By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I had the chance to catch up with Ratioender Melo before he gets into the cage at Strike Off 10 on June 17. Ratioender will be facing Cisco Isata for the featherweight championship. Let’s take a seat with Ratioender and get to know him a little bit better before his title fight.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Melo: For me to be able to participate in a sport that I enjoy as much as I do this one, at a professional level, and compete against other athletes for whom I have a great deal of respect for, I consider it a privilege.
Nick: At what age did you begin your training in martial arts?
Melo: As a kid, I took a Tae Kwon Do class. Nothing serious and I didn’t stick with it very long. When I was around 26 I started watching the show ‘The Ultimate Fighter Season One’ and thought I’d like to learn Jiu-Jitsu for self-defense so I joined the gym and have been actively training since then.
Nick: What disciplines do you currently train and what belts do you have in them?
Melo: I train in Muay Thai, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which I currently have a purple belt.
Nick: What camp do you train out of and how long have you been with them?
Melo: I joined Ground Control when I first decided that I wanted to train in mixed martial arts and have remained with them for the last 9 years. In the last 3 years, I have gone to 2 fight camps at Tri Star gym in Canada as well.
Nick: What would you say your best attribute inside the cage?
Melo: I consider myself to be a decent striker. I have excellent coaches and although I’m not afraid to take it to the mat I prefer a standing fight.
Nick: Most fighters get branded with a nickname at some point in their career. Do you have one? If so what is it and who gave it to you?
Melo: I’m sure many people probably have a few names they call me, especially my girlfriend during fight camp. I go by ‘Goiano’ to acknowledge the region in Brazil where I’m from, Goias. Saying ‘Goiano’ is like saying ‘Marylander’.
Nick: How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Melo: Well, I’m not going to lie, I like to eat and find it easier to put on weight than to take it off. My girlfriend is not a fan of the crazy weight cuts that many fighters go through to make weight so we manage to keep me within 12-15 pounds of my fighting weight so that during fight camp I am not distracted by the scale and am able to continue to train at a normal pace and am not held back because I feel weak or tired.
Nick: Since you have made this journey what advice can you give to new fighters wanting to make this a career?
Melo: If they are doing it for the money rather than the love of the sport they should find another profession. If they decide that they are still interested in pursuing a career in fighting they need to learn early that they have to have their own back. Not everyone who acts like they are your friend really is your friend. Most people have their own agenda. I’ve been lied to and betrayed by people I trusted in the past. Come fight night, when it’s time to walk in the cage, you’re going in alone. I have walked out a winner and I’ve walked out a loser and trust me, there are always going to be people there for you when you walk out with the win but not always when you walk out with the loss. I’ve learned to only surround myself with people who are there for me regardless.
Nick: You will be facing a tough opponent in Cisco Isata on June 17 for the featherweight title. How much do you know about your opponent prior to getting into the cage?
Melo: I’ve known Cisco for several years. He and I have fought in the same shows and he has fought my teammate twice now so I know that he is going to give a good fight. I don’t like to focus on any one fighter in particular while training. Some people train specifically for one opponent so that they can exploit the other fighter’s weaknesses. I prefer to train in such a way that I’m always bettering myself, sharpening my skills so I can be the best version of myself when I enter the cage.
Nick: Do you have a prediction for the fight?
Melo: It will definitely be a good fight for the fans. Cisco is a talented fighter, I’ve been looking forward to the chance to meet him in the cage for awhile now.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter of all time?
Melo: I’ve always been a fan of Randy Couture. I like his style of fighting.
Nick: If you could have one dream fight with anyone who would it be and why?
Melo: I would like to have a rematch against Shane Burgos. I fought him early in my professional career and lost. I’ve grown as a fighter since then and would like to have the opportunity meet him in the cage one more time.
Nick: Melo have you submitted to the takeover?
Melo: This is Ratioender Melo and I have submitted to the takeover.
I am excited to see this fight and wish Melo all the best. I have to agree with him when he says that this will be a very good fight. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA