Langhi’s division: “There are 6 or 7 who can win the Worlds”

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Alliance HQ in São Paulo had a special day this Wednesday, and did a brief investigation to report back to readers.

At midday practice, absolute champion of Brazil Bernardo Faria returned to training after the wounds on his face had healed. “It looks like I won an MMA fight; I had cuts all over my face,” smiled the 90kg Minas Gerais state-native.

Fernando Tererê showed up on special invitation, again rolling with former students Rubens Cobrinha and Michael and Michel Lanchi.

Fabio Gurgel raffled off four tickets to the Worlds in Long Beach, California, as promised. The lucky winners were Jackie, Matheyzinho, Michael and Michel Lanchi.

Lucky family, huh? chided Michael Lanchi. And the chat quickly evolved into five questions for the current lightweight champion of the world.

Michael Langhi beats Augusto "Tanquinho" Mendes at Worlds 2009. Photo: Regis Chen / Homepage photo: Ivan Trindade.

Two brothers won the raffle? What kind of luck is that?

Yeah… I started off in the Worlds on the right foot. I hope things keep going my way like that.

What are your thoughts on this special training of yours, after a Brazilian Championhip where Alliance lost to CheckMat?

It was great training. Thank God it happened at the Brazilian Nationals and not the Worlds. We lost some semifinals, some of the favorites from our team dropped out and we lost important points, but that happens at any big team. There will be pent up energy going into the Worlds for the whole team.

You can be sure the mood is great and the guys are already looking to the future. Bernardo [Faria] returned to training today and is really confident for the Worlds. He’s our cyborg; no one has more wind than him on the team. And we even had Tererê stop in. For those of us who were students at TT Jiu-Jitsu, having a chance to learn from him again was exciting. I was a blue, purple belt when he was my teacher, and now in the final stretch before a Worlds Championship I have the chance to learn from three masters: Tererê, Cobrinha and Gurgel. I can only be happy about that.

Did you learn anything new from Tererê, even with him having been out of action this whole time?

Jiu-Jitsu is part of Tererê’s nature. He can stay out for ten years and he’ll still understand everything that’s going on on the mat. He filled us all with joy today, and bid farewell saying he’ll be back to  stay at my place a few days so we can continue training. He’s a special guy.

What will be the easier at this June’s Worlds, the absolute or lightweight division?

I went to the Brazilian Nationals and just filmed everybody. I can only be happy about our weight group being such a tight dispute, like it’s always been, and will be again in Long Beach. I’m drawn to challenges, and now I’m even more fired up. I won’t be the winner, nor will it be another competitor; the winner will be the crowd and the sport, which just gets better for having so many first-rate athletes. There are six or seven who could win the World Championship. The one who’s best on the day will win; better technically and in better shape.

Six or seven? You, Durinho, JT, Lepri, Caloquinha, Tanquinho… Right, right. What about your brother Michel? The 2010 Pan had a lightweight absolute champion, Zach Maxwell. Is your brother not excited about giving it a shot?

Right, Zach and Michel have fought three times already. So far Michel has won the three. But that depends on Gurgel and Jacaré when the time comes because there are a lot of good guys at brown belt, and heavier guys. There’s IanMcPherson, world champion at weight and bronze in the absolute, Gustavo Junqueira… If need be, I’m sure Michel will be ready and may surprise some people. If all goes well this year, and he wins this Worlds too, we may be in for a surprise come the end of the year…

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