Diego Ferreira is set to open the UFC 242 pay-per-view card against Mairbek Taisumov. He was set to do the same thing at UFC 237 in his native Brazil, but a bout of kidney stones forced him to pull out of the bout.
Now, just four months later he will return and is excited for this rescheduled matchup against Taisumov. He knows their styles will make for an entertaining fight.
“We are both tough and well-rounded everywhere. I expect this to be a war and it will be a war,” Ferreira told BJPENN.com. “He will not finish me with one punch he will need to break me which is not possible, we are going to go at it until someone is left standing.”
Ferreira is eager to return to the Octagon and build off the success of his last fight. In that fight, he beat Rustam Khabilov, who is also Taisumov’s close friend. Although it was disappointing to not fight in his home country of Brazil, he says this is better as he gets to be on a bigger pay-per-view where more fans can see him fight.
“It is super disappointing. It was heartbreaking because I wanted to show my skills in my home country. I know I gave everything I had to make the travel and weight but kidney stones ended the hope,” Ferreira explained. “I wanted to fight and fight in front of Brazil. Things happen for a reason and I have a very good fight on one of the best cards this year. My last few fights I have been fighting early on in the card. Just opening up a big card like this, it motivates me more to put on a good show for everyone.”
For this fight, Diego Ferreira is a +200 underdog, which is surprising to some. In his last few fights he has looked dominant, while Taisumov has not fought in a year. The Fortis MMA product thinks he is underrated but doesn’t care about the odds, and is just focused on the fight.
“I think [I am underrated], but that is not a big deal for me. I just have to prove my value and this is the moment I can,” Ferreira said. “Just show the world I deserve to be in the conversation as one of the top lightweights in the UFC.”
If he can get his hand raised in Abu Dhabi, he suspects his next fight will be against a ranked opponent. Then, he can try and work his way up to the top of the division.
“I don’t think it will put me in the rankings but the next fight will be against a ranked opponent,” he says. “A win here will get me a good fight, someone in the top-10 or top-15.”
In the end, Diego Ferreira is extremely confident he has what it takes to get his hand raised in this fight. He suspects the Abu Dhabi crowd to be behind his opponent, but doesn’t care. Instead, he says it just motivates him even more.
“The crowd will be behind him. That has no impact, it just makes me more hungry to upset the crowd,” Ferreira concluded. “It is always fun going in and beating up someone in their backyard or where the crowd is behind him.”
Who do you think will win the fight between Diego Ferreira and Mairbek Taisumov?
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/3/2019.