UFC flyweight Matheus Nicolau is on the rise. Ever since his Octagon debut, the 25-year-old has won three fights in a row, including victories over ranked opponents in Louis Smolka (who was ranked at the time) and John Moraga. Now, as he makes the final preparations for his fight against Dustin Ortiz, the Brazilian believes to be in the best shape of his life to win his fourth straight bout.
Nicolau explained to Bloody Elbow he intends to wear out Dustin Ortiz in order to frustrate his opponent and then implement his gameplan. In Matheus’ opinion, he needs to avoid wrestling Dustin to come home with another win.
“My camp for this fight was the best one possible,” Nicolau said. “He’s a wrestler, but he’s very well-rounded. He has a very good pace for fighting. It’s rare to see him tired. He has no quit in him, even when he’s in a bad spot. It’s hard to finish him, but I feel great. I’m prepared everywhere, strategically, physically and psychologically. We can’t let him have it his way. This means I can’t let him put me up against the cage and not let him dictate the pace. Little by little, he’ll get frustrated and I’ll find more room to fight. I see myself winning, be it by knockout, submission or decision.”
A rising prospect in a division that was cleaned out by champion, Demetrious Johnson, Nicolau believe he’ll eventually get his own crack at the belt. Although he doesn’t think about his next step before the Ortiz bout, Matheus guarantees he’ll be ready when his time to fight for the title comes.
“I’m 100% focused on Dustin Ortiz,” he said. “That’s my next mission. If you think too much about the future, you’ll lose focus on the task at hand. I can’t talk about a title shot before this fight, because I need to win first. Everything happens at the right time. I will get my crack at the title and I will win. the last round. Johnson is really an impressive guy to watch. He makes really tough guys look easy to beat.”
While some accomplished Brazilian fighters, such as Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort are approaching the end of their careers, and the country is going through a drought of male champions, Nicolau believes he is part of a new generation of Brazilians fighters. In his eyes, it’s only a matter of time before the new pack comes along to claim their place.
“I do feel like I’m part of the next Brazilian generation, but I don’t think there’s just a few prospects,” Nicolau said. “I feel like there’s a lot of them, but some aren’t even in the UFC yet. It’s hard for Brazilians to make it into the UFC, it’s much easier for Americans, because the whole market is here in the USA. It’s hard to name them all, but there’s a lot of good prospects out there. I think Brazil is very well represented and it’s just a matter of time before the next generation comes along.”
Matheus Nicolau is expected to take on Dustin Ortiz at UFC on Fox 30, in Calgary, Canada, on July 28. The card will be headlined by a lightweight match between former champion Eddie Alvarez and contender Dustin Poirier.