Michael Musumeci on becoming BJJ world champion

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Musumeci (blue) in his final duel against João Miyao at the 2017 Worlds. IBJJF

Twenty-year-old Michael Musumeci has written his name in the history of BJJ. Back in 2000, BJ Penn was the first American to win a world championship at Tijuca Tennis Club, in Rio. In 2005 Robert Drysdale got there. In 2007, with the Worlds having already moved to the U.S., it was Rafael Lovato’s turn. And now, ten years after that, Musumeci has become only the fourth American to reach the top of the gentle art.

To achieve his light featherweight title, Musumeci beat four elite adversaries, like 2016 finalist Ary Farias, and João Miyao, an old rival that Mikey ended up meeting in the final.

Graciemag caught up with Musumeci this week. “This was my dream since I was 10 years old, and I am just so happy…” he said. “It feels fake like a dream.”

He added: “This was the fifth time João and me fought, and my fifth victory with him. Every match we have is always a war. I always try, when I’m fighting, to make very little room for opportunity for my opponent. I was able to fight a smart match and secure my first world title.”

Now Musumeci claims his next goal is to become a two-time champion. “Time now to fix my mistakes from this year, rest my body and mind a little and just learn more positions to add to my jiu-jitsu for 2018!” he says.

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