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12 Questions for Daniel Lacerda



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In a dozen career fights, Daniel Lacerda has yet to hear a final horn or require the services of the cageside judges. The former Shooto Brazil standout will bring his fight-finishing ways to the Octagon as he makes his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut against Jeff Molina at UFC Fight Night 196 this Saturday. Before he steps into the cage at the UFC Apex, however, the young Brazilian passed a gauntlet of get-to-know-you questions from Sherdog.

Full name?
“Daniel da Silva Lacerda.”

What’s your nickname’s origin?
“People call me ‘Miojo’ (a popular brand of instant ramen in Brazil). When I left my hometown, I had no money. My only belonging was a backpack full of instant noodles (Miojo brand). When my training partners saw this, they decided to call me Miojo.”

Date of birth?
“June 5, 1996. I’m 25 years old.”

City of birth? Where do you live now?
“I was born in Valenca, in the interior of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. Today, I live in nearby Tres Rios.”

Height?
“1.71 m (5 feet, 6 inches).”

Weight on your next fight?
“57 kg (flyweight).”

Academy?
“I’m one of the sharks of the ATS academy in Tres Rios. I primarily train there.”

Since 2018, six of your bouts have been canceled. What happened?
“I’m not entirely sure why those bouts were canceled, but the promotions told me that my opponents were injured. I accepted this and waited for replacements. But no one wanted to face me. Several of my fights were canceled at the last minute. My only preference is not to face someone with fewer fights than me. That created a situation where older, more experienced fighters started avoiding me. It’s unclear whether they were afraid, or unwilling to believe in my potential. Against Aleandro Caetano, that was the only bout I ever dropped out of. On fight week, everything was going fine, but I ended up getting a new contract from One Championship. I was supposed to fight in their promotion and also be on their reality show. But that’s when the COVID-19 pandemic started, so none of that happened. I waited for a year and a half, for One to bring me to Singapore. In the end, I asked to be released from my contract.

All your wins have been finishes. Talk about your only loss, a TKO?
People who saw it know what happened. The fight was broadcast live on the Combate channel. It was for the Shooto Brazil belt. My record was 7-0, all finishes. They paired me up with a veteran (Edilceu Alves) with a 9-2 record, as I recall. Less than 40 seconds into the fight, my shoulder popped out of its socket, due to a wrong move on my part. My opponent didn’t even touch me. I believe the result should have been a no contest. But I’ve accepted the promotion’s decision, and I’ve moved on to other wins [three more finishes]. I still feel undefeated, as no fighter has been able to best me.

You're coming off another win. How do you see your UFC debut playing out?
I had a great fight in July, after sitting on the shelf for a year and a half. I came back and was able to show that I’m one of the top fighters in my weight class, even after such a long hiatus. Just look at my opponents’ professional records. Jeff Molina is tough fighter, I can tell. But he’s never faced anyone as versatile as I am. I have no UFC jitters. My experience will allow me to calmly step into the cage and put on a show. I expect to be a belt contender within two years. I expect to be closing in on the Top 10 by next year, hopefully. Flyweights don’t hit that hard, except for Deiveson Figueiredo. That’s the level I’m at. Jeff Molina is my door into the UFC.

How's your training camp?
Everything is going great. I do my work in Tres Rios, at ATS. I sometimes do a little work at the Usina de Campeoes gym in Rio, with Pedro Rizzo. When I go there, I train with Raoni Barcelos. He’s a great guy. UFC fans will see how versatile I am. The UFC likes aggressive fighters who put on a show. My goal is to be champion.

Anything else?
To debut with a big win would be great, especially if I score a bonus. I’d love to buy a home for me and my wife, so we can change our lives and I can train with less stress. I know that once I reach the top five, I’ll need to work even harder, but I know what I have to do. My time will come.

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