No Love Loss Between Former Teammates Aurelio & Franca

Oct 21, 2008
Few secrets exist between Marcus Aurelio and Hermes Franca, two veteran lightweights who will square off on the UFC 90 “Silva vs. Cote” undercard this Saturday at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill.

Born a year apart in Fortaleza, Brazil, Aurelio and Franca are uniquely familiar with one another. In fact, Aurelio coached his younger countryman before they joined American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla. ATT has since exiled Franca, and no love loss exists between him and his one-time mentor.

“I think my weakness is I’m so nice with everybody,” Franca told in an exclusive video interview. “For this fight, I’m not going to be nice. I can say we have [a] beef. I’m angry. I’m pissed. I want to kick his ass.”

A respected Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who has never been finished, Aurelio finds himself on the rebound after a unanimous decision loss to rising contender Tyson Griffin at UFC 86 in July. The setback snapped a two-fight winning streak for the 35-year-old, who has yet to assert himself inside the Octagon. Wins against former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Takanori Gomi and reigning Cage Rage world featherweight champion Masakazu Imanari highlight his resume.

Emotions run high when it comes to Franca.

Dave Mandel/

BJJ ace Marcus Aurelio coached
Hermes Franca before the
Brazilians called ATT home.
“I think it will be awesome, because there will be both guys trying to kill each other,” Aurelio said. “He’s got to hate me, and I got to hate him. He’s not my teammate anymore. He’s not my student anymore. He’s not with us anymore. He got kicked out of ATT.”

His UFC lightweight title bout against former champion Sean Sherk now a distant memory, Franca needs a victory in order to remain relevant in the 155-pound picture. The 34-year-old followed an eight-fight winning streak with decision losses to Sherk and Frankie Edgar. An embarrassing year-long suspension for admitted steroid use was sandwiched in between.

Franca likes his chances against his former mentor.

“I know the gameplan,” Franca said. “He’s going to try to take me down. That’s what he tries to do in his fights. I’m going to work my sprawl and beat his ass.”

Check out the full interview here.
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