Ninja tells the secret to finishing: “I train in the gi all the time”

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Ninja sinks an arm-triangle at Bitetti Combat. Photo: Carlos Ozório

Murilo Ninja was typecast as a striker in MMA, especially with his roots in Chute Boxe, a team known to focus on the art of muay thai. However, since his last win, against Jeremy May at Impact FC, the fighter’s record is tied at nine knockouts and nine submissions, proof the Brazilian is just as polished on his feet as he is on the ground. Ninja with about his latest triumph and tells how he gets his Jiu-Jitsu so well honed.

Who is your grappling coach these days?

These days I train with Raphael Simpson of Gracie Barra Curitiba. He’s the one improving my ground game. We trained specifically for this last opponent. Truth is I did a lot more ground training than standup for this fight. Thank God I managed to land on top, which is where I wanted to be, and carried out my game plan. When he reversed, I managed to go down well and get the finish. I was prepared to fight on top or on bottom.

But do you often wear the gi in training?

I train in the gi, I put on the gi all the time. When I train Jiu-Jitsu, I do so in the gi because that’s how you get more refined, in my opinion. So I really do train in the gi. When there’s a fight coming up, a few weeks out, I take it off.

Ninja tests his guard in MMA. Photo: Carlos Ozório

What did you make of this new promotion Impact FC?

I thought it was a great event and well organized. In some respects it even matched the level of Pride and I never imagined it would be so good. We stayed in a great hotel, there were really good perks for the fighters.

What are your upcoming commitments?

It seems Impact will hold an event in Rio in September, Australia in October, Japan in December. I have a fight confirmed for November in Israel. So I’m looking to fight four times.

Check out an old-school training clip with Ninja and now UFC fighter Thiago Silva:

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