Rousimar Palhares never meant to hurt anybody, you guys. He just really liked hugging the legs of opponents for a long time.
Alright, so not exactly. But the controversial Brazilian submission expert who was recently fired from the UFC after the latest in a career-long history of incidents of holding onto submissions long after referees had signaled the end of a fight says that he's fixing whatever is wrong with his head and that he won't make the same mistakes in his new fighting home.
Palhares has been signed with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) and spoke with Guilherme Cruz about the changes he's making in his training and mindset.
"I never wanted to cause any harm to anyone," Palhares said.
"We’re working hard to make sure that it never happens again...I wasn’t focused and I didn’t realize that I was doing it. Now that I can see it, I hope I can work hard on that. We’re training the right way, fixing the issues. It’s perfect now."
Perfect. So be cool, everybody.
In any case, Palhares actually has some good competition in the WSOF's welterweight division including Josh Burkman, champion Steve Carl and perennial UFC contender Jon Fitch. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt says he's ready for any of them.
"I’ll fight anyone," he said.
"I’m here, I’m ready. I’ve signed the contract and I’m happy to get back to the cage. I want to be back in the best shape of my life. I’ve found my weight class, and now I’ll be able to show everything I can do."
Also, Palhares wants to show opponents that he's really a nice, decent guy. Jon Fitch spoke out against Palhares' antics recently and Rousimar says he wants a chance to prove Fitch wrong.
"The only thing that bothered me is the fact that [Fitch] said he doesn’t like me, but I never did anything to him. He said things without knowing me. I hope I can show him who I really am so he’ll change his opinion about me."
Given that Palhares and Fitch will likely only meet as opponents in a ring, we're not sure how or why the hulking leg lock ace would want to make Fitch like him, but whatever. Palhares is an excellent fighter and we're glad he can go back to making a living.
Hopefully he can do so without ripping apart others' chance to do the same by breaking the rules this time around.
Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda
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