To compete at the Jiu-Jitsu world championship has become synonymous with two things for Marcus “Bochecha” Almeida: winning the absolute and getting promoted. That was the case in 2009, when he closed out the division with teammate Yuri Simões and received his brown belt. This season the CheckMat representative closed out the division with Antonio Barbosa and was again promoted. A black belt, where he should remain for around 30 years before getting his red-and-black belt, Bochecha will have opponents like Roger Gracie to contend with. Bring on the challenges!
What was this series of promotions at World Championships like?
I won last year at heavyweight and absolute as a purple belt. This year, as a brown belt, I moved up a division and won the super heavyweight division and closed out the absolute with Antonio, a really tough guy of Bob Sponja’s in Paraiba, who has been closing out with me at the Brazilian Nationals for the last three years. I was promoted on the absolute winners’ stand. Cavaca gave me my black belt and I really wasn’t expecting it. I had only been a brown belt for a year.
After your win folks were warning Roger Gracie to take care…
They’re already putting that responsibility on me; no worries! But there’s nowhere to run. I won’t compete as a heavyweight anymore, in the ultraheavyweight there’s my master (Cavaca), so I have to stay at this weight, which is Roger’s. I have to go try and do what no one has been able to for a long while.
What did you think of your future opponent’s matches at the Worlds?
Watching Roger compete… There’s nothing left to be said. His Jiu-Jitsu seems to be flawless. A lot of guys seem like white belts against him. I have to train a lot. There’s no way to deal with him the way I am now! I have to train double to be able to do something next year or at the upcoming tournaments.
What will be hardest for you at your new belt level?
Now everything changes. As they say, it’s a new beginning. Match duration increases, as does your adversaries’ experience and I’m going to learn with every match. I competed against a lot of black belts at the World Pro qualifiers, but the matches were shorter and different. I’m anxious, but I’m ready for whatever comes my way.
I’d like to thank all my teammates, Cavaca – who is my master –, my father, sponsors, Lucas Leite and everyone at CheckMat in the United States. Of course I’d also like to thank everyone at GRACIEMAG.com.