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Still a ‘purple belt in MMA’, UFC Denver’s Davi Ramos will never leave jiu-jitsu competition

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Fresno-Gruetzemacher vs Ramos
Davi Ramos is 2-1 since signing with the UFC in 2017.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Davi Ramos is one of the most decorated grapplers on the UFC roster, and he credits it for being active in grappling mats as well.

Booked against John Gunther in the preliminary portion of UFC Denver, a Fight Night event at Colorado’s Pepsi Center on Nov. 10, Ramos is looking to score his third submission in a row in the Octagon after forcing Chris Gruetzemacher and Nick Hein to tap in his recent UFC appearances.

”I’m feeling great. I’m evolving non-stop on the feet and in MMA as a whole,” Ramos told MMA Fighting. “Even though I have tons of experience competing my entire life, I’m still a purple belt in MMA, let’s put it this way. I still have a lot to evolve, and I’m evolving. Every camp I realize how my I have grown, and it has been great.”

The jiu-jitsu specialist finished two-thirds of his MMA bouts, and has won many grappling matches and tournaments, like the ADCC in 2015, in between his MMA fights.

”That’s my call since the beginning, to never stop competing in jiu-jitsu,” Ramos said. “I know it’s hard, that I demand a lot from myself. It’s hard to do both at the highest level, the UFC is my main focus, but after my fights I’m always looking for something in jiu-jitsu to stay at the highest level unlike everybody else.”

Ramos has really turned his focus to mixed martial arts in 2013, starting a run that eventually earned him a contract with the UFC, but admits that his life could have been different if he was getting paid what he does now in jiu-jitsu promotions like ACB.

”That’s a huge differential,” Ramos said. “There are many promotions paying good money and that’s cool, it helps the sport. When I can do both and stay active, getting paid for it, it’s really cool.

”You can make a living off of jiu-jitsu now, but in the past you used to grapple for a medal and it was complicated. You have to sacrifice a lot to compete in jiu-jitsu and MMA, you have to dedicate yourself, and in the end the worldwide recognition comes, but you only receive a medal. It’s hard to provide to your family with only a medal.

”I’ve always loved MMA, I was always a fan of Rodrigo (Nogueira) and Rogerio (Nogueira), watched Wanderlei’s (Silva) and Anderson’s (Silva) fights, especially because my coach ‘Casquinha’ (Cezar Guimaraes) trained with Carlson Gracie, so we always had MMA in our gym. But that would definitely make me think twice because I really love jiu-jitsu. I don’t plan to stop competing in jiu-jitsu.”

Unbeaten in two fights since returning to the lightweight division following a short-notice debut against fellow jiu-jitsu ace Sergio Moraes at 170 pounds, a fight he lost via decision but doesn’t consider it a defeat given the circumstances, Ramos promises more finishes inside the eight-sided cage.

”I’m coming off a couple of wins in my weight class now, two submissions, and that’s what I’m going after every time I fight,” Ramos said. “I will show what I can do in my weight class until I become champion.”

Ramos’ opponent, Gunther is an undefeated, 7-0 talent who has defeated Allan Zuniga via majority decision in his UFC debut back in July.

”John is a wrestler, but here’s the thing: everybody has a plan until you get punched, and then you go back to your roots,” Ramos said. “He’s a wrestler and I don’t think he will try to wrestle me, but the first strike that lands he will go back to wrestling. It’s not easy to change your game completely for a fight, and I would be more than happy if he tries to wrestle me. I have more experience than him in the grappling area, so I’ll be in advantage.

”A submission or a knockout. I always go for the finish, and that’s what I’m going for,” he added. “I see myself submitting him. If he tries to wrestle me, that’s how I see myself finishing this fight.”

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