While winning championships is nothing new to Vinny Magalhaes, having won several Brazilian jiu-jitsu medals, taking his first MMA title was a special achievement.
“The title came a little bit sooner than I was expecting, but I’m thankful I was given the chance,” he said of his M-1 Global light heavyweight title win on April 28. “Especially against a Russian guy in Russia; it meant a lot to me.
“To be called a champion is always awesome. I always tell my friends that I will say I lost the belt on the plane so I don’t have to return it. It’s my very first belt, so I want to keep it forever.”
Magalhaes claimed the title after defeating a very game Viktor Nemkov, who turned out to be a tougher challenge than he expected.
“It was actually a lot tougher than people expected – even myself – the fight went much harder than I thought it would go,” Magalhaes told MMAWeekly.com.
“It was a good fight. It proves to people that I can take those kinds of shots and keep fighting. I think that’s going to change the way people look at me now.”
One criticism people had about Magalhaes’ performance was that he appeared to have gassed early in the fight, which he acknowledges and explains he has a good reason for.
“Not to make an excuse, but I had a staph infection, which I got like a week before the fight,” admitted Magalhaes. “I was not going to call them a week before and tell them that I had a problem and I was not going to take the fight, so I took the risk of taking the fight.
“It was not like I did not have a good camp before the fight, I just was not healthy. My body was not responding the way I usually do. Even though I had all those issues, it was good that I overcame them.”
While he was able to win despite setbacks, Magalhaes is not completely satisfied with the way he fought.
“I was happy with the result I got, and happy with the submission that I got – which is not easy to do – and even though I got beat up bad during the fight, I still go the win,” he said.
“I was happy with the experience, but if you were to ask me if I was happy about the performance, I would say no, not at all.”
Magalhaes will now take some time off to recover and then he intends to get back into the ring as soon as he’s allowed.
“I’ve got to take care of healing my back first, so I’ve got to stay out of the gym for one or two weeks, but after that, I’ll be concentrating on my next fight,” he commented.
“I wish I could fight in July on the next Showtime card, but since they’ve already got two title fights, I probably won’t be on that card. Hopefully I will get an opportunity to fight in July, or maybe August now, but I want to fight as soon as possible.”
Now that he’s reached a high point in his career, Magalhaes wants to continue to show people he’s still getting better and will be someone to watch in the coming year.
“I’d like to thank my sponsors: Chipolte Mexican Grill, Xyience, OTM Fight Shop, Hostility Clothing, and Back 2 Win and Full Tilt,” he concluded. “I want people to keep watching the fights and not judge me on what happened two or three years ago. I want to keep showing that I’m always improving.
“This last fight I feel like I had the type of performance which did not showcase my best, but I promise the next fight things will change. I’m going to try to win fights and be more dominant and perform like I should.”