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Rodrigo Nascimento became ‘complete fighter’ with first MMA loss, promises ‘next time will be different’ at UFC Vegas 31

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Ferreira vs Hayes
Rodrigo Nascimento is 1-1 as a UFC fighter going into Saturday’s event in Las Vegas.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

For Brazilian heavyweight Rodrigo Nascimento, being a well-versed fighter on the feet, on the ground, and everywhere in between doesn’t necessarily makes you a complete fighter.

“Ze Colmeia,” who battles Alan Baudot at UFC Vegas 31’s curtain jerker on Saturday night, says that suffering his first loss as a professional MMA fighter — a 45-second knockout to Chris Daukaus in his most recent bout in October 2020 — finally made him “complete.”

“My last fight was a new experience for me,” Nascimento told MMA Fighting. “I had never lost before. I had lost in jiu-jitsu, but never in MMA. I had a coach who always told me that a complete fighter isn’t the one that has jiu-jitsu, boxing, muay thai — it’s the one that has injuries, weaknesses, the one that has a second job, that has had wins and losses. My last fight was my day of becoming a complete fighter, as he used to say.”

That coach is Everton Rabelo de Andrade, who died a few years ago and inspired Nascimento to pursue success in the sport. Nascimento says he “took that [loss] as a learning experience and have healed from it.”

“Next time will be different,” Nascimento said. “[The defeat] made me more mature because I had never tasted that experience before. I give credit to my opponent. He beat me, knocked me out. I took the risk and all the blame is on me. I took that as a learning experience. I’m way more mature now, tougher.

“Everybody has losses. [Thiago Santos] ‘Marreta,’ Amanda Nunes have losses. Amanda told me that a while ago, ‘Marreta’ as well, people that had losses. ‘King Mo’ [Lawal], Conan [Silveira], ‘Parrumpinha.’ Everybody told me the same thing, that loses is part of the experience of becoming a complete fighter and maturing.”

Nascimento’s oppponent, Baudot, is also coming off a defeat as he enters UFC Vegas 31, a first-round stoppage to Tom Aspinall in his octagon debut in October 2020.

“Alan is a striker and has spinning elbows, he’s a bit unpredictable, but I’ve fought guys like that before,” Nascimento said. “Don’Tale [Mayes], my first UFC fight, was an unpredictable guy. I’ll be careful and find the path to victory. Submission, knockout, decision — I’m just sure it will be different this time. I’ll be prepared to bring the victory to Brazil. I’ve tasted what I had to taste, that bad feeling [of losing], and now I know what it feels like.”

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