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Gian Villante, UFC fighter and heartthrob?

Sweat drips off Gian Villante after a jiu-jitsu

Sweat drips off Gian Villante after a jiu-jitsu training session. Gian Villante and other UFC fighters, including Chris Weidman, trained Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at the Serra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Levittown. (Credit: Newsday / Chuck Fadely)

The actual, more traditional journalism story advancing Gian Villante’s fight on Sunday against Fabio Maldonado at UFC Fight Night will arrive on the Internet later this week and perhaps in Sunday’s newspaper as well.

For now, here’s a little bonus material from our interview last week. Just too funny to keep out of public view.

Most fighters use a nickname to help establish, ironically, their name. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Jon “Bones” Jones, to name a few.

Villante gets introduced in the following manner: “Gian Villante.”

No nickname for the Levittown product. But if Matt “The Terror” Serra and “The All-American” Chris Weidman get their way, well, let’s just say the marketing potential could be big.

Their preferred nickname for Villante to use? “The Heartthrob.”

In fact, that’s pretty much how Serra addressed Villante last week during his advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class.  “C’mon ‘Heartthrob’” was a frequent phrase bouncing off the walls at his academy in Levittown.

Villante takes it all in stride and enjoys the fun. But he’s realistic, too, up to a point.

“That’s not up to me,” Villante said. “That’s up to the public and how good my hair looks.”

Wait, there’s more.

“You can’t just say I want this to be my nickname,” Villante said. “When Joe Rogan goes, ‘Man, this guy’s hair is so good, he is so good looking, I’m gonna have to start calling him ‘The Heartthrob,’ that’s when I’ll be ‘The Heartthrob.’ That’s pretty much up to Rogan and Mike Goldberg, or whoever announces it in Brazil.”

That hasn’t stopped Weidman and Serra from pushing their agenda.

“Chris and Matt have been thinking of ways for me to walk out, different music, have a rose in my mouth,” Villante said. “We’ve had some real fun with it.”

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