Where have you been training for this fight?
I’ve spent time training in Aurora, Illinois, in the USA and São Paulo in Brazil. I’ve been working on my boxing where the Brazilian boxing team train as well. I’m always training very hard and you can be sure I’m going to put on a spectacle for the fans.
You’ve fought three times previously in the UK for the (now defunct) Cage Rage promotion. How does it feel to be back?
I’m very happy to be back. I love fighting here and it felt pretty special as I was arriving on the plane. Each of the Cage Rage fights is a great memory for me and fighting in England again brings them all back.
What dangers does Tom Watson pose you?
Tom is a tough guy and a very dangerous fighter with great strikes, but I don’t mind if the fight stays standing or goes to the ground. In my opinion I’ve got more tools to finish the fight than he does.
How many fights have you signed for with BAMMA?
I’ve signed for one fight. I’m plenty interested in fighting for BAMMA again, but the negotiations are tricky and there are always little details to deal with. I love fighting in England though and I think that I’ll have many more fights here – at least that’s the plan.
If you win the title, who would you like to fight in your first defence?
The most important thing is to focus on this fight first, because Watson is a tough opponent. However, I’d love to fight Phil Baroni next for the title. I think we could promote and put on a great fight.
You’ve fought for numerous promotions at various weights. What was the toughest fight you’ve ever had?
I’ve fought so many tough opponents in my career. My fights with Sergei Kharitonov and Robbie Lawler were really tough and my fight with Quinton Jackson was really close. My fight with Dan Henderson was fantastic too. I’ve fought some of the best MMA has to offer, so it’s hard to just pick one.
Your career has taken you all over the world – what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on the road?
So many countries share a love of fighting, but their behaviours and cultures are all so different. When you go to Japan, people are all very quiet, polite and respectful. The fans here in the UK are enthusiastic, but a little less crazy than the American fans.
Your brother Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua recently lost the UFC light heavyweight title to Jon Jones, and you were in his corner. Is it hard not to get emotional when you corner each other?
To be honest, Shogun gets a little more nervous when I fight than I do when he fights. Shogun didn’t really train in the most efficient way for that fight. There were a lot of people around and a lot of bad advice. It’s part of the learning curve and he’ll come back stronger.
To buy tickets for BAMMA 6, which takes place at Wembley Arena on 21st May, go to ticketmaster.co.uk (opens in new tab). You can watch it live on Syfy (Sky HD 114, Virgin TV 135 and TalkTalk 22).
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