After overcoming psychological and drug addiction problems for many years, the BJJ legend has recently made a brilliant comeback. He won a tournament in Mexico, and in a return to Brazil’s mats after a long layoff he beat Barbosa Jiu-Jitsu rep Guilherme Carturam in a supermatch at Campeonato Nacional in São Paulo.
He has confirmed that he will participate in the IBJJF European Championship in Lisbon, Portugal, where he will be competing in the adult division, eventhough he is already in masters.
You spent a week training at Alliance São Paulo. How did that go?
It’s always great to catch up with Fabio Gurgel, especially when he takes you aside and puts you through the wringer. I always learn things when I’m around him. Fabio has a lot of wisdom to pass on to those who he likes, and I’m so glad to be one of them.
You’re returning to serious training with the team. How do you see your evolution coming?
I’m managing to evolve thanks to the people I have around me. My family, my trainers, training partners, my sponsor Casca-grossa Fightwear. I’m training really hard, three times a day. I want to be better than I was before–not just at Jiu-Jitsu, but as a person too.
You’ve said you’re going to compete in the adult division at the January 2013 European Open. How are your plans coming along?
Everything’s going great. I’m dedicated to competing in the adult age group, not to belittle the people my age. I spent a long time at the top of the middleweight division; I know there are a lot of great athletes at that weight but I’m fully dedicated to winning gold against them. Who knows?