By Eduardo Alonso
K-1 Brazil:
The All New Carlos Barreto
is Ready to Battle in K-1 Style!

      Jiu-Jitsu black belt and NHB veteran Carlos Barreto is ready for K-1. Yes, you read that right and you don't need glasses! Some years ago it would be unthinkable to picture the Brazilian Top Team member and former Carlson Gracie student with a pair of Boxing gloves and Muay Thai shorts, climbing the ring for a fight in a K-1 official event, however things have changed a lot in the Brazilian fighter's life, and this day will come at February 23rd at the gorgeous Maksud Plaza Hotel in Sao Paulo, where K-1 will hit Brazil for the first time in its history, and Barreto will do his very own professional stand up fighting debut. A man who faced the likes of Kevin Randleman, Daniel Bobish, Igor Vovchanchyn, Tra Telligman, Gilbert Yvel and Mikhail Illoukhine, among others, in NHB tournaments is truly someone who faced tough competition. However Carlos' game was always characterized by his Jiu-Jitsu skills and never by his striking or aggressiveness, However he is a brand new fighter now and wants to prove it to the world by doing the unbelievable, winning a K-1 tournament, getting his passport ready for Las Vegas, and making his UFC dream closer to reality. So, with no further delay, learn now a bit more of what goes inside the head of Carlos Barreto himself, as he talks about his new attitude and his K-1 venture, as FCF welcomes the "all-new Carlos Barreto" and gets pumped up for K-1 Brazil!

Carlos Barreto FCF:   Everybody knows you as an NHB fighter, from events such as IVC, UFC, PRIDE, MECA, and everybody also knows that you have a background in Jiu-Jitsu. Now, did you ever think you would be doing a K-1 fight at some point in your life?
CB:     To be honest with you, never! I never thought I would have the opportunity to fight in K-1, but the opportunity knocked on my door and sometimes in my life I lost some big opportunities by being immature or irresponsible. However this time I'm very determined to get back at the top of the biggest NHB events in the world like the UFC and PRIDE, I want to have a belt and I want to be a well known fighter internationally again a lot. I think K-1 is a big opportunity to give me exposure to get back to the top, and I want to take advantage of this opportunity in the best way I can. Despite the actual result, I want to give a good spectacle and show the events promoters that Carlos Barreto has changed, and that nowadays I'm another fighter, and I'm also a striker now.

FCF:   You mentioned an interesting point, cause you had some tough times in your career like your fights at 2hot2handle, and Hook N' Shoot. After those moments of struggle you once told me that you had changed your approach to the game, and realized the importance of being an exciting and aggressive fighter. How did you realize this need, and what changed your mindset in terms of fighting?
CB:     I'm a guy that is always checking the major events, like PRIDE and the UFC, which is the event I have the most will to participate in. I respect PRIDE a lot, and PRIDE is a great event and has a ton of great fighters, but I love the UFC and my dream is in fact to become UFC champion. Well Eduardo, I'll be very sincere and humble with you. The group of fighters that changed my mindset about the aggressiveness and the need to fight standing up was the Chute Boxe team. They changed my mindset because of the way the used Jiu-Jitsu in their tough moments during fights. I thought "Man, if they use Jiu-Jitsu in their tough times during fights, why won't I use Muay Thai in my tough times during fights?" Then I started to train Muay Thai more seriously. With the wins of Wanderlei, Anderson, and even Pele, I thought "Man, those guys are evolving so much, this is a message to all the fighters to recognize other martial arts and not only Jiu-Jitsu" Then I embraced Muay Thai with Artur Mariano, and of course professor Paulo Nikolai has a major role in this process as well, who is a great trainer that supports myself a lot. Regarding K-1, with Drago, a South American amateur Boxing champion who trains with the BTT, getting injured and having to pull out of K-1 Brazil, I mentioned my name as someone who could participate in his place, and professor Paulo Nikolai thought it was a good opportunity if I had the proper training. Batarelli [The event promoter] also thought it was a good idea since it could generate more interest towards the event and accepted my request to fight, so I'm very thankful for that and expects to deliver a good showing.

