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FLD EXCLUSIVE - Danillo Villefort: "I will not fight 3 rounds, you will see!”

Author : Miles Hackett

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 21:15

Leading up to every UFC event, most MMA media and fan attention is directed towards the main card and headlining bouts, with little consideration going in the direction of the preliminary card–an unfortunate trend that is likely to continue in the future. My attention this week shifts towards the preliminary card, more specifically, towards a rising, young Brazilian star who will be looking to make an impressive debut in the world’s premier MMA organization.

Danillo “Indio” Villefort (9-2-0) is an American Top Team product who will bring into the octagon, undoubtedly , one of the most aggressive submission games in the welterweight division. Fortunately, I managed to catch-up with Danillo, who spoke excitedly about his impending debut, his growth as a fighter, his place within the welterweight division, and his rich fighting heritage.

Miles Hackett (MH): First of all Danillo, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to do this interview with Fightlockdown.com, we’re excited to have you on.
Danillo Villefort (DV): "My pleasure man, thanks for the opportunity!"
MH: Alright, so you’re making your UFC debut in two weeks, how does it feel to finally have made it to the big show?
DV: “Really happy bro! This just goes to show the hard work that I, all of my family, and team have done.  This is my first step into the big show and I will do my best.”
MH: What do you think of your opponent Jesse Lennox?
DV: “He is a pretty tough guy, good hands, and a pretty decent ground game, so he is a complete fighter. He deserves a lot of respect, but you know what? I go hard forever, and I will not fight 3 rounds, you will see!”
MH: The last time we saw you in action was at WEC 38 against Mike Campbell. Since then, what have you been up to?
DV: “I’ve upgraded my own gym in Miami, now it is way bigger—about 6000 square feet! We have a professional cage, very nice BJJ mats, and also a big striking area. This is the website, just in case you guys want to check it out! www.attdoral.com"
MH:  You train at arguably the best MMA camp in the world. How high is the competition level at ATT, especially on the ground? Who would you say is the best grappler in the camp?
DV: “We have so many good grapplers at American Top Team, we have more then 20 black belts training every day, and my Jiu-Jitsu coach Marcus da Matta is doing a very good job. And the best grappler.. Have you ever heard about this guy... Marcelo Garcia?” [laughs]
MH: [laughs] Marcelo-who? [laughs] You’ve had 10 fights so far in your professional career, but what would you consider to be the greatest moment of it so far, and who would you say has been your toughest opponent?
DV: “The greatest moment would have to be when I was in the IFL, when I fought Mike Massenzio. At the time I had only recently opened up my first gym and wasn't training enough for that fight. Everyone was saying Massenzio was “gonna kill me”, but I believed in God, in my Judo, and in my Jiu-Jitsu skills, accepted the fight and I did what I did. Massenzio is very strong guy!”
MH: One thing that I’ve noticed in your fights is your devastating use of knees in the clinch. Who have you been working on your Muay Thai and striking with?
DV: My striking coach is Mohamed Ouali, but he's in Belgium for while. Now I'm working with Katel Kubis, a very good guy, and he has been very patient with us. And about my knees... you will see my new ace, I'll show the crowd if I get the opportunity.”
MH: All of your fights prior to your WEC debut against Mike Campbell were at 185 pounds, what inspired you to drop to 170?
DV: “When they threw out the 185lb division of the WEC, Scott Adams—the old match maker—asked me if I wanted to stay in the WEC, or move out to UFC. I told him I really wanted to stay WEC. And he asked me if I could drop down to 170, and I said it depended on the purpose! Scott said that if I won my first two fights he could give me a title shot against Condit, and I said if I beat the first opponent in an impressive way, I could permanently make the drop. And I did, but after that they threw out 170 pound division, which sucked!” (laughs)
MH: I read a while back that, at first, you had a tough time making the cut to 170, because you love to eat. Which foods were the hardest for you to give-up or avoid?
DV: “Brazilian food is the hardest one, but it’s all about time.”
MH: The UFC welterweight division is full of mostly wrestlers, but not many aggressive submission specialists such as yourself. With your high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo skills, how do you feel your style matches-up with the guys at the top of the division?
DV:  “Awesome bro, I feel  good fighting wrestlers! I'm not saying they are easy to beat, but my game matches up with them very well.”
MH: Do you follow MMA outside of your own career? If so, who are your favourite fighters to watch?
DV: I love to watch Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Minotauro. But I really like to watch my teammates fighting and representing the ATT flag!
MH: Many people don’t know this, but Francisco Silva is your Father and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is your Godfather. What’s it like having two legendary fighters like them in your family, and how much have they impacted your fighting career?
DV: “It’s great! I'm so proud of them! Very proud to be the son of my Dad and have in my own blood the Indian Poison!” [NOTE: I believe this means he is proud to share the same deadly blood as his Father—a Vale Tudo legend known widely in Brazil as “Master Indio”]
MH: You have an interesting post-fight celebration where you shoot an invisible arrow at your defeated opponent, where did you come up with that?
DV: “This is just a way to do tribute for my Dad, he deserve more than that, but when I shoot the arrow I make him happy!”
MH:  Before we wrap-up this interview, I just wanted to know if you have any messages for your fans, or any sponsors/people you would like to thank?
DV: “Hell yeah!!! Thank you to all of my family, teammates, and friends for supporting me! Special thanks to CHAMPION NUTRITION and HITMAN for believing in me and sponsoring me!"
MH: Once again Danillo, we wanted to thank you for doing this interview with us. We’re very excited about your debut and wish you the best of luck.
DV: "Thanks."