Three-time world champion Celso Venícius had gone since the 2010 installment of the event without competing and only managed to get two week’s of intense training in for this year’s World Pro. Once in Abu Dhabi, the Roberto Gordo black belt beat some of the trickier opponents in the under-74 kg division, stopping only at Leandro “Lo” Pereira in the final. In the following interview the teacher at Ryan Gracie academy confirmed he will be at this year’s Worlds, which may mark his competition farewell.
We spoke before the World Pro and you said you were hardly able to train for the event. So was second-place a good result for you then?
It’s always nice to win. I lost in the final but do feel I did have a good run up till then. I faced a bunch of really stalwart opponents and managed to beat them. Considering how little I trained, I feel I did well. I had four really tough matches on the first day, and having only trained for two weeks, I exceeded my expectations. But regardless of the physical form I’m in, I always fight to be champion.
So what do you think happened in the final against Leandro?
I already knew Leandro from around here in São Paulo because he’s faced a number of my students. I’ve had my eye on him for some time. I already knew he was tough, and he had an excellent campaign. What’s there to say? He eliminated favorites like Michael Langhi. I feel I fought poorly against him, didn’t perform at full capacity. I beat two opponents I really wanted to beat (Gilbert Durinho and Rubens Cobrinha) on the first day, so perhaps that threw me off focus, seeing as I was so pleased with myself. Then, Leandro was better and beat me; he’s to be congratulated, props to him.
Who to you were the main standouts in Abu Dhabi?
Tanquinho kicked butt in the under-65-kg class. Atos brought its best guys and he beat them one by one; it was impressive. Lagarto was on fire too – he’s been around a long time and even beat cancer. He’s a great friend and it was really touching to see him; I was really pleased. But the big standout was Rodolfo Vieira; he’s a beast and plowed through everyone in his way. I feel those three plus Leandro were the standouts.
You’ve also told GRACIEMAG.com in the past that the 2011 Worlds will likely be your competition farewell. Is that still the case?
Count me in at the Worlds. I’d previously said I’d fight this Worlds and then rethink my career. Winning a tournament or two won’t change my situation as a teacher at all, I’ll always go back to that. But I’ll be at the Worlds; I’m going to put in some intense training for it. I want a win at this championship to wrap up with crowning glory.