Michael David Smith thinks so:
The best fighter at UFC 115 is Paulo Thiago, who in my opinion is the No. 5 welterweight in the world and is the only Top 10 fighter in any weight class on Saturday night's card. When Thiago steps into the Octagon against Martin Kampmann on Saturday night, we'll see a fighter who's 13-1, whose only loss is to the No. 2 welterweight in the world, Jon Fitch, and whose three victories since entering the UFC in 2009 include a Knockout of the Night-winning upset of Josh Koscheck and a Submission of the Night-winning upset of Mike Swick.
Despite those accomplishments, and the fact that just about everyone who really follows MMA views Thiago as one of the Top 10 welterweights in the world, we're not hearing much about Thiago heading into this fight. I think that's a shame.
Thiago has a great personal story to tell. In addition to his job as a UFC fighter, he still works for the elite special forces unit of Brazil's military police, and he's by all accounts a dedicated, hard-working public servant. There aren't many professional athletes who have side jobs like that one.
I'm not going to get all "don't cry for me Argentina" about Thiago being overlooked going into this fight against Martin Kampmann. Paulo is ranked as the #5 welterweight on the USAT/SBN Consensus MMA Rankings but Kampmann is a very respectable #11. I'll probably pick Thiago, but I wouldn't be entirely shocked if Kampmann pulled off the upset.
This MMA Mania interview with Thiago does get him to discuss his day job as a member of the Brazilian police:
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Share with me a brief story about the most dangerous mission or task you have been involved in.
Paulo Thiago: So many of them. I couldn't pick just one...drug dealers, robbers, and all kinds of bad guys.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Why do you choose to be a part of such a potentially harmful job when no one is forcing you to do so?
Paulo Thiago: I just love doing that. There is no way I could explain the sensation of accomplishing a special operations mission. I think it could be a physiological reason. The need for controlled adrenaline.