FCF:   Do you remember when you had your first ever contact with Muay Thai?
CB:     Several years ago I was going to start my martial arts life with Muay Thai indeed. I trained Muay Thai for six months at the Naja academy, which was an academy of professor Luis Alves. I started training there but I couldn't continue cause I was studying and working at the same time back then, and the academy was too far away from my house. Later I got to know Jiu-Jitsu through Ricardo Liborio and I never stopped practicing Jiu-Jitsu.

FCF:   So you did Muay Thai before doing Jiu-Jitsu?
CB:     Yeah! The first Martial Art I practiced in my life was Judo then I stopped doing it and played Basketball for a while and then went to Muay Thai. The first fighting art I did after I wasn't a kid anymore was Muay Thai. Like I said I had to drop it cause I had to work and study, and I come from a humble family, so I couldn't afford it. Then when I started Jiu-Jitsu Carlson Gracie allowed me to train for free, so I never stopped.

FCF:   You were a student of UFC Champion Murilo Bustamante for a good while, and Murilo has been showing impressive Boxing skills in the Octagon. Do you think this is yet another sign that a fighter needs to be complete nowadays, and this is another reason of your dedication to Muay Thai?
CB:     There's no doubt about it. A fighter nowadays must have a good ground game; a good notion of takedowns and a good stand up game as well. In my opinion the ground game continues to be the most important aspect, but you have to train a lot of Boxing or Muay Thai to trade some strikes and have a good wrestling base as well. Now we have Darrel Gohlar here, who has been doing a great job with us here, so everybody is evolving a lot. I think Muay Thai, wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu are the ingredients of a perfect fighter.

FCF:   You already explained how this opportunity to fight at K-1 Brazil appeared, but was it tough for you to take this task? Did you have to think a lot about it before offering your name?
CB:     No, not at all man. I sort of "invited myself" to fight in the event [Laughs] When Drago got injured nobody was supposed to take his place. Then I said "Hey! No! No! Wait a second. Let me enter it! Carlos Barreto is going to enter this tournament!" I like challenges. Then Paulo Nikolai told me "Are you sure? Fighting Muay Thai is different from what you're used" and I promptly replied, "Let's go! Let's train a lot and show that I'm well prepared on my feet as well. I may get knocked out and lose, but I'll fight like a man!" then Nikolai said, "I'm with you. You have my support" and from then on you know the story.

FCF:   You had some problems in the past and ended up leaving the Brazilian Top Team for a while. Later you came back to the team and have been training with them ever since. Are all the problems solved and will Carlos Barreto stay with the BTT for the coming years?
CB:     No doubt about it man. We had some adaptation problems in the beginning, since we were all coming from Carlson and we were all friends from a long time. Murilo was my teacher, Bebeo was always a close friend, Sperry trained with me for years and years, and Liborio is like a brother, so it was just a friends argument over things. Fortunately I came back and was welcomed with open arms, and from then on I'm with the Top Team for whatever it happens and whatever may comes. Carlos Barreto, Brazilian Top Team, Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai are all ingredients that work fine together! [Laughs]

FCF:   How was your specific preparation for this K-1 event?
CB:     I trained Muay Thai twice a day, everyday. On the mornings I would do a technical training with all the drills, hitting the punching back, working with the mirror and the likes, and at nights I would do my sparring sessions, doing a specific sparring work, and working my ring movement.

FCF:   Since you were accepted to fight at K-1 Brazil and started training more seriously, from this very moment before you go to Sao Paulo, do you feel your Muay Thai improved considerably?
CB:     Well, the Muay Thai I knew was more about closing the distance, hurting my opponent a bit standing up to be able to take him down a bit damaged and work my Jiu-Jitsu from there. Nowadays things are different, I'm working on closing the distance, working some strikes and getting out of distance again, move myself way more. It's a complete new thing! There's no way for me to describe what I'm feeling! I'm very euphoric with my chance to fight in K-1. I'm anxious to fight, really willing a lot to fight and my opponents better watch out.

