World famous featherweight fighter Diego Brandao returns to the ACA cage after defeating Jihad Yunusov at ACA 100.
His rival at ACA 103 in St. Petersburg will be the legendary Marat "Motivator" Balaev.
We spoke to Diego before the fight, and he shared his thoughts with us about the fight with Balaev, plans to win the title, his MMA career and much more.
- You fought Conor in Ireland, defeated Yunusov in Grozny and now you will be facing Balaev in his native city of Saint Petersburg. Does the fact that you often fight your opponents on their home soil affect you or does it give you extra confidence?
- I am Brazilian and I have fought most of my career outside Brazil. I faced Americans in the United States, Russians in Russia and Japanese in Japan. I am experienced and I fight with confidence regardless of fighting in the home country of my opponents, I am confident my skills will guarantee me the victory.
- Did you see the last fight of Balaev? What did you think of his skills and his heart?
- Balaev is a great fighter. He has good wrestling, heavy hands, it sure is a tough fight, just like all the fights I've had so far in my career. It will surely be another war and I will be prepared to win.
- Do you know that Marat spent 10 years in prison before becoming an MMA fighter and he became ACB champion a few years later?
- Actually, I did not know and do not pay much attention to the personal life of my opponents, what interests me is what he can do inside the cage.
- Would you like a shot at the ACA title if you defeat Balaev in December?
- I signed with the ACA eyeing up this belt. I won the TUF in the United States, fought the best UFC fighters and I'm sure this is my best moment, this is the moment Diego Brandão will become world champion and I'm sure I deserve a title shot after this fight.
- Have you seen the Froes-Zhamaldaev fight? What do you think of the new champion?
- It was a great fight and Fróes showed that he deserved to win this belt. He is Brazilian, I respect him, but he has a belt that I crave and I'm sure that we will fight in 2020.
- For this fight you will be training in Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque?
- Yes, I am training at Jackson Wink MMA, where I feel at home. I'm sure I'll be fully ready for December 14th.
- Say a few words to your Russian fans. What can they expect from you on the 14th of December in Saint Petersburg?
- Russia can expect another big fight from Diego Brandão. I will come looking for victory from the first minute and surely those who attend on December 14 will see a great performance of Diego Brandão!