Photo of Dhiego Lima via georgiafighters.com
2011 was a breakout year for Douglas Lima, winning the Bellator season five welterweight tournament which included consecutive highlight-reel knockout and a selection on Jordan Breen's "All-Violence Team."
His brother, Dhiego, is hoping that 2012 will be his moment to shine.
He's already off to a good start, recently listed as the number two welterweight prospect in the world by Leland Roling.
After having a potential star-making fight with Terry Martin scrapped due to a rib injury, Dhiego Lima is back in action this Friday night (January 27, 2012) as he takes on Strikeforce veteran and former All-American wrestler Nathan Coy on the main card of MFC 32.
The 21 year old Brazilian sports a perfect 6-0 record as a professional with all of his victories being stoppages. With the inclusion of Brian Stann to his training team at Ascension MMA in Atlanta, he feels he's more prepared than for any fight in his life.
Lima spoke with MMAmania.com during a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission this week where he spoke about recovering from his injury, how hard Brian Stann hits and what he expects against Nate Coy this Friday night.
Check it out:
Dhiego Lima: It was cartilage man, separated cartilage on my rib and it actually took a while to heal. It took about two months to actually get back in there and go 100 percent. I had to sit out for a month without doing anything. I couldn't train, I couldn't run, I couldn't do anything. I just had to rest. It sucks because it was an injury that there's no quick cure for, you just have to sit down and wait.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): And that takes us to a couple weeks ago, you were all pumped because you were set to fight Bruno Carvalho for this upcoming MFC 32 show and then he's the one that goes and gets hurt, it wasn't even two weeks before your fight, less than that. Were you just freaking, out like, "Oh god, not again!"
Dhiego Lima: Yeah, a little bit. I was at first but Mark [Pavelich] promised me he was gonna find somebody so then I relaxed a little and I was like, "Alright, we'll just wait and see," but yeah, I was kinda worried because that scouting report from Bloody Elbow came out, they said I was the number two prospect in the world so now I don't think guys want to take the fight on two weeks' notice but they found a pretty good opponent for me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, I was planning on asking you about that scouting report. Leland Roling, he doesn't mess around. He puts a ton of research into these scouting reports, watches a ton of film and he said you were the number two welterweight prospect in the world. Was that a huge confidence boost for you?
Dhiego Lima: Yeah, man, for sure, for sure. I got really excited when I saw that and it really just keeps driving me even more because I want to keep that up. I want to be number one soon and I just want to keep fighting hard, keep winning, keep putting on a show and we'll get the recognition.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I want to talk about your upcoming opponent, Nathan Coy, he's faced some top level competition in his career. He's got a 9-4 record and he's fought guys like Rick Story, Mike Pierce, Tyron Woodley, he has fought some great guys.
Dhiego Lima: Yeah, he's fought some great guys and I'm like, man, I'm really excited. He's a great wrestler and his stand-up is getting there so he doesn't mind banging too so it's gonna be a great fight. A lot of people are probably sleeping on this fight but it's gonna be an all-out war. The guy's got great wrestling, great stand-up, I cannot wait.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I'm excited for it too because this is gonna be a very interesting test for you because this is a guy that's gonna be, I know he'll occasionally stand and trade, but he does have really good wrestling credentials to fall back on.
Dhiego Lima: Yeah, he's an All-American wrestler so he's probably gonna try to get me to bang a little bit but that's just to boost my confidence up and then he's gonna shoot so I'm ready for it. I'm ready, man. I trained really well for this fight, I only had a week to prepare for him, get the gameplan but I fought a great wrestler before and I learned a lot from that fight so I think I'll be ready, man. I'm very ready. I'm pumped. He's a great wrestler but hey, they don't like to get hit in the face and that's one thing good that I have. We'll see what happens.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk about that last fight that you had against a great wrestler? That was in your amateur career, right?
Dhiego Lima: No, that was actually an exhibition fight. He was a professional but it was an exhibition fight. I pretty much, I didn't know how good of a wrestler he was and I trained a lot of straight stand-up and I didn't train strictly wrestling like I was supposed to because I didn't know the opponent and I just got outwrestled. That was pretty much it. I locked in a triangle choke that should have choked him out, should have tapped him out but, but I look at that fight, it was all a lesson from god. It's just testing me. I know why I lost. I did a couple things wrong and I learned a lot from that fight. After that fight, it was like my wake-up call. These wrestlers will try to wrestle you and you have to prepare for a wrestler so that's one thing I learned a lot from that fight. It was great. It didn't count on my record but it's still a loss. It sucks, especially being controlled and not able to do anything.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I heard that in some of your preparation for this fight, you worked with Brian Stann. Can you tell me about what it was like training, preparing and sparring with Stann at your gym down at Atlanta?
