He could have had a completely different sporting career. A very good wrestler in his teens, Helder Fernandes cut this sport off for one detail, which he laughs about today: “the outfit”. “I was good, I think I could have done something in this discipline! I really liked wrestling, but because of the tight-fitting suit, I didn’t want to compete. Every time, I’d find an excuse so that my friends and parents wouldn’t come and see me. I was young, and as the sport hadn’t yet been democratized, I was ashamed.” So, after a stint in kickboxing in his late teens, Helder Fernandes finally chose MMA, and quickly established himself as a spectacular fighter. Of his eight career victories, he now boasts, at the age of 31, a total of seven finishes, evenly divided between K-O and submissions.
“It’s no longer enough to fight and go home”.
A top performer inside the cage, Helder Fernandes also wants to put on a good show outside it. “Once, for one of my fights, I made my entrance with two dancers to festive music from Cape Verde, my home country. I remember that a lot of people discovered me thanks to this entry, more than for my fight!” A showman’s persona that should please the public, on January 26, at Le Zénith in Paris. “It’s important to make an impact,” adds Helder Fernandes. “It’s no longer enough to fight and go home; I’m aware that visibility is essential in the MMA world. But that doesn’t mean I overact ! In everyday life, I like to make people smile and entertain them as I can.”