(During this interview I chose to leave Gonzaga’s words as he he wrote them without checking for grammatical errors for a more authentic interview. There seemed to be a slight language barrier but it came across pretty well)
Eric: Thanks for taking the time to give us this exclusive interview. Let’s start with your (first) fight with Mirko Cro Cop. No one seemed to give you much of a chance in this fight (besides Randy Couture) but you overcame the odds by outwrestling and then KO-ing the legendary Croation in one round with his own signature strike. What was going through your mind as the kick landed and you realised your life was changed forever with one strike?
Gabriel: I just threw the hardest kick I have and hope to get on his arm and stop him for some seconds, I knew the round was finishing and I knew I was winning, at the time you don’t think too much.
Eric: After that upset you got a chance at Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Title. What was it like during the buildup for the fight knowing that you were facing a living legend for the UFC title?
Gabriel: I get ready with my team and got ready to fight the nice guy in the mma, but when the cage closes I don’t care who is in the other site I go to win, unfortunately I broke my nose on the first minute and I couldn’t give my best.
Eric: Do you think the strike that broke your nose was an illegal head butt and do you think it affected the outcome of the fight?
Gabriel: Was accidentally illegal, so do not count. And yes effected on the outcome, but this is the life we don’t have control of what going to happen.
Eric: Let’s fast forward way into the future with your UFC release after losing to Schaub. It seemed you were burned out. Was this the case and did you ask to be released?
Gabriel: This fight was so boring and I lost so that is how big companies work if you not delivery what they expect they fire you. I lost to 2 champions, to other 2 contenders, this happens when you are at the elite of the sport now I am climbing back to the top.
Let’s look at your fight with Travis Browne, the loss was very controversial. He finished you by tko elbows but some of those elbows landed to the back of your head causing you to file an appeal. Can you explain your take on this and what happened in the appeal process?
Gabriel: My thoughts is that he start with a good elbow but didn’t knock me out and after some illegal one I got the Ko , that is it, wasn’t by the belt so the commission didn’t give the necessary attention for the case.
Eric: Let’s look at your career as a whole. Between MMA, Bjj and grappling you have many accomplishments. What do you considery our biggest accomplishment in your mma/grappling career?
Gabriel: World champion in BJJ and 2 biggest federations in 15 days and no doubt the fight for the belt with Randy Couture.
Eric: Who are some of your favorite mma fighters? Maybe some that has even inspired you?
Gabriel: Definitely Rickson Gracie and my coach since I was a white belt, Wander Braga. He made me a black belt and I grew up watching his fights.
Eric: Your name is Gabriel Gonzaga Nogueira. Why do you not use the Nogueira portion of your name? Are you any relation to the Nogueira brothers, Rodrigo and Rogerio?
Gabriel: That is why to don’t get confuse with them. When I started my mma career they was in the business already, also have other nogueira (pequeno his nick name) that was champion at shooto organization , so I decide to use my middle name!
Eric: Ok, I want to ask some questions so people get to know the real you!!! Tell me something about yourself that you’d like all your fans to know!
Gabriel: I like to do so many things , I am little nerd so I do computer stuffs like my own web site http://www.gabrielgonzagabjj.com/ I’m not good on it but I try , I like , an stay with my family , and friends for good times to ! I don’t have a favorite movie but I like comedy, (the hangover) and Matrix is other good one. (My favorite superhero is) Superman. I am a good guy, some people think because my face one the UFC that I am bad-boy but that face is the concentration to fight and get punched in the face.Guys Check my Gym and come train with me I teach personally the private and group class at Worcester location http://www.linkbjj.com/ the location of my team. My YouTube channel, Twitter and Instagram @gonzagabjj
Eric: Thanks for the time, and good luck in your future fights!