Jailton Almeida Exclusive Interview: Michael Chandler could KO Conor McGregor, Jon Jones to beat Stipe Miocic, frustrated Francis Ngannou has left UFC in ‘weird’ circumstances

Brazilian Jailton Almeida celebrates after defeating Russian Shamil Abdurakhimov during their heavyweight bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 21, 2023. (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP) (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images)

FightBook MMA has quotes from an exclusive interview with No.12 ranked UFC heavyweight Jailton Almeida ahead of his blockbuster clash with Jairzinho Rozenstruik in less than a fortnight.

The Brazilian, who is undefeated in his career, has four finishes from his five wins in the UFC thus far and is eyeing up bouts with some of the biggest names in the division.

Jailton was talking in his role as a Stake.com ambassador and you can check out the interview below.

Interview topics:

  • ‘No question’ Jon Jones will beat Stipe Miocic
  • ‘Frustrated’ Francis Ngannou left UFC in ‘weird’ circumstances
  • Michael Chandler could KO Conor McGregor after TUF series airs
  • Tai Tuivasa or Ciryl Gane will be next – but I rate Tom Aspinall too
  • I want an early KO against Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Jon Jones will beat Stipe Miocic – no question

“There is no question Jon Jones is going to win this fight and beat Stipe Miocic. Obviously Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, we haven’t seen a lot of him because his fight with Ciryl Gane didn’t last particularly long.

“Although we have a lot of questions about Jones at heavyweight, I still think he will win that fight. Miocic just has not fought regularly enough, he is trying to get back to a level we haven’t seen for two years. Therefore, I make Jon Jones the favourite for this fight.”

I’m frustrated Francis Ngannou has left the UFC – it is a weird situation

“I’m a bit frustrated at not being able to at least have the chance to face Ngannou; he was one of the biggest names in the heavyweight category so it would have meant a lot to face him.

“I think it is a bit weird for Ngannou to just forfeit his belt like this and then also leave the UFC completely. But I wish him well and I hope that he fights again for a great organisation and he can fight again very soon.”

New TUF series will be great TV but I think Chandler beats McGregor

“I’m really excited to see the upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter between McGregor and Chandler. I’ve been following it across social media and I’ve seen reports of a little scuffle which I cannot wait to see play out on TV!

“McGregor being out for so long with a very bad injury may cause a bit of Octagon rust, so I am actually going to back Chandler for this one. I actually think he may stop him as well.”

Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a big threat – but I want a first or second round KO

“Obviously striking is what Jairzinho is famous for, but he has a really good takedown defence. That is one of the things that I think will be a key for me to win.

“It will definitely not be an easy fight, it will be a challenge for me and I will have to be at my best if I am to win.

“Being in the UFC, all the fights are tough so I expect a big challenge from Jairzinho. When you speak about mentality and physicality, I am extremely prepared. I’ve been training a lot with my team and we are all ready.

“He’s a big threat and a great opponent. I expect and I am ready to go five rounds with him, but I am going to feel the fight and see where it is going. If I can get a first or second round knockout, then I am going to go for it. I just want to give a great show for the fans; I want them to remember my performances.

“So, if possible, I want a first or second round knockout, but I’m ready to go deeper.”

I want Tai Tuivasa or Ciryl Gane next

“After beating Jairzinho Rozenstruik, I would like to fight Tai Tuivasa or Ciryl Gane. I think that these two names could put me really close to a title shot, or at least get me within one fight of a title shot.

“I want to face someone not coming off a loss because I feel most of my previous opponents are in that situation. So if I was to fight a contender who was winning fights regularly, that would put me in contention for a title shot.”

Tom Aspinall is a great fighter – hopefully we can fight for the UFC title soon

“I think Tom is a great fighter; he has great striking, with wonderful grappling and great takedown defence. Unfortunate things have happened to him very recently, so I wish him a speedy recovery.

“Even though we fight in the same weight category, I cannot wish any injuries or any bad things on any opponent. I just want him to come back very soon, and then hopefully one day we can fight for the belt in the future.”

Sergei Pavlovich is a ‘very scary dude’ – he is the biggest threat in the heavyweight division

“No doubt, Pavlovich is one of the biggest prospects at heavyweight right now; I watched his fight with Curtis Blaydes and I think he is a very scary dude.

“Right now, at only 30 years of age, he is the biggest threat in the heavyweight division. No doubt, he will be fighting for the belt soon, but we have to see what is going to happen between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic for that to take place. After that, Pavlovich has to be next in line for the belt.”

I feel strong and confident at heavyweight – this is my favourite weight category

“I’m very focused on my fight, training is starting to get really intense with less than two weeks to go until the fight.

“When I get there, I just want to make sure I am ready to go.

“It definitely helps me; I have so much more energy and when I eat more, I feel more prepared for my fight as well. I’m a natural heavyweight, so I feel much more comfortable and confident at this weight.”

My favourite submission is a rear naked choke – opponents have no choice but to tap

“I love grappling and rear naked choke is my favourite submission for sure, I just feel as though this will never give a chance to any opponent I lock it in against.

“The only thing an opponent can do is to tap out, this is my favourite thing to do in a fight.”

I want to be in the UFC top five heavyweight rankings before 2024

“To get into the top 10 of the UFC heavyweight division would mean so much to me. It would be a reflection of the hard work, the sacrifices and everything I am doing in the gym to make this possible.

“My goal is to remain in the top 10 and move closer and closer to the title, but I want to be in the top five by the end of the year. This would mean I would be so close to getting a title shot and achieving my dream of being a world champion.”

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