Azevedo Vows to Retire Reigning MFC Champ
There’s little doubt that Luciano Azevedo will give reigning lightweight champ Antonio McKee a stiff challenge when they meet at MFC 26: Retribution.
But Azevedo has proven to be a worthy contender when it comes to meeting McKee head-on in a war of words as well. Given the chance to fire back at the verbose McKee, Azevedo armed himself with the biggest gun he could get his hands on and took aim at the belt-holding veteran.
Told that McKee planned to bring a blanket to the ring and tuck him in after a devastating knockout, Azevedo delivered his first strike.
“I’ll have 25 minutes to answer everything he’s said about me face to face. However what I’ve got to say won’t take that much time. It’ll be a quick chat,” said the Brazilian, who meets McKee on Friday, Sept. 10 in Westman Place at the Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba.
Knowing that McKee vowed to wrap up his career and leave his gloves in the ring if Azevedo took him the full five rounds, the 29-year-old declared his own intentions – a second shot across the bow.
“Tell McKee I’m waiting for him … and I want his gloves!” offered Azevedo. “As a fighter it’s obvious he must be respected. He’s been undefeated for seven years and holds the MFC belt. But he’s really crazy and needs to retire. Old men have lapses of memory all the time. It’s not his fault.”
While Azevedo comes in eyeing the belt, the young gun figured the pressure is much heavier on the champ thanks to his brash statements – a third direct hit.
“My responsibility is to beat him with all my strengths,” explained the Sao Paulo native who now fights out of Rio de Janeiro. “Because of what he has said his responsibility is to beat me plus get the knockout or the submission because if it goes to a decision he’s going to retire. Do you know what kind of weight that is on him?
“The guy is a veteran who plays like a rookie. He’s added more and more pressure on his own back. Now he’s got a heavy boulder to carry because each minute that goes by and he hasn’t reached his goal of finishing the fight it becomes more of a concern for him.
“My answer for everything he has said will be in the ring. I’m going to fight and then I’m going to celebrate with my new belt.”
Azevedo has shown no problem stepping into the limelight of big fights before. He holds a career victory over veteran Din Thomas but only eight months before that encounter, he earned a win over Jose Aldo. To this day Azevedo is the only man to ever defeat Aldo, a clear-cut listed member of best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.
That feat serves as a massive confidence builder as Azevedo sets his sights on taking McKee’s championship belt and putting a sudden halt to his lengthy winning streak.
“The Aldo fight was eighth fight for both of us,” recalled Azevedo. “I remember people talking about the way he crushed guys in his prior seven fights and that my destiny would be the same. The insiders didn’t believe I could submit him even though I had beaten Brazilian black belts. All the odds were against me, but I was very well trained and I won (rear-naked choke in the second round). He even came in overweight and I still accepted the fight despite the disadvantage.”
Despite a solid career fighting all over the world, this will truly be Azevedo’s coming out party. In his first fight on North American soil, he gets a title shot live on international television.
“I started training at 10 years old in the same neighborhood I live in today. The outcome of my hard work is going to be rewarded again coming to the MFC and getting a title shot.
“I’ve never stopped training and I’ve only improved. I’d like to tell the fans that I’ll make the show worth watching. They’ll see a great fight. I’m going to show that my stand-up skills are sharp and I want to get a knockout.”