x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

War is barbaric, not MMA, says fighter Thales Leites

The Brazilian middleweight fighter, who is competing in Abu Dhabi on Friday, on his victory chances on Yas Island and what his strengths are.

Thales Leites says his mind is his biggest weapon in what is considered a very physical sport. Jeff Bottari / Getty Images
Thales Leites says his mind is his biggest weapon in what is considered a very physical sport. Jeff Bottari / Getty Images

Which combat sport from the many that make up MMA would you consider your favourite and why?

Jiu-jitsu is my favourite because I have practised it for 15 years and it is always a pleasure to train. Each session you learn new things and you realise that you have many things to learn every time.

What’s behind the nickname? (Or why don’t you have a nickname?)

I don’t have a nickname. My friends call me ugly though, it’s nice Thales “Ugly” Leites.

What led you to begin a career in MMA?

I was a jiu-jitsu fighter and my friend and training partner Vitor Shaolin started to train to fight MMA, and he needed some sparring partners to help him and I was one of them.

Describe yourself.

I am a normal person who loves nature and animals. I love to be in contact with Mother Nature and I thank God for the life, for the health for my daughter. That is the best thing in my life. I love sports, songs, travel, going to new places and new countries. I’m a simple person who likes simple things, someone that wishes a world in peace with the people respecting each other that’s all.

Describe yourself as a fighter.

I am a type of fighter who will never give up a fight, who each day is more confident, mature, stronger physically and mentally and looks to finish the fight always.

What is your biggest weapon?

My mind. I believe in myself, that I’m capable to do what I want to do.

Who was your toughest opponent and why?

The next fight is always the toughest opponent because you work a lot and only think about him.

How do you rate your chances of victory in Abu Dhabi?

It’s 50/50 but in my mind I work 100 per cent so to me always – eye of the tiger.

What’s your perfect day off?

Stay with my daughter enjoying the nature and see her having fun.

Where do you see your career in three years?

I imagine I’ll be fighting as a champion or as a top-five contender.

What do you say to people who call UFC barbaric?

I would say that they don’t know what they are saying. MMA is a sport like all others with two professional athletes who respect each other fighting with rules to prove who is the best fighter using all the martial arts, this is amazing it’s in our blood. War is barbaric.

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