In a division with such stiff competition as Rafael Mendes, Rubens Charles “Cobrinha” and Mario Reis, among others, Renan Borges is there to just make things harder. The black belt from Brazilian Top Team Boston, our GMA, took second in the featherweight division of the European Championship, losing to Rafael Mendes in the final.
At 23 years of age, Renan started training in 2002, in Corumba, Mato Grosso do Sul. His masters were Dr. Manuel Joao and Taedes Mendonca. In 2007 he moved to Boston as brown belt. Now promoted to black by Joao Amaral and Daniel Gazone in 2008, he’ll be back in action at the Pan-American and Worlds.
Check out the chat GRACIEMAG.com had with the fighter.
What were your preparations for this European Championship like?
I focused on training for the European several months. I was dedicated in my physical preperations, not just on the mat, but also in the gym, to build stamina and strength. The BTT Boston team is to be congratulated for the work it’s been doing. I also trained with black belts from other academies, like Abmar Barbosa and Brian Caldwell. That was fundamental. One week before the European I stopped training to rest my body and save energy. Over there, I also entered the absolute, which was a great way to get back in rhythm. On Sunday, I concentrated for each match and fought as though it were my last. I won my first match via choke and the second on points. I felt good in all my matches.
What do you think of your opponent in the final, Rafael Mendes? What’s your breakdown of your match against him?
Rafael Mendes is one of the great challenges at featherweight, but we should never underestimate anyone. I went into the final focused. It was a tough match. I carried out my game and looked for the sweep the whole time.
Do you intend to compete at the Jiu-Jitsu Worlds? What would be different for this competition?
Yes, I’m going to compete at the Worlds, but first I’m concentrating on the Pan-American. I think the big difference in this competition is that it’s more competitive and attracts a greater number of top athletes.
How is work at BTT Boston going?
It’s going strong and there are good training partners for me. The work we’re doing is really important for my evolution and that of my training partners.