weeks after my brother Junior’s fight so we have back-to-back fights one week after the other. Everybody is super focused and super excited. Training camp is going well for everyone. So I would like to wish everybody good luck. Hopefully everyone is going to come out successful.
Tickets for “Unfinished Business” are still available online at www.TNTTickets.ca or over the phone at (708) 426-SOLD.
Aggression MMA will also be offering a worldwide pay-per-view stream of the event online through their website.