Bibiano Fernandes on Training with “The Wizard”: “He Sees Things I Don’t See”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Bibiano Fernandes has had a lot of time in 2011 to reflect on the unanimous decision loss he incurred versus Hiroyuki Takaya last December, and when he makes his return at DREAM’s upcoming bantamweight grand-prix, the decorated fighter wants to be the best fighter he can be. As a result, Fernandes headed south from his home in Langley, British Columbia recently to Kirkland, Washington, to enlist the services of MMA guru Matt “The Wizard” Hume.
“I needed a coach for me. You know what I mean?” Fernandes told FCF, while discussing the recent training he did with Hume at the instructor’s renowned AMC Pankration facility. “He’s really good; I believe in him. I had to change a lot of things because I wasn’t happy with my last fight. So I decided to go there and train with him.”
Although Fernandes continues to train with local coaches like former boxing champion Tony Pep, the decorated BJJ black belt elected to head elsewhere in order to find more sparring and training partners.
“I don’t know about the Revolution gym,” said Fernandes about his previous home base. “I haven’t spoken with any of those guys in a long time. I had to go to Matt because he has good sparring partners there, good knowledge…I’m by myself here, nothing kept going, but there I have a lot of help.”
The loss to Takaya not only ended Fernandes’ reign as DREAM Featherweight Champion, but it marked the first time since September, 2007, that the 31 year-old Brazilian was defeated in a MMA fight. While Fernandes has admitted in the past that he’s not the kind of fighter who hopes to compete numerous times annually, he has been quick to state that the defeat has motivated him immensely.
“With training, no matter what’s happening, you need somebody to be your coach,” Fernandes said while discussing what Hume has added to his abilities and outlook. “You need someone to guide you. He’s sees things I don’t see. This is very important.”
“He has a lot of techniques, another way of seeing the game, another system,” Fernandes added. “He’ll tell me ‘okay Bibiano, be careful here, watch this position.’ He has another way.”
Although Fernandes is quick to sing the praises of Hume, the former BJJ world champion has no plans to relocate from his home in British Columbia anytime soon.
“Vancouver and Langley are my home,” said Fernandes. “I love it here. I’ll go away to train, but only for a little bit. I’m opening my gym here. I have coaches here too, but everybody split, so I needed to look out for myself.”
When Fernandes heads to Saitama, Japan to battle Takafumi Otsaka in the opening round of the grand-prix on September 24th, he’ll face a man that he defeated by unanimous decision in March, 2009.
“He’s very strong; he has good cardio, he keeps coming,” Fernandes noted. “You know what though my friend? It doesn’t matter who you give me this time, no matter what he does, I’ll do my best. I’ll be ready.”
“My plan is to go there and fight. Whatever happens, Muay Thai, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, I’ll just fight.”
According to Fernandes, he believes the tournament’s semifinals and finals will take place at FEG’s annual New Year’s Eve event. Depending on what happens September 24th, of course, Fernandes could find himself fighting any of the competition’s bantamweights, a field which also includes Hideo Tokoro, Antonio Banuelos, Masakazu Imanari, Abel Cullum, Yusup Saadulaev , and Marques Diniz.
“I think everybody is tough,” said Fernandes. “Today people know how to do everything. People train a lot, they’re strong; there are no easy fights. I respect all of them, Otskuka, Tokoro , Imanari, they’re all tough. I’m tough too.”
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