Barral gets ready for return and names favorites

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Barral in absolute semifinal against Xande at Worlds. Photo: Ivan Trindade.

Rômulo Barral was having an excellent World Championship campaign this year until suffering a knee injury in the medium heavyweight final against Tarsis Humphreys. Besides having to pull out of the match, Barral was unable to enter the final of the absolute division, where he would have faced Roger Gracie for the second year in a row. After that he underwent surgery and routine physiotherapy sessions.

With a slew of projects planned for 2011, Barral comments on his expectations and reveals which fighters he currently enjoys watching most.

Check out the conversation he had with GRACIEMAG.com:

How’s the knee, you 100% recovered?

Thank God the knee is getting better with every day. There’s still a bit of a way to go before it’s 100%.

How’s training going then?

I’m getting back to training, still at a slow pace. But work here in the USA is going great. I’m opening my academy, another Gracie Barra branch. I’ve been working a lot in recent months, teaching a number of seminars. I did a three-month tour of several cities around these parts.

What events are you looking to compete at in 2011?

I hope to return to competition as soon as possible. I want to be at all the main competitions, the Pan, World Pro, and Worlds, as well as the ADCC. To me it’s fun, I love competing, and that’s what’s most important now, getting back to competition.

You’re a role model to the new generation of Gracie Barra fighters. What do you think of that?

I’m pleased, it’s recognition for the hard work I’ve put in. I’m someone who is always working to improve on all aspects of being an athlete and it’s cool to be recognized for it by the new generation. I hope the new crop ends up being a lot better than me. It all comes down to their will power.

Not taking it easy while knee recovers. Photo: Personal Archive.

Who are your favorite fighters currently? Who do you like watching?

I have several favorites. I appreciate good Jiu-Jitsu, but let’s cut to the favorites. I like (Rubens Charles) Cobrinha, Bráulio Estima, André Galvão, and Samuel Braga. Now there’s a new bunch I like to watch who I paid close attention to this year: there’s Rafael Mendes, the kid’s awesome; Rodolfo Vieira, a hard one to beat and who fights all out; Gilbert Durinho, Michael Langhi, and Claudio Caloquinha did a great job at lightweight; and Pablo Silva has been showing great progress. That bunch is to be congratulated, they’ve been doing great.

Any news regarding next year?

The biggest news is that there will be one more GB branch with Professor Rômulo Barral. It will open soon. I also plan to bring a group over to hold a camp at my academy – a group from Belo Horizonte: Pablo Silva, Claudio “Caloquinha” Matos, Augusto Cezar “Tio Chico”, and Felipe “Preguiça”, among others. Should anyone be interested, just contact me, everyone is welcome. The only thing you need to bring is a lot of willingness.

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