Stipe Miocic's camp wanted a fight with Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga, and the UFC approved the idea. Now that the heavyweights are set to collide at UFC on FOX 10 on Jan. 25, the Brazilian is curious to hear why he was a target for Miocic.
"I really don’t know why he called me out," Gonzaga told MMAFighting.com. "He’s above me in the rankings and asked to fight me. Either he’s scared to fight someone else or he believes I’m an easy win for him - and he’s wrong."
Gonzaga needed less than two minutes combined to win his last couple fights in the UFC, scoring knockout victories over Shawn Jordan and Dave Herman. He hasn’t watched Miocic’s win over Roy Nelson yet, but believes he has the tools to beat him.
"I try my best to be the most well-rounded fighter I can be to fight anyone, and I believe our styles matches perfectly," he said. "Jiu-jitsu is always an option, but there’s no gi in MMA, so I always have to use my boxing and muay thai to open some spaces. I have way more experience in every aspect of the game, not only jiu-jitsu."
"Napao" is 4-1 since his return to the UFC, and a win over Miocic could get him back to the Top 10.
"I wasn’t sure what did I want in the past," he said on his retirement in 2010, "but now I know that I want to be the UFC champion."
"I believe I can beat anyone, but you have to have some luck when the time comes. I lost to Randy Couture because of an accident during the fight, and I believe things could have been different if I had better luck."
Gonzaga has earned a shot to the UFC gold in 2007, after he stopped Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, but was defeated by Couture four months later. More experienced, "Napao" believes he can beat anyone, including Cain Velasquez, to become the best in the world.
"(Velasquez) is a tough fighter, but everybody looks up to the champion and studies his games," he said. "He has some flaws in his game, and I’d need to be ready for this fight."
UFC on FOX 10 takes place at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., and is headlined by the clash of top-ranked lightweights Ben Henderson and Josh Thomson.