Meet Rafael Mulish, a former gold digger who fights in the UFC’s entry divisions in the United States

For every young person connected with martial artsliving abroad and fighting on the world’s main stages is a dream. The road is arduous, but it can be even more difficult when your “habitat” is far from large centers. That was the path of Rafael “Mulish” Nascimento, a 30-year-old fighter born in Apiacás, a town of less than 10,000 in the far north of Mato Grosso.

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– I came from a very small town where everyone knows each other and mining has always been the occupation of the majority of the population there. It was no different with me. I come from a family of miners and that has always been my way. In childhood, children liked to play with the ball, but I always liked sports and more extreme games – said Rafael.

The opening of the academy in the city of Rafael channeled this taste and transformed the life of Mato Grosso.

– It was when he opened a gym, a very small one, in my town. I was 12 years old and there was only karate, but today, when I look back at that time, it’s as if I knew from the first contact which path I wanted to take – he said.

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History, however, held much sweat between means and ends, before becoming an example of success. “Mulisha” lived between mining and fighting until 2019.

– There were many faces of that dream. I have always seen mining as my sponsor. Something I had to do to fund my goals. Whenever I managed to raise the necessary amount, I would go to Rio de Janeiro, train and fight with the best in the country. The money was running out and I had to go back even if I wanted to stay – the fighter recalled.

The tragic episode determined the future of Rafael, who at the age of 29 decided to leave the profession and bet once and for all on what he always wanted.

“There was a fire accident that year and I lost all my machinery and the raft. It was scary at the time, but today I see that all the signs that led me led me to where I should have gone a long time ago – said Rafael.

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Today, living in Los Angeles and competing at a high level in the world’s biggest MMA centers, Rafael says he is ready and motivated to continue climbing and conquering space on the scene.

– My life has changed, I live by fighting and dedicate my body and my mind to the success of my career. I know that the obstacles are big, but I am ready and prepared for anything – commented the fighter.

A kickboxing black belt and jiu-jitsu purple belt, “Mulisha” made his Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) bantamweight debut in July of this year at a show held in Phoenix, Arizona. He won by finishing with a last-gasp choke against the top-ranked player in the entire state. In total, his record stands at seven official fights with six wins and only one loss, including a triumph at Jungle Fight 99, in Rio de Janeiro. Pending confirmation, Rafael is looking forward to returning to the Octagon in October or November to gain valuable positions in the league rankings.

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