While the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter
airs on Spike TV, we'll be checking in regularly with Diego Brandao
, who earned his spot in the house this season with a first-round knockout victory over Jesse Newell that was shown on Wednesday night's season premiere.
Brandao was born and raised in Brazil, began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at age 14 and became a mixed martial arts fighter shortly after that. He currently lives in Albuquerque, N.M. and trains with Team Jackson/Winkeljohn.
We talked this week about Brandao's knockout of Newell, his thoughts about moving into the Ultimate Fighter house and his career goals. The interview is below. Michael David Smith: You knocked Jesse Newell out very quickly in the first round. He seemed to be out when you knocked him down with the left hand but you landed one more on the ground. What were you thinking as that happened -- was the final punch necessary?
Diego Brandao: I was just thinking that this is my opportunity. I wanted to prove to the world that I'm the best. I wanted to prove it to everybody. This is my time. No one is going to take this from me. I go for knockouts -- punch him in the face and knock him out.What has training with Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn been like for you?
They've been very good for me. Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn cornering me in my fights is great, and I feel confident training with them -- they train the best fighters in the world. They helped me get on The Ultimate Fighter,
and they will continue to help me in the future.What's your background? Where did you grow up and what inspired you to become a fighter?
I grew up in Brazil, I've trained with great guys there. Wanderlei Silva
is the guy who inspired me the most. He's my hero. I try to fight like Wanderlei Silva. I want people to see me fight and to think I look like Wanderlei Silva in Pride. I also wanted to do it for my family -- I've been training three years without seeing my family. What does your nickname, Ceara mean?
I was born in a city called Ceara and later moved to Manaus, Amazonas. In Brazil my name is Diego Ceara -- people call me that because I come from there. Were there any problems living in the house with all the other fighters?
I had problems with some of the guys who were watching too much TV. A lot of the times I just wanted the guys to stay away from me, but it was cool. Six weeks living in that house is easy for me after I've been away from my family for three years. I'm willing to do all this to reach my dream.What do you want fans to know about you?
I'm a very humble guy. My mom and my dad taught me that. I'm a fun guy, too. I like to play, I like to make friends, but I was in this to fight. This is my time, and this is my chance to become a champion in the UFC
.(Editor's note: Check back every week for Brandao's thoughts on the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter.)