>Focused Gouveia Ready for Marquardt

>Local sports writer and television producer, Armando Alvarez, gives us a glimpse into the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Alvarez wrote a feature on the UFC’s Brazilian middleweight, Wilson Gouveia:

It looks as Gouveia has been training harder than ever since his lost to Reljic. In his last fight he beat Canadian submission artist Jason MacDonald, and he defeated him with such a dominant performance that this 30 year-old, who arrived in the United States in 1999 to fulfill his dream of becoming an MMA champ, opened up a lot of eyes and has once again cemented himself as a top contender in the sport.

“I feel stronger with each fight since I dropped the weight,” Gouveia said. “I’ve fought my whole career at 205, so I feel so much stronger than my opponents. Jason is a very talented fighter, probably one of the most talented in UFC and I was really impressed the way I was able to finish him. No one was as impressed as I was.”

A smile came across Gouveia’s face as he spoke of that victory, but he knows starting over in a new division hasn’t been easy. To be able to drop the weight and stay in good shape has been a struggle and a sacrifice.

Article referenced is copied in full at end of post.

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Focused Gouveia Ready for Marquardt By Armando Alvarez

Feb 15, 2009

A change in weight is just what the doctor ordered for UFC fighter Wilson Gouveia. No, he wasn’t at a risk for heart disease,

his cholesterol wasn’t high and he was nowhere near overweight, but this native of Fortaleza, Brazil lost in disappointing fashion to Goran Reljic last May and his career needed a jump start.

Gouveia dropped down a division from the light heavyweight limit of 205 pounds to compete at middleweight, 185 pounds. Though there was no doctor, Gouveia himself took it into his own hands to make it happen, and two impressive wins later the move seems to be paying off.

Now Gouveia looks to make it three wins in a row when he takes on well rounded contender Nate Marquardt on February 21 on the undercard of UFC 95: Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson. Gouveia will travel across the Atlantic and descend upon London’s O2 Arena to take on Marquardt, who himself is coming off a spectacular win against Martin Kampmann in September. The winner of this fight moves a little closer to a shot at UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva.

“I have a lot of respect for Nate Marquardt,” Gouveia said. “He is a great fighter who always trains really hard and always leaves his all inside the Octagon. After the champion, Anderson Silva, he’s the best fighter in the division. In my eyes he’s the number one contender, so a win over him would be huge. I’ve been training harder than ever for this fight.”

It looks as Gouveia has been training harder than ever since his lost to Reljic. In his last fight he beat Canadian submission artist Jason MacDonald, and he defeated him with such a dominant performance that this 30 year-old, who arrived in the United States in 1999 to fulfill his dream of becoming an MMA champ, opened up a lot of eyes and has once again cemented himself as a top contender in the sport.

“I feel stronger with each fight since I dropped the weight,” Gouveia said. “I’ve fought my whole career at 205, so I feel so much stronger than my opponents. Jason is a very talented fighter, probably one of the most talented in UFC and I was really impressed the way I was able to finish him. No one was as impressed as I was.”

A smile came across Gouveia’s face as he spoke of that victory, but he knows starting over in a new division hasn’t been easy. To be able to drop the weight and stay in good shape has been a struggle and a sacrifice.

“I had to drop 20 pounds to get here and at first my body wasn’t liking it one bit,” Gouveia said. “This process has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. The first fight I still felt a little awkward, but I’m telling you that now my body feels better than it ever has. I feel like I’m a better fighter than I was before.”

Gouveia isn’t the only 205 pounder to be trying out the 185 pound experience. Wanderlei Silva is looking to drop down to the middleweight division and British sensation Michael Bisping has already started to make his mark at 185. Gouveia says it’s a great thing for the sport.

“All these guys dropping down makes for one very exciting division,” Gouveia said. “Every weight class in UFC is tough, but with Silva dropping and Bisping dropping the weight class is now as good as any other in the sport. There’s going to be some very competitive fights coming up.”

At 185 Gouveia has gotten what he views as a fresh start. Gouveia, who has won two fights in a row, is no stranger to winning streaks. He had won four in a row and was inching ever so closely to a title shot at 205 when he walked into the Octagon to face Reljic at UFC 84. Eight minutes and 15 seconds later Gouveia was a defeated man and Reljic had his arms raised in victory. It was a result that changed Gouveia.

“That fight did a lot to me,” Gouveia said. “Even though I lost I see it as a good thing. The loss motivated me. This sport is all about motivation. Getting inside the Octagon for a fight is the easy part. You just walk in there and you fight. I’d go in there to fight a lion, but the training is the hard part. It’s the part I hate.

“I learned after that fight that I have to always be focused and pump myself up for every training session. I’ve been training my ass off for every fight since then, and it’s all because I don’t want to have to go through that again. I’ve changed my work ethic a lot. I’m training harder, focusing more and acting more professional. I’m taking the business a lot more serious. I can’t joke around anymore. Every win means more money for my family and I can’t risk that. I’m dedicating myself to be a better athlete and what you see is a new Wilson Gouveia. I’ve grown up a lot since that loss to Reljic.”

Gouveia feels he has the proper element to get motivated while training since he trains at the American Top Team Gym in Coconut Creek, FL with some of his closer friends: Marcus Aurelio, who has been a mentor to him, and Thiago Alves, a top contender in the welterweight division.

In May of last year Gouveia spoke to UFC.com about being able to train with his fellow Fortalezan fighters.

“It’s like training everyday with family,” Gouveia said. “We play around like little kids. We’re grown men, but we mess around so much. This is my second home. Everybody has their bad days and good days, but my friends are always there for me. I spend so much time here that the coaches are like my fathers and the boys are like my brothers.”

Since then Alves has become a sensation and it’s looking like he’ll get a title shot against Georges St. Pierre very soon. Another training partner, Mike Brown, won the WEC featherweight title in November by defeating heavy favorite Urijah Faber by knockout. Gouveia lauds the success of his gym mates.

“2008 was a good year for ATT (American Top Team) and 2009 will be even better,” Gouveia said. “If Thiago wins the belt that would be huge, and I myself look to win a title this year. We’re always excited here and ready for any challenge.”

The same doctor that recommended Gouveia drop to 185 has now given his prescription for success in 2009: Defeat Nate Marquardt on the 21st and then to set his sights on Anderson Silva. Beat him and become champion. It is a prescription that’s easy to follow where the reward outweighs the risk.

“I’m focused on Marquardt and not looking past him at all,” Gouveia said. “He’s a very tough fighter, but once I beat him I don’t see anybody between me and Anderson Silva. He’s next as far as I’m concerned.”

Armandoalvarez02@hotmail.com
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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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