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Rafael Natal: I was overtrained every time I fought in the UFC

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Fight Night 50 is a must-win night for Rafael Natal and Chris Camozzi.

The middleweight veterans, who have a combined record of 21 fights under the UFC banner, enter Friday’s UFN card in Ledyard, Conn., coming off consecutive losses, so another loss would likely mean the end of the road inside the Octagon for one of them.

"Sapo" is aware of the situation, but tries not to think about it.

Tim Kennedy and Ed Herman snapped Natal’s three-fight winning streak, and the Brazilian grappler finally decided to listen to his coaches’ advices to get back to the win column.

"I finally realized that I had to change a few things in my training," Natal told "My coaches always asked me to train less. They kept an eye on me, but I always found a way to hide and continue training. But they finally convinced me that I was doing it the wrong way. I can’t train that much."

"That’s what I changed for this fight," he explains. "I train hard, but I do exactly what they say. I was overtrained every time I fought in the UFC. I trained more intelligently this time."

Natal and Camozzi were scheduled to meet at the UFC on FX 8 card in 2013, but Camozzi was moved to the co-main event bout against Ronaldo Souza. "Sapo," who beat Joao Zeferino via decision that night, doesn’t expect an easy win.

"Camozzi is an aggressive fighter, well-rounded," he said. "I’ve seen him fight with good wrestlers and they struggled to take him down. He has some good elbows and knees strikes, so I think it’s a good match-up for me. I’m aggressive, I like to stand and trade punches as well, and we both need this win."

A jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie and Vinicius Draculino, "Sapo" hasn’t finished a fight since early 2013, when he tapped Sean Spencer with an arm-triangle choke. With half of Camozzi’s eight losses coming by way of submission, the Brazilian plans to save his job with a finish.

"I think there’s a big chance I will get a submission in this fight," he said. "My best weapon is jiu-jitsu, but he has a good jiu-jitsu, too. I think he’s a brown belt. I will stand and trade punches with him, but I have to use by best weapons, and jiu-jitsu is my best weapon.

"In the UFC, you can get cut if you lose a fight when you’re coming off a win. I know it can happen," he continued. "We’re under pressure because we’re both coming off losses, so we both have to win. But I try not to think about it. I already put enough pressure on me to win for my coaches, my family and my friends.

"Of course we both have to win this fight, but I don’t think about it."

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