Undefeated welterweight Ricardo Funch (7-0) will make his Octagon debut against decorated collegiate wrestling All American, Johny Hendricks (6-0), at UFC 107 from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee, on Dec. 12.
And, like most up-and-coming mixed martial artists, making it to the big show is a dream come true.
"I always had the expectation of coming in to the UFC," he said today to Terra.com.br. "I started to train four years ago and despite training everything, I focused on jiu-jitsu. I tried to become the most complete fighter I could. I have seven victories in seven MMA fights. I beat tough athletes and believed sooner or later the UFC would knock at my door. Thankfully it was sooner! I’m prepared. It's my dream. It is what I want to do, representing my academy and Brazil."
Funch's UFC dream began while watching the legendary Royce Gracie effortlessly dominate the competition in early days of the sport with his unique brand of jiu-jitsu. He began to train locally and his since earned his purple belt while training at Team Link, which is run by former number one heavyweight contender, Gabriel Gonzaga.
Remarkably, he's been able to do it all in just four years of training.
Funch revealed the opportunity came through Marco Alvan and "Napao" at Team Link -- the pair talked to UFC Matchmaker Joe Silva about Funch and provided him with videos to see his talent. Thanks to that, a four-fight contract was signed and he will be part of the welterweight division.
Now the Brazilian fighter is set to debut against a very formidable opponent in Hendricks less than two months from now. Hendricks, a incredibly gifted wrestler, scored a big 30-second win in his promotional debut against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 winner, Amir Sadollah, at UFC 101 back in August.
For Funch, however, he sees Hendricks as a fighter who is perfectly tailored for his fighting style.
"My adversary has already won several wrestling tournaments," he said. "He is a tough guy on the mat and has with heavy hands. But this is a fight that fits exactly with my style. He wants to take the fight to the floor and so do I. I believe this match ends up on the ground. I train to finish up! I’m a purple belt and believe in my ground game."
He certainly does not lack confidence.
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