"Junior" tries to unplug "The Machine" at UFC 129: "St. Pierre vs. Shields" on April 30 in Toronto.
"Today, I woke up at 8:00 a.m. Not only today; rather, like I do everyday. We are on the last lap of the training, so ... So, that is how it is. I have a lot of motivation. I've been through worse things in the past. So to wake up early for three months, and to have two or three months of daily training, I have no problem doing that. That is my job and I get paid for it. I enjoy being here, of course. It's a great joy, even to feel your body getting tired. To be here, training with my friends. To stay after hours, exchanging ideas with my teammates. All this is priceless to me.
"I love soccer. If I'm not training, I'm playing either soccer or video games and soccer video games. I'm always watching; I use Internet to read about soccer. It's a childhood passion. My dream was to be a soccer player. Since I was a child, I've cheered for Flamengo. It's a really strong fan movement in Norther Brazil. Flamengo, Botafogo, Vasco, the teams from Rio. So, I've followed soccer since I was a little boy. I would cry as a boy, when Flamengo would lose a game. It was a deep and emotional passion. Full hearted, there, cheering. Oh man.
"I think, I could have been a soccer player. But I think everything is an opportunity. I didn't find as many opportunities in soccer. And I got to a point of disbelief when I found so many barriers in the way. I saw the opportunity in fighting and doors were opened for me. Since I found that space, I will believe in it and go after it. I will give my best and one day I will go far.
"The reason why I searched for MMA was because I needed money. I was competing in all the jiu-jitsu tournaments and there were no cash prizes. We were living in the gym and it was hard; me and Loro. Then Dede Perdeneiras started a MMA team and from there I started training MMA with the guys. Had one, two fights. Dede, since the beginning would say: 'You are going to be rich, one day. You will be rich.' He told me and Loror, 'MMA is getting big. You guys will be rich.' I would play around: 'Imagine, my brother. You are crazy, bro.' And thank god, today, that idea Dede had back in the day is now becoming reality."