View Full Version : Exclusief interview Danillo Villefort, grondlegger Blackzilians

05-05-2016, 15:50
As one of the pioneers of the Blackzilians is Danillo Villefort, a true mixed martial artist that has extensive experience in judo, B.J.J. and M.M.A. His father is a well-known vale-tudo champion from back in the days. Next week in Holland the first UFC event will be held which is a big milestone in combat sports in the Netherlands. The co-main and main event has names that Villefort have seen up and close. Bigfoot Silva he has a history with when they trained in ATT, Overeem was once part of the Blackzilians and Struve is now a Blackzilians. So itís very interesting to hear his opinion about the fights this weekend in Rotterdam. So it was time to ask him some questions:

You are from a family of fighting, your father is a fighter, your brother is a fighter and yourself. Whatís the story of your family and how important is fighting in your family?

Yes, fighting is very important in our family. My father himself was a great fighter back in the days. Heís been a black belt since 1979 and has over 200 vale tudo matches. He moved to Rio de Janeiro and start train at the Gracie academy. He was very poor and couldnít afford the gym fees so he start doing the laundry for them. Back then the gis where washed at the gym. He was a great student and very helpful so he became good friends with Carlson Gracie and start helping as a sparring partner. He then moved to Brasilia and start working as a body guard for the president and stopped fighting. We all are martial artist in our family and thatís what we love to do. I donít see myself doing something else.

The Blackzilians are one of the biggest martial arts gyms in the States with some high level coaching and a big group of fighters that fight professional on the big stage. How is the team now, can you break down how the team operates?

Yes, the Blackzilians are doing great. We have a big group of fighters and a select group of high level coaching. Henri Hooft runs the striking with his nasty Dutch style kickboxing. Greg Jones is the wrestling coach and is one of the most successful American collegiate wrestlers of all-time. Then we have Neil Melason, heís our M.M.A. grappling coach with some amazing training method and tons of experience. He trained Randy Couture for a while, the guy is a stud. And my man Jorge Santiago is our B.J.J. coach, he bring so much experience to the table and is one of the veterans in the sport of M.M.A. There are so many people involved in the team itís hard to name them all but at the moment there are like 40 guys in the gym training there asses off to fight hard. Some names people will know but there are so many guys that are trying to make a name for themselves. We all share the same philosophy; Blackzilians donít walk backwards.

You have a pretty impressive record of 14-5 but the last fight was almost three years ago. Whatís going on with you and whatís your current role?

I have been around since the Pride days in Japan, helping a lot of big guys like Minotauro, Mario Sperry, Murilo Bustamente and many others. So my body took a lots of damage along the years, and after my last fight against David Branch, I decide to take a break. Iím working for JACO trying to develop the company in Brazil. I also do some of management behind the scenes. But my passion is teaching kids, I run the kids martial arts program, itís awesome! We always have a fighter as a guest coming to teach a little something to the kids, they love it! My mission is try to help as much kids as I can with martial arts! Now I'm back on track, it's been incredible 8 months of training, I'm comfortable and ready to fight again. Next fight is set for June 3rd for FFC in Daytona Beach, FL. I will be facing Justin Beasman, let's see what he brings to table! I'm looking forward for 3 rounds, I miss a dog fight so bad, hope he brings his best.

Next week we have the big UFC Netherlands event coming up. Your teammate Struve is fighting an old team mate of yours; Bigfoot Silva. How important is that fight for Struve and Bigfoot and how important is that fight for you and what do you expect?

That's a very important fight for the heavyweight division and they both need this win pretty bad. Bigfoot won one of his last six fights, Struve also needs that W since he also is coming out of a lose. It kind sucks to have two of my friends fighting. But the best I can do is hope they can come in a great shape and put up a great show. I will be having a beer and may the best man win!

There are more Dutch people in the gym as Henri Hooft is the striking coach and Tyrone Spong being there doing his boxing training and Glory champion Robin van Roosmalen M.M.A. training with the Blackzilians. What do you think about them, can you tell of each one a bit of how they do in the gym and how important they are?

Henri is the Sensei, he has that martial art mentality, tough and he means business! He's a nonstop champions making machine. He knows how to push us in a way that we all feel progress in the game, heís a very important part of our success.

Tyrone has so much experience that just to be around him watching him train is a tremendous opportunity, it's precious! But not very healthy, I don't recommend to spar with him hard, kind of scary when shit gets heated up. I remember last time, I end up in the emergency room with a concussion. Lol...

Robin is a stud, true champion that is always motivating all the lighter guys in our gym and is sharing his technic and knowledge. Everyone loves him here. Great to watch him developing his MMA game, tremendous potential, he's hungry to learn. I see a bright MMA career for Robin. But what I would really love to, is to watch a MMA fight between Robin Van Roosmalen vs Andy Souwer, that is my wish for Santa Claus 2016!

Like in each gym people come by, some leave and some stay. Belfort and Overeem are not listed anymore as team members. Overeem is now fighting the main event against Arlovski and Belfort versus Jacare. Can you tell us some insight how it was to have these veterans in the gym and also see them leave and what you expect from the main event next week and co-main event a week later at UFC 198.

Was great to have them here, the exchange of information was good, but it didn't work out for some reason. Belfort is a business man, and since the beginning we knew that he is being a Blackzilian was just temporary. Overeem never really trained with us, always did his own thing. But we are all cool, wish them both the best of luck. Jacarť and Belfort will define which Brazilian will be fighting for the title next. Vitor and I work with the same conditioning coach JC Santana, he told me Vitor looks scary! But I believe Jacare has a lots of skill, let's see what they can do. Can't wait to watch it, will be amazing! Overeem will probably demolish Arlovisk and party hard in Rotterdam doing DJ stuff or something.

Some other big names I would like to run by, Anthony Johnson and Eddy Alvarez; both are in title contention as Alvarez will get his opportunity and Anthony Johnson that is knocking on the door for a title as well. What can you tell us about these guys?

I believe AJ will fight Glover next, would be a great scrap! But I don't know what was decide yet, if they will fight or wait for the title shot . He has the tools to break Jon Jones. Listen, we are training together for about 5 years, I have seen this gorilla put at least 20 people to sleep, in "practice"! :)

Eddie is an extremely smart and meticulous fighter, he will bring hell to RDA, I know that! We are determine to bring a UFC belt home in 2016.

We are talking mainly about the big names because of the platform they perform at but the Blackzilians have big talents fighting in big regional shows working on their record to end in either UFC or Bellator and make a name for themselves. If Iím not mistaking you are responsible for the amateur fighters in the gym that are looking to fight professional one day. What can you tell us about all the fighters that are not in the big shows like UFC or Bellator and are there coming new talent in?

Yes, we do have some killers here hustling their way up. We had a lots of good guys coming and join us, but now we are seeing our own guys doing good and performing well. We have Irwin Rivera, that is been with us since he's first amateur MMA fight, now he is 5-1 as pro. Caio " Uruguai " Rocha, kid is a straight up killer, 4-0 fighting for Titan FC. But the young guy in the team that is a true veteran is my young brother Yuri Villefort. He's first pro fight was in Thailand when he was 15, and he won by KO, kid is nasty! Now he is back to that championship mode. Extremely organized like could never imagine that he would ever be!
Can't wait to see this guy back in the top level competition