Thiago Tavares will finally make his featherweight debut in the UFC.
The longtime lightweight veteran, who was forced out of featherweight bouts with Tom Niinimaki and Zubaira Tukhugov earlier this year, is scheduled to take on Robbie Peralta at the UFC Fight Night 47 card in Bangor, Maine, on Aug. 16, and he expects a back and forth battle.
"It’s a good fight because we’re both aggressive fighters," Tavares told MMAFighting.com. "The UFC fans know someone is going down in this fight."
Tavares doesn’t plan to change his fighting style in his 145-pound debut, and he wants another finish.
"I’m always criticized because I don’t fight smart, taking my time. But that’s who I am," he said. "I go straight forward. The best strategy is to beat him before he beats me. I don’t know how to fight with a strategy. I’m 22-5 fighting like this. Peralta also fights like this, so it’s going to be a great fight."
Tavares had a broken rib and thigh injury earlier this year, which forced him out of scheduled bouts in the UFC, but he’s finally good to go.
"I was forced out of those fights a week before the events, but all the training was done," he said. "I feel like my training camp for (UFC Fight Night 47) started in December. I didn’t fight, but I evolved physically and technically. I won my last fight in November, and I’m confident that I will bring one more win to Florianopolis."
He wants to dedicate his ninth UFC win for his countrymen in Santa Catarina, and he hopes that it would boost his political campaign. The MMA fighter is running for a seat at the Legislative Assembly of the State of Santa Catarina, and he wants to make a difference for the people.
Affiliated with the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), Tavares hopes to be elected to office on Oct. 5.
"I will be fighting in the UFC on Aug. 16, and I will be fighting for votes in Santa Catarina on Oct. 5 as a candidate for a seat at the Legislative Assembly," he said. "It was not easy. Meetings, campaign and training."
Among those things, Tavares had to deal with a rough weight cut for the first time in his MMA career.
"It’s a new thing," he said. "I was always too light for 155 pounds. Most of the fighters cut way more than weight than me. A week before the fights I was eating chocolate and still made 155 easily. I had to control my diet more this time."
Tavares, who weighed in below 155 pounds a few times in the UFC, doesn’t think he will have an advantage over the featherweights.
"Most of the featherweights weigh as much as I do, so I don’t think I will be stronger than any of them at 145," he said. "The thing is, I’m finally fighting guys at my ‘real’ weight class. Maybe my cardio will be better at 145. We’ll see."