As one of Canada's top featherweight fighters, Antonio "Pato" Carvalho will be looking to return successfully this weekend, when he competes on the Score Fighting Series: Mississauga card vs. Douglas Evans. Carvalho holds wins over Japanese legend Rumina Sato and highly ranked featherweight Hatsu Hioki.After a brief hiatus from the sport, Carvalho returned in 2010, taking home two victories under the W-1 banner, his last being a quick knockout of Juan Barrantes. Now Antonio is gearing up for a big year and was kind enough to talk with AddictedMMA before he faces Evans this Saturday.
CC - When people hear the name Antonio Carvalho, they instantly think - top prospect at 145-lbs, well-rounded Canadian fighter, and that you'll end up in the UFC very soon. What do you make of that perception...is it something you embrace or ignore?
Antonio Carvalho - I am most certainly honoured and grateful that some people feel this way about me. I guess it means that I am doing something right lol. That said, I still feel I have a long way to go and I never look that far ahead. I never underestimate anyone in this sport. So my "fighting calender" does not go beyond June 10th!
CC - Fans of yours have been dying for you to get back into action, as you've been out of commission since June 2010. How are you feeling, and are you anxious to get back in there?
AC - I feel great and my camp has gone very well. I have surrounded myself with some wonderful people and have had tons of great training partners for this. As far as being anxious to get back in there; I am always excited when I get a chance to compete in this sport. I feel very privileged to do it and love every minute when I am competing.
CC - You'll be taking on Douglas Evans at the Score Fighting Series: Mississauga on June 10th. What do you think of Evans as an opponent, and did you bring in any training partners to emulate his style?
AC - I think Doug Evans is a very good opponent. Very experienced, well rounded fighter. He is not afraid to strike or go to the mat. He is one of those fighters that leaves it all in the cage and I believe this is the reason why this will be a great fight for the fans. He is definitely going to force action to happen and I am looking forward to being in there with him.
I have a lot of great training partners that are better than me in many different areas of the fight game, so I have been kept on my toes in training from every aspect. Doug brings a very balanced game to the table, so I am just trying to be as sharp as possible from anywhere; Whether wrestling, on the mat or striking.
CC - You must be pretty stoked to fight at home in Ontario for the first time in your career! Long time coming right?
AC - Yes! I actually thought that I would be retired by the time MMA finally came to Ontario. So this was certainly a huge surprise and something that is very exciting for me. I mean, I will have hometown advantage for sure. I will have tons of friends in the venue that night and I think by default, the Ontario fans are going to cheer for me anyway whether they know me or not!
CC - If you pick up an impressive victory over Evans, many believe you could go straight to the UFC. Is this the ultimate goal for you, Antonio?
AC - I suppose so. I mean, I do believe they have the best featherweights on the planet at the moment. I am certainly not saying that there are not great featherweights competing outside of the UFC. Bellator of course being another organization with top featherweights too. Not to mention, Japan still has a lot of quality fighters as well. Namely, my good friend Joachim "Hellboy" Hansen. I truly believe in him and I feel at any point in time, he can be the best featherweight in the world. This all said, there is no question that the UFC have most of the best featherweights fighting against each other in one spot. Due to this, it makes it very difficult to stay in there for a very long period of time. There simply are no easy fights in the UFC. At this point in time, their foster is full and there are a select few that they will make room for. Hatsu Hioki being the main one of course! After that, I am sure that there are other fighters that the UFC would rather sign then myself at this point in time. In order for me to make it there I simply must continue winning; And in impressive fashion!
CC - Do you feel as though you are in the upper echelon of the featherweight division, alongside the likes of Jose Aldo, Hatsu Hioki, Chad Mendes, and Mark Hominick?
AC - At this point in time; no. That said, I believe that I do possess the skills and physical abilities to compete with the best. Although that all remains to be seen at this point lol. There are lots of great young up and comers in the featherweight division. I mean, just some of the young talents that I train with are so much better then I ever was when I was at that same point in my career. These guys are going to be much better then I ever could be by the time I am done fighting. That is all a part of the growth of the sport though and it will be a pleasure to sit back and watch it all grow one day. In the meantime, I will continue to try to make myself the best competitor I can be and give everything I have until the bitter end lol.
To read the entire interview visit Addictedmma