Former UFC middleweight champion, Murilo Bustamante is confident on the success of his student Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares on the American event. With three consecutive wins, two by a submission known as foot lock, Toquinho will make the main event of UFC Fight Night 22 against Nate Marquardt, and Murilo believes that o win would put him closer to the belt dispute. On an exclusive interview conceded to TATAME, Bustamante analyzed the combat, commented about Toquinho’s success on UFC and talked about his loss on Impact FC, revealing he suffered from a labyrinthitis crisis during the combat.
What is your expectation for the next fight of Rousimar?
Man, the expectations are as high as they can get. Toquinho is doing fine, improved a lot his techniques. Actually, he’ll probably go to Las Vegas now to take some medical examination for UFC. They wouldn’t accept the exams he had done here in Brazil, so he went there to do their way and then he’ll come back, he’ll arrive here on Sunday and we’ll get back for his trainings.
You’re in Las Vegas now?
No, not me, he went by himself and is taking the examinations there and then he’ll come back so he can restart his trainings. He was doing great, the trainings were awesome, and he’s got a good technique… I had to hold him on the trainings otherwise he’d be ready before the time comes (laughs). The expectations are high, we’re very confident. He’s taking his trainings seriously and everything is working out just fine.
Nate is known for doing a great stand-up game and also being a JIu-Jitsu black belt. Have you set your game plan already?
I’m studying his game, studying hard, so I have it in mind. I talk to Rousimar and say what he must do. It’s in his head already, now he’s just rehearsing his show so that he can present it over there.
Toquinho has two foot lock submissions. If Nate makes a mistake, he can fit the third, right? Do you believe that a submission over Marquardt may put Toquinho among the tops of the ranking?
Yeah, we’ve been seen the rankings, and I think he’s on the 13th or 16th position, so, he’s getting there… It’ll be a very important fight because, depending of his performance, if he knocks out or submits, he’ll give a huge step… He’ll be among the top 10 and he can dispute the belt. So, it’ll be up to UFC to decide…
You were the champion of this division. How does it feel like to see Toquinho walking step by step to reach the top of the division?
Well man, I’m very happy to be able to help someone, especially when the guy deserves to be where he is. Toquinho walked in BBT coming from the an inner city, I put him on the team, noticed he was good at it, so he’s been improving step by step since that time, he’s taking a long term journey to reach the top and get the win. The most satisfying thing is to see a student of yours winning. To help him to get the win is like another chance for me to become a champion again, it’ll be like a double-dream coming true: h is and mine. It’ll be great if he becomes champion on the same event which I became the champion, mainly because we fight on the same division.
Speaking about you, what happened on your last fight, when you got sick?
Man, I had a labyrinthitis crisis due to a punch in my head, or some hit on the ground or a punch. I spoke to the doctors, had been examined and they said it really was labyrinthitis. I had had it on 1995, I guess, then on 2000 and something, but due to a punch… After that, I never had it after that incidents, I’ve never had it during a fight before. But it happened on this fight… I got dizzy on the ground, I haven’t been hit so hard on the ground, so I couldn’t tell what was going on… When I stood up, I thought it’d go away because I didn’t know what was going on and, when I got up and made a step towards him I got dizzier.
I lost my balance, got much vulnerable… If my opponent had noticed it and tried to punch me at that time, it’d be really hard on me, but, luckily, Big John realized it right there and interrupted the fight, and I couldn’t start it over. Labyrinthitis is a weird thing because it allows you to make some moves, but if you jolt, like turning from one side to another or to stand up, you get very dizzy. During the fight, this kind of thing can be very dangerous, so I didn’t have much choice… Even if I was doing fine, doing a good fight – and I can I think I won the first round -, I couldn’t make it.
After the fight, did you have it again?
Man, I spent a week feeling that way, I ministered some seminars, but I felt dizzy at times when I was showing some position or when I was on the ground and then would stand up, but I could walk perfectly. On the streets I didn’t feel a thing… It was only when I stood up that I used to lose my balance. I came back to Rio, did some examinations, but I haven’t feel anything. The doctor said I could train again.
Do you think that the time-zone and the fact that the event was scheduled to happen earlier, since it would be broadcasted to the United States, may have been a bad thing for you?
No, man. I think the problem really was a punch in my head. I haven’t been hit hard, but some hit made it start and so I got dizzy. I left the hotel at 9am and I fought at noon, so the time-zone didn’t disturb me, and I got there a week earlier. To fight at noon wasn’t a good thing for me, it was awful, but it didn’t change a thing about my labyrinthitis.