You came into the UFC with a lot of buzz. Have you found it difficult to live up to the hype?
It’s a great thing. People have wanted to watch me fight for a long time, and I like that. I like that they have expectations of me, and I have to prove them right. I like that challenge. When people expect you to do good things, it is a big deal, and it has been a great feeling to meet those expectations.
Have you had any difficulties adjusting to the increased media attention?
Not at all. I have less time to hang out with friends, but that is just one of those things. I love to get together with the guys, hang out, and play cards, but my schedule is getting so busy. If I’m going to be a successful fighter, that is a price I have to pay, and it’s one I want to pay. The more I win, the more I’m going to have to do media and other things, but I want that.
How many times have you heard your name mangled by reporters?
You guys are getting much better at it now [laughing]. But before, it was pretty bad, man.
You haven’t lost a fight in more than eight years. How have you kept the competitive fires raging?
It’s about having confidence. My dream is to get that belt, and I don’t worry about winning streaks or anything like that. Yeah, I want to keep that streak going, but my dream is to get that title. I don’t look at how many fights I have behind me. I just want to be prepared for five rounds and take that belt away.
After defeating James Te Huna at UFC 160, you got some props from former boxing great Mike Tyson. That’s pretty cool, huh?
That was huge for me because I’m a big, big fan of Mike Tyson. I know everything there is to know about him. I’ve watched his documentary, his interviews, and all of his fights a thousand times. I loved the way he fought and how he finished fights. When I started my career, I wanted to fight just like him. Of course, I could never box like him, but I just wanted to go in there and finish my opponents the way Tyson did.
When you aren’t in the cage, how do you spend your free time?
I do things with my family, and I like to go hang out with the guys. We do barbecues and all kinds of things together. Mostly, I like to hang out with friends and go fishing. I love to do the fun stuff.
Do you love techno music like a lot of your Brazilian countrymen?
No techno music for me. I listen to country. I love country music, especially the older stuff. That is my favorite.
You’ve shown a strong submission game and knockout power. Is there anything you can’t do in the cage?
I don’t think so. You guys are going to have to watch me fight more and more. Eventually, I’m going to do something you guys never expected. Every time I fight, I learn something new. I learn from the fight before, try to change up my style a little bit, and do something different in the next fight.
What about a “Showtime” kick off the cage?
I would say probably not. I don’t think that is going to happen.
What’s next on your schedule?
I’ve been working very hard to get a chance to fight for the title. My dream is to fight for that belt, and I’m ready.
How does UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira sound?
That’s the next step, definitely.