Admittedly one of the motivating factors that has helped Ultimate Fighter 8 alum Vinny Magalhaes get on a three-fight winning streak has been the desire to prove to people wrong.
“People basically judge me from what I was like three years ago, and they have to realize that a fighter can change in three months, let alone three years,” Magalhaes told MMAWeekly.com.
“Three years ago I wasn’t training the right way. I was training, but I didn’t have a striking coach and I wasn’t 100-percent focused on MMA.”
Magalhaes has taken the steps necessary to rectify the situation and currently finds himself in a stretch where he’s won five of six fights, including an impressive TKO of Jake Doerr in just under two minutes at M-1 Global’s Challenge event in March.
“That fight was important for me just to show people that I have improved,” stated Magalhaes. “Like I’ve been telling everyone, I’ve been working on my striking and eventually I want it to work for me like in that fight.
“I think if I start winning more fights by TKO, dropping people with a punch, they’ll start to respect my other skills than just jiu-jitsu.”
His win impressed M-1 Global enough that they are giving him an opportunity to claim the promotion’s light heavyweight title on April 28 in St. Petersburg, Russia. He faces Sambo specialist Viktor Nemkov, who is also riding a three-fight winning streak.
“The guy is 10-2, and I have a pretty bad record still, so I have to respect him, but I feel like I have the advantage,” said Magalhaes. “We’re pretty even (in striking); I don’t see him defending takedowns very well (whereas) I could care less about being taken down because I don’t mind being on my back.
“Do I respect his grappling game? Yes. Do I fear his grappling game? No. I competed in Abu Dhabi against some of the best grapplers in the world, and nobody came close to submitting me, so I should not be afraid of his grappling game.”
When asked if winning the title was a motivating factor to him in this fight, Magalhaes responded, “I’ll be honest with you, if I were to say it’s not important, I would be lying, but that’s not really my goal for this year.
“I want to get my wins and fix my record. I cannot change my five losses, but my goal is to have 12-13 wins. Fortunately the title’s right there, but it’s just another fight.”
Having made the changes he feels is needed to alter people’s perception of him, Magalhaes now focuses on righting his career and making the most of opportunities that come his way.
“I just want to let everyone know who follows me that the fight is going to be broadcast live on M-1Global.com,” he said in closing. “Also, if they want to follow my training, they can look me up on Facebook or Twitter @VinnyMMA.
“This is another fight where they can see I’m improving not just my wrestling skills, but also my striking and my grappling.”
(M-1 Challenge XXV: Zavurov vs. Magomedov 2 streams live from St. Petersburg, Russia, at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT on Thursday, April 28 on MMAWeekly.com.)