If you watched the Ultimate Fighter 14 you no doubt remember Brazilian brawler Diego Brandao, an explosive featherweight who blazed his way into this evening’s finale by blasting his opponents with fistic firepower. However, Brandao’s affection for rendering his adversaries into puddles of goo pales in comparison to his real love – his mother.

Brandao spoke some about his intense desire to see her again after not having been home since 2008, a fact making his emotional outbursts on TUF 14 more understandable when considering the strain of being away from loved ones for such a long period of time.

“I think about my mom every day,” Brandao solemnly stated in an interview with the UFC’s website. “The thought of one day being able to give her a better life is what drives me every day in training. I made a promise for myself that I wasn’t going to go back to Brazil until I made the UFC. I can’t wait to see her face when I get back in a few weeks.”

“I just think about helping my mom and family to have a better life,” he continued. “I knew this was my time and my opportunity to show the world who I am. So it was easy, because I’ve been away from my family for three years.”

“She really has no idea the scale of the situation,” Brandao concluded while undoubtedly wearing a grin. “She is going to be so happy when I see her and tell her that she doesn’t have to work anymore cleaning houses.”

Of course, to fully capitalize on the experience Brandao must defeat Dennis Bermudez in a matter of hours to win the season’s divisional crown. Though his record may be a modest 13-7, Brandao explained many of his losses were a matter of taking a fight on late notice against a larger opponent, explaining he was readying himself for the pressures of the UFC by taking on all comers.

“I know that in the UFC you have to fight whoever they put in front of you. I did this so that I could prepare my mind and body for these moments,” Brandao said before pointing to two of his heroes as having the in-ring approach he tries to emulate. “Wanderlei (Silva) is one of my heroes for a long time because no matter what he always puts on a great show. He is also very aggressive and intense like me. Mike Tyson had a very similar upbringing as I did. And with all the things he had to overcome and let go of to become the champion, I feel like I can relate to him and the way he felt when he was fighting.”

Fans can see if Brandao fulfills his dream when the Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale starts on Spike TV at 8:00 PM EST. Other bouts include the bantamweight final between TJ Dillashaw and John Dodson, as well as headlining action between coaches Michael Bisping and Jason Miller.


MMATraining Take: I’ll be honest. My original impression of Brandao was that he appeared to be a jerk. However, in retrospect his simmering fury makes much more sense. Nothing is more important than family. He seems to be a great story in the making if he comes away with the win tonight and can continue his success inside the Octagon. A victory over Bermudez should create a special scene without question.