SAO PAULO -- Fabio Maldonado hasn’t fought at heavyweight in years, but he's ready to turn his next bout into a five-round brawl.
Maldonado replaces former champion Junior dos Santos on TUF: Brazil 3 Finale's main event on Saturday night in Sao Paulo, Brazil, against top-ranked heavyweight Stipe Miocic. He took the fight as a favor to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
"My manager Alex Davis called me saying that Joe Silva asked for a favor and I told him that I'm a man and I live to fight," Maldonado told the media in Sao Paulo. "My third son was born two days ago. If I had said no to this fight, what would I tell him in the future? Win or lose, I can get beat up bad Saturday night, but when I get in there I turn off the f--- button and I go for the kill."
And Maldonado only took the heavyweight fight because it’s a five-round bout.
"I wouldn’t take this fight if it wasn’t a five-round fight," he said. "I love the fact that it’s five rounds, even though he had more time than me to prepare. Anything can happen. I believe that five rounds is better for me. Let’s see who has a better cardio."
"He rocked Roy Nelson. If you think for a second, Roy Nelson has more knockouts at heavyweight than I have at 205, and he took some shots from Roy Nelson," he said. "Maybe I’ll be the one taking him down, I don’t know. I’m going for a suicide.
"I did this my whole life. I always got beat up and come back," he continued. "He’s stronger than me and maybe he even surprises me standing, but I’m well trained and I’m going forward, you know that.
"My strategy is a bloodbath on Saturday night. I promise that from the bottom of my heart. If 80 percent of that blood is mine, I’m okay. I can’t promise I’m going to win, but I can promise a war."
Maldonado is a huge underdog at TUF: Brazil 3 Finale, and he wants a top 10 status with a win over the heavyweight prospect.
"I would be at the top 10. That would be fair," he said. "Vitor Belfort defeated Dan Henderson at 205 and got a shot at the middleweight title. I’m not saying I should fight for the title next, but I deserve to be in the top 10."