In 2012 Jhonata Diniz entered the ranks of Glory with a solid decision win against Sebastien van Thielen at Glory 2: Brussels. Since that tie he’s racked up a 3-3 record in Glory with match ups against some of the most well known heavyweights in the world including Rico Verhoeven, Daniel Ghita and Hesdy Gerges. While these three names represent his three losses in the organization, Diniz continues to work at honing his craft and achieving his dream of being the best in the world. After nearly a two year absence from the Glory ring, Diniz returned in January at Glory 37: Los Angeles with an impressive win against Tomas Mozny and is now set to appear at Glory 42: Paris in a bout against Nicolas Wamba. In anticipation of this event in the city of lights, Jhonata took a few moments to update fans on what’s been going on.
LK: It’s seems like you were gone from Glory for a while before your bout in January. What have you been doing?
JD: Yes, it was in Turkey in 2014 against Hesdy, but when I was not in Glory I’ve kept fighting in other organizations. I’ve been a two time world champion in ACB, the organization in Russia. I’ve fought in Brazil and also in Turkey again.
LK: At Glory 42 you will face Nicolas Wamba. What is your strategy for this fight?
JD: Well he has two fights in Glory, one loss and one victory. He is a really tough fighter, a difficult fighter. The strategy is almost the same as my last fight, pressure, hard, punch hard also, kick a lot, make a lot of pressure because he moves around a lot, it’s almost like Tomas.
When watching Wamba’s fights I really don’t feel that he is stronger but he’s strange, you never know what he’s gonna do, in that way he’s dangerous. He moves a lot and has a quick kick, but I’m ready for everything, I feel sharp, I’m confident. I’m going to do well.
LK: What do you think was your best professional fight?
JD: I think my best fight was against Ghita. Everybody came to me after the fight saying, “Bro you were really brave, you’re a real fighter”. That was a really big fight and the most important for me.
LK: Why did you choose combat sports as a profession?
JD: It’s funny I was talking with a friend of mine in Brazil yesterday and I was saying that I never in my life thought that I wanted to be a fighter. One time my uncle came to me and said, “Hey, bro, stop fighting in the street, everybody kicks your ass, everybody punches you on the street, stop it man. You have to come to the gym, you have to learn self defense”. He brought me there and I started training but I only did it because he brought me there. I never thought, okay now I’m training, I want to be a fighter, never. My first trainer came to me and told me he had my first amateur fight and I thought, why not, I can do it. I did it and after I had 25 amateur fights. I won 25, 20 by knockout in the first round. Then I couldn’t have anymore amateur fights in Brazil, nobody wanted to fight me. So then I began to fight professionally. I had seven professional fights in Brazil. I fought two times against Saulo, I lost to him in Brazil. I won five fights in Brazil, one by knockout then noone would fight me again. My trainer told me it’s time to go somewhere else to fight. I then went to Holland and there I met Nick and Cor (Hemmers).
LK: What has your experience been like coming from Brazil to train in Holland?
JD: For me it’s really big. When I come to Holland, I train with really big names. I train with Errol, a couple of years ago I was training with Saki and Stefan Leko. I told a friend, when I was training I would watch those guys fight on the computer, I never thought in my life that I would meet them, and now I’m training with them and I fight them, it’s a dream.
LK: From the first time we met in 2013 you have really improved your English dramatically, was that very difficult for you?
JD: It was important for me, it’s a business language. I never studied English in my life, I just learned when I been with Nicky or other guys at the gym. I pushed myself to learn, if not, I’d be like a zombie in the gym, not able to talk with anybody.
LK: What does it mean to you to fight for Glory which is the biggest and best kickboxing organization at this time?
JD: I know that Glory is the biggest and best organization in the world. My focus and dream right now is to be the champion of this organization. I don’t know if I will do it this year or next year or in five years, I don’t care about when I will do it. I will take my time and fight with everyone the give me. I don’t care, I don’t choose opponents. If they tell me I will fight with Rico, the champion, in five years, okay I will wait for my time and these things take time, but when you do what you love it’s not a sacrifice
LK: If you could pick someone that you feel stylistically you match up well with and would make for an exciting fight, who would that be?
JD: I really think I would make a good fight with Adegbuyi. He has a different style than other guys in this organization.
LK: Once you’ve achieved your goals in kickboxing, have you thought at all about what you’d like to do then?
JD: I’ll have my gym and manage some fighters. Now we have really good contacts all around the world in China, Thailand and Holland also. It’s good business. Importantly, I want to have my own place, my gym and make my fighters. I want to have a fighter and have them grow with me through their career. To have them learn my style and my philosophy.
LK: It sounds like you plan to remain in Brazil. No plans to eventually move to Holland, Thailand or America?
JD: No, I never think about that. I have the most important thing in my life in Brazil, my mother. I have my family there. They always ask me why I don’t move to Holland you’re there so much, but I really cannot. Everyday I call my mother, face time her, I look at my dog also, but I’m really family friendly, that’s what is important to me. I really cannot live without my friends and my family in Brazil, they’re the most important thing for me. More important than kickboxing.
LK: Do you have any fights scheduled following the Glory event in Paris?
JD: I will fight in the WGP in Brazil on July 1st. In Brazil we don’t have many good organizations for kickboxing. WGP is the biggest in Brazil right now.
Jhonata Diniz is extremely humble not believing that he has many fans. He states that many of his peers like Jonathan Oliviera are more recognizable. He stated, “Many times when we are together everybody comes and give the phone to me to ask me to take pictures of them.” For those who are watching and would like to follow his career you can stay updated by following him on Facebook @Jhonata Diniz or on Instagram @jhonythai.
In closing, Diniz wanted to add, “For the fans of me and the sport, I’m really ready for this fight, I’m feeling good and confident and I was have really been training hard after I fought Mozny. When they let me know about this fight I started training twice as hard. I had a good camp for this fight. I cannot promise that I will bring the victory home, but we never know. I don’t come to lose though and I will give my best in the fight. I promise to give them a really good show.”
His passion and enthusiasm for the sport is apparent in his speech and the fight community looks forward to another strong performance from this front runner in the heavyweight division. We wish him the best of luck and check him out at Glory 42: Paris, live on Saturday June 10th at the AccorHotels Arena.