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Coach Explains Origin Story, Successes of The Fighting Nerds Team



Six contracts with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in seven appearances on Dana White's Contender Series. Twenty victories in 24 fights. Four bonuses in 2024.

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Although The Fighting Nerds debuted in the Octagon less than two years ago, there is no doubt that the Brazilian team has made a significant impact in the sport in a short period of time. Captained by former boxer Pablo Sucupira, the team already has seven athletes in the UFC: Caio Borralho, Mauricio Ruffy, Bruna Brasil, Carlos Prates, Thiago Moises, Jean Silva and Kaynan Kruschewsky.

In an exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Sucupira revealed that the team emerged from his frustration as a fighter.

“I always say that a good coach is a frustrated fighter, as frustration in the ring leads him to develop solutions for his athletes,” he said. “And it was like that with me. I started boxing when I was 29 years old. I achieved good results, but when I realized that I wouldn't be able to become world champion, I decided to focus my talent on my development as a coach.”

Sucupira points to John Danaher as a source of inspiration as a coach, while he credits Borralho as a key figure in the creation of the Fighting Nerds.

“When he arrived as a new student, the team’s name was Combat Club, and Fighting Nerds emerged from our union. Caio is systematic and I am more intuitive,” Sucupira said.

The coach also strengthened the team with two other big names in their respective areas: Vale-Tudo legend Flávio Álvaro and Demian Maia’s ground coach, Wagner Mota.

“One complements the other. Everyone listens a lot to each other when studying our opponents and devising strategy. This is one of the differences of Fighting Nerds,” Sucupira said.

After cornering Silva to his second promotional victory at UFC 303, a second-round knockout against Charles Jourdain, Sucupira is back in the U.S. to accompany Silva in Denver on Saturday, when his fighter will face Drew Dober in the UFC on ESPN 59 co-main event.

“The UFC invited and Jean agreed to take on, two weeks after the fight, an opponent in the upper division who holds the record for knockouts in his division,” Sucupira said.

Sucupira is confident that Silva will secure his third UFC triumph.

“Without underestimating Dober, it will be a fight between Jean and his emotions,” he said. “If he controls himself and doesn't get into a brawl, timing himself and taking advantage of the fact that Dober throws a lot of blows in the air, I think he'll knock him out in the second round. If he doesn’t control it, I’ll still bet on a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus for a fight decided by the judges.”

The Fighting Nerds leader will remain busy in the coming weeks.

“One week I will have Bruna Brasil, the next the debut of Kaynan Kruchevsky and then Icaro Brito debuting on [Dana White’s Contender Series] on Aug. 13. In fact, remember this name. If everything goes as planned, he will be the UFC's 8th [athlete from] Fighting Nerds. Our goal is to have 10 fighters in the UFC by the end of 2024.”
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