Wagner Campos makes his Korea debut at ROAD FC 21 on February 1, 2015. The Curitiba native wants to make a statement for Brazilians in the promotion as he meets division standout Kim Soo-Chul.
“Galeto” is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt who likes chokes and works very well off his back with guard transitions. He’s competed actively and medalled in the BJJ circuit in Brazil under his one and only coach, Gile Ribeiro, with whom he’s studied since the age of 19.
Campos knew that MMA was his calling and when he entered the sport, he was determined to make it his only profession. A five year assault on the division culminated in winning the Bantamweight title in southern Brazil’s largest MMA promotion, Power Fight Extreme. It earned Campos a shot on the international scene in 2012 when he was selected for “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.” He got into the house and onto Team Wand with a decision over Fernando Duarte Guerra, but then lost a decision in the quarterfinals by eventual finalist Godofredo “Pepey” de Oliveira.
However, Campos impressed the UFC enough to earn a spot on UFC 147 where ironically he faced his former student Marcos Vinicius “Vina” Borges Pancini, who is also a ROAD FC veteran, having joined the promotion in 2014. Vinicius believed his striking was the key to victory over his former coach’s deadly ground game, so he went for and got an early KO.
Campos knew that the featherweight division was not the best for him, yet he was pressed to continue in it back in Brazil. At the end of 2014, he finally dropped to 135 and faced Brazil top-ranked bantamweight Gilberto Pantoja as the main event in Patonja’s home town. It was by accounts a war. The black belts went at it for two rounds with a combination of strikes and scrambles. In the third, a clash saw Patonja beat Campos to the punch and earn the KO victory.
Campos’ recent career results haven’t tempered his passion for the sport. Making his debut in Korea will be just another exciting challenge for him to face. After recently opening his own gym, Fight Only, in the fight capital of Curitiba, Campos is eager to stamp on the mark of his success in the cage.
Asia MMA spoke with Galeto before his fight in Korea and discussed his career in MMA, his opponent Kim, and his new gym in his home town.
Asia MMA: What are your thoughts about ROAD FC? Have you watched other Brazilian fighters in ROAD FC before?
Campos: I am very happy to fight in Korea for ROAD FC! I have watched some Brazilians fight, but I watched the whole event. Brazilian fighters still haven’t had good results in ROAD FC. I’m coming to change this story.
Asia MMA: It’s really cold in Korea right now. Will this bother you?
Campos: No, my city is also very cold right now, it’s 1 to 4 degrees in the winter.
Asia MMA: What is your opinion of your opponent, Kim Soo-Chul? Are you training specifically for this match?
Campos: I think he’s a great fighter, I know he’s got a lot of prestige in Asia. But I am better in my abilities, I am at my gym all day preparing for this fight. He likes to get down to the ground and my best ability is to defend take downs, so I will continue with my own game. My Muay Thai coach Rafael Santos from my academy Fight Only will be my corner.
Asia MMA: You have a very decorated career, however you’ve experienced some recent losses. Have you identified the reason? What changes have you made?
Campos: I was competing in a heavier category, and fighting much bigger opponents. Now I’m getting the opportunity to return to my natural division. This change will make me go back to being victorious.
Asia MMA: What was your toughest fight?
Campos: It was against against Jorge Patino Macaco. I fought two categories above my own weight. I felt I was walking straight to a victory but a cut took me out of combat.
Asia MMA: Please tell me about your gym in Curitiba. That’s considered the fight capital of Brazil!
Campos: Yes, my new gym is “Only Fight Academy”. It’s a project that is in the beginning stages, it’s also a beautiful structure. From this academy, we will reveal many talents. I am from Curitiba, and from here there are several champions like Wanderlei Silva, Shogun, Anderson Silva. We breathe fighting in Curitiba!
Asia MMA: You have a big team. How many professional MMA fighters do you train?
Campos: On our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team, we have many world-level athletes. In MMA, we work with a small group of high-level fighters, we have 6 professional athletes, however we have many athletes in amateur MMA.
Asia MMA: Being from such a rich fight culture, who do you respect as an MMA fighter?
Campos: The fighters who started the “Vale Tudo”. I’m inspired by Minotauro and Wanderlei Silva.
Asia MMA: What do you predict for your ROAD FC debut?
Campos: I’ll win, no matter how! I am very happy to fight in Korea at ROAD FC!
Wagner “Galeto” Campos highlights: