Congratulations on making your return to the UFC. You’re set to be a late replacement against Edinaldo Oliveira in your hometown of Rio Jan. 14. What were your initial thoughts when you received the offer? Was it ever a question in your mind if you would step in this late?
Gonzaga: “I was training and ready to take it if the opportunity showed up. I fought in October, and I was maintaining the training. When I got a call from my manager Marvo Alvan, I didn’t think twice. A fight in my home town will be fantastic!” What do you know about your opponent Oliveira besides his undefeated record? Have you already started strategizing a game plan for him?
Gonzaga: “I believe he is a tough fighter and comes from a good training camp. But at this point I’m worried about my training that Andy has prepared for this fight. Our team got together and we have been receiving support from fighters from different teams as well and it is going great!” Is this fight the start of a new three or four fight contract with the UFC or is that something that depends on the outcome?
Gonzaga: “I signed a four fight deal.” We’ve seen fighters in the past like Tito Ortiz get an “I owe you one” for stepping in late notice. Did the UFC signal you that they would take care of you for the last minute step-in?
Gonzaga: “It is the other way around. They are giving me the opportunity to fight on my home town. I owe them it! I will show them that I still have the heart to be a champion! They don’t need to say nothing because they always take care the fighters that perform and that’s what I am planning to do!” What would you say has changed since the last time we saw you in the Octagon? Obviously we saw the arm triangle in your last bout but will we see some improved stand-up or wrestling perhaps?
Gonzaga: “
I am training with some different sparrings and I am always trying to improve and learn something new. We recently learned that Strikeforce will be removing its heavyweight division and will likely see
an influx of talent moving over to the UFC. Is there any fighter in either organization you would like to fight? Maybe even a loss you would like to avenge?
Gonzaga:”My job is to train and fight whoever Joe Silva wants me to. I am not in position to pick fights. I never did it and it is just a pleasure to fight the bests in the UFC!” Appreciate you taking the time to answer questions with us. Good luck on your fight in Brazil in January, we look forward to it.
Gonzaga: “Thanks and I want to wish my team, students, fans and friends a happy New Year with love and peace!”