João Gabriel: “I came to train here because Cyborg’s the best no-gi grappler in the world”

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João Gabriel Rocha vs. Marcus Buchecha at the 2013 ADCC

João Gabriel Rocha vs. Marcus Buchecha at the 2013 ADCC

summer promoJoão Gabriel Rocha is getting ready for his second shot at an ADCC title.

After finishing second at the +99kg in Beijing, in 2013, he’s back from a cancer treatment to finally achieve his goal of winning the gold medal.

For that, he moved from his native Rio de Janeiro to Miami to train at Roberto Cyborg’s camp.

He explains why he did that: “I came here because Cyborg called me at the time of the 2013 ADCC. The wrestling training here is awesome and Cyborg is the best in the world in no-gi. I wouldn’t have a camp like this one in Brazil.”

Cyborg’s academy welcomed an impressive roster of black belts ranging from Rodolfo Vieira to José Mario Sperry with Abraham Marte, Vagner Rocha and Victor Silvério in between.

Braulio Estima and Marcus Buchecha also stopped by recently for a day of training.

The camp at Cyborg's academy in Miami. Photo: Roberto Cyborg Instagram

The camp at Cyborg’s academy in Miami. Photo: Roberto Cyborg Instagram

Rocha will compete once again in the +99kg division, the same he finished second in 2013 after a defeat in the final to Buchecha.

He thought he was going to meet the Buchecha once again for a rematch, but a injury to the champion’s left knee forced Buchecha out of this year’s event.

“Man, I was so sad! I wanted so much to fight him once again, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait another two years. I hope he recovers well to be back at 100%,” said Rocha about Buchecha’s absence.

The 2015 ADCC has a special meaning to Rocha. It was after the 2013 edition that he found out he had testicular cancer.

Two years later and after going through a tough treatment, Rocha is ready to compete again.

He talks about the emotions he’s going to be feeling in São Paulo: “I think it’s going to be less intense than what I felt at the 2015 Pan. That was tough, man. It was my first competition after the treatment. I remember I cried before, during and after the matches. At the ADCC, it’s also gonna be huge once the 2013 edition was the last competition before being diagnosed.”

Even without Buchecha, Rocha knows the +99kg division will be as tough as nails. He commented on how he thinks it’s going to play out: “At the ADCC, there’s not even one easy opponent. Whoever gets there knows what he’s doing. You need to be ready for tough matches since the first time you step on the mat.”

The 2015 ADCC takes place in São Paulo, Brazil, on August 29-30.

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