Fans in the know had been clamoring for some time to see perennial flyweight contender Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (14-1) added to the UFC’s roster. Now that he’s arrived, Formiga is looking to show fans that his mixed martial arts skill set has expanded to compliment his world class submission game.
Da Silva introduced himself to stateside fans in late 2010, joining Tachi Palace Fights as the recognized top 125-pound fighter in the world. Formiga got off to a good start with a one-sided decision win over WEC veteran Danny Martinez, but his second appearance saw him suffer his first professional defeat at the hands of Ian McCall.
Although da Silva bounced back with a victory over longtime contender Mamoru Yamaguchi, McCall received the call-up to participate in the UFC’s inaugural four-man flyweight tournament, leaving Formiga to return to his native Brazil to stay busy and work his way into the octagon.
“It’s pretty good to fight at home, I think all fighters would like that,” da Silva told ProMMAnow.com of his recent fights. “It’s been a pretty good run. Four submissions in four fights, three by rear naked choke. It means I’m doing well on the ground, being more aggressive and not letting opportunities pass.”
However, even with four straight finishes, da Silva had also hoped to put his striking on display to show how much he’s improved in that department.
“It’s not what I trained most to do,” he said. “I even used other tactics to keep the fights on the feet to show the UFC I’m not a one dimensional fighter, but all the fights are ending like that. I would like to trade punches a little bit more. But overall I think I did pretty well. Not disrespecting my opponents, who were very good … Michael [Costa] had never been finished, Rodrigo [Santos] was undefeated in 9 fights, Martin [Coria] was bigger and [Sidney] Abedi [Oliveira] had beat good people — but I’m glad because think I was able to put myself in a different level.”
It might’ve taken longer than expected, but with the news a couple of weeks ago that Jussier had finally signed a UFC contract, he’ll have the chance to show a wider range of fans why he’s been highly ranked for several years.
Asked for his thoughts on the UFC tournament so far, Formiga replied, “They were pretty good fights. I already expected [Joseph] Benavidez’s win because of [Yasuhiro] Urushitani only fighting in Japan. Ian [McCall] vs Demetrious [Johnson] were two pretty good fights. I think Ian should get the nod on the first and Demetrious really deserved on the second. I pick him to beat Benavidez and become the first UFC flyweight champion.”
Da Silva added, “Of course my goal is to be in the UFC. I want to be there among the top fighters and become the champion.”
Formiga asked to thank the following:
I want to thank everyone that roots for my sucess, to my coaches Jair Lourenço, the late Bruno Gouvea, Barão’s father Netinho Pegado who’s helping me on the stand up, André Pederneiras, all my training partners, and Matheus Aquino.