Andre Galvao has a unique challenge ahead of him.
Galvao, a multiple time jiu-jitsu world champion and ADCC winner, headlines Metamoris 4 card against UFC veteran Chael Sonnen in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 9, in a 20-minute no-gi, submission-only match.
Sonnen accepted the challenge days after announcing his retirement from MMA after testing positive in a random drug test, but the fact that he never competed in a grappling match against a guy with Galvao’s credentials doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park for the Brazilian.
"It won’t be easy," Galvao told MMAFighting.com. "I think he’s trying to find ways to work now that he’s out of the UFC after testing positive. He was training to fight Wanderlei Silva, so he will continue training. The fact that he accepted to fight a guy like me is normal. He would never be able to fight a wrestler or a non-popular jiu-jitsu guy at Metamoris because it wouldn’t make sense."
"I’m really cool about it. It’s just another fight, another day at work. I will be able to do what I love."
"He has evolved and that’s natural. If you fight MMA, you should know jiu-jitsu. That’s a fact," he said. "That’s why he trains jiu-jitsu like every other MMA fighter. Evolution is a consequence of training, and he has evolved a lot."
Galvao competed at Metamoris’ previous editions against Ryron Gracie and Rafael Lovato Jr., but couldn’t get the finish. He doesn’t want to go the distance this time.
"I will train and fight by the rules, going for the submission on top or from the bottom," he said. "Who knows, maybe he’ll pull guard. I have to be ready for every situation."
"If people think that (I will beat him up easily), I’m happy to hear that," he continued. "But I see him as every other opponent. I must respect him and be ready for every situation in the fight to be able to win. He has competed at the highest level because he’s a world-class wrestler, and in my opinion that’s grappling. He’s not a fool on the ground."
Galvao, who used to train with Sonnen’s biggest rival Anderson Silva, won’t let the "American Gangster" get into his head with pre-fight talk, but does not approve his attacks towards Brazil in the past.
"He was too harsh," Galvao said. "No respect at all."
"I’m Brazilian and I will always be. No matter what he says or said about our country, it won’t affect me. My motivation is the same. I must stay calm and focused on the fight. I learned to respect other people and their culture. If he thinks he can talk about our country, it’s his problem. He’s the one who loses with it."