Gilbert Durinho was one of the standouts of the Abu Dhabi World Pro, winning the under 74 kg division. At the event, he beat beasts like Jonatas Tagarela, Celso Venicius and Claudio Caloquinha to take home 8,000 dollars in prize money. Now the black belt is focused on the Jiu-Jitsu Worlds, where he will have to face top-tier fighters like Michael Langi, among others. Check out the interview with the Atos representative.
Tell us about the current phase you’re going through. In Rio, you fought really well at the qualifiers and now in Abu Dhabi you secured the title.
Thank God I’m doing well; my head’s in the right place, which is very important. I’m training a lot and am confident. I’ve been evolving a lot and that’s reflecting in competition. I manage to impose the pace and sink the positions we work on at the academy. And that’s just the beginning, God willing. I still want a lot more.
What was it like facing Celso Venicius again? Were things tense because of the spat you had at the Rio qualifiers?
It was good. It’s always good to fight an opponent like Celsinho. He’s a great athlete, but I managed to get the better of him in both matches. We do have a rivalry, but it stays on the mat. We’re both professionals.
What will be the hardest part about the World Championship?
I believe the toughest part is always the training, the daily wear and tear in preparing for a competition like the Worlds. Training at Atos will go off. There are times when it’s much worse than the competition. Beyond that, it’s a tough event, with a really high level and everyone is well prepared. But we’re used to tough competition. At black belt there are no free meals at any event.
Right now Langhi is on top; tomorrow someone will take his place” Durinho
How would a match between you and Michael Langhi, your opponent in last year’s final who hasn’t lost in a long time, go?
I hope to develop my best and, God willing, leave there the winner. He’s beaten me a few times, but I’ve beaten him too. He’s going through an incredible phase, he’s to be congratulated. But Celso was in a phase like that in 2005 and 2006, Lepri in 2007, then Celso came back in 2008… Today he’s the man, tomorrow someone will take his place. It’s all about training a lot, because you have to be well trained to win this division, and that’s what I’m doing every day.
You go balls to the wall in all your matches. What’s your secret?
I’ve always had this style of wanting to go for it, to attack, to move around, pivot a lot. But, ever since I joined Atos, I improved. I started reconciling this characteristic with strategy, doing the right thing at the right time, and that improved my Jiu-Jitsu a lot.
After an excellent campaign in the intermediary belts, you had a hard time at black belt before consistently coming up with good results. Why?
I feel most athletes when they make it to black belt take a little while to adapt. There are changes like match duration, more experienced fighters and how to deal with all that. I also joined Atos right after getting my black belt, so there was that too. There are other positions there, a different style of training and strategy. I stayed cool and managed to get experience. With the results I’ve been having in competition I’ve gained confidence and still have some evolving to do. That’s what I’m training for. I’d like to thank God, the whole Atos team and my sponsors Red Nose, Hartmann, Emporio do Corpo. Best regards to the gang in Niteroi!
Check out the final between Durinho and Claudio Caloquinha: