Leandro Ataides and Igor Svirid are set to collide for the vacant One FC middleweight title on Friday night in Singapore, and the undefeated Brazilian wants to bring another major MMA title to his country with a quick finish.
Ataides, a jiu-jitsu black belt who earned a shot at the gold after scoring a pair of first-round knockouts under the One FC banner, aims to put an end on Svirid’s nine-fight winning streak.
"My goal is to always finish my fights as quick as possible so I don’t give my opponent time to recover," Ataides told MMAFighting.com. "I’m focused on my work only, on how I can evolve as a fighter. I’ve been working hard to evolve every day, in every aspect, and I believe in what I’m doing. I will fight anyone, anywhere. I’m ready."
Despite an impressive 47-second knockout win over longtime MMA veteran Tatsuya Mizuno in May, Ataides felt he needed a few changes in his training camp.
"My training camp was really, really hard," he said. "I doubled my training activities, and I was helped by a great staff of coaches and excellent professionals. I trained beyond my limits, training for 10 rounds.
"I really wasn’t expecting to (defeat Mizuno) that fast, especially against a very experienced fighter, but MMA is like that. The better prepared fighter wins, and I tried my best to win."
"I feel honored and blessed for being part of the history of One FC," he said. "Fight for the title is a great opportunity to show my work. I feel at home here. Singapore has been like a home to me. I have a lot of friends and fans here that help me every day. I hope that winning the title helps opening doors for more athletes who dream on achieving their goals. I hope I can become a role model, to motivate and inspire others."
And even if Ataides beats Svirid in devastating fashion on Friday to win the One FC title, he won’t call himself the best middleweight fighter on the planet.
"Of course not, there are great promotions with great fighters," Ataides said, "but I believe I can get more attention right next to the other world champions."