Over twitter, @marcelogarciajj was overjoyed with Fabrício Werdum’s submission win over Fedor Emelianenko, as were dozens of other masters across the planet.
But Marcelo had his own reasons to celebrate, too. He didn’t just get crowned four-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion last June, but he did so in one of the toughest middleweight divisions of all times.
How Marcelo kept motivated, especially against the high level of competition, to win a weight group infested with beasts the likes of Delson Pé de Chumbo, Abmar Barbosa, Alan Finfou, Ryan Beauregard, Mike Fowler, Tiago Alves, Bill Cooper, Murilo Santana, Serginho Moraes, Lucas Leite, Clark, Kron and Kayron Gracie is what he tells GRACIEMAG.com.
The owner of one of the tightest guard passes in Jiu-Jitsu and the most lethal north-south choke in the sport, Marcelo leaked the possibility of returning soon in the Grapplers Quest no-gi absolute division on the 10th and 11th of July against 31 other stars.
And the most illustrious son of the town of Formiga, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, went further in talking about his opponents in the middleweight division, the final against Claudio Calasans and to whom he would one day like to pass the divisional torch.
Congratulations on your fourth gold, Marcelinho. Is it getting easier or harder?
(Laughs) Look, I feel it’s getting harder to get the submission, but not to win. I’ll explain: You’ll notice my game remains the same; I fought the whole time attacking from the open guard, scoring points but looking for the submission. The problem is that the opponents don’t open up even when I take the lead, so the fight kind of stalls, I think. So, so long as the guys carry on not opening up the game, even when they’re behind on the scorecards, I think I’ll be winning for some years still.
How did the final against Calasans go in your view?
It was kind of like what I said, I believe. I was ahead on the scorecards, and even so it seemed like he preferred not to open up the game and try and win. Thus I, too, was obliged not to expose myself towards the end, right? Who’s going to risk losing a title in the final seconds when the opponent played all wound up tight the whole time? So I feel the guys are getting tougher, but without REALLY wanting to win. That’s why I believe I’ll continue to win and God willing make it to my fifth, sixth, and so on.
Does the lack of championship rhythm not set you back?
The truth is that I train with and without the gi everyday. That’s why I should be in the next Grapplers Quest 32-man absolute division (on July 10 and 11). But I feel competing at the Worlds and the ADCC is not to not compete much, if just because one month from the championship I give it my all, training a lot, at least twice a day. The rest of the year I live Jiu-Jitsu to the extreme, but dedicating myself to my students, to my gym and my internet teaching project, which are my greatest passions these days, just as much as competing.
What motivates you to carry on competing?
Not a year has gone by since I started competing as a black belt, in 2003, that folks wouldn’t come up to me and say, “Shoot, your division is one of the toughest.” And I’ve been facing the best ever since. Nowadays, new talent continues to surface, and that motivates me to gauge my technique versus theirs.
Who would be your dream successor, when the time to bid farewell to the World Championship comes? Someone from Alliance, Sergio Moraes perhaps?
Dude, my dream is to keep winning for a few years yet and then pass the torch on to one of my students, or someone whose game is inspired by mine. I believe that now that my techniques are available on YoutTube by way of the website www.mginaction.com that could be possible. I already noticed there were guys trying some X-guard techniques and other that I helped develop – and trying them on me! Shoot, that makes me so proud.