Four-time world Jiu-Jitsu champion Michelle Nicolini threw herself in a category where the women are much stronger, the medium-heavyweight, and showed that technique should never be counted out. Her challenges for this year, however, have not ended: she will now try to honor her invitation to the Beijing ADCC on the 18 and 19 of October, by adding another title to her winning career. Now in no-gi.
In an exclusive talk with GRACIEMAG, the São Paulo-based Checkmat fighter analyzed the scene of women’s Jiu-Jitsu, talked about how her ADCC losses helped her, and more:
GRACIEMAG: How is your preparation going for the ADCC in China?
MICHELLE NICOLINI: I’m still away from Brazil, I’m training light and giving several cool lectures and seminars. I’ll return to Brazil in early August, and I will prepare in Santos. I will have exactly two months until I board to China. In Brazil, I will resume strength and conditioning workouts and step up the pace of my no-gi training. You can expect my best Jiu-Jitsu. I’m motivated for
this tournament, which is undoubtedly the championship of the dreams of many, for the international recognition that it gives athletes. I think we will see great fights.
What have you learned from your runner-up finish at the Rio trial?
Due to the turbulence of many championships in the first season, I did not have time to adapt to the way of playing no-gi and went straight to the trial. I was trying to fight Jiu-Jitsu and the ADCC is really another sport, with different rules. I have seen a lot of things that need improving. I’ll make my game tighter and correct errors. For the China ADCC I will be more mature. In the last edition, in 2011, in England, I was so elated to have been able to get there that I was just fighting too anxiously. This time I’ve got my wits about me.
The confidence in my no-gi game has risen sharply. I want to get the pace of each position right in order to win in Beijing. Now as I’m playing guard, I have no difficulty with the grips without the gi. I’ve adapted to it, now I always manage to secure it. I will also continue the training we’ve been doing standing, and perhaps risk something new.
In the 2013 Worlds, you and many stars withdrew from the black belt open. Do you think this is becoming a trend during the reign of Gabi Garcia?
One reason is that many girls are afraid of injuries in the absolute, and it being one day before the weight categories, that ends up becoming a major issue. Although I am from the lighter categories, actually I always enjoyed fighting the open, but for two years now I have preferred to focus only on my weight class. I really think Gabi Garcia discourages the lighter girls a bit. You fight with her the first time, and think that next time you can do things differently, have a better performance. But it gets worse the second time, and so on. As long as Gabi is training hard, I think the absolute title is gonna stay with her.