BELEM, Brazil — Marcelo Golm is only 6-0 in MMA, having fought professionally for less than three years, but he believes things happen faster when you’re a heavyweight.
Golm impressed in his Octagon debut back in October, replacing Carlos Felipe on short notice then running through Christian Colombo in a little over than two minutes. For his follow-up act, Golm is set to face Tim Johnson at Saturday’s UFC Belem event, and he expects a win over the No. 15 ranked heavyweight to shoot him into the division’s top-15 rankings.
Current heavyweight king Stipe Miocic successfully defended his belt for a record third time earlier this year, and has already defeated pretty much every contender available. Golm is not in a hurry, but sees a quick path to a title bout at heavyweight.
”The heavyweight division needs new talents, new guys,” Golm told MMA Fighting. “The path to a title shot will be shorter with good wins in the UFC. I don’t think about it now, I want to move forward step by step in the UFC, but fighting for the heavyweight title is easier today compared to other divisions, especially because they don’t have many athletes.”
The 25-year-old heavyweight needs to get past Johnson first, and Golm has switched things up ahead of UFC Belem.
Golm usually trains at the Corinthians training center in Sao Paulo, but since Corinthians’ main focus is soccer, late December and early January are generally slow months for the club.
With six weeks left for UFC Belem and not many heavyweights or light heavyweights to train with in Sao Paulo, Golm moved his camp to Rio de Janeiro to train with Team Nogueira, where Golm learned from the likes of Rafael Cavalcante, Rodolfo Vieira and the Nogueira brothers.
”They have a lot of experience, each one of them in a specific area,” Golm said. “Rodolfo is starting his career in MMA, but he has a huge history in jiu-jitsu. ‘Feijao’ has fought some great wrestlers like ‘King Mo’ (Lawal) and Yoel Romero, and so has ‘Minotauro.’ They gave me a lot of tips that will be very useful in the fight.”
Johnson has bounced between wins and losses since joining the company in 2015, but has faced some tough competition in the process, from Alexander Volkov to Marcin Tybura to Shamil Abdurahimov, so the Brazilian doesn’t expect an easy win.
”He’s very experienced. He’s coming off a loss, but I can’t underestimate him,” Golm said. “I’m faster than him. My hands and kicks are faster than his. I know I’m a well-rounded fighter and I can trade with him, and I’m ready to fight off my back as well.
”He always tries to get his opponents against the cage. He pretends to trade a little bit and goes to the cage. I don’t think he will change that game, especially after watching my fights (and seeing) that I move well.”
When Golm won his UFC debut in Sao Paulo, he was unknown for the majority of the fans inside the Ibirapuera gymnasium. This time, especially after his impressive victory, he expects more attention from fans and media.
”I have more eyes on me now because it was a good performance, they know who I am now, but it’s a good pressure to have,” Golm said. “That actually pushes me to train even harder to put on better performances. It’s not something that will be an issue. The fans will always ask for a good performance, and I’ve worked hard to give them one.
”I see the UFC as a normal company,” Golm added. “The UFC is the biggest promotion in the world, of course, but if you think about it or get too impressed, it gets into your head.”