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Rafael Cavalcante: “I have been working hard for not just this fight, but for my dream, every day for six years.”

It’s logical to think that an individual can’t help but learn a great deal while training with iconic champions of the sport like Anderson Silva and “Minotauro” Nogueira. However, as indicated by Strikeforce light heavyweight contender Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante’s statements during a recent conference call with media, the traits he’s refined alongside his Brazilian countrymen/friends are not limited to purely jiujitsu, wrestling, and striking.

Similar to Silva and Nogueira, Cavalcante displayed a general sense of humility during the conversation and took a business-like approach to his upcoming August 21st bout against current Strikeforce 205-pound champ “King Mo” Lawal rather than opting for trash-talk or self-adulation.

Regarding his development since first embarking on a MMA career, the 9-2 BJJ blackbelt responded, “When you have a job like a fighter you have to learn to be a full-time fighter. That’s what I’ve learned. You eat healthy food and work at maintaining your weight. I have been working hard for not just this fight, but for my dream, every day for six years.”

The native of Sao Paulo also expressed his desire to become completely fluent in English as a means of honoring American fans and avoiding the possibility of misinterpretation. “I think it’s important. It shows respect and I think more of the Americans are learning who I am. (Speaking English) shows what we really feel,” explained Cavalcante. “When you use a translator they never say the same thing you want them to say. It’s just different. When I’m thinking something I can say it exactly the way I want so I think it’s important.”

Talk expectedly turned to his mindset entering the title-fight against Lawal, a former All-American, NCAA Champion wrestler who expressed his supreme confidence at defending against Cavalcante’s high-level jiujitsu during the same phone call.

“I don’t think King Mo is going to want to stay on the ground with me,” responded “Feijao” (who actually has eight of his nine wins by TKO). “I will be ready for whatever style he wants. If he wants to stand up, I will stand up. If he wants to go to the ground, we will go to the ground. I think this fight is going to be a war and the crowd is going to love it.”

In addition to Cavalcante’s attempt at winning the light heavyweight championship and handing Lawal his first professional loss, “Strikeforce – Houston” also features Tim Kennedy vs. Renaldo “Jacare” Souza in a clash for the middleweight title, Bobby Lashley making his return to the Strikeforce cage, and striker KJ Noons testing his hands against jiujitsu blackbelt Jorge Gurgel.