Leo Queiroz On Winning The Mundials, Tough Beginnings In UK & Building A Successful Team

 leo in logo 2

BFC UK‘s Leonardo Queiroz is an accomplished BJJ competitor from Brasilia, Brazil who came to the UK a few years ago in serach of new opportunities and a better life. In this interview with BJJ Eastern Europe, Leo talks about his Jiu-Jitsu story, his tough beginnings in the UK and how he built a successful team. Check it out:

1. Hi Leo, can you please introduce yourself to the BJJ Community of Eastern Europe? 

Hello, my name is Leonardo Queiroz, 35, I am from Brasilia, capital of Brazil. I am married with Jaqueline Turini, a Singer and we have a daughter called Katlyn, aged 2 and a half. I started my BJJ life when I was young ( 15 years old ) in Brasilia / Brazil at BFC Brasilia.

Some of my many BJJ Titles:  European Champion IBJJF – Lisbon / Portugal – 2010, Brazilian Team Champion CBJJ – Brazil, Third place World Cup CBJJO  Brazil, First Place at Munich International Open IBJJF – Munich – Germany – 2013 etc…But The Best title in my opinion is when I was BJJ world champion ( Brown Belt / Adult / Super Heavy Division ) and got my Black Belt on the podium, ( 24/07/2004 – Tijuca Tenis Club – Rio de Janeiro – Brazil ). I never will forget that day.

Leo was 2010 European champion

Leo was 2010 European champion

 2.How did you discover BJJ and how did you start training? Tell us about your BJJ journey

When I was young, I trained Capoeira and some boxing at street with some friends, that’s time we trained just for fighting in the street. I was crazy and just liked that. One day one guy punched me too much and I was pissed off with that situation. The next day one friend showed me the UFC 1 with Royce Gracie fighting and I loved that situation because he win and was so small and I thought: I have to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I just checked with some friends about where I can find BJJ Training and close to my house in Brasilia. There was one guy from BFC Brasilia – Brazil ( Marcelo Tigre ), a Banni Cavalcante student and I started my BJJ training with him. He is a big name in Vale Tudo and MMA . I got my Blue Belt with him and I have a big respect for him and all BFC Family. After one year I started to train BJJ with Pieze ( Ailson Henrique Brites ” JUCAO ) student and I learned so much BJJ with then. After it I Went to another club ” Deo Jiu Jitsu ” and started to train with Ronny Lis and he is a great teach and person also, and I learned so much BJJ with Ronny and Master Deoclecio Paulo ( 9rd Degree ), after long time I received my Purple Belt under his hands. After that Ronny Lis affiliated with Nova Uniao with the legend Andre Marola who had moved from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia and I started to get some BJJ Training with him and liked his style, I started to train everyday with Andre Marola, he started to teach me BJJ for competition, started to teach me the ” Half Guard Game “. I started to go to Rio de Janeiro to do Comp Training with Wendel Alexander and Andre Perdeneiras, great time in my BJJ Life, I never will forget it. I trained together with Bruno Bastos, Leonardo Santos, Ricardo Bastos, Thales Leite, Vitor Shaolin, Robson Moura, Ricardo Bastos and another big champions from there, I learned so much with all Nova Uniao Peoples, after long time Andre Marola moved back to Rio de Janeiro and I started to train just with my students, after that I went to Rio de Janeiro to compete at Copa do Mundo de Jiu Jitsu Olimpico ” CBJJO ” and I got 3r Place at this competition and Andre Marola Gave me Brown Belt. When back to Brasilia I had a personal problem wilth one Nova Uniao Teach of Brasilia and I had to leave from Nova Uniao. I have to say many thanks to teacher Andre Marola because he taught me the quality BJJ and he is great coach and person also. In 2002 I started to train at Cia Paulista Brasilia and where I made a lot of friends, got the good titles and gold at World BJJ Championship 2004 ” IBJJF ” and where I got my black belt at podium too.

