Godofredo Pepey hasn’t fought in a while, but says that it actually helped him ahead of his UFC on FOX 20 clash with Darren Elkins. Sidelined since March 2015 due to a series of small injuries, the Brazilian featherweight guarantees he’s better than ever now.
"I had a few small injuries in training, but I never stopped training," Pepey told MMA Fighting. "I’m 100 percent now, and I can’t wait to fight again. I’m in the best shape and moment of my career, and I’m really motivated. I don’t think the long layoff will be an issue. It actually gave me more appetite. I’ll put on another show for the fans."
Pepey pocketed extra $150,000 in his last three fights, earning ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses for his finishes over Andre Fili, Dashon Johnson and Noad Lahat. Against Elkins, he aims to make more money after the long layoff.
"I like to fight under pressure, and this is my first time fighting outside of Brazil," he said. "I’m happy, I’m excited. I like to be the underdog, and I’m happy that I’m fighting a top 12. Elkins is a veteran, and we will put on a show for the fans. I want the ‘Fight of the Night.’ That’s what I expect from him.
"Don’t blink, because I’m going for a war," he continued. "It’s going to be one of the best fights of my life. I’ll dance whatever music he plays. My strategy is to be unpredictable. I can get the knockout, a submission, or win via decision. I guarantee that I’m coming to win. I will enter the Octagon with my hands raised, and I’m leaving with my hands raised."
Pepey has looked impressive in his last fights, bouncing back from a 1-3 start in the promotion to win three in a row. And to evolve as a mixed martial artist, he credits his coach Andre Dida at Evolucao Thai, and criticism from fans.
"The critics helped me a lot," Pepey said. "I’m a black belt in muay thai and jiu-jitsu, but always focused more on using my jiu-jitsu. Many people saw me as one-dimensional fighter. My master Dida talked to me, worked with me, and now I have a lot of sorceries to use. You can expect some nice things. My fight against Lahat was like a phoenix rising from the ashes. I won three post-fight bonuses, and I’m going for my fourth now."