EXCLUSIVE (Part 1) | Brad Tavares Talks UFC Fight Night 27 Fight Against Bubba McDaniel | BJPENN.COM RADIO
This Wednesday night, middleweight fighter Brad Tavares will be continuing his UFC winning streak on his first main-card bout at UFC Fight Night 27. He faces off against Bubba McDaniel, quarter-finalist from The Ultimate Fighter 17, to lead off the card.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
UFC middleweight fighter, Brad Tavares, spoke with BJPenn.com Radio last week about his upcoming fight against Bubba McDaniel on the main card of UFC Fight Night 27.
For Tavares, the fight is a great opportunity for him to continue what has been a 5-1 run in the Octagon. Though he has won some impressive fights in the UFC, including a KO over Phil Baroni and a recent unanimous decision over Riki Fukuda, Tavares still sees Bubba McDaniel (21-6), who holds just one UFC fight, as a worthy challenge.
“I don’t think any fight is really easy,” Tavares said of his opponent. “Hopefully quick, that would be ideal, but we’ll see. I’m not sure if it will end in the first minute, the first round, the second round, the third round or go the distance. If it does go the distance, I’m ready for it. But I train hard, and I want to finish fights, so that’s what I’m going to go out there and do. I just hope that Bubba is on that same track, he wants to put on an exciting fight. He’s been saying that he has, over Twitter and what not, I just hope that he sticks to that and wants to put on the show.”
For Tavares, as he says, his main goal is to put on a good fight. Having finally earned a shot at a main-card fight, he hopes to seize the opportunity and put on a show that will have people remembering who he is.
“As far as mainstream goes, I’m not there yet. I had my time on ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ that was a few years ago already. Since then, you know, I’ve been fighting on Facebook [and] international cards, so limited amount of viewers see it. The real hardcore fans know who I am, they’ve seen my last few fights, but a lot of people, they think I haven’t fought since the time I fought Baroni. So it’s always a big deal to get on a main card slot, because way more people see it. You stay fresh in people’s minds. I think after this fight, that will be the case. A lot more people will get to see who I am, my style of fighting. I think I bring a fun style of fight[ing], you know, I’m always trying to finish, and if not, I’m more than willing to scrap it out. I won’t ever try to be boring and stall. I’m down to trade punches, kicks and whatever it may be, you know, and try to knock the other guy out where he’s trying to do the same. I think it will turn a lot of fans on to who I am, and hopefully with this fight, it will get me that top-ten opponent I’ve been asking for. That’s the plan right now, a little bit past my short-term goal which is beating Bubba that’s the next goal.”
When asked about the match-up, Tavares explained how he got the call from the UFC. Despite his campaign to face a top-name opponent, he says he was excited first and foremost to simply get a fight.
“At first, I’ve been campaigning and asking for so long to fight Wanderlei [Silva] or [Gegard] Mousasi if he came down [in weight]. Then after that I really wanted to fight Costas Philippou; and I called him out respectfully on Twitter, he accepted. So I decided to make that happen, but I guess they didn’t see that happening at the time. When [the UFC] called me with the Bubba McDaniel fight, I was just excited for them to be calling me with my next job, basically. I had been bugging them for a fight for so long, hadn’t heard anything. So finally they’re like, ‘Oh, here: Bubba McDaniel on this card.’ Yep, accepted the fight, gladly.”
With fighters like Wanderlei Silva in his sights, it is easy to think that Tavares would be disappointed facing McDaniel; but that just isn’t the case.
“Definitely not,” he said when asked if he felt disappointed. “At the end of the day, when I’m in there, it’s me and the guy that’s across from me that’s trying to hurt me. That’s what I really focus on. I try to work out all the kinks prior [to the fight]. But as far as that goes, I haven’t really felt any added pressure. I’ve felt actually some sort of relief that finally I’m getting my opportunity to be on a main card. The last time that… I got slated to fight on the main card, unfortunately I got injured and I had to pull out. Since then, like I said, I’ve been stuck on these Fuel/Facebook preliminary cards. So I was just excited and relieved that I’m getting the chance. As far as the pressure goes, it doesn’t really bother me. I’m there to fight, I’m there to win, and I’m there to put on an exciting fight. I believe I do that in all my fights, so it will come.
