Yuri Simões on second no-gi world title, plans to move to MMA

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Yuri beat Murilo Santana in the absolute final. Léo Bandeira

Yuri beat Murilo Santana in the absolute final. Léo Bandeira

In ten editions of the No-Gi Worlds, only one black-belt has won two adult absolute titles. Yuri Simões achieved this feat Nov. 6 in California when he defeated Murilo Santana. He also became a two-time champion in his weight class, ultra-heavyweight. In an interview with Graciemag.com, he talked about his triumph.

“It was awesome,” he said. “A sensation of joy and infinite gratitude. To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet. I have so much love for BJJ, and being able to make history in this art I love so much is just so exciting to me. Only those who truly know me know that it’s been a long, hard journey to get here. But it’s been worth it, and I confess I would do it all again if I had to.”

Yuri’s no-gi phase is a spectacular one. Besides the No-Gi Worlds, he was also champion of the ADCC, deemed the biggest grappling event in the world. Despite the good no-gi results, however, Yuri, who was a world BJJ champ at blue, purple and brown, believes his gi and no-gi games are about even.

“Maybe in terms of results my no-gi game may be better, despite me having won the gi worlds at every belt except black, where I placed third twice. But, in terms of skill, I really do believe that my technique, my style and the very essence of my jiu-jitsu are exactly the same at gi and no-gi. When it comes to competing, my goal doesn’t change — I always strive to fight forward, with the only focus being to give the best of my BJJ from start to finish.”

Simões is training MMA with Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Personal archive

Simões is training MMA with Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Personal archive

Yuri assures us he will still pursue the world championship as a black-belt, but he also has plans for an MMA career. About a month ago he signed with AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) and he is already training alongside Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold and Cain Velasquez.

“Right now there’s nothing scheduled in terms of BJJ competition, except next year’s ADCC. But I started training MMA a few months ago, and I’m focused on my debut. I like testing my warrior’s spirit, and this is my next challenge. But I’m not in a hurry and, despite knowing that MMA is a completely different sport, my main commitment in this new journey is to represent BJJ as well as I can.”

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