The All New Carlos Barreto
is Ready to Battle in K-1 Style!
Jiu-Jitsu black belt and NHB veteran Carlos Barreto is ready for K-1. Yes, you read that right and you don’t need glasses! Some years ago it would be unthinkable to picture the Brazilian Top Team member and former Carlson Gracie student with a pair of boxing gloves and Muay Thai shorts, climbing the ring for a fight in a K-1 official event, however things have changed a lot in the Brazilian fighter’s life, and this day will come at February 23rd at the gorgeous Maksud Plaza Hotel in Sao Paulo, where K-1 will hit Brazil for the first time in its history, and Barreto will do his very own professional stand up fighting debut. A man who faced the likes of Kevin Randleman, Daniel Bobish, Igor Vovchanchyn, Tra Telligman, Gilbert Yvel and Mikhail Illoukhine, among others, in NHB tournaments is truly someone who faced tough competition. However Carlos’ game was always characterized by his Jiu-Jitsu skills and never by his striking or aggressiveness, However he is a brand new fighter now and wants to prove it to the world by doing the unbelievable, winning a K-1 tournament, getting his passport ready for Las Vegas, and making his UFC dream closer to reality. So, with no further delay, learn now a bit more of what goes inside the head of Carlos Barreto himself, as he talks about his new attitude and his K-1 venture, as FCF welcomes the "all-new Carlos Barreto" and gets pumped up for K-1 Brazil!
FCF: Everybody knows you as an NHB fighter, from events such as IVC, UFC, PRIDE, MECA, and everybody also knows that you have a background in Jiu-Jitsu. Now, did you ever think you would be doing a K-1 fight at some point in your life?
CB: To be honest with you, never! I never thought I would have the opportunity to fight in K-1, but the opportunity knocked on my door and sometimes in my life I lost some big opportunities by being immature or irresponsible. However this time I’m very determined to get back at the top of the biggest NHB events in the world like the UFC and PRIDE, I want to have a belt and I want to be a well known fighter internationally again a lot. I think K-1 is a big opportunity to give me exposure to get back to the top, and I want to take advantage of this opportunity in the best way I can. Despite the actual result, I want to give a good spectacle and show the events promoters that Carlos Barreto has changed, and that nowadays I’m another fighter, and I’m also a striker now.
FCF: You mentioned an interesting point, cause you had some tough times in your career like your fights at 2hot2handle, and Hook N’ Shoot. After those moments of struggle you once told me that you had changed your approach to the game, and realized the importance of being an exciting and aggressive fighter. How did you realize this need, and what changed your mindset in terms of fighting?
CB: I’m a guy that is always checking the major events, like PRIDE and the UFC, which is the event I have the most will to participate in. I respect PRIDE a lot, and PRIDE is a great event and has a ton of great fighters, but I love the UFC and my dream is in fact to become UFC champion. Well Eduardo, I’ll be very sincere and humble with you. The group of fighters that changed my mindset about the aggressiveness and the need to fight standing up was the Chute Boxe team. They changed my mindset because of the way the used Jiu-Jitsu in their tough moments during fights. I thought "Man, if they use Jiu-Jitsu in their tough times during fights, why won’t I use Muay Thai in my tough times during fights?" Then I started to train Muay Thai more seriously. With the wins of Wanderlei, Anderson, and even Pele, I thought "Man, those guys are evolving so much, this is a message to all the fighters to recognize other martial arts and not only Jiu-Jitsu" Then I embraced Muay Thai with Artur Mariano, and of course professor Paulo Nikolai has a major role in this process as well, who is a great trainer that supports myself a lot. Regarding K-1, with Drago, a South American amateur Boxing champion who trains with the BTT, getting injured and having to pull out of K-1 Brazil, I mentioned my name as someone who could participate in his place, and professor Paulo Nikolai thought it was a good opportunity if I had the proper training. Batarelli [The event promoter] also thought it was a good idea since it could generate more interest towards the event and accepted my request to fight, so I’m very thankful for that and expects to deliver a good showing.
FCF: Do you remember when you had your first ever contact with Muay Thai?
CB: Several years ago I was going to start my martial arts life with Muay Thai indeed. I trained Muay Thai for six months at the Naja academy, which was an academy of professor Luis Alves. I started training there but I couldn’t continue cause I was studying and working at the same time back then, and the academy was too far away from my house. Later I got to know Jiu-Jitsu through Ricardo Liborio and I never stopped practicing Jiu-Jitsu.
FCF: So you did Muay Thai before doing Jiu-Jitsu?
CB: Yeah! The first Martial Art I practiced in my life was Judo then I stopped doing it and played Basketball for a while and then went to Muay Thai. The first fighting art I did after I wasn’t a kid anymore was Muay Thai. Like I said I had to drop it cause I had to work and study, and I come from a humble family, so I couldn’t afford it. Then when I started Jiu-Jitsu Carlson Gracie allowed me to train for free, so I never stopped.
FCF: You were a student of UFC Champion Murilo Bustamante for a good while, and Murilo has been showing impressive Boxing skills in the Octagon. Do you think this is yet another sign that a fighter needs to be complete nowadays, and this is another reason of your dedication to Muay Thai?
CB: There’s no doubt about it. A fighter nowadays must have a good ground game; a good notion of takedowns and a good stand up game as well. In my opinion the ground game continues to be the most important aspect, but you have to train a lot of Boxing or Muay Thai to trade some strikes and have a good wrestling base as well. Now we have Darrel Gohlar here, who has been doing a great job with us here, so everybody is evolving a lot. I think Muay Thai, wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu are the ingredients of a perfect fighter.
FCF: You already explained how this opportunity to fight at K-1 Brazil appeared, but was it tough for you to take this task? Did you have to think a lot about it before offering your name?
CB: No, not at all man. I sort of "invited myself" to fight in the event [Laughs] When Drago got injured nobody was supposed to take his place. Then I said "Hey! No! No! Wait a second. Let me enter it! Carlos Barreto is going to enter this tournament!" I like challenges. Then Paulo Nikolai told me "Are you sure? Fighting Muay Thai is different from what you’re used" and I promptly replied, "Let’s go! Let’s train a lot and show that I’m well prepared on my feet as well. I may get knocked out and lose, but I’ll fight like a man!" then Nikolai said, "I’m with you. You have my support" and from then on you know the story.
FCF: You had some problems in the past and ended up leaving the Brazilian Top Team for a while. Later you came back to the team and have been training with them ever since. Are all the problems solved and will Carlos Barreto stay with the BTT for the coming years?
CB: No doubt about it man. We had some adaptation problems in the beginning, since we were all coming from Carlson and we were all friends from a long time. Murilo was my teacher, Bebeo was always a close friend, Sperry trained with me for years and years, and Liborio is like a brother, so it was just a friends argument over things. Fortunately I came back and was welcomed with open arms, and from then on I’m with the Top Team for whatever it happens and whatever may comes. Carlos Barreto, Brazilian Top Team, Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai are all ingredients that work fine together! [Laughs]
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