“I was bummed out before when [UFC] told me that I wouldn’t get to fight Wanderlei, when they told me I wasn’t going to get to fight Costas; but like I said, once they even though this guy is relatively unknown in the UFC, hasn’t been established yet, he’s still a threat. You look at his record, he has more submission victories than I have fights. So this guy’s been around, he’s been doing it a long time, and he’s a winner. He might not have as much experience in the UFC, but overall, like I said, [he has] double the experience I have in the ring. So I can’t take this guy lightly at all. People may not know his name, but I’m definitely not taking him lightly. When they gave me the call, from day one I’ve been training my butt of to kick this guy’s ass. That’s what I intend to do next Wednesday regardless of him being top-ten or not top-ten, or unknown or known, it doesn’t matter. He’s in there trying to hurt me, so I’m going to be in there trying to do the same: trying to take his head off, trying to kill him.”
Of course that didn’t stop Tavares from having to look up his opponent when the bout was made.
“I didn’t know exactly who he was. I had to be like, ‘Oh, what guy is that?’ As soon as they associated him with “The Ultimate Fighter,” I was like, ‘OK, yeah, I’ve seen a few of his fights.’ I didn’t really follow him. I didn’t know much about the man, I actually asked them for some video on him. Of course I did the sherdog check and YouTube and saw whatever they had available from him. Yeah, I kind of didn’t really know who he was. Like I said, no disrespect to him, he just got into the UFC, and I didn’t really follow his season [of TUF], so yeah, I didn’t really know who he was.”
Now that he’s researched his opponent, Tavares feels prepared for what lies ahead.
“Definitely. I looked at him, and I’ve seen him in a few fights, especially that fight with Urijah Hall, he doesn’t have much heart he took one shot and went down. Even leading up to that fight, a lot of people felt like he was trying to cop-out of that fight and get out of it, somehow he didn’t want to fight that guy. I’m the type of fighter, I’m going to be in your face, and I’m going to hit you hard. Everybody, they say, ‘Oh yeah, I want to stand and bang, blah, blah, blah,’ until they get hit hard a couple times. Then it changes. He’s a submission guy, so I definitely think he’s going to try to take it where he’s best at. And I’m ready for it. If he tries to take me down, I believe in my takedown defense, and I believe in my ground game. A lot of people never really got to see my ground game because I keep the fight standing and I try to get back on my feet as soon as possible. I don’t think I’ll have a problem keeping it standing, and even for some reason he does get me on the ground, I don’t think I’ll have a problem there.”
One of Tavares’ goals, as he mentioned, is to put on an exciting fight. If he’s able to win a Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night bonus, he knows exactly what he’ll do.
“First thing I’m going to do is call my mom and ask her how much is Uncle Sam going to take out of this bonus, because I want to make sure I’m not gonna pay at the end of the year. That was a big shock to me. I’ve been working since I was 16 years old, and my mom always helped me with my taxes. That first year I was in the UFC, she was like, ‘Oh wow!’ She’s not very good, she’s never done an athlete or entertainer or that type of taxes before. She was like, ‘Oh no, the lady that helps me with your taxes says you’re gonna owe five grand.’ I was like, ‘Whoa, that can’t be right. Tell her to re-do it,’ so I asked her or whatever. Anyway, if I hit that bonus that’s the first thing literally the first thing I’m gonna do, before I even get excited about the money. Right now I’ve seen enough, I’m going to buy a house back in Hawaii. Everybody knows, in Hilo it’s not bad, but on Oahu, it’s expensive. I think I need to hit a few bonuses and save up before I can get that house.”
As for the fight itself, Tavares has an idea of how Wednesday night will go as well.
“Best-case scenario, you know, feel him out. I’m not the type of guy to go running in across the Octagon throwing all crazy like how Cao Uno tried to do to BJ… I’m going to go in there, try to feel him out a little bit, try to smash him with kicks and punches, and I want to catch him with whatever comes. I think I possess knockout power in both hands, in both knees and in both shins, so whatever it may be. That would be ideal, you know, getting in there, smashing him a little bit, trading a little bit, and then getting that knockout. Doesn’t necessarily have to be in that first round, could be in the second or third, but that’s the plan. I want that KO. But hey, if I end up hurting him and a submission, you know, is apparent and opens up for me, I’ll definitely take it. I haven’t had a submission win in forever. Anyway I can get the finish. That’s how I’d like the fight to go, that would be ideal for me. Then I’ll go back to the locker room and chill and watch Martin smash Condit, it’ll have been a good night.”
Be sure to check BJPenn.com for the rest of Tavares’ interview where he talks about his training at Xtreme Couture! You can also watch him take on TUF 17 quarter-finalist, Bubba McDaniel, this Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 27 live on FOX Sports 1.
UFC Fight Night Live takes place August 28 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Preliminary fights begin at 5pm/2pm ETPT on Facebook, and the main card airs live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 8pm/5pm ETPT.