The 4th South American Jiu-Jitsu Championship, which shook up Santa Catarina, Brazil between the 21st and 22nd of November, marked the return of Carioca Celso Venicius to competition. Not having competed since 2008, when he suffered a knee injury, the commander of Ryan Gracie Academy made it to the top of the winners’ podium on his return. And there was no lack of motivation to be successful in his comeback bid.
“I receive an athletic scholarship from the federal government and this year I hadn’t competed yet. All I was doing was physiotherapy on my knee. Besides it being my friend Claudio Arrais’s competition, I needed an international title to keep my scholarship. Besides all that, and despite having gone so long without training, I went for it,” says Celso, in a GRACIEMAG.com interview.
You are three-time world champion of the lightweight black belt division, but won in Sao Jose, Santa Catarina, as a middleweight. What will you do for the 2010 Worlds?
I’m not concerned about that yet because I didn’t feel any lack of strength or anything. I weight 80kg and will do what my body feels good doing. I didn’t train too much and weighed in at middleweight. Perhaps if I train more I’ll lose weight. So I’m going along with my body. What I want is to be at the Worlds. I don’t know about other events, but the Worlds is where I want to fight.
What are your plans for 2010, besides the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship?
I want to make my MMA debut. I’ve been training MMA with Roberto Gordo since I was 18. I stopped because for competitions, but I’ve been training MMA for a while. The folks here are fighting and I want to, too, if just to feel the adrenaline. I’m waiting on an offer.
Gabriel Vella announced his exit from Alliance and returned to Ryan Gracie team. How is training with him going?
Vella’s back. Even though he’s been with a different team for awhile, I think his heart was always here at Ryan Gracie. Ryan added a lot to his life. He is already training with us. Training with the new kids is really good. The team has grown a lot. We’re moving along little by little, but we’re getting there. At the South American we only had five athletes in the adult division and took second overall. Several teams went in strong, with ten times more athletes than we had, and we put up a fight. We’re starting to structure ourselves and, next year, we’ll make some noise.