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Antonio Carlos Jr. believes he can submit any middleweight in the UFC

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Antonio Carlos Jr. faces Tim Boetsch at UFC on FOX 29.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Antonio Carlos Jr. is riding a four-fight winning streak in the UFC, including three rear-naked choke finishes, and wants to add Tim Boetsch’s name to his winning record.

“Cara de Sapato” and “The Barbarian” will meet in the preliminary portion of UFC on FOX 29 in Glendale, Ariz., on April 14, and the Brazilian talent celebrates the greatest moment of his MMA career.

Less than five years after making the transition from the jiu-jitsu mats to the MMA world, and winning a TUF Brazil season as a heavyweight, Carlos Jr. had a great year in 2017, winning a pair of fights and getting married, but it wasn’t perfect.

”Last year was a great year for me, with two submissions, but I wish I had fought more,” Carlos Jr. told MMA Fighting. “I want to fight three or four times this year, three or four wins. I have the second-longest winning streak in the middleweight division, only the champion [Robert Whittaker] is ahead of me, so I’m happy with what’s going on with my personal life and inside the UFC.”

Boetsch won three of his last four, all of those wins by knockout — in his last fight, “The Barbarian” scored a second-round finish over former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks —, and “Cara de Sapato” is excited to face a man who has fought some of the best throughout his 22-fight career in the UFC.

”He fought the best, so it’s a great pleasure to fight him,” Carlos Jr. said. “He has a name, and I think he should be ranked because he’s really tough. They gave me this tough task of fighting him, and I’m feeling honored to fight him.”

Boetsch has been knocked out and submitted multiple times during his career in MMA, but is known for being a durable fighter and always able to come back from tough situations to get the victory. Carlos Jr. is aware of that, but doesn’t actually foresee a 15-minute war in Glendale.

”We’re the ones who turn fights into wars,” Carlos Jr. said. “We can make it one-sided, dominate the fight. I’m not going there for a war, but to get the victory. He can take a beating and come back, it’s hard to take him down and he has heavy hands, so I’ll use the right strategy to get my hands raised in the end with a submission.”

”You can see that he has flaws on the ground,” he continued, “he doesn’t defend that well and was submitted a few times throughout his career, and going to the ground is what I want to do every time I fight. My ground game is enough to submit anyone in this division. I can submit anyone, and I’m ready for it. I’m ready to submit him. Every fight is different, but I want to take it to the ground and get the victory.”

“Cara de Sapato” has been very vocal in his post-fight interviews in the past, calling out former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman many times. His post-UFC on FOX 29 plan, he says, is to finally being ranked in the 185-pound division.

”Whoever comes, I’m ready,” Carlos Jr. said. “I’m facing a tough guy, who I think should be ranked. I also think I should be ranked. Only the champion has a longer winning streak. This ranking is a bit flawed. I’ll earn my space, step by step. Sooner or later I’ll be the middleweight champion.”