walked into his
Ultimate Fighting Championship
debut against Gregory
as a -275 underdog and proceeded to throw oddsmakers
a 12-to-6 curveball that took the form of a devastating one-punch
knockout. Only one question remains: What does he do for an

The undefeated
Dana White’s Contender Series
graduate will ride a wave of
momentum into his battle with Nursulton
in their featured
UFC on ESPN 48
middleweight attraction this Saturday at the UFC
Apex in Las Vegas. While Ferreira’s upset of Rodriguez was a
surprise to many, it held little shock value for him.

“I know my potential,” he told “I believe in my
fighting style. I played my game. I was a little anxious, but it
didn’t go much differently than what I expected. As soon as I knew
I may be booked against Gregory, I started studying him. That was
even before it was official. My coaches and I figured out the best
strategy. It played out exactly as expected. We knew he was
dangerous, so we worked with a lot of caution.”

Ferreira’s caution was tempered inside the cage. A straight left on
the counter scrambled Rodrigues’ circuits four-plus minutes into
the first round of their Jan. 21 pairing.

“That’s my style. I push forward without fear, regardless of my
opponent’s game or who they may be,” Ferreira said. “If he’s tall
or short, it doesn’t matter. I always fight moving forward.”

Ruziboev, a man who has not tasted defeat in more than three years,
provides the Brazilian’s next test. The organizational newcomer has
rattled off eight consecutive victories, all of them first-round

“My goal is to beat my opponent,” Ferreira said. “I envision a war,
but I also see me winning in the first or second round. I can’t
guarantee a finish. I’m ready for a war, and I hope he is, too.
He’s never faced someone like me. I must be respected. I am
unafraid. I have no problem banging it out with anyone. I’m good on
the ground. I’m a good grappler. I’m a judo black belt, and I’m a
jiu-jitsu black belt.”

The Rodrigues knockout gave Ferreira a jolt of confidence. “I
already proved that I can win, regardless of who I’m facing,”
Ferreira said. “‘Robocop’ is a knockout artist. Everyone bet on
him, and I knocked him out. I’ll get past my next opponent and then
we’ll see what the UFC has for me next. Another win will get me
even closer to my ultimate objective. I hope to fight once or twice
more this year.”

Ferreira was originally scheduled to face Abdul
Razak Alhassan
. However, his withdrawal opened the door for
Ruziboev, a 29-year-old Uzbek who has recorded 32 of his 34
professional wins by knockout, technical knockout or

“My opponent has changed but the strategy remains the same: I’ll
bring my game,” Ferreira said. “I’m 100% prepared and ready to
fight a war. Whoever comes to fight me must be prepared in all
areas, because I’m a complete athlete. We came up with strategies
for this fight, but the key is to unleash my style.”

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Business as Usual for Brunno Ferreira