Henrique Ceconi aims to write his name in AJP’s history

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Henrique Ceconi aims to write his name in AJP’s history. Photo by AJP

If professional black belt Henrique “Ceconi” Cardoso is a hunter, his next prey stands to be one of the most challenging of this season: The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Rio de Janeiro. The event that opens the 2023-2024 season of the AJP World Tour will be kicked off by Masters on June 9th, to then receive Professional athletes throughout June 10th and 11th. Ranked among the latter group, Henrique is fully focused on his training to bring his A-game to the Arena Carioca.

Ceconi shows a lot of confidence ahead of the tournament, even though he recognizes the challenge he’s faced with. In an interview with AJP, Henrique explains what keeps him confident, talks about his motivations to win at the South America Continental, and gives us a glimpse at his future within the federation. Check it out below!

AJP: Before registering for the ADGS Rio, you went through the South America Continental like a storm, taking the titles for both your weight and the absolute. Which were the greatest challenges that you faced in that tournament?

HENRIQUE CECONI: It’s difficult to single out a challenge among all the high-level athletes I faced since the first fight. But despite the hurdles, I felt ready to take on this tournament. It felt personal to me, especially because the South America Continental took place in Santa Catarina, which is my home and where I train. I wanted to show my best form, so I went all-out on my training and was ready for anything when I stepped onto the mats.

Almost three months later, the ADGS Rio is almost here. Are you feeling that same confidence that put you at the top of the South America Continental?

Absolutely! I’ve managed to keep that same training pace, So I think I’m in much better shape for the ADGS Rio. When the time comes, I want to present the federation and the crowd with good fights and an even better performance. I expect that, by the end of the tournament, no one will be able to forget the name ‘Henrique Ceconi’.

 Let’s look back for a moment: What led you to fall in love with Jiu-Jitsu and how did it shape you into the warrior that now stands ready for yet another challenge?

Jiu-Jitsu is a part of my family’s tradition. I’m part of the second generation of black belts from the Ceconi Household and have been training since I was only 10 years old. Because I started so young, Jiu-Jitsu influenced not only who I am as an athlete, but also as a human being. The life on the mats formed my personality and created the man I am today. Above all, it brought me the resilience that allows me to stand out among my peers.

Apart from its formative values, Jiu-Jitsu also gave you a nickname that almost became a real name. Tell us about the origin of the alias “Ceconi”.

It all began with my uncle Alexandro Ceconi. He was a competitor through and through, even becoming an World Pro Champion in 2009, and I’ve always looked up to him. Even as a kid, I decided to follow in his footsteps and people started calling me “Little Ceconi”. As time went on and I grew, both from a physical and competitive perspective, the nickname shifted to “Ceconi” and gave me the honor to carry on the family’s legacy in the mats.

After the ADGS Rio, can we count on seeing more of Henrique Ceconi here at AJP, traveling the world to fight and rise through the ranking?

From my experience, AJP tournaments are unrivaled in Jiu-Jitsu. They contribute to the professional development of the sport, presenting athletes with an environment where they feel valued. I’ll be fighting to be the best within the federation, so yes: You’ll definitely be seeing me around.

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