Gesias Cavalcante waited eight long months to walk into the cage and compete again. He got that opportunity on Saturday night, facing Justin Wilcox on the undercard of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum.
It lasted just over five minutes. And much like the main event, it left everyone feeling like they didn’t get what they had been hoping for.
The bout was ruled a no contest just 31 seconds into the second round after Cavalcante inadvertently poked Wilcox in the eye as the American Kickboxing Academy product was trying to close the distance. On the ringside physician’s recommendation, the bout came to a screeching halt and was declared a No Contest.
Some fighters would dwell on the results, frustrated by what feels like an opportunity interrupted.
But not Cavalcante; MMA’s “JZ” is like his hip hop namesake paired with Swizz Beatz – Blueprint 3, Track 7 – “On to The Next One.”
“I’m kind of over it already, you know?” laughed the 27-year-old Brazilian, speaking with HeavyMMA on Thursday morning. “Just looking for the next fight. I want to fight again, so I’m waiting for the call and for people to confirm (I’m) fighting again. I want to fight again soon; I’m hoping the next event.”
Cavalcante leaves those kinds of details in the hands of the team at Authentic Sports Management (ASM), who also represent his core training partners Jorge Santiago, Rashad Evans and the Villefort Brothers, Danillo and Yuri.
In the meantime, Cavalcante took the opportunity to branch out a little before heading back getting back to training.
“After the fight, I went to New York; ASM booked me to film with College Humor. It was a good experience out there (filming), getting to be a bit of an actor. It was fun, but now I’m already back in Florida. I already came to the gym today; I’m healthy and looking forward to getting the chance to fight again.”
The next opportunity for Cavalcante would be at the end of July, an event in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, headlined by Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko. If the former top 10 lightweight had it his way, you would see his name added to the lineup.
“That’s what I wish. That’s my wish right now. That’s what I’m asking. That’s what I’m begging. I hope Scott Coker, Dana White, Lorenzo (Fertitta); I hope everybody is listening. I’m begging for an opportunity to fight on the next card.”
Following Saturday’s fight, Joe Rogan riffed on finding a way to make gloves that would accommodate grappling but also help limit the frequency of fighters getting poked in the eye. It’s a valid thought, but not one that many people see coming to fruition.
“I think that’s hard, man. The only thing I could see is if they make goggles (laughs), and that’s going to be funny to fight with that on your face.
“If you put a glove with fingers, that’s going to be bad for the grapplers, so that’s not going to happen. Its kind of hard, you know? That’s kind of the bad part of the sport; the Achilles heel of the sport. But there’s not much you can do about it, I think.”
There’s not much you can do about the critics, either.
Once considered a top 10 lightweight after storming through the K-1 Hero’s organization, the man known in Japan as “JZ Calvan” has struggled since 2008. A lone win in July 2008 against Katsunori Kikuno is surrounded by losses to Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Josh Thomson.
Those kinds of results led many to consider Saturday night’s meeting with Wilcox a must-win fight. Emerging from the cage with another unsatisfying result could lead to questions about whether Cavalcante still has what it takes to compete at the highest level.
In addition to moving on from the disappointing result quickly, Cavalcante also takes the media scrutiny of his most recent results in stride.
“I know what I can do; that’s the first thing, that’s the most important. If that’s all God reserved for me, than I’m just taking the last one and learning, keep going forward.
“I hope I can get another fight soon, so I can do even better. Like I said, I need more fights; I need to fight consistently. I’ve been waiting so long. I’ve been through so many things lately in my career, now I think everything is getting into place. Getting the fight, that is the most important. Getting good training, good advice, good orientation, and that’s what I’ve been getting right now. I just need to keep fighting.”
As for whether he viewed Saturday’s contest or his next trip to the cage, Cavalcante has a very sound philosophical outlook in that regard.
“Every fight, when you go in there, you gotta go for the win. Otherwise, I’m not fighting. If I lose that, I’m going to quit fighting. Every fight is important. Every fight is the most important fight of my life; that’s how I see it.
“That’s the first fight of my career and the end of my career, do you know what I mean? Every fight is important. The will to win is much greater than the pressure to lose. The wish I have to win is much more than the scary part of the pressure or anything like that.”
The charismatic and affable Cavalcante is still hungry, ready to get back in the cage as quickly as possible, but he knows the decision is not his.
“I want to say thanks to Scott Coker, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta for giving me the opportunity to come and do one more fight. I’m begging them for the next one as soon as possible.”