UFC Middleweight, Brad Tavares, is fighting next month against Lorenz Larkin at UFC Fight Night 35. Since being a cast member on TUF season 11, Tavares has gone 6-1 in the UFC. He is currently riding a four fight winning streak, and is looking to break into the top ten with a win over Larkin in January. I recently spoke with Brad regarding his upcoming fight, breaking into the top ten, his thoughts on TRT, and much more.
His excitement about possibly fighting in the co-main event
I have seen it posted where it looks like I am the co-main, but I am not sure. They don’t exactly tell me that, but I am definitely excited. This is a big opportunity. More eyes on me, and more people get to see me. They get to see who I am as a fighter.
What do you attribute your improvements to since your time on The Ultimate Fighter?
I have been growing as a fighter. My training camp, my coaches, and training partners are helping me. I would not be able to do what I do without the people surrounding me and my support system. They push me. At the same time, I am very self-motivated and I want to learn, grow, and become a better fighter. I am always trying to evolve my game and make myself a more well rounded MMA fighter. All that put together makes up the fighter I am today.
You are 11-1, what do you have to do to start getting some recognition inside the UFC?
I definitely have to start knocking people out or submitting them. I know that finishes are a big deal. I have always been one to let the finishes come. When I go out there, I come to scrap. I come to fight. I am not one of those guys that will just bum rush and get knocked out, get taken down and held down, or get submitted. I don’t take stupid risks. I like to bang it out, and of course I want those finishes, but I am going to be patient and they will come. I think that is what it boils down to. If I keep winning they cannot deny me.
How have you prepared for Larkin? Do you watch a lot of film or do you focus on your strengths?
My coach, Ray Sefo, views the films for me. I have watched a few of his fights live, but I haven’t really watched the tape on him too much. I don’t stress myself with what my opponent is going to do. Like I said, I am always trying to change my game, and I am sure they are too. I don’t want to get set for this one type of fighter and have an imprint of his style, and then he comes out and does different things. It would catch me off guard. I focus more on getting myself better, and what I am going to do come fight night.
Do you need to call people out and have this big persona outside the cage to be recognized?
I guess that stuff helps. I have called a few people out like Wanderlei Silva, Gegard Mousasi, Tim Kennedy, Costa Philippou, but it is what it is. It’s just not really me. Going on social media to talk s**t, but if that is what I have to do to get a title fight, then I got to do what I got to do.
His thoughts on fighting Lorenz Larkin, and not a top ten opponent
Initially, of course I wanted a bigger name. I really wanted to fight Philippou, Carmont, Kennedy, or anybody in the top 10, but I was not disappointed that it was a guy like Lorenz Larkin. He is a great fighter who puts on good shows and his type of style against my type of style should make for a very good fight. So ya, of course I am always hoping to get a bigger name, one of those top 10 guys that could really push me up the rankings, but I was not disappointed when they gave me the fight against Larkin. In my eyes, Lorenz Larkin is undefeated. When I watched his fight with Carmont, I thought he won the fight hands down. I was shocked that the judges saw it the other way. A little goal of mine is to put an actual blemish on his record.
His thoughts on the TRT issue in MMA
My stance on it is this: I don’t need it, and I don’t think you should use it until you absolutely have to. If you are getting to Randy Couture’s age, and really not producing any testosterone, then fine. I think a lot of the guys that are using it now is because they might have abused it back in the day. Maybe they didn’t have the knowledge on what they were doing, or they had wrong guidance, or whatever it may be. In these older guys situations though, they get the best of both worlds. MMA is not just boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, or jiu jitsu; It is all of them combined. So, it is really hard to get very good at all of those aspects because you have to separate time into all of the little things to stay well rounded and not become one-dimensional. They already have all these years of training, and on top of that knowledge they have TRT to give them back the youth factor. They definitely have an advantage.
His favorite career moment thus far
For me, every next fight is the biggest fight of my career, literally. My most memorable moment is probably when I fought Phil Baroni. Not so much the way I finished the fight and the way the fight went down, but more so, walking out to the fight. I had just gotten into the UFC, I had just come off the show and cemented my spot by winning my finale fight against Seth Baczynski. That was a smaller show though, and it hadn’t really hit me yet. When I fought Phil, it was at the MGM against Phil Baroni, a guy I had been watching since I was a boy. It was pretty crazy to me to be fighting him. As I was walking out there, hearing my song playing on the sound system, huge arena, the lights and everything just all added up. It is kind of an indescribable feeling. It got me really excited to fight, and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.