2013 Worlds: Otávio Sousa’s discipline at middleweight

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Otávio Sousa got his second middleweight world title at the 2013 Worlds. Photo: Ivan Trindade.

On the night of Tuesday, May 28, two days before the start of the 2013 World Championship, Otávio Sousa was the last athlete to depart Gracie Barra in Irvine, leaving only the cleaning crew behind.

It wasn’t just one final quick training session before facing some of the toughest competition around – instead it was one last class he had, er, got to teach the white and blue belts in the school. His gaze already sort of adrift in anticipation of the war he was about to fight at the Pyramid, Otávio taught his students some nice positions to use against side-control, the concept of fencing, submissions from the back.

That’s just one of many pieces of evidence that glory hasn’t changed Otávio, who works for five hours every day teaching beginners, his smile never fading.

In his downtime, the José “Zé Radiola” Olimpio pupil turns into a lion and battles five of the world’s greatest middleweights in succession, including Davi Ramos, Vitor Henrique Oliveira and Claudio Calasans, and then goes home with the gold. Just like 2012, by the way.

Monday at 9 a.m., not a full day after sweeping Calasans twice and scoring 4-2 to snatch another title, the disciplined Otávio Sousa is back teaching at Gracie Barra. His gaze now satisfied from another mission accomplished.

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