After announcing his retirement from MMA , Renato Babalu plans to return to Jiu-Jitsu. At 38, Babalu has had 48 MMA fights – and only 11 losses – throughout his brilliant career. He is looking forward to returning to rolling on the mat. Renato, who lives in California – where he runs his academy, ‘Babalu’s Iron Gym’ is looking at competing again. He will return to competitions wearing the gi. Babalu is enrolled in the second edition of the World Master and Senior IBJJF, in Long Beach, Calif., this weekend. Renato Sobral will fight in Senior 1 super heavy.
In chat with GRACIEMAG (In Portuguese), Babalu analyzed BJJ stars in MMA, spoke of new techniques and said: “Jiu-Jitsu helps my mental hygiene.”
“MMA today has a number of Jiu-Jitsu champions seeking the top spot. Who do you think you can get there? Braga Neto, Ronaldo Jacare, Roger?
Those three black belts have a big chance of success in MMA, because they are finishers. The ideal Jiu-Jitsu for MMA is the one with good submissions because the rounds are just five minutes long and scoring pattern is different.
What motivated you to fight a competition like the World Master and Senior?
I never competed much in Jiu-Jitsu, but was very competitive in wrestling. So for me it is a new beginning. My intention is to have fun like I always did in MMA and wrestling, and I want to return to the root of amateur sport. It’s like my teacher Roberto Leitão taught me one day, because we are amateur with love, and have an undying passion for Jiu-Jitsu thanks to the people who introduced me to art teachers Carlos Gracie Junior and Roberto “Gordo” Correa. Jiu-Jitsu helps me get out of a jam every day whether on the mat or in life. It’s good for my mental hygiene and to renew my batteries.
How is training for the competition?
My life has not changed much, I’m still training twice daily from 8am to 7pm. Training in the gi every day. I’ve been trying to keep up to date with the new IBJJF rules, and learning berimbolo [laughs].”