Black belt world champion in 2010 Hillary Williams heads into the new year as one of the big names in female Jiu-Jitsu. The fighter was sidelined during the second half of the year due to a wrist injury but stayed involved in the sport, notably as an IBJJF referee.
Check out what she had to say to GRACIEMAG.com:
What was it like having to sit out competitions?
I got hurt, had several injuries and also dedicated myself to college. So, during the second half of the year, I stuck more to refereeing. But the truth is that it was a great opportunity. I had the chance to learn a lot more about the rules and now I understand the game a lot better. I’m not in the kind of shape I’d like to be, but I’m now on vacation from college, in Miami at Roberto Cyborg’s academy, and I know I’ll be fine for the upcoming championships.
Do you intend to compete at all the championships in 2011?
I want to compete at everything possible. I’ll be in the USA until May. Then, I’ll take some time off from my studies to spend three months training in Brazil. I’ll have fun and train. In August, I’ll start the second phase of medical school here in the USA and it will be really hard to compete. I’ll have more studying to do and I’ll work at a hospital.
What was it like refereeing big matches like the final between Beatriz Mesquita and Michelle Nicolini at the No-Gi Worlds?
It pretty much came out of the blue. I was in Miami to watch the event and I took a course. I learned a number of rules, which was great, and I was also able to see how it’s a really hard job to do. I’ll never complain about to the referees again! I reffed the final between Michelle Nicolini and Beatriz Mesquita and got really nervous, to tell you the truth. But Álvaro Mansur spoke with me earlier and I calmed down, and it was a really good match, with two excellent fighters.
Which female fighters do you most like watching in competition?
The fighters I liked watching most this year were Bia Mesquita and Michelle. They attack a lot and I love watching them fight. In my weight group, I always admired Hannette Staack. I don’t even have words to describe her. She stopped some this year, but I hope she comes back. It would be really cool to face her.