Some say that, “good things come to those who wait…” and great things are just the beginning of things to come for Felipe “Sertanejo” Arantes, the newest featherweight in the UFC who will be making his debut on August 27 at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
‘Sertanejo,’ as he is affectionately referred to by his friends and teammates, is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and was recently awarded his black belt in muay thai kickboxing by his longtime Chute Boxe master, Diego Lima.
At only 23 years old, Sertanejo is no stranger to battle. He began his fighting career at the age of 16 in muay thai, and naturally grew into MMA as he honed his techniques and his thirst for competition increased. His current MMA record stands at 13-3-0 (2-NC), with most of his fights ending by way of knockout. He is currently on a seven-fight winning streak and has not faced a loss since 2009.
Some may recognize Sertanejo from his most recent fight at the Urban Conflict Championship (UCC) 4 in New Jersey against Andy Main, ending in a No Contest decision in Round 1 of the fight. Another title fight was later scheduled for August, which was postponed. But sometimes bad things happen for the better, and that’s when the UFC approached Sertanejo to take the fight against Iuri Alcantara.
I had the opportunity to meet and train alongside Sertanejo this past March in his home city of São Paulo, Brazil at CIA Paulista Academy. I was impressed with Sertanejo’s hard working attitude (training at least twice a day throughout the week), his highly technical martial arts skills, and, of course, his addictive humor.
Just recently, I was able to catch up with Sertanejo as he prepares for UFC 134 with his training camp in the United States. Check out my interview below (which was conducted in Portuguese and translated):
Lea: Currently, you are in New Jersey with your training camp. Why did you choose to train there for this fight and what do you think that has been the best thing about training in the United States?
Sertanejo: I’ve been in the U.S. to get intensive training! I get more focused. I sleep in the gym, wake up and train, eat lunch and train, eat dinner and train! There is no time for anything, just train! I decided to go to train in wrestling and cage techniques with the fighters of Gold Team, but in Brazil, I am already preparing for the final stretch!
Lea: Although you are a newcomer to the UFC, you have had many professional MMA fights. Tell us about your fighting career and how you feel about being given the opportunity to fight in the UFC, and in your home country of Brazil.
Sertanejo: My career began at 16 -17 years old. I trained since 14 years old, but my first professional fight was at age 17 in muay thai. I have been fighting in MMA since I was 19! This opportunity was given at the last minute! I am very happy, super focused, and 100% ready for war! I am even happier because it is in Brazil! I have no words for such happiness!
Lea: Tell us about your nickname, “Sertanejo.” What does it mean and what is the story behind how you got it?
Sertanejo: My nickname “country” came from Macaco (Jorge “Macaco” Patino of Gold Team). I always practiced playing and listening (to country music) throughout my life. And Macaco began to joke that I was the “country,” and since then the name stuck!
Lea: You just received your black belt in muay thai from your master Diego Lima, and have your purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. What can the fans look forward to from you in the future? More stand up or more ground game?
Sertanejo: I have just received a black belt in muay thai and I’m very happy! I train jiu jitsu daily. My game has always been muay thai, but I try to improve my jiu jitsu more and more with Cia Paulista. In case I need to use it, I am 100% prepared, as the case now. I’m ready to fight on the ground and also standup.
Lea: For the fans who are not familiar with you, what would you like them to know about the newest lightweight making his debut in the UFC?
Sertanejo: All my fans and people who admire my work can expect a lot of guts, and a lot of determination in the fight! I’m focused, trained and ready for battle! I give blood and make this victory possible to bring for me, my team, and my fans! Cheer and pray for me. I will honor all of you!
Lea: Any last words?
Sertanejo: I especially want to thank God; all of my family, my base that I love more than anything – my mother, brother, father, and stepfather. I thank my girlfriend for being with me on this journey. Marcao, thank you for supporting me with everything I need; Diego Lima, my master, for always believing in me; Cia Paulista, the guys to perfect and teach me more with my jiu jitsu; and the Gold Team fighter family for believing in me and for being with me from the beginning. Thanks to CONDUTA for sponsoring and having faith in me; PROVISE for also sponsoring me and being with me at all times; and support from SPANK!
Without you guys, I would be absolutely nothing! A kiss in the heart of all! God bless!
Sertanejo is an explosive fighter with the true heart of a samurai. He will definitely give the fans a show on August 27th, so don’t forget to tune in, as his fight will be sure to leave you wanting to see more of this exciting new striker in the UFC.