Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thales Leites

With five victories in the UFC, Thales Leites had the greatest opportunity of his career at UFC 97, when faced Anderson Silva for the UFC title. However, the Nova Uniao athlete couldn’t repeat the good performances of past fights and was defeated by the champion. Back to Brazil, the black belt spoke with about the fight, the criticism he’s receiving from some fans, his future in UFC, who can beat Anderson and gave tips for Demian Maia, another Brazilian trying to get a shot against Silva.


What did you think about your fight with Anderson? How do you analyze having fought the five rounds with him?


I didn’t like my performance, because I trained a lot and I know I could have done better... I’m not arrogant to say that I could have won... It was all his merits, who annulled my game and I lost, but I know I could have done better, I could have attacked more, have been a little more aggressive, risking more things, as I was doing (before)... Now, this thing about people talking "Thales was five rounds with him and no one fought for real"... This doesn’t bother me at all, I’m a fighter, I'm professional and I’m always looking for the best performance and victory, of course. I know that Anderson is the best pound for pound of the world, but if you want to be the best, you have to fight the best. Anyways, I didn’t like my performance, I thought I could have gone better, as I was doing at the trainings, but I didn’t go well in the fight, his merit for annul my game.


In some moments Anderson could have attacked you more and he didn’t, he used knee stomps and even applied a different kick with the legs crossed… What did you think of this kind of blow? Did you think he showed superiority, respected you or had no respect?


No, man, I think that this doesn’t say anything. Fight is fight, you are there to fight. If I want to get there spinning my arm around or flying in the man’s chest... You can do whatever you want, and Anderson feels comfortable to do those things. I don’t think that is disrespect doing what he did... When he used that elbow at Cage Rage, if he didn’t knock him out, someone would say that was disrespect... I don’t think so; he trusted his game and used it... Disrespect would be if he was debauchee, making faces to me...


People are criticizing you for not being so aggressive and falling with your back on the ground and waiting for Anderson. What do you think of those criticisms?


Actually, I didn’t watch television and I wasn’t aware of many criticisms, I haven’t heard the criticism of Ed Soares (Anderson’s manager), but I try to take care of this in a constructive manner... Actually, I was the challenger, I was fighting for the belt and tried to impose my game, I didn’t achieve and Anderson dominated the fight. He is a dangerous man and that plays counter-punching, everyone who fought against him and wanted to hit was counter-punched and knocked out. I knew the beginning of the fight would be like that, we both were studying each other, I trying to overthrow him... I was a little afraid of striking and the knees. This is fight, we are two professionals and it was a fight for the belt, which has a much bigger weight and any mistake is fatal, even more against Anderson. I deal with those criticisms in a positive way, like Dana White said. He is right, because they expect for a more aggressive fight... But the funny thing is: everyone who fought with Anderson has been knocked out and nobody criticized the person who was knocked out by him... So if I go inside and take a kick on the head and get knocked out, the guys will say “cool, now is everything at home, Thales is knocked out, Anderson did it fast, then everything is alright...” But, only because it were something different, I tried to get him down and didn’t achieve, even more in the third and fourth round.


And after this fight, what do you think of Anderson and who do you think can beat him?


I just confirmed what I already knew: he is the best in this category, he is versatile man... I believe that, if I have to choose who is the best pound for pound in the world, I would put Anderson with BJ Penn, George St. Pierre and Fedor. I think someone can beat him, fight is fight, is 50% for each one, anything can happen. Everyone has a chance, since you don’t make little mistakes, because Anderson is a very versatile guy who offers a very high risk, because he does his game and does it very well. I don’t think it is impossible to beat him, is not that, as Fedor is the best in the world, anyone can come and beat him, nobody is invincible.


You have now to do your job again to earn a second shot atAnderson. Is that what you’re going to do?


Of course, now I don’t want to think about belt, I want to go back climbing my steps, getting mature and improving every fight. In this fight I learned a lot of things, and will use all of that, all criticism as learning.


In case of Demian Maia faces Anderson, what advices will you give him?


Demian must train a lot, believe in his Jiu-Jitsu, in all his potential and know that he will fight a very tough guy. You can’t let the fact that he’s the best pounf for pound affect your head. He must fight is if it were against any other opponent, must train a lot and believe in his game.

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