Gesias Cavalcante wants to go back to the place where he became a mixed martial arts star.
The 35-year-old veteran competed under the Strikeforce, WSOF, Titan FC and Brave banners after an impressive run in K-1 Hero’s between 2006 and 2007, when he defeated Rani Yahya, Caol Uno, Hiroyuki Takaya, Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro and Andre Dida.
Heartbroken with the death of his manager Glenn Robinson, who suffered a heart attack in September, and also fellow MMA veteran Kid Yamamoto’s death days before, “JZ” says it leaves “a life lesson” to everyone around them.
As for his MMA career, the Brazilian fighter and coach, who is also his own manager now, hopes to get a deal done with Japanese promotion Rizin Fighting Federation.
“I’ve been fighting professionally since 2003 and I have contacts everywhere,” Cavalcante told MMA Fighting. “Fighting is my life, and now I’m working in all areas, as a fighter and a coach, to help not only myself but also the young talents that I’m working with now.”
After a win over fellow jiu-jitsu black belt Fred Moncaio in a 175-pound grappling match at Fight 2 Win in Miami this past weekend, Cavalcante dreams of the possibility of returning to Japanese MMA at Rizin’s New Year’s Eve card in Saitama.
“I have a great history in Japan,” Cavalcante said. “It was my dream to fight in Japan ever since I started fighting. They had Shooto, which wasn’t the biggest promotion but was the best one. I went to K-1 Hero’s after that, and then to DREAM, and it was a dream for me to build my career in Japan and be considered the No. 1 in the world.
“I see Rizin putting on great cards now, selling out arenas, and I’m happy to see Japan being strong again. It would be an excellent opportunity to come back to Japan.”
Despite losing three straight since 2017 — “I think the referee jumped the gun in two of those fights, but it’s part of the process” — Cavalcante believes that his history in Japan should be enough to guarantee him a spot at the Dec. 31 card against a fellow veteran like Takanori Gomi.
“It would be a fantastic fight. I’m in. I’m in,” Cavalcante said of the idea of fighting “The Fireball Kid”. “I was booked to fight three times in New Year’s Eve shows in Japan, against Joachim Hansen and (Shinya) Aoki, but it never happened. I’m here now, I’m healthy, so let’s make this happen.”
Gomi recently snapped a six-fight losing streak with a first-round knockout over Melvin Guillard at Rizin 11. Aoki, currently under contract with ONE Championship, is riding a three-fight stoppage streak, capped of by an arm-triangle choke over Ev Ting last Saturday.
Aoki and Cavalcante fought twice in Japan before. The first bout ended in a no-contest after the Brazilian landed illegal elbows at DREAM 1 in 2008. Four weeks later, Aoki won the rematch via unanimous decision at DREAM 2.
“(Fighting Gomi) would be the perfect New Year’s Eve for me. Or Aoki, too. ‘JZ’ vs. Aoki 3. That was the fight to make but they never did it,” Cavalcante said.