Vinny Magalhaes: “My Goal Was Always To Get Back To The UFC.”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After exiting from the UFC in 2009 and putting together a 7-1 run, Vinny Magalhaes has made significant headway in re-establishing the expectations that have accompanied his MMA career. While Magalhaes has continued to add grappling accolades to his well documented resume, it’s been the TUF 8 finalist’s recent MMA performances in particular, which have heightened speculation as to what’s next for the 27 year-old fighter.
“When I was dropped by the UFC a lot of people were saying ‘oh he’s not UFC calibre,” said Magalhaes, who went 4-0 in 2011 and won M-1 Global’s light-heavyweight title. “Now it seems like things have changed. More people are saying ‘oh, he should be in the UFC.’”
Although Magalhaes has yet to fight in 2012, and hasn’t fought since October when he stopped Mikhail Zayats, the ADCC Gold Medalist is hoping to return to action in the coming months.
According to Magalhaes, he is about to enter restricted free agency, whereby M-1 Global will have the opportunity to match any offers the light-heavyweight might receive from other promotions.
“My whole goal has been to get some wins, fix my record, and then go back to the UFC,” Magalhaes told FCF. “I was never trying to have a career somewhere else, my goal was always to get back to the UFC. I still haven’t changed my mind.”
“I’m hoping to fight in May or June, but May is what I’m shooting for,” said Magalhaes, whose well documented rift with M-1 Global official Evgeni Kogan, has raised doubts as to whether he’ll compete again for the promotion. “I have nothing signed though so I can’t confirm anything.”
In addition to securing the M-1 Global title, Magalhaes has impressed by demonstrating advancements in his striking game. Case in point, the Las Vegas fighter’s win over Zayats, which came via a head kick and follow up punches.
“I admit that when I first started MMA I was that guy that was good at jiu-jitsu but not anything else and I know that,” said Magalhaes,. “I just wasn’t trying. I think I’ve said this before, but I got on “The Ultimate Fighter” because Dan Henderson was my training partner.”
“Then I got to the final and got knocked out. After my fight with (Ryan) Bader, that’s when I really started to focus on my MMA training,” Magalhaes added. “It was good for me to have that happen to me. That loss really opened my eyes to what MMA is all about.”
While Magalhaes is excited about his recent successes and what transpired in 2011, the 9-5 fighter believes the best is yet to come.
“Of course winning Abu Dhabi, the M-1 title, all that stuff was good, but I don’t think that’s going to be the peak of my career,” said Magalhaes. “I have no injuries again, and had a really good year, but way better things are going to happen. There is Abu Dhabi next year but I’m not even thinking about that yet, my focus now is totally on MMA.”
Photo via Xtreme Couture