Thirteen years ago, Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo was one of the stars of the show. At the first UFC in Brazil, in 1998, the Marco Ruas student brought the crowd to its feet to match sinews with barroom brawler David “Tank” Abbott, and he came out with flying colors. Now working behind the scenes on Anderson Silva’s training team, Pedro doesn’t feel any nostalgia at all.
“It was important. We were trailblazers, but there’s no way to compare it with what the people of Rio are witnessing today, in and out of the ring. It wasn’t just a different reality, it was a different sport,” says Rizzo in analysis.
“There were different rules, different facilities, different purses… In a nutshell, it was a time when Tank Abbott was one of the stars of the UFC. These days not one Tank Abbott would make it into the UFC. The Tank Abbott of today would, perhaps, be Roy Nelson, for his physique. In other words, the Tank of today is much, much better and withstands a lot of punishment too,” he says with a grin.