Absolute champion of the world, Marcus Almeida (CheckMat) is the main attraction at the San Diego, California leg of the WPJJC Trials, coming up this weekend of the 26th and 27th at Miramar College. Also in the running for all-expenses-paid trips to Abu Dhabi are Roberto Tussa, Clark Gracie and Marcos Torregrosa. Bochecha talked to our Nalty Junior.
GRACIEMAG: The San Diego WPJJC Trials is considered one of the best in the USA. Why did you decide to start off the Jiu-Jitsu season with this tournament?
MARCUS BOCHECHA: I’ve been doing these Abu Dhabi WPJJC Trials since 2010, when I won for the first time [in Rio de Janeiro], and I want to keep competing at these tryouts. I feel this one is really organized, and it’s nice to compete at a competition of this caliber, as it’s a great way to start the year. After all, there will be big names there; the promoters always respect the athletes and try to do everything they can not to get behind schedule; they are concerned with the refereeing. They’re to be congratulated. I hope to get my travel package to Abu Dhabi this weekend. If things don’t go to plan, then we still have some other options, like the tryouts in Hawaii and Miami.
And the plan is surely to win in Abu Dhabi again in April and try for a first absolute title there…
The Abu Dhabi championship is really interesting to me. Despite the difficulty in winning a spot and getting there, in 2010 I competed there for the first time and won bronze as a brown belt. In 2011, already a black belt, I lost in the final. And in 2012 I finally managed to win it, in my weight class. So I have high expectations for 2013. It’s all about moving up step by step. I’m training hard and will only rest after the 2013 Worlds.
How are your preparations going? Can you explain to GRACIEMAG.com readers just what you’re doing?
Training is going strong. The team here is tighter knit than ever and we’re getting together daily. We have five to eight black belts at the academy—and anyone who lives outside Brazil knows how unusual it is for that to happen with any frequency. I can tell you that training is first rate. My diet’s getting better now. I’ve managed to keep a balanced diet, with plenty of organic foods. And my girlfriend’s a great cook, so that makes it easier to eat well (laughs).
Who are your training partners?
All tough guys. We’ve got our leader Lucas Leite, who brings the team even closer together; the heavyweight João Assis, who’s going through a great phase and just opened his own academy; and Marcelo “Lapela” Mafra, who’s one of our most technical athletes and is doing great in MMA with three wins. He’ll be fighting at King of the Cage on Feb. 7, and he’s sure to win. We have Marco “Sharpei” Machado, Robson “Robinho”, who is training hard and will give everyone a run for their money at tournaments, and then there’s Samuel Quito, who’s in Bellator and has been doing great. And there’s still a bunch of guys who live far away and only come in when it’s training-camp time, to make the team even stronger for the Pan and Worlds.
The folks here in the comments section have been calling for an encounter between you and Rodolfo Vieira, possibly in a supermatch at Copa Pódio in April or at the Pan…
I feel our paths are bound to cross in 2013. After all, Rodolfo’s an exceptional athlete and has been coming up with good results, not to mention that he’s good people. For sure we’ll have more matches like our last two, the score now standing at one apiece. We’ve got what it takes to do more like the last one, at the Worlds, which was an awesome one. It’s always a pleasure to fight an athlete like him, one who really goes on the attack and goes for the tapout. That’s why our matches are always good, not those snoozers that put you to sleep.
The year 2012 is so far the most significant in your career. What are your hopes for 2013?
For sure 2012 was the best year of my life, as I achieved a number of goals. But I’m not getting complacent. I’m already doing what I have to to make 2013 even better. I’m going to compete at the same competitions and aim to repeat the same accomplishments; plus this year there’s the ADCC, a No-Gi championship I’ve always dreamed of competing at. I’m confident I’ll get invited to go this year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year.