That trip resulted in a first-round knockout victory over Ike Villanueva. Pedro fought with surgical, subdued fury that night, picking his punches and damaging Villanueva’s legs before ending the fight with a few right hands. In just five minutes of work, Pedro finished the book on his comeback.
“It was an incredible feeling,” he said. “Just winning meant so much, and it was just amazing to be back in there. The feeling of being in the Octagon, and there’s nothing like it when you can’t, so I loved it.
UFC 278 INTEGRATED: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4
Although the narrative around this fight and performance has swirled around the hurts and dark times that an extended return to action can bring, Pedro isn’t shy about talking about it. In his words, he simply appreciates “the fact that people want to ask me questions about my life”. That said, nothing beats that walk to the Octagon.
He will soon experience that fighting feeling again, this time with just four months between competitions. In preparation for a fight with Henry Hunsucker, Pedro returned to City Kickboxing in Auckland, New Zealand – the home of Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker and Kai Kara-France. There, Pedro regularly works with Eugene Bareman and fellow light heavyweight Carlos Ulberg.