GRACIEMAG: Do you train differently for a 20-minute match where points don’t count? How are you preparing to face Ryron Gracie at Metamoris Pro this October 14?
ANDRÉ GALVÃO: I’m still training normally. For me nothing’s changed. I’m going there to win. I’m going to do my job as always. I see all this as being normal. The only difference is that it’s a challenge. This is the second time that Ralek Gracie [organizer of the event] and his brothers invite me to a challenge of this sort. So I accepted it under their rules. Now I’m just going to go there and do my job. I want to show my Jiu-Jitsu. I want to leave with my arm raised.
What do you think of the innovative rules? Is a 20-minute match with no points good for the fans? Is it good for Jiu-Jitsu?
In my opinion, the rules are fine for someone who wants to drag out a draw; in other words, for someone who wants to play defense the whole time. These rules were made to favor someone; that much is obvious. I prefer a points system, and I’ll explain why. It’s the same thing as doing judo and only ippons counting, or wrestling where all that counts is the touch, or boxing and MMA for the knockout. And all that within regulation time. I don’t feel it’s good for Jiu-Jitsu. A fight to the finish without a time limit is different deal. But to the finish with a time limit, that changes things, since the fighter has to work against the time factor just like a normal competition. I prefer Rickson’s rules for Budo Challenge, for example, with points for the one who attacks more.
Were you surprised when you were invited to face Ryron at Metamoris Pro?
I accepted because I like challenges. I like it. This is my life. Surprised? No, because there’s always someone who wants to fight me, especially those who need to make a name for themselves.
There are those saying he’s the underdog. There are others saying that’s not quite the case. What do you think?
You have to ask him what Jiu-Jitsu titles he holds. Look, I gave him an opportunity to compete against me. To try and say that I’m the underdog is a joke, isn’t it? I’m going to compete because I love Jiu-Jitsu. And if I win, they’ll say, “Sure, but it was against Galvão…” But if he beats me they’ll be shouting, “Dude, did you see what happened at the Metamoris Pro in San Diego???” So he certainly has a lot more to gain than I do… So I’m going to go there, compete like I always do, stick my neck out like I always do. Whatever happens, I’ll still be the same André Galvão I’ve always been.
You’ll be fighting right where you live, in San Diego, California. Do you think the crowd will be on your side?
I think they [the opposing team] will even take a band to cheer for them, and maybe even give free tickets away to their students… And it’s not far from Los Angeles, either. But I do hope to have my own noisy cheering section. I love when people cheer for me.
What’s your view of Jiu-Jitsu’s evolving into what it is today?
In the past, Jiu-Jitsu was real crude. Sometimes there was a really heavy atmosphere about it. The gang was really reserved and there was no contact between people who trained at different teams. Today things have evolved a lot. Jiu-Jitsu’s a sport. The gang trains a lot and the positions evolve a lot. It’s really different, much more professional. Look at how much has happened since the first Worlds, in 1996… In the future there will be even greater evolution in terms of sport, education and health. In five years Jiu-Jitsu will be at a different level. And it’s beautiful to see all that! Folks already recognize that there is no martial art more beneficial than Jiu-Jitsu.