Back after surgery, Cavaca soon to compete

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Cavaca catches Igor Silva by foot at Brazilian Nationals. Photo: Gustavo Aragão.

Rodrigo Cavaca had a great year of competition in 2010, becoming world, European, and Brazilian National champion of the ultraheavyweight division. Now recovered from knee surgery, Cavaca is getting ready for 2011, which could start for him in January, with the European Open or World Pro trials.

Find out more in the black belt’s conversation with

When will you next compete?

My priority for the first half of the year is the World Pro tryouts and World Championship. I’ll likely do the Abu Dhabi tryouts in Portugal, on January 15, or in Poland, on February 12. I’ll sign up for the European Open but I’m not sure if I’ll compete yet. I’ve only been back in training for twenty-two days, ever since I recovered from the operation. I’m already training hard, three times a day, and doing physical conditioning. If I qualify at the tryouts, I’ll compete at the World Pro too. This year I’m going to hold a strong camp here in the United States for CheckMat team in the lead-up to the Pan and Worlds. I’m going to rent a house for the whole gang to stay at. I sealed a sponsorship deal and we’ll have the right to three meals a day and even physiotherapy. I’m also opening my third academy here in Florida, so everything is going great.

Tell us about the operation.

I had an injured cruciate ligament in my knee. I got hurt while training for last year’s Brazilian Nationals. I kept training, but after the Worlds, I had to operate, since I couldn’t take the pain anymore.

Cavaca, in photo by Regis Chen

Last year you won the Worlds for the first time as a black belt. Do you feel you have a shot at taking a second and winning the absolute this year?

I really want to win the title for a second time, but I’m also going to try for the absolute. Last year I managed to make it onto the podium at nearly every absolute I participated in. In Europe I lost in the final and at the Pan, Brazilian Nationals, and Worlds I took third. Each year has been better than the last, and if it continues that way, I hope to make it to the final at the Worlds. Of course, it’s no easy talk, you have to be at your best because everyone will be on fire. But I think this time I’ll be better prepared. So I want to make it to the final of the absolute and – who knows? – face Roger (Gracie) in the decider. We’ve already faced off a few times in the part. He’s a tough guy, but I’m aware that some day I’ll get my chance.

He has what it takes to be like Roger Gracie.”

Your student Marcus “Bochecha” received his black belt and managed a number of significant wins in the second half of 2010. Is your money on him for this year’s Worlds?

Bochecha has been a black belt for five months and has won everything, beating guys like Bernardo Faria. The kid is making his way to the top and surely has what it takes to be like Roger Gracie.

Do as Rodrigo Cavaca does, participate in IBJJF events. The first is the European Open, on the coming 27th to 30th of January in Lisbon, Portugal. Find out more by clicking here.

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