Alexandre Ribeiro, a two-time winner of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship absolute division, guarantees he’s ready. After running roughshod over his adversaries at the IBJJF World Masters & Seniors Championship last Sunday, Xande will shed the gi and enter a submission grappling challenge against none other than Dean Lister, the current under-99 kg champion of the ADCC.
In the following interview, Xande praises his opponent but reveals that he’s in it to win it. He also states that he’s pleased with the rules and requests greater support for events like Metamoris.
Will the fact that you were invited to compete on such short notice hinder you in any way?
Not at all. I’ve been in shape the whole year and I train in and out of the gi every day. Truth is, I was the first one they talked to about this event; but I had some commitments that got in the way. Afterwards I ended up canceling my commitments but the card had already been finalized. Thank God everything worked out and I’m back in the show.
Dean Lister is a current ADCC champion, even tapping out Rodolfo on his way to winning the championship. What do you think of Dean Lister as an opponent?
He’s really dangerous. He’s got a really solid foundation of the basics and it’s really hard to do things to him. He’s got a really long body, has great defense and is great at attacking the legs. He has never been tapped out, I think, but I’m going to end that run. We’ll settle things on Sunday.
You’ve been living and teaching in San Diego for a long time now but are now in Los Angeles, while Dean Lister has an academy in the city. Do you think the crowd will be on your side?
I think it’ll be split because Dean’s from and has a huge academy there; but my gang will make more noise.
Everyone’s talking about the rules for the event, namely that matches can last up to 20 minutes and no points will be scored. What’s your opinion on that?
To me it’s great because my Jiu-Jitsu isn’t geared towards points, but making it to dominant positions. I’ve always liked fighting without points, thinking only of the finish. You either get the finish or nobody wins.
What’s your view of Jiu-Jitsu as it is now, and what’s your dream for the future of the sport?
I feel it’s grown considerably, and I’m happy that today Jiu-Jitsu has lots of practitioners. I’d just like for there to be more incentive from sponsors to make better events and provide more promotion and marketing for athletes.
You’re one of the greatest Jiu-Jitsu fighters of all times. What more do you want to achieve in your career?
My mission now is to compete and be happy. These days I don’t shoulder any responsibility, and compete to prove that my Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu spans generations. I’m already competing against guys who were blue belts when I was a black belt, and I’m still winning. The day I get worked over, dominated or submitted I may call it quits. So far only Roger Gracie has passed my guard, and I’m still waiting for someone else to pass it.
Do the Metamoris rules affect your strategy in any way?
What changes things a bit is the fact that I won’t be worried about landing on bottom, getting taken down. The good side is that I’ll be able to wait for the right moment to open up room for the finish. My strategy will remain the same: don’t make mistakes, capture positions, and stay tuned to the opportunities that arise.
You competed in the gi at the World Masters Championship last weekend, and now you’re going to compete without the gi. Does that set you back in any way?
My training is the same regardless. If I were going from No-Gi to Gi Jiu-Jitsu it would be a problem; but since it’s the other way around, there’s no problem. The World Masters Championship was awesome and sharpened me up for this event. I’ve done this before. In 2006 I had 14 matches in 7 days. I see no problem with it whatsoever. My focus is on practicing precision while staying keen to defense and breathing. I’m not focused on just one thing. You have to have things balanced when you’re in there.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
I’d like to thank those who’ve always unconditionally supported me. I have the greatest fans in the world. I thank my family and my sponsors: Do or Die, Hyperfly, Moskova, Undewear, Ride 100% Sunglasses and everyone at Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Team.