I recently sat down with UFC featherweight Diego Brandao in the office of striking coach Mike Winkeljohn, at the Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA Academy in Albuquerque, NM. Some of what the native Brazilian is trying to say might get lost in the translation, but the language divide also makes for entertaining commentary. With many of his answers, especially regarding his use of the word “boom,” his tone and gestures communicate as much as the words themselves, which makes a written transcript a poor approximation for what he’s trying to communicate. That said, hopefully these notes will help you make the most of this interview. Rather than correct his English into what I think he’s trying to say, I’ve kept it to exactly what he did say, as best as I can tell, though sometimes, even with my background in Portuguese, I still had to guess.
What is up with your use of the word “Boom?”
In the house the guys put “boom,” I don’t know. I think it’s because my friend Nick…. He said “boom,” and I kind of like, got this “boom,” because the power, “boom,” and like, people’s talking “boom,” and I kind of like, actually. So, boom.
On Twitter and elsewhere you spell it as “BoOM” (and "BooM," and "BoOm") Why?
Because, like, you know like, “boom,” you know, like some, like “boom,” you know like, “boom,” you know your face be like, you know what I mean, like when you hit you feel like dizzy. So this is the “boom,” like when the cops throw the thing like “boom.” You wake up (makes a humming noise). Like the guy down, throwing, like boom boom boom boom boom boom. When the “m” come, over.
On Darren Elkins, his oppenent at UFC 146.
I know he’s a wrestler. I don’t know too much about him. I don’t even watch his fights. I believe in God, I believe in training hard. I’m just going to go there and fight a street fight again.
I want to be like Mike Tyson. If you see Mike Tyson fight, he’s hunting. And knock em out. So people don’t see where the power comes from.
Everybody says “oh, he has overhands.” Yeah I have overhands. If I catch your face I knock you out. My overhand is too high, so this is why I hunt.
Hunt is like, you snipe. You find the chin. You gonna hunt, you gonna come in, jab, you need to, moving, counter, so this is basically hunt. Escape from the move and attack at the same time.
Keep moving, angles, keep putting the guy pressure, break the guy’s mind, so this is how hunt is.
All of my fights I train Jiujitsu a lot. Because always I might have a guy better than me striking so I make sure I train a lot of jiujitsu. So the time I got caught. I just, it was so quick. I feel when I got hit, and down.
So when I hit down I feel like when you wake up. And then I start to push on the hips, so I know he’s going to come in hard. And when I grabbed his gloves , I just go because when you got one arm, you can go.
What happened is he punched so hard. He was off balance and we rolled over.
So it got deep because, the thing you use to no get hurt, the thing you use, the cup, it’s deep, and mine is metal. So like, he’s tapping already. But I can’t let it go if the ref doesn’t stop it.
What’s it like to go back to Brazil since you won the show?
I’m a big superstar bro. It’s crazy. Unbelievable. I didn’t expect to be like, it’s like Wanderlei Silva in my home town. Crazy, like, the first Brazilian to win TUF.
On Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson
Winkeljohn, man, is a fucking, it’s crazy. He makes you knock them out. So my fights in TUF, you guys saw, I knock them out. I’m proud to have Jackson and Winkeljohn as my coach. I’m going to stay here a long time. My dad passed away, I have Jacks—Winkeljohn like my daddy.