Story by Jose E. Santiago
Looking to make a splash at the WEC event on April 5th in Chicago in the talented featherweight division will be Atlanta resident, Brazilian-born Rapheal Assuncao, who will take on veteran Jameel Massouh of Kenosha, Wis.
Raphael took a moment out of training camp to talk to fightnews.com about his inevitable debut in the WEC.
How has your training camp been in preparation for this fight?
Training camp was good. I was training with my brother (Junior Assuncao, three time UFC middleweight fighter). The only issue is the weather here in Atlanta is kind of crazy so I’ve had some allergies, but I’m getting over it now and I feel good and ready to fight. But, overall everything is good. I have no injuries and I feel great. Nothing is going to keep me from going in there and doing my job.
What do know about your opponent Jameel Massouh?
I know what everyone knows about the guy. He’s very calm when he fights, and he very intelligent. It’s going to be a tough fight. Everyone in the WEC is a tough competitor and all the fighters are on the same level. The goal is to find some advantage against him and come out on top.
You’re finally on the level most felt you should have been for a while now. How are you feeling with regards to finally making it?
To be honest it feels kind of natural to me. I’ve fought on some big stages before, but due to some bad decisions I’ve never really been to the big show on the WEC. I need to make sure that I control my emotions. I’m confident in my technique and although it’s the biggest show in the world for any featherweight I need to stay focused to make sure that I execute what I need to do. All the work I’ve done in training needs to be what I focus on.
At this stage of your career are you looking to learn new things?
Not really I’m looking to always fine tune what has gotten me to this point. I usually have a strategy about a month before a fight and I focus getting everything fined tuned for my specific opponent. I make sure that I always keep my power and timing where it needs to be and have it perfect at the time of the fight.
Now that you’ve made it to the WEC what are your goals in the near future?
Wow, there are a lot of tough fights I’ll have to go through in the next year. Everyone on this level wants to be THE champion. Now that I’ve made it to this level I need to make sure that my lifestyle is right, along with my eating habits. I don’t feel I’m quite ready just yet to fight for the title since I’m probably at 70% of my ultimate potential. But doing all of the right things I see myself being very successful an ultimately fighting for the title.
When you watch some of the current fighters in the WEC do you feel that you’re on the same level?
Yes, I think I’m on the same level. Unfortunately sometimes things don’t fall into the perfect plan for everybody. Those guys have had the advantage recently since they’ve been in the WEC, but for a fighter like me things like the economy can get in my way. Now that I’m fighting in the WEC I plan to take advantage of the opportunity so that I can focus on my fighting and career and not how I’m going to pay rent next month.
How do you see April 5th transpiring in your mind?
You know, although this is the first time with the WEC, I’ve fought two other times in Chicago and have had great success. I hope that continues. I know that I’m going to be in there with a tough fighter, but I believe in myself and my strategy. At the end of the night I feel very confident and good about what the result will be