From Royce Gracie to Anderson Silva, many Brazilians have found mainstream success and stardom while competing in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization and 13 went on to become a UFC champion.
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Due to the country’s impact and sheer passion for the sport, the UFC makes it a habit every year to return to Brazil on numerous occasions, often bringing major pay-per-view events with them. On November 16 in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s own Jacare Souza will jump up to light heavyweight in an attempt to defeat one of the division’s top-ranked fighters, Jan Blachowicz, in the main event of the evening.
Also on the card is hometown hero Ricardo Ramos, a young, up-and-coming fighter who will be making the switch to featherweight after a 4-1 stint at 135 pounds.
The 24-year-old spoke to John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock about moving up a weight, Holloway vs. Volkanovski, and becoming champion.
Making the move to 145
Ricardo Ramos was signed to the UFC at the age of 21 and won his first three fights convincingly.
His rapidly growing momentum was put to a sudden halt by Said Nurmagomedov, a surging Dagestani who poses a threat to most in the bantamweight division. Ramos was able to get back on track with a one-sided victory over Journey Newson, and instead of continuing to scale the ranks at 135 pounds, he has opted to move up to featherweight.
“I decided to go up because I was not feeling healthy anymore at 135,” Ramos said to John Hyon Ko.
“I’m a big guy for 135 and walk around at 170 when I don’t have a fight coming up. I’m big for 135 and for 145 too. So I’m trying to be smart, and that’s the best thing I can do for my career and for my health.”
Cutting weight can lead to severe short term and long term effects on the body. Dehydration is the most common, with kidney and organ failure not falling too far behind. Earlier in the year, middleweight Urijah Hall had what he described to be a mini-seizure and heart attack after attempting to cut too much weight at once.
Many more fighters, specifically the younger generation, are beginning to realize the detrimental impact weight cutting can potentially have on performance but physical health in the long term.
Ramos stated that the muscle on his body felt different while weighing 135 pounds, and explained in more depth why he was eager to make the switch to featherweight.
“I started feeling like my muscle was different, my body was getting different, you know? I started having problems making 135 and started to think if that was really my weight division. But what made me still make 135 was because making 135 was my goal. I really wished to be the 135-pound champion, but I cannot make that. I thought about my health, that’s the most important thing in my life: my health.”
In his impressive June victory over Journey Newson, Ramos began to tire and slowed down considerably in the third and final round.
When asked about his fatigue in that fight, Ramos pointed the finger at weight cutting issues.
“Every fight that I had at 135 I was not in my best shape because I was always feeling tired, feeling like I was not 100 percent.”
Following up on this, Ramos commented on his loss to Said Nurmagomedov, saying that he was not 100% healthy for that fight in particular.
“In the fight with Said Nurmagomedov, I had a real problem situation. After weigh-ins, I started to throw up, and it’s not an excuse to say what happened in the fight, but I was not 100 percent healthy for that fight.”
Training alongside the elite
When preparing for a fight, Ricardo Ramos takes his training camp from Brazil to California to train at Team Alpha Male, home to some of the best 135 and 145-pound fighters on the planet.
The Brazilian informed John Hyon Ko that earlier that day, it was ‘spar day,’ and he was able to go head to head with a few elite-level mixed martial artists.
“Today was a spar day! I did a spar with Cody Garbrandt, I did a spar with a lot of good names.”
“It’s really good for these guys to have my back, supporting me, and teaching me. I feel that’s the best I can have in a training camp – so many good fighters to spar when training and people that really know what they’re talking about, so that’s really good.”
The founder and owner of Team Alpha Male is none other than MMA pioneer Urijah Faber, who recently made a comeback earlier in the year. Faber was able to knockout prospect Ricky Simon in the first round and never looked out-of-beat for a second.
Many, including Ramos, were shocked to find out that Faber is 40 years old and has been competing for almost two decades.
“I was told Urijah was 40 years old, and before today I had no idea he was 40 years old. I thought he was younger. He has a lot of experience to teach us, so every time he starts talking, I just stop everything that I’m doing and start watching him because he has been in this game for a long, long time, and he helped to grow MMA. He’s a legend, I have to listen when he talks.”
Having a mind such as Uriah Faber’s in your training camp is something fighters can only dream of. The amount of knowledge and experience “The California Kid” has acquired over the years is priceless, and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the Brazilians overall game.
As of right now, the man who reigns supreme of all the featherweights in Max Holloway, one of the biggest stars in the sport today. On December 13 Holloway will defend his crown against Alex Volkanovski, who is shaping up to be his hardest title defense to date.
Ramos gave his opinion on who he thinks has the most advantages going into the fight.
“Max Holloway, for sure. He’s such a good guy, he’s really good, that’s why he’s the champion. After I decided to move up to 145, I started watching all of his videos and all of his fights, and it’s good because I get motivation from these guys. I feel that he is going to win against Volkanovski, and for me, he’s the best right now. I’m going to keep on my way until I get there, and when I get there, I will be the champion.
On November 16 in Sao Paulo, Ricardo Ramos will be taking on undefeated Luiz Eduardo Garagorri (13-0), who won his UFC debut in August.
“He’s a good Muay Thai striker,” Ramos told The Body Lock, “he’s got six submissions, and his jiu-jitsu looks good.”
“I treat this fight like it’s for the title. Every fight for me is like a title belt fight. I am the champion, so I’m going to be there to defend my belt.”
Steven specialises in MMA and Lethwei. He loves a good 1-2 down the middle.