Before Dinis “Sweetbread” Paiva takes on Andre Ewell for the vacant CES bantamweight championship in the main event of CES 50 on June 15 in Lincoln, R.I., LIVE on AXS TV Fights, the well-rounded Rhose Island fan-favorite caught up with Fightbook MMA.
In the beginning stages of your career, did you ever think you’d be fighting for a championship like this?
No. I dreamed about it, though – the thought of what I had hoped could happen one day. Was it something I knew then? No, but it’s something I dreamt about back then and worked towards. But, I would say it’s probably only been over the course of the last eight or nine fights that I knew I wanted to put everything I had into the sport and get out of it what I’ve put into it. Sometimes you only get a fraction out of it that you put into it. I never knew it, but there’s nothing that can stop me from getting that belt now.
What will that belt mean to you?
The world, man. It’s a labor of love. I’ve imagined it. I was first offered a title shot from CES a while back, but it wasn’t the right time – so I declined it. Then I lost. So I had to sit there and let that resonate in the back of my mind. Winning the title is everything. It’d complete me as a human. I could look back at the sport with a feeling of solidified accomplishment. I want to represent CES as best as possible. What better way than as a champion?
Do you know anything about your opponent?
I know a good amount. He’s a good boxer and striker. He’s on a three-fight win streak. He’s had a little trouble on the ground, it’s not his forte. I know he had a pretty extensive boxing career before he got into MMA. He’s a tall guy, he has a huge reach, he’s 5’11”, lean, quick on his feet. You don’t see him knock a lot of guys out with one shot knockouts, but he seems to be a volume puncher and he’s quick about it. I expect him to be throwing some good hands and I’m prepared for it. If everyone is going to see anything in this fight, it’s that I’m the most complete fighter I’ve ever been. I’m going to be able to utilize all aspects of the sport throughout the fight to not only win but dominate him.
Do you think he’s ever fought anyone like you?
No, no. If you look at his record, the guy’s he’s fought – one guy 0-11, one guy 0-12, one guy is 1-18. He’s fought some pretty low-level guys. Not to take anything away from him, he’s obviously beaten some really talented guys, as well. In more recent times, he’s had back-to-back knockout wins against guys with winning records, but no, he hasn’t even come close to fighting someone like me. I know he’s going to feel it and I know he’s going to see that come fight night. I’m looking forward to it, by all means, I’m very excited for the fight. I’m excited to be tested against a guy that’s as good as he is to show how good I am and where I belong. Being a guy coming out of California with a lot of hype behind him, it’s really going to show the world that I belong at the next level.
What’s your day job outside of MMA?
I’m the director of warehousing operations for Lawrence Maintenance. I have a pretty big responsibility, I manage 100+ employees in seven states. I’m responsible for building maintenance, janitorial, and sanitation services are what we deliver.
How many of them are coming out in June?
I really have to say, on a professional level, I get a mind-blowing amount of support from my employees, my employer, my clients and customers – everyone I meet. I’d say a good, 30 or 40 come out and support, just based on my work connections.