Life in the Ultimate Fighting Championship has provided an equal amount of ups and downs for Jussier da Silva, a man long viewed as one of the top flyweights in the sport.
Da Silva’s record with the promotion sits at 6-4, and recent losses to Henry Cejudo and Ray Borg have made it difficult for the Brazilian to find favor in the 125-pound rankings. If “Formiga” wants to get in position to challenge for the flyweight title, he will need to get back on track against Ben Nguyen in a featured prelim on Saturday at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia.
As da Silva approaches his three-round battle with Nguyen, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He made a natural progression through the MMA ranks.
Before he gained a foothold in North America through his exploits in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, da Silva established himself as one of South America’s top fighters with wins over Jose Maria Tome, Alexandre Pantoja and others. In November 2008, he captured the Shooto South American championship -- a title he never lost.
2. Hostile territory does not rattle him.
Da Silva’s first major win came at the expense of former Shooto bantamweight champion Shinichi Kojima on July 19, 2009 in Tokyo. “Formiga” traveled to Japan to take on Kojima on foreign soil and defeated him by unanimous decision at Korakuen Hall. Da Silva has recorded a number of impressive victories since, but beating Kojima put him on the global map.
3. The first man to beat him was creepy.
Da Silva faced current Rizin Fighting Federation talent Ian McCall, aka “Uncle Creepy,” at a Tachi Palace Fights event in 2011 and lost by unanimous decision. It remains his only defeat outside the UFC.
4. He did not fare well in the UFC initially.
Already an accomplished competitor by the time he reached the UFC, “Formiga” made his Octagon debut against John Dodson in a flyweight title eliminator at UFC on FX 5 in October 2012. Da Silva failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity, as “The Ultimate Fighter 14” winner stopped him with punches in the second round. Dodson went on to challenge Demetrious Johnson for UFC gold at 125 pounds.
5. His bank account has not gotten a boost.
Despite the success he has enjoyed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the grappling prowess he has shown throughout his career, “Formiga” has yet to be awarded a post-fight performance bonus in 10 UFC appearances. His submission wins against Scott Jorgensen and Yuta Sasaki went unnoticed by UFC brass.