Raphael Assuncao knows his girls are with him every step of the way, even if he makes steps into the Octagon alone.
A quick scroll down Assuncao’s Instagram makes two things clear: the man loves to train and he loves his family. The top-ranked bantamweight fighter’s profile is brimming with photos of his daughter and his wife.
“My girls — and this is my daughter, my wife and my mother — they have been so involved since my daughter was born. She is 3-years-old,” Assuncao told MMA Mania on Thursday. “For the last four-and-a-half-years, she’s been so involved. They’re such a big part of the whole process. They are indirectly involved in this whole thing. I’m here now and I have the little one in school, but everything is according to my plans. My selfish plans as a fighter. They are always here to support me.”
Few champions in the modern era are as dominate as Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre were. The quantity of quality fighters has sky-rocketed and it is a game of inches among the elite. So what separates the greats from the truly greats?
“That’s what we’re looking to find out on Saturday,” said Assuncao, who takes on streaking bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen this weekend at UFC 241. “This guy is coming in with good hype, good positive results. I had a loss and I wasn’t as motivated. I’m very motivated and I’ve changed and added to the game. I think utilizing those extra thoughts and those extra little puzzles to the game will help me.”
“We always strive for the victory,” he concluded. “It’s for God and then it’s for my family.”
UFC 241 takes place on Saturday, Aug. 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Cali. The event is headlined by Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 2 and boasts a thrilling co-main event between Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 241 fight card below, starting with the UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.