Paulo Filho was once one of the world’s premier middleweights. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Paulo Filho in October was involved in a confrontation at a party that resulted in his being shot in the leg. The bullet caused an exposed fracture to his left femur, jeopardizing his mixed martial arts career.
Almost a year later, Filho is nearly 100 percent recovered.
“I could have died, but thank God, I’m OK and I’m already training and doing everything normally,” Filho said. “The fracture was pretty serious, but I’m just like Wolverine -- made of adamantium. I’m already training. Now, it’s just waiting for the opportunity to return.”
The 37-year-old appeared at the final training session at the Carlson Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 25 and revealed to Sherdog.com that he has interest in returning to the ring on New Year’s Eve in Japan. Filho hopes to compete for the organization some are referring to as the “new Pride Fighting Championships.” When told of rumors of Pride being resurrected under another name, he showed immediate interest.
“I didn’t know about Pride returning, but if they invite me, I would love to go,” he said. “Actually, I should have respected my body, like Ricardo [Arona], and not done some of the fights I did recently, but my desire to fight was bigger than anything. After the bad experiences I’ve gone through, I’ll start to better analyze each proposal.”
Filho was considered the No. 2 middleweight in the world behind Anderson Silva in 2006. He started his career 16-0 and captured the WEC title, but he has gone just 7-6-3 since. Filho admits a drug problem prevented him from reaching the top and backs the anti-doping measures the Ultimate Fighting Championship has taken.
“I totally support what the UFC is doing,” he said. “Doping is what spoiled the sport -- mainly this crazy stuff of losing 15 kilograms in one week and recovering 15 kilograms in 24 hours. That’s crazy. In my opinion, MMA should be just like jiu-jitsu: The fighter steps on the scale the same day of the fight.”
Filho also weighed in on the current state of the middleweight division and the forthcoming UFC title bout between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold.
“Weidman is a great athlete,” he said. “He’s the champion and deserves all credit, but I don’t see how he can beat Rockhold. Rockhold is a much more complete fighter. That does not even mention Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ [Souza], who is a solid fighter that trained lots of jiu-jitsu and even fought in vale tudo. Weidman will have serious problems with both.”