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Leo Nogueira proclaims his return to the Jiu-Jitsu elite after results at the 2015 Pan

Leo Nogueira beat Keenan Corneliu's dangerous guard game to secure a place in the open class podium at the 2015 Pan. Photo by Ivan trindade/GRACIEMAG
Leo Nogueira beat Keenan Corneliu’s dangerous guard game to secure a place in the open class podium at the 2015 Pan. Photo by Ivan Trindade/GRACIEMAG

In 2012 he was 10 seconds away from writing his name in the most honorable list of Jiu-Jitsu competitors – the black belt open class world champions. A takedown by Marcus Buchecha took away Leonardo Nogueira’s chance of making it to the ultimate top of the ladder.

Even so, the two gold medals in his weight division, in 2011 and 2012, granted him a well-respected place among the elite of the sport. As time went on, tough, Nogueira seemed off and unable to repeat the performances of the past. In 2013 and 2014, results were not quite the same and his name sort of vanished from podiums at the most prestigious events.

The struggles in the near past made Leo Nogeuria a doubt at the 2015 Pan, but what many didn’t know was that the reasons that made him perform under the level he was used to were not there anymore, as he tell us in this exclusive interview.

Former roommates in São Paulo, Nogueira and Bernardo Faria returned to the routine of closing the superheavy division. Photo by Ivan Trindade/GRACIEMAG
Former roommates in São Paulo, Nogueira and Bernardo Faria returned to the routine of closing the superheavy division. Photo by Ivan Trindade/GRACIEMAG

“It happened with me what happens to many black belts that decide to focus on a career as a teacher. I moved to Miami, Florida, to teach and had a class full of beginners, which left me without a proper training partner. My daily routine would consist of teaching four classes a day and doing my physical training. That’s simply not enough to maintain a high performance. The best training I had was at Roberto Cyborg’s academy, but I could only go there once or twice a week.”

Frustrated with the bad results, Nogueira decided to change his life and his setting. Last February, he packed and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to train and teach at Alliance headquarters, with Master Romero Jacaré. Even with less than a month of the new routine, the improvement was clear.

“My training in atlanta already improved my game. I feel that I’m back to the elite. I’m able to go against all the high level guys at an even condition. I want to go back to my peak condition, when I was able to defeat guys like Xande Ribeiro, Marcus Buchecha, Antônio Braga Neto and others.”

But what were the actual changes Leo made in his training routine to have such a better performance?

“Now I’m training hard every day. It’s much more convenient to train and teach at the same place and have a Master like Jacaré to give you notes on what you are doing wrong. It’s just like when I was in São Paulo and Fabio Gurgel would not give me room to breath. I can honestly say I’m training more than ever!”

Leo Nogueira where he wants to be. Giving opponents no room to move. Photo by Ivan Trindade/GRACIEMAG
Leo Nogueira where he wants to be. Giving opponents no room to move. Photo by Ivan Trindade/GRACIEMAG

With thatm Leo’s horizons have broaded once again and the sky is indeed the limit.

“I’m back and I want to fight for my spot at the top once again. I’m young  and I still have a lot to evolve. My career is not over yet!”

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