Weight class: Bantamweight
Birthplace: Porto Velho, Rondonia, Brazil
Next Fight: Nov. 12 vs. Leonardo Morales (13-8) at Tuff-N-Uff 134 in Las Vegas (UFC Fight Pass)
Background: Pedro Falcao started jiu-jitsu at 9 years old. Before long, he won tournaments left and right. At 18, he debuted in MMA against a much older opponent. The sense of challenge and reward of accomplishment hooked him. Falcao was eventually introduced to Nova Uniao coach Andre Pederneiras through pro MMA fighter Roberto Amorim. Falcao packed up his bags and moved to Rio de Janeiro to train under Pederneiras, the legendary coach of Jose Aldo. For the past 14 years, Falcao has worked toward living out a UFC dream. In 2021, he got close when he defeated James Barnes by third-round TKO on Dana White’s Contender Series. Unfortunately for Falcao, he was one of the few winners on the season who did not earn a deal. For the past two years, Falcao has rehabbed injuries and dabbled in boxing – but now he’s finally back.
The skinny: When you win a fight on DWCS but don’t get a UFC contract, you’re usually on the shortlist for a short-notice opportunity. Due to Falcao’s injuries, though, he hasn’t had the chance. Perhaps he’s fallen into the background for the UFC matchmakers, but a win over a UFC alum should remind everyone he’s ready to make the leap. Falcao now cross-trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, which will prove beneficial for his skills and chances to get that last-second call-up. Falcao is a seasoned veteran with a knack for finishing fights – and finishing them early. In the prime of his career, Falcao’s only loss since 2015 was due to a shoulder injury. There’s no downside to signing Falcao, who I expect to be on the UFC roster in the next six months.
In his own words: “I think what makes me different from most fighters is my ability to adapt. I can fight an opponent in any area they are weak. If they want to strike, I can wrestle. If they want to wrestle, I can submit. If they want to grapple, I can out-strike them. I am always improving my skillset so I can control where the fight goes.”
“… I am 15-3 and haven’t lost a fight since 2015. I am always working to get better. I know I can not only compete, but win, at a high level in the UFC. I believe I can compete in the top 15 of the UFC right now. … I was very close to the UFC following my win on Contender. Unfortunately, some injuries prevented me from building off that win. I believe a win in the main event of Tuff-N-Uff, a major promotion in Las Vegas, will establish me as the best unsigned bantamweight in the world again.”
This interview was conducted through a Portuguese translator and has been edited for spelling and grammar.
This story originally appeared on MMA Junkie