The women’s sitting absolute world champion, Nathiely de Jesus, once more had the opportunity to parade her refined BJJ, besting one of the most feared female fighters of all time. A taller, stronger Gabi Garcia was defeated last weekend by unanimous judges’ decision.
With her offensive guard, Nathiely unbalanced Gabi a few times during the fight and had good finishing attacks, which were fought off by Gabi. With the win, Nathiely secured the F2W belt. Later she spoke to Graciemag about the mental work and strategy that went into beating Gabi.
GRACIEMAG.com: How did you receive the news of a new battle with Gabi?
Nathiely de Jesus: I already knew that we were bound to fight again eventually in an event like this one. It always makes me a little nervous, you know? It’s normal, but I remained very calm and glad for the opportunity to fight her again.
Did the absolute IBJJF title you won this year give you more confidence to take on this challenge?
I don’t think so. To me the titles don’t interfere with anything, you know? I was confident because I believe in myself, I believe in the work of the people who accompany me, and, most of all, I believe in God’s plans.
What was your pre-fight strategy?
I knew that the possibilities of her calling me to her guard would be minimal, so I focused on adjusting my guard game to be able to hold her more confidently.
During the fight, what went through your head?
She is very strong and physically well prepared, but at no point did I have thoughts of insecurity go through my head. I was very focused on what I was doing and knew that at one time or another she could get tired, so my thought was always “Go, Nathi, keep going. You’re doing well — time is running out.” [Laughs.]
The win came through a decision. Can you point to a key moment where you convinced the judges of your superiority?
I think in terms of submissions, I managed to attack more, so because of this I knew I would possibly win in the case of a decision, because the rule was submission-only.
How does it feel to place your name even more firmly among the best in the world?
I was very happy, but frankly it was not for the fight itself, nor for the title. I knew this win would have a great impact for the people who follow me and even those who don’t. I was able to make a brief case showing that nothing is impossible, that God breaks barriers. Most thought I would lose, but God enables us to show that, with him, all things are possible.