Australia’s Levi Jones-Leary, 22, will be back this Saturday, November 23rd, in Seoul, South Korea. He will be competing in the under-76kg GP of Spyder Invitational, where a 100,000-dollar prize will be awarded to the fighter who wins three matches on the same night. The black-belt from Unity Jiu-Jitsu will face Gabriel Arges in the first round of a tournament that also includes Matheus Gabriel, Jonatha Alves, Jamil Hill-Taylor, Edwin Najmi, Matheus Lutes and Inseong Jang.
Levi, who has a strong game from the De la Riva guard with transitions to the berimbolo, talked about how he feels just a few days from the GP, and what he intends to do to his opponents.
“Probably take everyone’s back or something,” he said. “I’ve just been training the same. I’ve been training every day without a break for almost eight years, so I’m always ready.”
Levi is a sitting IBJJF European and Pan champion, at just one year and five months as a black-belt. Asked about the most important lessons learned in this short time amongst the elite — in which he has defeated Lucas Lepri, Roberto Satoshi, Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes and Renato Canuto — Levi said:
“That’s really tough. I have learnt so much! But if I had to pick one thing, it would be vulnerability and the strength it holds. Being able to be vulnerable and yourself, no matter the expectations, to ask for help when you need it, and be able to look at your weaknesses and mistakes honestly, is not just a lesson that has helped my jiu-jitsu, but also my life.”
About his recent near-misses at this year’s editions of the IBJJF Worlds and UAEJJF World Pro, Levi said, “I honestly think that after I won Pans I was trying to live up to other people’s expectations, trying to fight how others thought I should. That being said, I feel I could have won on the right day still. It’s still my first year at black belt, so I’m still figuring things out!”
He added: “I feel excited about the next season. For me jiu-jitsu is an art and a form of expression. It’s one of the most fulfilling things in my life, and has been for a long time.”