Carneiro Confident He’ll Finish DeSouza

Dec 29, 2007
Brazilian welterweight Roan Carneiro (Pictures) returns to the UFC Saturday when he fights grappling veteran Tony DeSouza (Pictures). Following a recent move to the United States to train with American Top Team, Carneiro says he's improved on the errors he made fighting Jon Fitch (Pictures), and expects to make his latest appearance in the Octagon a successful one.

Sherdog.com: Did you decide to move to the United States and why?
Carneiro: Yes, I did. Now I'm living in the United States, in Atlanta, Georgia. I decided to move because I had an opportunity to run an academy here, and this sport is growing a lot here in North America. This is completely different from my beloved country. To stay here working and fighting is better for me now.

Sherdog.com: Did you leave Brazilian Top Team? Which team are you representing now?
Carneiro: Living here in the United States, it would be impossible to keep the same chain along with Brazilian Top Team. I needed to look for a team that could support me. Here I have the support of my friends at American Top Team and its head coach, Ricardo Liborio (Pictures), who trained me when I was a kid at Carlson Gracie Team. Besides that, ATT has a lot of superb instructors.

Sherdog.com: Are you an official ATT member?
Carneiro: We're under negotiations. I hope we determine that soon.

Sherdog.com: How do you analyze your training in North America for this upcoming match against Tony DeSouza (Pictures)?
Carneiro: I'm in very good shape and believing in myself so much. I had extraordinary preparation at the ATT academy and I trust in the job of the ATT family. In reality I was training here in Atlanta expecting an opportunity, so this happened and I'm ready for fighting.

Sherdog.com: Your last fight was at UFN 10 against Jon Fitch (Pictures). What can you say about your mistakes in that fight?
Carneiro: I got tired at the end of the first stanza and I don't think I had mistakes in that contest. He resisted one of my better submission attempts [anaconda choke], and I spent a lot of stamina forcing that choke, so I didn't recover well for the following round. But I hope to face him again in the future, mainly because I think Fitch has a good chance of becoming a UFC welterweight champion.

Sherdog.com: What lessons did you take from that defeat to Fitch?
Carneiro: Not to think of other stuff besides the fight, to keep focus on the fight, give my all and insert 100 percent of my soul and my body into the match. These were the lessons (laughs).

Sherdog.com: A lot of lessons then. What did you focus your training on for this fight against Tony DeSouza (Pictures) at UFC 79?
Carneiro: I balanced everything very well, but I trained all. Muay Thai, wrestling, boxing and of course Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which I sharpened. I'm sure I'll finish him.

Sherdog.com: He has never been submitted in an MMA fight. What do you think a submission would do for your reputation?
Carneiro: First off, victory (laughs). Well, like I said, I want to finish him. I want to sink my anaconda choke -- I'm hungry for that. If he has never been submitted, the first time is coming.

Sherdog.com: You two were close to facing each other at AFC Brazil in 2004. Since you studied him for that opportunity -- and you studied him now too -- what can you tell us about the differences?
Carneiro: The time passed, and DeSouza and me developed a lot. I guess we improved in several aspects. In that time it was a different event in a different environment. I bet this fight will [stand out] due to the excitement.

Sherdog.com: Since you're training at ATT and Thiago Alves (Pictures) faced DeSouza, has Alves given you much advice?
Carneiro: Yes, Alves and I trained a lot. This was very important for my preparation for this match. I want to thank Alves for the support given.

Sherdog.com: DeSouza and you are coming off losses. Is there any weight on your shoulders? Is it a do-or-die situation?
Carneiro: I don't think about it. I'm confident in victory over him and that's all I think now.

Sherdog.com: Your name was mentioned to compete in Europe early next year. What can you tell us about that?
Carneiro: I don't know anything about that. I'm a UFC fighter and I'm under contract with them. I want to fight a lot of times here, and there are several fighters I'd like to test myself against. The best are here, and to become the best I need to fight all of them.

Sherdog.com: You don't know anything about this European event?
Carneiro: I really don't know. A friend of mine, Augusto Frota (Pictures), showed me a link to an event in Eastern Europe, where I was booked. But I don't know about that, and my mind is 100-percent UFC. This is what I care about since I'm not going to fight where people didn't contact me or didn't talk to me or the UFC. I'm a UFC fighter. I still have things to prove in the Octagon, and it would be madness if I went to another organization. I want to become a top-five welterweight in the UFC, and this is my target in 2008. The beginning of it is now, at the end of 2007, against DeSouza.

Sherdog.com: Do you know how many fights you're going to have in 2008?
Carneiro: Too much, this is the number (laughs). The belt is my goal, the 170 belt.

Sherdog.com: Thanks for your time, Carneiro. Would you like to add anything else?
Carneiro: I thank my sponsors, which believe in my job and in myself, and I want to state I won't disappoint them. I want to thank my academy, Atlanta Extreme Fighting System, Warrior Wear, Fightsport, Z Pizza, the ATT family for its support and Jesus, who's giving me this opportunity.
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