Nino Schembri marked an era in sport Jiu-Jitsu, dazzling with his creative, flexibility-based style.
After channeling his energy toward MMA and dropping out of the competition circuit, the idol of old has returned his sights to winning gold at an IBJJF tournament–and in the adult division, to boot.
Nino, who featured in a super-match with Bill Cooper at the 2012 World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, will be back on the mats this Sunday, Feb. 24, for the San Francisco Open. With the likes of André Galvão, Rafael and Gui Mendes, Caio Terra, Tanner Rice, Magid Hage and brown belt UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson all in the mix, the event is a guaranteed thriller.
Nino, who will be competing as a heavyweight, told GRACIEMAG.com about what he expects upon his return:
“What I expect is to do what I like doing most: competing in Jiu-Jitsu and doing a good job of it. My goal is to always be aggressive in my matches. I’m really focusing on physical conditioning with my trainer Fabio Monteiro, so my wind will be up to speed,” said the Brazilian who now resides in Manhattan Beach, California.
“These days I’m much more dedicated to the students at my academy; but whenever I have time I like having fun doing some championships. I can forewarn the readers that I’ve got a move up my sleeve. Who knows? I may use it at the San Francisco Open…” says Nino.
The old-school black belt took the chance to praise the IBJJF on the initiative of implementing testing for banned substances starting with the March 2013 Pan.
“It’s a major step for the sport. Only the ones who really have talent will stand out,” says Schembri.
The San Francisco Open is coming up on the 24th Kezar Pavilion. To find out who all will be there, click here.