Exclusive interview: Ruan Oliveira on how he secured a spot in Copa Podio’s middleweight GP

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Ruan attempts to sweep Leon Brito. Caio Ferreira/GRACIEMAG

A Soul Fighters athlete made black-belt by the duo of Leandro “Tatu” Escobar and Muzio de Angelis, Ruan Oliveira needs no introduction. Owner of a powerful guard and an explosive game, he was a standout in the most recent edition of Copa Podio, held Feb. 23 in Rio de Janeiro.

Ruan fought in that event’s preliminary card, a sudden-death tourney featuring eight athletes vying for a spot in May’s middleweight GP. Three extra-tough bouts stood between Ruan and the chance to fight in the spotlight. He hung in there, beating his first two opponents before outplaying Brenno Novaes.

Graciemag talked to Ruan afterwards to discuss details of his preparation for six-minute matches, and more. Read on for the interview.

GRACIEMAG.com: What’s your assessment of your performance?

RUAN OLIVEIRA: We did it, thank God. I had a good performance; I was well prepared and feeling well mentally. I fought really safe and saving myself, because I got injured the previous week. But it all worked out!

Did you feel any differences in performance fighting in stretches of six minutes? Which opponent posed more problems in this format?

It’s always hard fighting for six minutes — you can’t make mistakes. We put together the correct strategy and tactics in each fight. All my opponents were very strong and prepared. I managed to impose my game and pace during every fight, but the guy who made it hard was Leon Brito. He was very strong and with a very good base, killing all my grips, and he wouldn’t let me adjust myself.

Do you think you are arriving in the GP with greater momentum, having made it through this trial by fire before the official competition?

I’m flying to the U.S. to do a camp for the Pan, then I carry on with my training routine already with a focus on the Brazilian Nationals and, soon after that, Copa Podio. I will certainly have my physical preparation in a very sharp state and I’ll be very well technically, being very close to my main goal, which is the Worlds. I believe I’m on an upward curve and we’ll do a great job. It’s a promising year!

Tommy Langaker, winner of the lightweight GP, is also confirmed. How do you view a possible fight with him?

I believe we will meet in other events. I like studying my opponents and practicing each one’s strong positions. At the gym, I have a variety of people, and with many different games; I’m always studying and practicing same positions. The best strategy so far is not to go into his guard, but I will be well prepared for this and other matches.

How do you conciliate your training for competition with teaching at Minos Funcional Fight?

My training takes place in the morning and afternoon. I always do two to three training sessions a day, including physical preparation.

It’s a pleasure to teach, especially at Minos! I learn a lot from my students; I have to answer all the questions and show/think of the best path for each of them, to train while correcting errors. It makes me evolve as a teacher and develop my jiu-jitsu in another way.

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