Rio de Janeiro, early Monday afternoon, June 3, and our reporter sees an audio file appear, sent by the illustrious fighter. The picture and name in the dark WhatsApp window leave no room for error: Marcus “Buchecha” is calling.
With the voice of someone who has just woken up at home in California, Buchecha resumes an old conversation about an issue of Graciemag of which he was the cover. The reporter answers, chats a bit and fires: “I think João Gabriel, at that BJJ Stars in São Paulo, awakened the monster, right? Your motivation and aggressiveness at this Worlds were better than ever.”
The six-time absolute world champion, owner of 13 gold medals when one adds his weight division titles, jokes with a hoarse voice: “True, I’m getting old for this. Yeah, in the end that BJJ Stars was good, but I’m starting to think I can no longer win in Brazil, I need to come to California to win.”
The legend is referring, of course, to his last losses in the gi, to João Gabriel Rocha and Roger Gracie, but we shouldn’t give the “curse” too much credit. After promising campaigns at brown belt, Marcus Buchecha was made a black-belt in June 2010 by Rodrigo Cavaca — who just retired as an athlete at the 2019 Words, it seems. Some titles came, but also some losses, like the ones to Lucio Lagarto in Abu Dhabi, Rodolfo Vieira and Léo Nogueira at the 2011 Worlds, and to Braga Neto and André Galvão at the 2011 ADCC trials held in San Diego. It was in Brazil, in fact, that Buchecha was about to explode like a comet, ready to shine intensely until at least 2019.
It was in an edition of the trials in the state of Rio Grande do Sul that Marcus Buchecha showed up to try to win a spot at the ADCC Worlds, in March 2012. He was the favorite, but Leonardo Nogueira was also there, and there was the expectation of a close fight. But Buchecha was out of control: He submitted his first opponents in just seconds, and then defeated Nogueira by a truckload of points, leading the Alliance athlete to leave the mat desolated, even talking about quitting fighting in the heat of the moment. It was the first big leveling applied by the steamroller named Buchecha.
Today, in a tribute to our man on our Instagram page, many top fighters gave their opinion on how and why Buchecha became the greatest champion in the history of the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship.
“Buchecha has always been a respectful kid to everyone, simple and humble and has always faced every title he has with the utmost humility,” said Rodolfo Vieira, his main rival, and currently a friend. “He never said crap about what he was going to do, he just went there and did it. I owe him greatly for a part of my evolution.”
To Prof. Rodrigo Cavaca, “there are three types of athletes: the hard-working, the talented and those who are both, and therefore become one of a kind! Thus we can define Buchecha, as well as many others.”
But another wise reader had a different definition: “Nonsense, dude’s an alien.”
Indeed, if a flying saucer lands today and its crew ask us to take them to our leader, we need just point to California, for that’s where Marcus Vinicius “Buchecha,” king of sport BJJ, dwells.