The 2010 Pan was a special one for Bernardo Faria.
The heavyweight once and for all entered the pantheon of gentle art stars with a double win in Irvine.
And in securing his spot in the select group of Pan absolute champions – a club with members the likes of Roger Gracie, Ronaldo Jacaré, Márcio Pé de Pano, Fernando Margarida and Nino Schembri, among others – the Alliance rep had the tough task of beating three world champions: Gabriel Vella, Rodrigo Cavaca, and in the final, Antônio Braga Neto.
What’s more, he won a gold medal in the heavyweight division by beating a fourth world champion, this time the USA’s Rafael Lovato Jr.
The momentum from his wins in Irvine were decisive in his greater conquest, in June, when Faria overcame Xande Ribeiro in becoming world heavyweight champion.
Nearly a year later, Bernardo will be back at the Pan to defend his two titles. In his baggage he carries a European title and the unpleasant memory of being submitted by the very Lovato, at the World Cup Pro tryouts in Poland.
When they meet in Irvine – If they do in fact meet – Faria will have a chance to return the defeat.
In an exclusive interview on the GRACIEMAG at the Pan Blog, Faria talks of his career, the lingering memories from 2010, and the challenges awaiting him month’s end at the 2011 Pan.