Seef District: The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is packed with moody characters, strong language, and stories that involve dealing and compartmentalizing aggressive behaviors. But that has never been the case of BRAVE Combat Federation Gabriel “Fly” Miranda.
A centered, father-of-two young athlete, Miranda is aware that his style does not necessarily fit the regular script for a Mixed Martial Artist, and not only is he comfortable with it, but he also wants to build his legacy exactly upon this distinction.
“I want to create a legacy of victories and overcoming challenges but, above all that, a legacy of love. My main goal is to write a story that my children will be proud of. One that they will look back and be proud of their father and who he was and is”, he stated.
This unlikely journey started with a young man’s dream, but also with a push of luck. Like many of his fellow Brazilians, Gabriel Miranda grew up watching and being constantly amazed by the achievements of the first great generation of Brazil in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
In his case, a moment, in particular, triggered his interest: the historical submission of Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira over Bob Sapp in Japan, back in 2002.
“When I saw him (Nogueira) beating Bob Sapp using jiu-jitsu I said to myself that this is what I wanted. I wanted to be able to impose myself over someone physically stronger”, Miranda recalled. “So I started training jiu-jitsu right away, literally. Less than a month in and I was a runner-up in my city tournament, a couple of months later I added a state championship win to my record. In 2005, with 55 kg or so I won a competition with no weight limit, the absolute, and I swear to you I felt like Minotauro Nogueira himself (laughs)”.
When it comes to Gabriel’s migration to MMA, that’s when fate played its role. Interested in making the transition to the sport that got him into jiu-jitsu in the first place, Miranda joined CM System, under the guidance of Cristiano Marcello — a 4th-degree black-belt himself, with an extensive record within both MMA and BJJ.
With little knowledge and experience in striking whatsoever and only his grappling credentials, Gabriel Fly moved into the CM System Athlete’s Lodging and began a full Mixed Martial Arts immersion. Little did he know he was about to be tested rather soon.
“I was living at CM System for less than three weeks and Master Cristiano sent me a message asking me what was my weight, to which I replied ‘70kg’. His answer was simply ‘ok, pack your stuff, you have a fight in 75kg tomorrow’”, Fly recalled. “I then asked him if it was going to be gi or no-gi because I was assuming it was a grappling bout. Nope. That was about to be my amateur MMA debut”.
“The night that followed was very long, I was really anxious”, he continued. “In the warm-up room, when the cutman came to wrap my hands, Master Cristiano said he didn’t want my hands wrapped for that fight and told me ‘we don’t need it, because you won’t throw a single punch tonight. Go up there, use your jiu-jitsu, and submit him’. That’s what I did, I finished that fight in 25 seconds and the rest, as they say, it’s history”.
And what a history it has been. Gabriel Fly remained undefeated early on as an amateur Mixed Martial Artist, with five wins in five bouts. In his professional career, he competed 19 times so far, holding a record of 14 wins, the most recent of them against Jon Zarate at BRAVE CF 26, and only five losses.
But for Miranda, the tough moments are in the past and the best yet to come. “I’ve never been the most naturally gifted person in the world and, of course, this made the path long and difficult for me. I’m a small-town boy, coming from a humble family, without any privileges. But here I am, fighting in the only global MMA promotion in the world, achieving my dreams, providing for my family. And that’s just the beginning, I’m going for all the record, I want to make history inside BRAVE CF”, he guaranteed.
If his goals are shared by many, the way he wants to achieve them is pretty singular. “I believe that my difference is that my motivation is love. I see most of the fighters being fueled by hate, they fight with anger. Not me. I love my job and I love my family, the main reason why I do everything I do”, he reflected.
“In my case, it’s all about my two kids”, Miranda, who was preparing for fights during both pregnancies but still managed to be with and support his wife, continued. “I wake up every day focused on doing my best for them and their love and affection when I get back home is what keeps me going. Those two taught me the meaning of unconditional love, and that’s exactly what I take with me everywhere, the cage included”.
Finally, Gabriel Fly shared his vision of how to make it in the sport, in a way that BRAVE CF can offer the right platform. “I want to reach this audience, fans who enjoy watching a good fight inside the cage but also know that the sport is made by intelligent people, who are articulated and act like true role models. I believe MMA can be more and I want to be part of that. A fighter can be an inspiring idol, synonymous with wisdom, elegance, and respect, a positive example for children everywhere and the generations to come”.