Jussier Formiga was the number one flyweight in the world in the past, and he wants to be at the top again.
The Nova Uniao fighter, a former world champion at Shooto, is set to collide with Zack Makovsky at the UFC Fight Night 47 card in Bangor, Maine, on Aug. 16, and he’s glad to be facing a former champion inside the Octagon.
"He’s a former bantamweight champion a Bellator. He was always too small for 135, and he became stronger and batter at flyweight," Formiga told MMAFighting.com. "I expect a great fight with him. I’m happy for this opportunity to fight a former champion and I want to prove I belong among the best."
Makovsky cut down to 125 pounds after back-to-back losses at Bellator, and Formiga got some tips with his teammate Eduardo Dantas, who took his Bellator title in 2012.
"‘Dudu’ talked with me about him. He said exactly what I needed to hear," he said. "He’s a well-rounded fighter, has a good striking game, he’s a good wrestler, and likes to control the fight when he’s on the ground. Let’s see what happens."
Dantas choked out Makovsky in 2012, and Formiga is confident he can do the same Saturday night.
"I think (I can submit him), anything can happen," he said. "Nobody expected me to tap Scott Jorgensen so fast in my last fight, neither did I, so the same thing can happen in this fight. We can go to the ground, we can brawl standing. We’ll see. I had a great training camp and I will work hard to win."
They flyweights were scheduled to battle at UFC 176 on Aug. 2, but the pay-per-view card was cancelled after UFC featherweight Jose Aldo was pulled from a main event bout with Chad Mendes. Formiga vs. Makovsky was moved to UFN 47, and the Brazilian liked the change.
"I was ready to fight after an eight-week camp, but then UFC 176 was cancelled and I got two extra weeks to prepare," he said. "My training camp was great. It was my first training camp with no injuries at all at Nova Uniao. I’m super excited to go there and get another win to return to the top 5 of the division."
With UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson scheduled to put his title on the line at UFC 178 against Chris Cariaso, who is 3-0 since losing to Formiga in 2013, the Nova Uniao flyweight believes he will be one step closer to a shot at the gold with a win over Makovsky.
"I’m not sure about a shot at the title, but Zack is coming off two wins in the UFC, so I will move up the rankings with a win over him," he said. "This is my time and I won’t let anyone stop me."