Durinho and the road to his first world title

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In fine form, Gilbert Durinho is coming off a series of big wins in the lightweight division. He won the Lutador Grappling tournament in Atlanta, the qualifiers for the World Pro, the Worlds Pro and, most recently, the Brazilian Nationals. Now the focus is the World Championship to kick off June 3, in California. Team Atos heads to the United States June 1. “We’re taking a full train,” warns the black belt.

Durinho is hungry for a gold medal at the Worlds. Photo: Carlos Ozório

You’ve had a series of big wins and, obviously, you want to win the Worlds. What’s different with this competition in relation to the others?

It’s the toughest championship and everyone’s main focus. Everyone is going in well trained and, just as I surprised everyone last year, new blood is coming in that can do the same thing. I’m excited, really determined. I hit the cross bar twice as a brown belt, as a black belt and I took third as a purple belt. I’m hungry and will give my blood there.

Last year you lost to Michael Langhi in the final. Have you been studying him?

Langhi is really tough in the division, the current world champion. I’ve fought him several times and both won and lost. But there are other tough guys: JT, Formiga, Lucas Lepri, Celsinho Venicius, Caloquinha, Tanquinho… A lot of guys. I know he’s a tough guy and I’ve watched some of his fights. But I have a strategy and a good game to go up against anybody. I’m going in with my same old aggressive style and looking to win the title. I’m going after anyone in my way.

Durinho pressures JT's foot. Photo: Carlos Ozório

Photo: Carlos Ozorio

You fought in the final of the Brazilian Nationals against Jonathan Torres. Do you think he could surprise some people at the Worlds?

He’s really tough and has nothing more to prove. He even trained with the gang here last year. He’s good people, looking to carve out his place and has beaten a lot of top guys. He’s another one of the top guys.

What are your thoughts on the current phase in your Jiu-Jitsu career?

I’m at a good stage, evolving with every championship. But, even with all these good results, I know I have much to evolve still. I’m working on improving and showing up at the Worlds even better. My sponsors, Hartmann, Tamoio pharmacies and Red Nose, are helping me a lot, as is my team.

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