FCF:   How can you compare the preparation for such an event as K-1 with the preparation you do for NHB?
CB:     Is totally different. The training for NHB is way different from the Muay Thai training, I can't tell you which one is tougher, it's not about that, they are just different. The Muay Thai training demands you to be very focused; I watched a lot of K-1 tapes to pick some things from the best fighters out there. I watched a lot of Ernesto Hoost's fights, and Ray Sefo's fights as well. I watched a lot of their fights to learn a bit from their techniques, their ring movements. The Americans and Japanese have the habit of learning through tapes, and us Brazilians still doesn't have this habit, and we're learning to have this habit now. You can learn a lot from tapes, it educates you, and helps you to correct some of your weak points in your game. I have a new mindset about fights now.

FCF:   I know is way too tough to make predictions, and especially in this case since you're fighting on a brand new thing. But what do you expect from yourself and the experience as a whole?
CB:     I'm telling you this with an open heart. I sincerely expect to do a good showing. If this good showing ends up by allowing me to go to the finals and win, it will be a gift from God. My goal is to walk to the ring with my head up high, and leave the ring with my head up high, knowing I did my best, receiving the support from the public, and signing a contract with the UFC [Laughs]

FCF:   Whether you win or lose, and most of all if you win, is there any chance you'll do more K-1 fights in the future?
CB:     Well, if I win I have to go fight those tough guys in Las Vegas; it's in the contract. So, if I win I'll have to train to face those tough guys brother [Laughs] If I win I'll have to go to Vegas, and if I win in Vegas I'll have to go to Japan! So those guys better watch out! [Laughs] Seriously, if I can continue to go, I'll go. It's goes like this; God is giving me a path, if I win K-1 Brazil and hopefully I can do it, I'll go to Las Vegas, and if I win in Las Vegas, man! Then this is my path brother! Then NHB will have to be my second thing, since God would be directing me in this way. It would be something natural. Maybe my way is K-1 and I didn't know it and was lost, and God is putting me back on my path, do you know what I mean? Who knows, I have to try it. The future belongs to God. My objective now is to fight NHB, and I'm doing K-1 to show everybody that I'm ready to trade strikes as well. I'm an NHB fighter, but if I can do some more steps in K-1, then they'll have to watch out for me.

FCF:   You were supposed to fight in a submission wrestling superfight against Alexandre Cacareco, in a local event in Campos, but ended up not fighting it due to your preparation for K-1 Brazil. Is this a sign of how seriously you are approaching this event?
CB:     Exactly man. I even thought about doing both events, but Murilo Bustamante, Mario Sperry and Bebeo Duarte, who are the main responsible guys here at the Brazilian Top Team, thought I was going into over training. I was doing wrestling three times a week, Jiu-Jitsu five times a week and Muay Thai two times per day, plus the physical preparation, and I was really getting into over training. Then they made me chose one event or the other, and I realized Muay Thai was more important now since this was an unique opportunity, so I opted to fight in K-1. We have submission wrestling events all the time, and K-1 is a rare thing.

FCF:   How do you define your style as a Muay Thai fighter, for those that are anxious to see your performance? Are you going after the knockout?
CB:     This is a surprise! You'll have to wait for February 23rd, in a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Sao Paulo to find out about it. I'll put on a good fight for sure! But if I'm going to score quick knockouts, or play a little in the ring, like Ali or George Foreman, you're going to see it when fight time comes! [Laughs]

FCF:   You mentioned that your goal is still NHB. Your last fight was at MECA 6 where you became the champion, but wasn't totally please with your performance. You want to now show you're a different fighter, and is the UFC your goal after K-1 Brazil? Also, how much are you weighing for this fight?
CB:     I was weighing 114 kg, but due to all the training I'm weighing 110 kg for this fight. I want to fight in the UFC badly, and I want to comeback in great style in the octagon, to bring home the belt cause Ricco Rodriguez doesn't deserve it.

FCF:   Any final message for your fans, who are curious on your performance on the 23rd?
CB:     You can count with a good spectacle cause I'm going to fight with a lot of hear and will. Send your best wishes and thoughts cause I'm going to need them, and I'll fight with a lot of heart defending the name of my country, the name of the NHB fighters and the name of the Brazilian Top Team. I hope my fans will like my showing, the spectacle and I hope to be back in the NHB rings soon!

FCF:   Thanks a lot man! The best of luck for you in this venture!
CB:     Thank you Eduardo! See you there!

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