Gabriel Gonzaga wants a fresh start at UFC Fight Night 64 against Mirko Filipovic. So fresh that he doesn't even think about the fight as a rematch of the first time they faced each other at UFC 70, eight years ago.
For Gonzaga, that was so long ago, he thinks they are both new fighters.
"The first fight was eight years ago. Think about how much has changed in this sport in eight years", he told MMA Junkie. "Most of the fighters aren't around anymore. We've changed a lot in eight years. I am not the same and he is not the same. It's going to be a different fight, so I don't even consider this a rematch. It's a new fight".
In a finish forever stuck in the UFC's highlight reel, Gonzaga knocked out Cro Cop with a perfectly-placed kick to the head - Mirko's signature move from his Pride years. Although people often wonder if he will be able to pull a move like that again, Gonzaga doesn't think that's too likely. He will be satisfied to take any win.
"I think that the way it ended cannot be reproduced. I'm not trying to land another high kick, I'm trying to win the fight. If I win, it could be standing, it could be on the ground. I'll be ready to go wherever the fight goes".
Coming off of a couple of tough losses to Matt Mitrione and Stipe Miocic, Gonzaga hasn't had his hand raised since a KO win over Shawn Jordan in October 2013. The former heavyweight title challenger says he needs this victory to get back on track because he still dreams of fighting for the title again.
"I definitely need to win this fight. I need to have a strong performance. That's how this sport is. If you don't win, then you are out. So I need to win this fight. I'm still trying to go towards a title shot. I need to win this fight if I want to do that".
Gonzaga and Cro Cop will headline the first ever UFC card in Poland, on April 11, in Krakow.