There are some fighters who gradually work themselves into the hearts of fans with their personality or by demonstrating great skill in the ring. For some this recognition comes after years of hard work. Then there are others that have such a dynamic debut and who also possess such charisma and charm that the press and fans are almost instantly addicted. Saulo Cavalari falls into the latter category. Making his Glory debut in Chicago, October 2013, Cavalari took to the ring with a decision victory over the Belgian Bull, Filip Verlinden. He was just warming up. The following month, Cavalari faced Mourad Bouzidi at Glory 12 at Madison Square Garden where he delivered one of the most brutal knockouts witnessed by Glory fans. If you didn't know his name before Glory 12, surely Cavalari was on the radar of press and fans alike after his brutal knock out of Mourad Bouzidi.
Recently I had to opportunity for a Q & A with Saulo. Here are some of his thoughts about muay thai, his career and his future.
SW: Depending on the source, your professional record is listed as 31-3 or 28-3. What is your actual professional record?
SC: My professional record is 28-3.
SW: Where did you get the nickname "Cassius Clay?"
SC: Cassius Clay was a icon and one of the best fighters of all time. He was always an inspiration for me and that's why people started calling me with that nickname. But I'm Saulo Cavalari and I hope to build my own career, if I get 50% of what Cassius Clay accomplished I'll be very satisfied.
SW: At what age did you begin training?
SC: I was still a 9 years old boy.
SW: How long have you been with Thai Brasil?
SC: Since it was founded in 2007.
SW: Your knockout of Mourad Bouzidi at Glory 12 was one of the most spectacular of 2013, did you expect to knock him out so quickly and with such force?
SC: I always go for the KO and I always fight with aggressive style. I know that the crowd loves it and since when I was very young I knew I'd be a exciting fighter. All punches that I land in a fight have KO power and I was very happy that I could throw it perfectly in the beginning of the fight.
SW: What are some of your goals for 2014?
SC: My goal is to be the GLORY Champion. I wasn't able to pass the semifinals so my main goal in 2014 is to win my next fight whoever the opponent they send me.
SW: Who has been your most difficult opponent to date?
SC: Tyrone Spong. His skills are perfect and he defends himself very well. I remember that I was trying to hit him with my best shots and his defense was very strong and he always counter attacks with precision. He's the best in the world but I know I can beat him.
SW: There's a rumor that you would like to fight Saki. Besides Gokhan is there anyone else you would like to fight?
SC: I'd like to fight whoever wants to fight me. That's my message to the division: if anyone is brave enough to fight a young and hungry lion please call Mr. Cor Hemmers and ask for me: I'll be waiting.
SW: What specifically is your message to Saki???
SC: Saki you are a legend and I'll always respect you but I want this belt, I want to be the champion of GLORY. So as long as I'm alive I'll be hunting this belt.
SW: If you were not involved in muay thai/kickboxing, what kind of profession would you have chosen?
SC: Since the first time I trained I knew that I'd be a fighter. So since 9 years old I'm training to be the world champion - nothing else never crossed my mind.
SW: Who are some fighters that you enjoy watching?
SC: Mike Tyson, Tyrone Spong and Cassius Clay
SW: When you are not training, what are some of your favourite activities?
SC: I like surfing, skateboarding, basketball and being with my friends.
SW: Recently, I spoke with Thom Harinck about training you. What was your experience like training with such a legendary figure?
SC: He is the best trainer I've ever met. He has so much experience and knows everything. I'd like to say that I'd like to be trained by him again.
SW: Your style has been characterized as very aggressive, how would you describe your fighting style?
SC: I'm a aggressive fighter who always looks for the KO. I can win round 1 and 2, I'll never take a rest in the last round. I'm not satisfied if I don't KO my opponents
SW: What do you consider as the most difficult part(s) of a fighter's life?
SC: Sponsorship deals are very hard to find in Brazil.
SW: You have been successful in K-1, Tatneft and WAKO South America and are currently ranked number three in Glory. Once you’ve achieved the number one ranking what else do you see in your future?
SC: I'll try to remain the #1 for as long as possible and show that Brazil is not only a BJJ / MMA country. We also have Kickboxing here.
SW: Do you have any message to your fans?
SC: Thank you for supporting me. I'll ALWAYS go for the KO.
With the year at the 3/4 mark, one can only guess that GLORY still has a few surprises for us. Whether his next match comes this year or next, one thing is certain, Saulo will be ready and will approach his opponent in a manner that is sure to leave us all stunned and wanting more!