(Aurelio teaching Dunham to keep his hands up.)
Heading into his MMA Live 1 welterweight bout with Matt MacGrath on May 19, Marcus Aurelio says he has a lot to prove to a lot of people, most notably himself.
The seasoned 37-year-old PRIDE, DREAM and UFC vet who is 4-2 in his last six outings is unhappy with the two blemishes he incurred on his record and is looking to erase them from the minds of fans with an impressive showing against MacGrath.
Although a hard-fought split decision loss to top tier UFC prospect Evan Dunham at UFC 102 back in 2009 left him with a bad taste in his mouth and without a job, his last loss against Shinya Aoki at DREAM 16 last September upset him more.
Aoki refused to engage on the feet and seemed content to take the decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt down and hold him there before washing, rinsing and repeating the process the whenever Aurelio would get back up. Although he relishes the opportunity to avenge both losses, he says that he would rather do so in North America.
“I want to fight Evan Dunham again. I respect that kid a lot. The fight was so close. I almost had him in a choke. If I held it a little bit more, I would have had him. At the end of the fight, they gave him the decision and I respect that and I respect him a lot, but I definitely want to fight him again for sure. The fight with Aoki was frustrating. He got me in a good position and he stole the fight. He never tried to strike or exchange jiu-jitsu with me. I only had one chance in the fight when he shot and I sprawled and I almost took his back and after that I almost got his arm. The rest of the fight was boring,” Aurelio points out. “I hope I can fight him again and maybe we can do a better fight. The way I see it, if the fight was in America like in the UFC, after a minute [of stalling on the ground] they would say, ‘Okay guys, time to stand up.’ They should have stood us up, but in Japan Aoki is the big kid and they would never do that. He’s the biggest name in Japan so they wouldn’t risk him losing on the feet where he is the weakest. He was avoiding striking with me. The rules and the referees over there are always going to help him for sure.”