Caio Terra compares Jeff Glover to Sonnen: “I’ll be wise to his little tricks”

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Caio Terra faz guarda contra Jeff Glover, na Jiu-Jitsu Expo de maio, na Califórnia. Foto: John Cooper

Caio Terra playing guard against Jeff Glover at the Jiu-Jitsu Expo last May in California / Photo by John Cooper

GRACIEMAG: On the coming 14th, at San Diego, California event Metamoris Pro, you’ll be in one of the supermatches people are most looking forward to, for being between two light athletes with nimble and finishing games. What are the dangers Jeff Glover brings to a match where points and advantage points don’t count?

CAIO TERRA: Jeff has a game that can catch you by surprise. He does the most improbable things. I slipped up last time, at the 2012 World Jiu-Jitsu Expo. I thought I’d won the match and got lured into his game. I got too relaxed. But this time I’ll be a lot more serious. I’m going to fight to put on a show for the spectators, of course, but I’ll be wiser to his little tricks.

Physical conditioning may make a difference in a 20-minute match between guys of such a high level. How are you preparing for that?

I’m doing my physical conditioning with Corey Beasley, one of the best personal trainers in California. I don’t much like lifting weights, so I’m working the gas. Three times a week I do quick movements and work with ropes and Versa Climber equipment, which works the endurance really hard and pushes the heart rate to the limit. It’s like climbing stairs with your hands in the air the whole time—the heart’s forced to work even harder to get blood throughout the whole body, since the arms aren’t relaxed and on top of that are up high, making it even harder for the blood to get to the hands. I rotate that with rope-work exercises where I work grips and keep my heart rate up there. It’s an excellent workout. Now, my Jiu-Jitsu training is planned by Itallo Vilardo, who’s famous among competitors in Brazil. Itallo has a great understanding of conditioning for Jiu-Jitsu, since he’s a whiz in the field and a black belt to boot.

At the start of the last match between you two, at the Jiu-Jitsu Expo, he turned his back on you. Is there some kind of bad blood between you?

Not in the least. The truth is that, at the time, I was training with my friend Denny Prokopos and he warned me he could do something like that. Jeff sometimes disrespects his opponents with some of his antics, but I feel he’s just good at promoting the sport, especially supermatches. There are folks who love the guy, want to watch every match he’s in, and that’s a good thing. There are also those who hate him, but even those guys want to watch him fight, even if just to root against him. There’s no doubt he’s a big draw.

He said that, with these rules, you don’t stand a chance of beating him…

He’s nuts. Look, these rules may favor a guy with his style, being a flexible guy and thus hard to tap out. What he must not have done is seen my matches. I’ve seen a bunch of his, and he rarely gets finished. But how many guys have finished me?! I do almost ten events each year, and I always pick the toughest ones. He just has to be careful not to start believing his own trash talk, otherwise he’ll end up crazy like Chael. Look, these rules also favor my Jiu-Jitsu, and just like the first time we faced each other, I think I’ll manage to dominate him from start to finish. I’ll be keener this time around.

You weigh 60 kg (132 lbs), so he has a 15 kg (33 lbs) advantage over you. Will weight make a difference? Can technique overcome weight more easily in a 20-minute match?

Keep in mind, the match is set for 70 kg (155 lbs); but he may well weigh in the day before and recover five kilos. I think even in one minute weight makes a difference. But technique should always prevail over weight. Jeff’s a technical fighter. If he beats me, it’ll probably be on technique, not strength. Strength can prevail over some techniques, but normally the win comes via technique, when a fighter exploits some aspect the other isn’t mastering perfectly. I like competing against the big guys to see what I’m doing well and where I need to improve.

How do you feel about this match? Any pressure or anxiousness?

No, I just want to have a good fight and entertain everyone who goes to watch the event. This event may be the first of many to come. We competitors need events like this one. Our sport is still far from becoming professional, but the efforts of the IBJJF in starting to pay [December IBJJ Pro event] and events with supermatches like Metamoris can add a lot and evolve into a new method. Who knows? Maybe one day the athletes will be able to just train and leave teaching seminars and classes for when they retire. For that to happen, though, we need to put on a good show so the audience likes it and supports the next tournaments to come.

What is it that really motivates you to take on the big guys?

I think I was always the lightest guy in the academy. I’m used to training with heavier guys. I strive to demonstrate for the little students that Jiu-Jitsu’s the only martial art where the weak can indeed overcome guys who are stronger and heavier, even if they’re at a similar technical level. When I was a beginner I really thought about quitting, so I like inspiring the guys to carry on. These days, we’re seeing the Miyao brothers and other lighter athletes winning absolutes, so I feel it’s important to do a good job representing the little guys.

Is there some secret or special technique for beating guys 20 kilos (44 lbs) heavier than you?

There’s no magic to it. You’ve just got to study positions and train a lot. So many folks want some shortcut to get better but it’s just like at school: there’s no easy route. You have to study to pass. Piddling around won’t get you to the top; at some point it’ll catch up to you. If you train consistently and study Jiu-Jitsu in depth, you’ll evolve. The only thing you can say for sure is that no one ever beats heavier guys just by becoming stronger. It’s technique that overcomes opponents.

Who have you been training Jiu-Jitsu with for you match with Glover?

I train every day with Flavio Meier, a black belt who teaches at my academy in San Jose. He has a very similar game to Jeff’s. I also train with my students and a bunch of black belts, like Augusto “Queixinho”, Samir Chantre, Leopoldo Serão, Sergio Santos, Jeff Gallioto, Carlos Melo, etc. Some of my black belt buddies aren’t training in the gi with me because it’s No-Gi season here in the USA. Still my camp has been really productive. I want to take the opportunity to thank all my students, because Jiu-Jitsu’s an individual sport yet victory comes from the group; no one wins on their own. Thanks also goes out to my coaches and to Gameness, clothing brand Amerikaz, and Versa Climber for all their help.

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