Assuncao has never been one to say too much before or after his fights, preferring instead to keep a low profile and let his performance speak for him. This time around, that has included saying very little about a major change in terms of his preparation for his return on Saturday.
“I love playing the game where I’m the quiet, secret guy that’s ‘not talking too much,’” said Assuncao, who did his full eight-week training camp at American Top Team, leaving the comforts of home in suburban Atlanta for the confines of the dorms at the South Florida fighter factory. “I don’t want to throw too much out there because I like secrets. I don’t post a lot and I kind of like that atmosphere. Instead of being out there (talking all about it), I like keeping that energy inside.
“I had a little bit of the comfort zone lifestyle for a while, even for my last fight, and I just needed a change. I made the change with an intelligent perspective.
“The changes I’ve made haven’t been drastic — I’ve still kept same characteristics of who I am and just added to who I am, to my game, to my techniques,” he added. “I’m just adding stuff — training, training partners. It wasn’t like, ‘Everything got destroyed; let’s rebuild the whole thing.’ Everything was still intact; we’re just adding pieces.”
While he’s enjoyed a tremendous amount of success training at home in Alpharetta, Georgia alongside his brothers, Freddy and Junior, and a handful of additional high-level talents, the combination of having new coaches watching him prepare and working in a room filled with elite competitors was too good to pass up.
And on the eve of UFC 241 Fight Week, Assuncao is ready to step back into the Octagon, handle his business and get right back into the thick of the bantamweight title chase this weekend.
“With a good win on Saturday, I expect to be right back in contention; right back where I was,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal. I know every single fighter on the roster has that same goal and we’re all chasing the same bird — everyone has their own shotgun, but there is just one bird — and that’s still my goal. That’s all I have in mind right now.
“I’m still the same guy,” he added. “I know who I am as a person. I haven’t changed too much. I’m not going to go out there and curse, call peoples’ mom’s names and try to get a title shot; it’s not going to happen. I’m going to keep focused on the task and I think with a good win, I’m going to be right back where I left off.
“We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’ll get my chance.”