The Brazilian welterweight is slated to meet Bahadurzada in the preliminary portion of Saturday’s card in what will be the last bout of his current contract with the UFC.
According to Chagas, the UFC didn’t reach out to offer him a new deal after his first victory in the Octagon — a second-round submission over Jim Wallhead last June — and he’s doing everything he can to turn this extra pressure on his shoulders into motivation.
”The pressure is always there for everybody, you have to win,” Chagas told MMA Fighting. “Everybody knows that the chance of getting cut after a loss is big, and when you’re coming off a win that chance is way smaller. But that pressure doesn’t change anything for me.
”This is the last fight of my contract. Winning this fight, I’m sure I will sign a good new deal, but I try to forget this pressure. I use it as motivation to train harder and only think about the fight.”
Chagas (15-2-1) fought three times in the Octagon, compiling a 1-1-1 record. In his promotional debut, Chagas replaced the injured Kamaru Usman against Sergio Moraes on two weeks’ notice at UFC 198, and fought to a split draw.
He was scheduled to fight Shinsho Anzai four months later, but ultimately fought Erick Silva after both Anzai and Silva’s original opponent, Brandon Thatch, withdrew due to injuries. Chagas lost to Silva via third-round submission, and fractured his leg during the fight.
“This is the last fight of my contract and I have to win no matter what,” Chagas said. “I’m a realistic person and I know that I need this win no matter what. I always put on good fights in the UFC, but I need to win now. I know that a great contract will come with a good, dominant victory.
“Siyar is really tough, physically strong, and has heavy hands, but I’m sure my hands are heavier,” he continued. “He has knockout power, but so do I. Taking him to the ground is an option, but I’m feeling better every day as a striker, adapting, and I’m going after the knockout in this fight.”
UFC Atlantic City will mark only the second time Chagas travels overseas, and his first time competing outside of Brazil, so he’s excited to introduce himself to the American audience.
“Fighting outside of Brazil, in front of people I never saw, is completely new to me,” Chagas said. “I like traveling to new places and showing my skills. I want to become UFC champion and be known around the world, so fighting in the United States and showing my work there is another step in that direction.”
UFC Atlantic City take places at the Boardwalk Hall and features Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee in the main event.