Gabi and World Pro: “I took more risks, I think it was my best championship”

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Gabi defeated Penny Thomas in the over-65kg by 9 to 0. Photo: Luca Atalla.

Gabrielle Garcia, 25, added another honor to her numerous Jiu-Jitsu accolades. Two-time World Pro champ? That too, but not just that.

“I’m the first woman to train with Sheikh Tahnoon,” says the black belt, with a mixture of disbelief and pride, upon returning to Brazil.

In a conversation with the heavyweight speaks of training with the powerful Sheikh of Abu Dhabi and breaks down her performance at the 2011 World Pro, which came to a close last Saturday.


I’m overjoyed with the win, as I very much wanted to win the tournament for a second time. Only I really know how much I trained, how much I dedicated myself. I’m really happy with my performance, I feel it was my best championship so far. I took more risks and did things I’d never done in competition before.


I had a great stay in Abu Dhabi. Besides the title, I was the first woman to train with Sheikh Tahnoon! I was received at the palace by him, and can really only be happy about opening doors for women’s Jiu-Jitsu. Sharing a mat with Sheikh Tahnoon, Renzo Gracie and Cobrinha was a great honor. I returned home fulfilled.


No one is exempt from defeat. We’re mortals, not machines; so nothing is preestablished. There were athletes who were jetlagged, who made it there at the last minute, and the trip from São Paulo lasted thirty hours. I was saddened that some people lost, as I kept up with the training and dedication of a lot of people there, but those losses surely serve for personal growth, for maturity. There are no more favorites these days, everyone is really prepared.


Now my focus is the IBJJF World Championship, in California. I really want to win at weight and open weight, and I’m going to be even more dedicated. I want to close out the absolute with Lu (Alzuguir) and win my third world championship. First, though, I’ll compete at the Cup in Milan, Italy. The event values girls too. And I’m not going to hide behind any title, I’ll compete against anyone – I want to etch my name in Jiu-Jitsu history.

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