Feijao: Comfortable No Matter Where The Fight Goes

Rafael Cavalcante

“Feijao” prepared wherever Henderson wants to fight, including on the ground

On March 5, Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante will do two things he has never done throughout his 12-fight mixed martial arts career. First of all, he will have the opportunity to defend his belt for the very first time, while, secondly, it will also be the first time he takes on a true legend of the sport and elite mixed martial artist.

And when the Brazilian knockout artist heard the news that he would be taking on the former PRIDE champion Dan Henderson at Strikeforce’s Columbus, Ohio event next month, he was thrilled.

“I was very excited when I knew I was going to fight someone like Dan Henderson,” Cavalcante said through interpreter Ed Soares on today’s media call. “I am very interested in testing myself against the best fighters in the world, against the biggest names. And that motivates me to go out there and keep improving.”

While “Feijao” looks at his match up with Henderson as an opportunity to take on one of the greatest to ever fight, the champion enters this fight as the top competitor in Strikeforce’s 205 lb. division. And even though he may be taking on a man who is currently the favorite, Cavalcante says he is a fan of the match up.

Unfortunately, many would suggest that the wrestling pedigree of Henderson is enough to rob “Feijao” of his title. It is one of the most prominent topics to be discussed when looking at this bout. But the champion remains unconcerned, believing wholly in his ability to defeat Henderson wherever the fight may go.

“I feel very comfortable,” Cavalcante said through Soares. “I like the match up. I like the match up with Dan Henderson anywhere it goes. Whether it’s standing up, whether it’s in the clinch, whether it’s boxing, (or) whether it goes to the ground. I have put together a good strategy with my training partners; the Nogueira brothers, Anderson (Silva), “Jacare” (Souza).”

“I feel very confident for this fight. I’m very well prepared, I’m in shape, and I feel very comfortable and excited about anywhere where Dan wants to go. Anywhere the fight goes, I am well prepared.”

While “Feijao” remains confident in his ability to take on Henderson come March 5 at the Nationwide Arena in Ohio at “Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson,” the manner in which he prepared comes into play. After all, this is more than likely the toughest match up of his career and it is his first fight as champion.

But just as Henderson stated on the conference call that he was unconcerned with the title and just focused on his opponent, Cavalcante says his championship strap is not what dictated his training camp.

Rather, the 205 lb. champ says his belt has nothing to do with preparation. He is, like Henderson, only focused on putting together a strategy that can allow him to most effectively defeat his opponent.

“Against every fighter there is a little bit of a strategy. It doesn’t really play into whether I am fighting for the title or whether I am defending the title. It’s really about the fighter, and every fighter has a little bit of a different strategy on how you approach it.

“Of course my strategy and how I trained for this fight is slightly different than the type of fight I trained when I fought against ‘King Mo.’ Every fighter’s different and it doesn’t really make a difference if it’s for the belt or not.”

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