Claudio Calasans was impressive in 2010, having won his weight group and the absolute at the World Pro, in Abu Dhabi. But the Atos black belt, with his mixed bag of tricks, wants a lot more. Whether through takedowns, sweeps or,of course, submissions, Calasans is seeking all the titles, mainly the Worlds, which ended up going to Marcelo Garcia last year. He’ll have no lack of drive, starting now at the European Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
Check out the GRACIEMAG.com interview:
What are your main objectives for 2011?
I intend to compete at all the main IBJJF events. I’ll do the European Open now and then I’ll focus on the Pan, Brazilian Nationals, and Worlds, as well as the World Pro and ADCC tryouts. My principal focus is the World Pro and Worlds, although I always train a lot to be ready for all the events. The first of the year will be the Euro and I’m prepared to give it my best.
Do you think you can win at weight and open weight in Abu Dhabi again? How are you preparing for that?
Of course I can! I believed a lot in it last year and I’m going there with the same confidence this year. I have it in my head that to win the title I’ll have to train double what I trained because everyone’s been studying my game. Nevertheless, I already train every day to always be one step ahead of my adversaries.
Will team Atos enter the absolute at full force at the World Pro again, like it did last year?
For sure! We’re already gathered, training, and this year we’ll take a bigger team than we did last year. There are some guys who won the tryouts, others who will compete at the upcoming tryouts, and there’s one thing I can say: all of us will be determined to win!
Do you see any advantage to being a little lighter than the really big guys in the absolute?
I don’t feel my main advantage is a difference in weight but my style of Jiu-Jitsu, which catches opponents by surprise in a number of ways. Mainly there’s my fight tactics – they don’t know if I’m going to go for the takedown, pull guard or let them pull guard. I look to use tactics specific to each type of opponent. That’s why I train in a number of situations, I look to surprise even when rolling with my teammates.
What about the World Championship in California, that’s missing from your mantle, isn’t it?
I’m going for more and more titles including the world title. However, I love participating at championships and overcoming new challenges. I’m not just going after a title, but winning most of what I compete at, preferrably everything I compete at (laughs)! Of course the Worlds is the main title to a Jiu-Jitsu player, it’s where you take front and center on the world stage. However, my “Worlds” is always the next competition I’m going to be in.
Will you be doing anything special to beat Marcelo Garcia, your opponent in the final in 2010?
I’m trying not to study just one opponent, because at middleweight there’s a huge list of burly guys. My secret is to train more and more, thus there’ll be less chance of getting caught by surprise.
Who are your favorite fighters, nowadays?
It’s hard not to mention my teammates, because we’re together training with each other every day, we’re very united, and the matches I watch most at championships are theirs. That’s why they’re on the list! These days there isn’t a Jiu-Jitsu guy who doesn’t like watching Roger (Gracie) compete and that includes me. I try to absorb as much as I can by watching his matches. Roger attacks and defends really well. It looks like an easy match, even when he’s against great guys.