Alliance star Gabrielle Garcia, 27, was once again the big name in the women’s division in Pan 2013, which ended last Sunday in Irvine, California. With double gold in her weight category and the absolute, Garcia added two more medals to her collection, and in style: Fabio Gurgel’s black belt submitted all opponents except Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaitá).
In a conversation with GracieMag.com, the fighter from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, talked about the final of the absolute, against Beatriz Mesquita, told what she learned and still needled her rivals, which, according to her, had teased Garcia. Check it out:
GracieMag: What was the hardest part of keeping your position as the absolute queen in Pan 2013?
GABI GARCIA: I think I did a good job because I submitted every opponent except in the absolute final. Too bad I can’t celebrate much because the WPJJC in Abu Dhabi is almost here in the middle of April and I need to keep my focus.
How was this fight with Beatriz in another absolute final?
I always fight with her. And I had always submitted her in them, but lately she seems to be always seeking to keep our fight tied at 0-0 so the judges give the win to her. This is nonetheless a strategy. It just depends on me not to leave the fight as a draw. I know what her game is, and the good thing is that every time I got the victory. I hope it stays that way.
Were there complicated times during the fight?
Yes, when I lost my head in the absolute final with taunts and disrespect from the opponent. That was actually my worst moment! There, I think I’ve learned to keep my head on straight and not lose control. Fabio Gurgel even scolded me for paying attention to her provocations. She wants me to lose control of the fight, but that just isn’t cool. I learned that even disrespected, I have to keep my mouth shut, and not pay attention to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
What’s your secret to submitting almost all of your opponents?
I felt much stronger. My preparation is all focused on strength, thanks to trainer James Heck, who has been taking care of it. I felt my grips on the gi were stronger. And I’m always looking for the submission, it makes a difference. I liked my performance. Now I have
to train harder as I want to keep my titles in the IBJJF Worlds, the WPJJC in Abu Dhabi and the ADCC in Beijing, in October.
What would you say to a girl who longs to be a champion or earn a black belt one day?
Never give up, never stop because of small problems. I’ve always been discredited and today I keep myself on top of Jiu-Jitsu for years. I could easily have given up halfway, but I went ahead. So never give up, practice a lot, be dedicated, and always give your best to achieve your goals. One day, the victory arrives.