Dhiego Lima: It's great, man, because he's actually doing his camp down here now. He's not going anymore to Albuquerque. He's a great trainer, he's a great person, man. This guy, he's got some crazy heavy hands. That guy will wobble your head even if you've got headgear on and the 16 ounce gloves, man. That guy can hit hard. He's got great wrestling. he was my main trainer for this fight a little bit because Jucao and my brother had to go to Brazil so they were out for about three weeks and he took over. He trained me really well and then Jucao and Douglas came back two weeks ago and we finalized so I'm in the best shape, man. I'm very confident. I'm ready, man. This was a great camp, a great, great camp.
Ben Thapa: One of the honors given to your brother was a spot on Jordan Breen's "All-Violence Team." I was wondering if you had any ambitions of being on the 2012 rendition of that.
Dhiego Lima: Oh for sure, man. That would be awesome. I saw it and I was like, "Wow!" but he was definitely deserved. He came out as a wake-up call, he got hit in the first fight of the tournament and it was pretty much a wake-up call for him and he comes back and just knocked these dudes out and he's fighting for the belt now. He's very well deserved and that's really something I'm looking forward to at the end of this year, getting more recognition. If everything goes good, I want to be on that. Following in the footsteps, you know?
Ben Thapa: I was wondering about your earlier days as a fighter. You started out as an amateur, you had what, three amateur fights or did you have more than that?
Dhiego Lima: I'm actually 5-1 amateur. I lost my first fight ever as a stupid decision. I was in the guy's hometown, one of those. I pretty much outwrestled him and I lost that fight. That was my biggest wake-up call. After that, I came out, I won five straight, a lot of them were quick knockouts and my last one was actually for a belt. I fought a real hard decision with this guy, his name was Mike Lail and he had like 20 amateur fights and we pretty much brawled it out and I got the unanimous decision in the end. After that fight, my coaches were like, "Dude, you're ready, man. After a fight like this, there's no way you shouldn't be getting paid for all this." That's when I decided to go pro and I'm doing okay.
Ben Thapa: Were you going to school or working at this time when you started out as an amateur?
Dhiego Lima: I was still working. When I was first an amateur, I had just graduated. I was a party guy. That's when I really didn't care. I was trying to fight amateur just so I could get the attention, just so I could be popular and get all the girls and just go out and have fun and after my first amateur fight that I lost, my brother came up to me and he told me, "This is not what this is all about, man. If you want to make a career out of this, you've got to put your focus into it. You've got to quit all this bullcrappin' around," and I turned my life around, finally had a baby, got married and that was it, man. That's all that's on my mind now.
Ben Thapa: Are you going to get your own Genghis Con series soon, the Fist of Fury that your gym and your brother stars in and you're in occasionally.
Dhiego Lima: He lives in Florida, the guy that does all the nice videos. We told him whenever he's in town, we're gonna try to shoot one for me as well. The guy is great. He makes some great videos. It's something we're working on in the future.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've mentioned that you think you can knock Coy out, right?
Dhiego Lima: Well, yeah. Apparently that's his weakness. He's been knocked out a few times before. I'm just gonna put my hands on this guy. I'm gonna try to stay away from his wrestling and not get in that scrambling game that wrestlers like and just, whatever happens, happens. I'm ready. I'm ready for any position. If I have to wrestle, I will but I'm very confident for this fight. I've been training for nine months for this fight so I'm just gonna let the fight come. I just feel really good for this fight. I had a great camp, I'm confident. Let's just go, man. Let's go. Let's fight. I want to put my hands on this guy. I just can't wait to fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): So what do you think the fans can expect when they tune in on Friday night?
Dhiego Lima: I'm gonna give you guys a show. Whatever I do, it's not gonna be a boring fight. I'm not gonna let this guy take me down and hold me like they do. I'm gonna do whatever I can to make it an exciting fight. That's not what he wants, but that's what he's gonna get into.
Dhiego would like to thank Brian Stann, Roan Carneiro, his brother Douglas Lima and all his training partners for giving him a great camp. He's also like to thank his management team SuckerPunch and Mark Pavelich for finding a great opponent at the last minute. You can follow him on Twitter @DHLima121.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Could Lima potentially be the next big thing at 170 like his brother? Will 2012 be his breakout year or will Nathan Coy wrestle away his momentum?
To listen to the full audio of our interview with Dhiego, click here.