Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Raffael Cerqueira wants his shot inside the octagon after scoring another first-round stoppage on the Brazilian circuit.
The Demo Fight light 205-pound champion made short work of Jhonathan Azevedo in just 77 seconds at Brave CF 78 card in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Dec. 7, and wore a T-shirt calling out UFC CEO Dana White and company matchmaker Mick Maynard for a contract, a move that has worked in the past for his teammate Jailton Almeida.
“Mick, Dana, what else so I need to do to prove my worth and show I’m ready to fight in the world’s biggest organization?” Cerqueira told MMA Fighting after improving to 9-0 with eight finishes in the sport. “I just knocked out a guy that nobody wanted to fight, and made it look easy. I have two training partners in the UFC, ‘Malhadinho’ and Eduarda Moura, and I’m ready.
“I’m from a grappling-based team, but I’m a striker, too. I’m well-rounded, I’m ready. I want to prove that in the UFC. What else do I have to do? Just send me the contract.”
Cerqueira won three straight in 2023, the same amount of wins he scored in 2022, and hopes his next bout is under the UFC banner.
“Every fighter says they deserve to be in the UFC but I’m proving it,” he said. “If you watch my fights, they’re not taking long. I won one by submission and now I finished another with a knockout. I’m just waiting Mick and Dana White to look at me and give me an opportunity to show my value in the world’s biggest organization so I can make history in the UFC.”
Cerqueira showcased heavy kicks in his most recent bout, and said that working with UFC heavyweight contender Jailton Almeida in the gym makes him comfortable enough to unleash everything he’s got without worrying about takedowns.
“If you want to take me down in a fight, you’ll have to work really hard, man. You know who trains with me, and you see what he does inside the octagon,” Cerqueira said of Almeida. “It’s an honor to train with him. He’s building his name in the UFC, and I can only thank him for the training he gives me in the gym. We go for it, man. ‘Malhadinho’ is an example both inside and outside the gym.”