Douglas Silva de Andrade wants to prove his worth inside the octagon, and that’s why he thanks UFC matchmakers for booking him against an opponent that will test him at UFC Vegas 58 on Saturday night.
Scheduled to meet Said Nurmagomedov in a main card contest at the UFC APEX after knocking out Gaetano Pirrello, Andrade aims to move up the ladder in the bantamweight division and eventually reach the top of the class.
Nurmagomedov, 4-1 under the UFC banner, enters the cage on a two-fight winning streak over Mark Striegl and Cody Stamann, stopping both opponents in under a minute. For Andrade, a win will show fans and the promotion he’s part of the elite of the sport.
“It’s good [to be fighting Nurmagomedov] because there will be no excuses,” Andrade, who submitted Sergey Morozov in a “Fight of the Night” earlier this year, said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I’ve showed this throughout my run in the UFC that I’m always fighting opponents with a good name, and there’s no excuses. It’s a pleasure to be fighting good opponents, it’s satisfying to be among them.”
Andrade joined the UFC in 2014 with an unbeaten professional record of 22-0 but lost a decision to Zubaira Tukhugov at featherweight. Since cutting down to 135 pounds, he has won six of nine, including decisions over Marlon Vera and Renan Barao. His losses include top-ranked opponents Petr Yan and Rob Font.
“People can’t say I’m fighting easy opponents,” he said. “Quite the opposite, really. They are bringing tough guys and I’m always fighting and representing. [Nurmagomedov] is another one I respect, and I thank him because we need an opponent to work, but it’s a fight. I’m ready for an action-packed brawl.”
Andrade said he’s going out to “brawl,” but added “it’s MMA, and we’ll feel it out.” In the end, he said, “we just want to leave with our hands raised.” Now training at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, the 37-year-old veteran explained how he deals with the pressure of being on a roll in such a young man’s game.
“It’s a pleasure to have this pressure over me. I’m grateful for it,” he said. “I’m thankful for everything that’s happened in my life and to still be able to keep moving forward. I’ve had serious issue in the past like may other athletes, injuries and surgeries and even stopping [fighting] at some point, but I came back. We’ll continue to push forward and still brawl it out as long as God blesses.”
“God willing, I’m complete this mission to be 3-0 in the past 10 months and then move on to the next one,” he continued. “Cutting weight is a battle on its own for me because I’m a heavy guy, but why not keep pushing it? I just ask God so that my opponent and I leave [the cage] healthy so we can continue our journey in the sport.”