Master Banni Cavalcante, Leo Queiroz and Carlao Barreto

Master Banni Cavalcante, Leo Queiroz and Carlao Barreto

3. How did you end up living and teaching BJJ in the UK?

Between September 2009 and January 2010 I got hard life at Brazil because I had no job and was just teaching BJJ and it don’t give too much money there. I sold one car for cheap to come to Europe. My big friend here ( in UK ) Thiago ( Monstro ) Borges and his wife Andrea helped me to come to UK with some money also. In January 2010 I competed at European Championship ” IBJJF ” in Lisbon – Portugal where I got gold at Black Belt / Master / Heavy Division. From there I came to UK with Thiago Monstro, I slept in his Flat, he and his wife helped me a lot when I started here and I wanted to say many thanks for then. After that, I left Thiago’s Flat to try live my life and worked in construction, cleaning and security too. Sometimes I didn’t have money to pay food and pay rent. Sometimes here I worked all month and the Boss didn’t pay me nothing because I didn’t speak English and didn’t have Visa here. Thiago introduced me to friends here and helped me to teach BJJ here too. Once Thiago’s friend put me to teach BJJ at one Korean Church in Kingston – London and I taught for some months there. After that I didn’t stop to teach and always I am trying to get more places to teach here. Now I am married with Jaqueline Turini ( Professional Singer ), we have one Daughter ( Katlyn / age: 2 and half ), and I have a nice and happy family.

4. Please tell us about your academy.

I am BFC UK: “ Banni Fight UK ” Head Instructor here, I am teaching BJJ and No Gi / MMA at www.basementmartialarts.co.uk in Saint Albans, there we have a quality BJJ team, Muay Thai team, we are a big family there, we have a good kids team also.


Leo’s team BFC UK

5. Please tell us about your master Banni Cavalcante, red and black belt.

My Master BANNI SCOVSCK CAVALCANTI DOS SANTOS  is a Red and Black black belt 7rd Degree is a legend, from Rio Grande do Norte – Brazil, where was created the BFC: Banni Fight Combat. Master Banni is the BFC Head Instructor and represent Master Carlson Gracie also, at Brazil he use BFC / Carlson Gracie but I don’t use Carlson Gracie name here, I use just BFC UK. He started to train with the Master Chico Hemetério e José Tavares, after that he went to Rio de Janeiro and started to train with Master Carlson Gracie.

6. What do you think about the growth of BJJ in the UK? What are threats and
opportunities for BJJ there?

In my opinion, BJJ here is growing too slowly. There isn’t much organization, any one teaches BJJ here. We need the IBJJF to organize UK’s BJJ, as the IBJJF / CBJJ is the true federation of the world. Here there are a lot of gyms with Blue, Purple belts teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and this is a shame of BJJ. At IBJJF rules if Purple and Brown belt want teach BJJ need some true Black Belt in the academy, need Team affiliate. One day I was at one shameful competition here and I tried to talk about rules with the referee and he said me: Here is not IBJJF. If the guy is referee and does BJJ, he needs to respect the BJJ rules, the IBJJF rules, need make a referee course rules and need learn the rules.

7. What’s next for you and your team in 2014?

Now I am trying open a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Project ( BFC UK HQ ACADEMY ) in LONDON, where I will teach BJJ / No Gi Lesson for free for everyone. All day will have training, 6:00 am to 23:00, I’m going to make Champions here. At my Team there aren’t any ” Nationality and Color “, just training for everyone, friends and family. If someone or company wants to help with this project just let me know here: bfcbjjuk@gmail.com / +447577950075 / Twitter: @ukbfc / @leoqueirozbjj / BFC UK Page.

If you want to thank somebody or sponsors, feel free

I want say thanks for my family, thanks my Master Banni Cavalcante for trust me the BFC UK, thanks my Sponsors ( Huno Company and Home Cinema Specialists ), my 2 personal trainers, ( Paulo Alencar: pauloalencar.co.uk ) and ( Joaquim Pimenta: www.muscularmax.com.br ), who help me a lot with diet and training and of course, thanks to all my students for helping me with my training and representing the BFC UK and thanks to the all BFC Family of the world!