MMA Sports caught up with Marcus Aurelio
to discuss his upcoming fight at UFC 90 with Hermes Franca (click
here to read Hermes Franca's response interview) and talk about
the tension and dislike between the two fighters.
MMA Sports - How do you feel facing a former
teammate inside the Octagon?
Marcus Aurélio - I am a professional fighter, so I don't choose opponents.
In natural basis fighting a former teammate would be awkward, but Hermes
and I are no friends form a long time and I am ready for this challenge.
MMA Sports - How is your training preparing for
Marcus Aurélio - It's great! I am doing a great job and I feel good.
I am very conditioned and training a lot of Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and
Wrestling. I am doing whatever it takes to give the best in the Octagon.
MMA Sports - Your history with Hermes França comes
way before then American Top Team... is true that you brought him to
American Top Team?
Marcus Aurélio - Hermes learned Jiu-Jitsu with me since he was a blue
belt. He stayed with me until graduate black belt. When I brought him
to train in United States, he was a brown belt, years before American
Top Team was created. We used to train at Silveira Brother's Marcelo...Conan.
In that time with Ricardo Libório we gave Hermes his black belt. After
that American Top Team was born and then he integrated the team.
MMA Sports - And what happened next?
Marcus Aurélio - Then after a while he did a lot of bullshit in the
team and was sent home. Then we gave him second chance and he spoiled
it too. At this time he messed up with Ricardo Libório and was banished
from the Team. Then he went to Team Armony, but also screwed things
up there too.
MMA Sports - So I assume that was the time the
friendship got broken…
Marcus Aurélio - Yes. He left the team and moved with a lot of anger.
But I can tell you by that time we weren't friends for a while. In my
opinion he does not have the quality when the subject is character.
So he got several people upset. I am not afraid to tell nobody in the
team likes him. To be honest it’s not only at ATT that França collects
MMA Sports - What do you mean?
Marcus Aurélio - Some people outside the team offered me help when they
knew I would fight him. They called me and said. "Marcus, if you
need any kind of help, please let me know... I want to see you kicking
MMA Sports - Who asked for the fight?
Marcus Aurélio - I didn't. And I believe he didn't either. As far I
know, he would fight Brazilian Gleison Tibau, but Tibau got his shoulder
hurt and needed surgery. And I was fragile due to my loss at UFC. So
ATT owner Dan Lambert advised me about this fight with Hermes and I
couldn't say no. So I had to accept and I am going to do my best.
MMA Sports - You both trained together and know
the game... what can we expect of this fight?
Marcus Aurélio - Besides being a trouble maker, he is a great fighter.
Proof of that he already disputed the belt (fought for the lightweight
title). But I am ready for all kinds of situation. I will have no surprises.
I know his game on the feet, on the ground...I know how he exchanges
punches, his head. My mind is focused to do a 15 minutes bout of pure
action. But do not be amazed if the fight ends in the first round.
MMA Sports - You came from Pride as the man who
submitted Takanori Gomi, but somehow didn't repeat the good phase at
UFC. What happened?
Marcus Aurélio - I can't explain for sure...I kind of froze out. US
is very different from Japan when the subject is fighting. Over here,
fighters like to score, differently from fighters as Gomi or BJ Penn,
who do their best all the time looking forward to ending the fight.
MMA Sports - What do you mean? Could you be more
Marcus Aurélio - Well, Tyson Griffin played his game against Tibau and
he used this score system against me. In my opinion, those fighters
are limited. They have good Boxing skills, three or four take downs
and a lame ground game. That's the reason they use the UFC rules to
fake attacks on the ground. They don't play loose…they just hit you
once in a while. They kick and take you down to score. But I know I
lost…and I got defeated by points.
MMA Sports - Talking about the team, how is ATT
Marcus Aurélio - I see ATT as a family. It's the backyard of my home.
To be honest I spend more time training in here then staying in my house.
And I don't even mention the friends I made in here. You look around
and you see fighters as Marcelinho Garcia, Gesias Cavalcante, Thiago
Silva, Antônio Pezão, Thiago Pitbull Alves, Gleison Tibau. I am not
afraid to tell you nowadays here is the best training camp in the world.
MMA Sports - How is the team after André Benkei's
Marcus Aurélio - Man, I tell you it was a sad moment. Benkei was the
heart and soul of American Top Team. He now is a freelancer and my relationship
with him didn't change a thing. I see him as an important part of the
group. He is more than a trainer, he is like a father for us. All the
guys at American Top Team respect him and wishes for his return… who