3 perceptions of Jiu-Jitsu that changed ADCC champ Vinny’s life

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Vinny Magalhães withstands Fabricio Werdum's pressure and defends the armbar at ADCC 2011.

Vinny Magalhães defends his arm from Werdum before celebrating victory in the ADCC final. Photo: John Lamonica.

A finalist during the eighth season of TUF, back in 2008, Vinny Magalhães, otherwise known as “Pezão”, left the UFC three years ago. In the meantime, he found he suffered from what experts call “duck syndrom”. That’s right, duck, that creature that swims, flies and runs but isn’t better at any one than the other.

“I’m going to focus on what I do best. I have to sharpen up my wrestling to get takedowns and concentrate only on MMA, nothing more, Vinny told the website MMAWeekly.com. “I don’t want do be like what I was three years ago, when I was doing a bit of everything but not good enough in any one thing,” added the champion of M-1 Global MMA promotion and the ADCC, the premier submission grappling championship in the world.

1. “WHO’D BE DUMB ENOUGH TO TAKE DOWN A JIU-JITSU GUY”

“I used to think that if the guy took me down I’d finish him. But think about it, who’d be dumb enough to take down a top-level Jiu-Jitsu guy? I lost some fights because of that, the way I lost to Eliot Marshall, a fight that played out entirely on the feet. The biggest change I made was to my mindset: I have to train like a professional fighter,” he stated, illustrating how he’s going about working towards his dream of fighting the best in the world in the UFC.

2. “TRAIN TO BE A FINISHER FIRST”

The owner of an attacking and creative game in the ring, Vinny is also known around Jiu-Jitsu circles for his limber ligaments, allowing him to escape otherwise painful subs unscathed and counter-attack decisively. GRACIEMAG.com couldn’t resist and asked him, “Can one train for this type of elastic defending? Is the best attack defense?”

“Look, I feel it’s more important to train to be a finisher starting when you’re at the lower belt ranks. That’s precisely what I’ve been focusing on ever since purple belt. As far as limber defenses goes, I sincerely don’t know if it’s something you can train for. It varies from person to person, comes with time. If just because I’d never risk the physical well-being of a student, should he not be as flexible as me,” reflects the Gracie Tijuca black belt.

3. “FIRST COMES PHYSICAL WELL-BEING. COURAGE COMES WITH TIME”

“When I withstand a hold, there really is some technique involved in what I do. But I feel that the factors of flexibility and courage, as with my defense against Fabricio Werdum in the ADCC final, was worth a lot more than the technique itself. When it comes down to it, can you practice that? You may very well be able to, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, just as no one ever recommended it or taught me to do anything like that,” he says in closing.

Refresh your memory of the ADCC final between Magalhães and Werdum:

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