To say that World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) middleweight champion PauloFilho is an intimidating man is a decisive understatement. His physique alone portrays strength and a robust toughness, but it may be what one can't see from the Brazilian's outward appearance that is ultimately most impressive.
Filho is a Rio de Janeiro native who grew up -- literally -- participating in combat sports. On WEC.tv recently, Filho stated, "I started fighting judo at the age of five as recommended by my pediatrician. I was a very hyperactive kid, so he thought it would be a good way to use up my energy and learn some discipline."
He continued, "At age nine, I moved to Copacabana and started training jiu-jitsu with Carlson Gracie."
In essence, Filho was groomed to be a fighter before he had even reached the first grade. And with a 16-0 record, it shows.
In his 16 professional bouts, Filho has yet to come up on the wrong side of a contest and has finished more than half of his opponents before the final bell. In addition to a WEC middleweight championship belt and successful title defenses, Filho has also laid claim to three Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships and five Jiu-Jitsu Championships.
Not bad for a man who just recently graduated from his twenties.
Filho has no intention of resting on his past laurels and coasting through life aimlessly, though. He's a fighter who wants to continually prove why he is the man who deserves the chance swagger around with the middleweight championship belt.
Keeping in his tradition of fighting top competitors, Filho is stepping up again to give Team Quest standout Chael Sonnen the rematch that he desires. There has been much discussion since the first battle between these two men on whether or not Sonnen tapped from Filho's well-executed armbar... Filho has little doubt, though Sonnen seems to have other thoughts on the matter.
Filho's victory that night helped him preserve his unblemished record, and though it might not have been an easy night for the jiu-jitsu ace, as former UFC champion Matt Hughes once quipped, "A true champion will always find a way to win."
Regardless of any happenings during their last fight, though, both men know that a new fight provides a clean slate. Nothing from the last fight matters.
When these two men meet again on Nov. 5 at WEC 36 for the rematch that they both have been anticipating, there will likely be very little love lost between these two proven champs. Of all the fights on the WEC's nicely stacked card, this fight has all the makings of a fan favorite. And after watching these two men compete before, this fight will likely live up to those high expectations.