Alliance lightweight Michael Langhi has seen days where he was a myth in his weight class. A two-time black belt world champion, Langhi went almost three years without tasting defeat in the gi. These days, after coming up short at the big IBJJF tournaments last year, the Rubens Cobrinha student is training hard to recover his place at the top of the division. And he has already begun the hard trek, strolling the pleasant streets of Lisbon.
At this year’s European Open the stalwart guard-player notched his third gold medal at the competition (2009/11/13)—the fourth if we take into account his 2010 closing out with Lucas Lepri.
Check out what Langhi had to tell GRACIEMAG.com in the following interview.
GRACIEMAG: Last year you struck out at the European Open, taking bronze. What lessons did you learn from defeat to start the year off on the right foot?
MICHAEL LANGHI: Defeat is something that always will happen to anyone who sticks his neck out in competition. The difference is when you don’t give up. Always persist with your dreams, and that’s what I did. I trained even more, and thank God it all worked out this time—I had three matches and three wins. The first one I won with a collar choke, and the other two I won by a good margin on points. I don’t think I did anything differently. I trained a lot as always. I don’t like making excuses for losing, so if someone beats me it’s because they truly are better. I’m training hard like I always do. Of course we always try being better with every day, but I dedicate myself 100% to what I do.
How did the final with Vinicius Marinho, a black belt you know quite well, go?
Vinicius is a really tough athlete with a well-rounded game both playing guard and passing, so it’s always great to face him. We’d already fought before, once in the final at the Worlds as purple belts and twice at the Brazilian Nationals as black belts, so we’re very familiar with each other’s games. I knew that the one to make the least mistakes would win, and that’s what I did—I tried making as few mistakes as possible.
How did your Jiu-Jitsu training for the European Open go?
Training went great. Everything worked out, thank God, and I showed up uninjured and with plenty of desire to fight. I trained in São Paulo under the supervision of Fabio Gurgel, who is always correcting me, and so I showed up with a well-honed game. With all the drills we do, we bring a lot of pressure in the positions at championships. I’ll take this opportunity to thank all my friends at training, as nothing would be possible without them, as well as my coach Rubens Cobrinha, who is always in contact with me and helping me in all kinds of ways.
What’s the lesson you derived from the tournament that stands out most?
The lesson is to persist. If you want something, go for it. A great moment that touched me at this European Open was Fernando Tererê’s return. I knew him before all his problems and I also followed him throughout his whole drama, and he was a great example for us. Tererê got back on his feet and is a champion, regardless of the results. It’s great to see that he’s back and happy.
Any advice for our reader/practitioners who want to one day be black belts?
My advice to them is to dedicate themselves to the maximum. If you want to set yourself apart, you have to do things differently, not what the majority does. We have to dedicate ourselves to becoming the best we can be every day. I’d like to take the chance to send my best to my fans and the people who root for me, as well as to thank my sponsor, my conditioning coach Thiago and my other conditioning coach James.