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Q&A: Junior Assuncao aims for UFC, WEC

Former UFC lightweight Junior Assuncao will co-headline King of the Cage's debut in Atlanta this Friday at the Georgia International Convention Center.

Assuncao (7-4) fights out of his own school, Ascension MMA, and he'll be fighting Kamrin Naville (4-3) out of Praxis/Valdosta MACA. quickly caught up today with Junior to touch on his fight this Friday, his brother's Raphael's WEC fight next week as well as his own road to the UFC or WEC. What do you know about your opponent Kamrin?

All I know is that he is an okay wrestler, scrappy, 20-year-old kid. I respect anyone I go against. I'm just happy to be fighting. Who are your main training partners?

Assuncao: I train with many guys. I'm afraid I'll forget someone but here are a few names: My brother Raphael, Roan Carneiro, Roberto Trave, Brian Stann, Diego Saraiva, Douglas Lima, Rory Singer, Brian Bowles and many others that I can't remember now? You're the head instructor at Ascension MMA, which opened not too long ago. How is the school doing?

Assuncao: It's my baby here. I love to work with people on dally basis [and] I'm very patient with the new guys. The gym here is going good considering the bad economy. Your brother Raphael will make his WEC debut next week on the main card of the "Torres vs. Mizugaki" event in Chicago. How's he looking?

Assuncao: He is a machine right now, we both choose to stay here in Atlanta for our fights and help each other. I think he is going to KO this guy, we'll see next week. This could be his breakout fight. He's 12-1 but nobody really knows about him.

Assuncao: You're right, the public don't know him but we do, fighters do, everyone in the game knows who he is and after this fight even more people is going to know who he is. He is going to be the champion, write it down! And his one loss was very controversial. The last time I spoke to you two actually was after that XFO 13 show in Nov. 11, 2006. With no disrespect to Jeff Curran, but I thought, and many of the local fans did too, that he was given the hometown nod.

Assuncao: I don't even like to remember this fight. Just for you to have an idea, the ref told me to be quiet because I was screaming too loud for my brother. (Chuckles.) It was a joke! Jeff knows...
You left the UFC with three more fights on your contract to sign with the AFL. Are you still in good terms with the UFC?

Yes, the plan is to go back after this fight. UFC or WEC at 145 and my brother at 135, we'll see what happens. I did 2 fights for the AFL, one here in Atlanta and now doing this King of the Cage. I'm just happy to be healthy and training hard, I know soon or later I'll get back to the the UFC and finish my contract there this time with better training and better focus. I got faith!