Motivated after win in Abu Dhabi, Vitor Shaolin seeks World Master title

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Vitor Shaolin (right)

Vitor Shaolin against Nino Schembri at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, in 2014

Vitor Shaolin has always been focused, dedicated and determined. That’s how he reached all the goals he set throughout his career. In BJJ, he was a three-time world champion — twice at lightweight and once at middleweight. In MMA, he became champion at Shooto, the world’s biggest lightweight MMA organization at the time. After retiring from the rings, the black-belt under André Pederneiras decided to resume his mat career. At 37, his goal remains the same as ever: to be champion.

Riding the momentum of beating two-time world champion Daniel Moraes at Legends, an event held in Abu Dhabi last April, Shaolin guarantees he will go in focused and determined to conquer the gold at the World Masters, slated for August 25 through 27 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Shaolin, who is going to compete in the master-2 lightweight class, gave Graciemag an exclusive interview and talked about his training, goals and his motivation for the tournament.

What motivated you to take part in the World Masters?

I had just come home from Abu Dhabi; I felt good competing there, and that gave me a lot of motivation. When I got to the gym and saw the guys training, I decided to sign up. I saw I had time to train too, so I went for it. This year the tournament should be bigger; the IBJJF will probably commemorate the 10 years of the death of Carlson Gracie, and that also motivated me to participate. I think it was all that together, and so I decided to sign up.

You have always been very competitive. Are you going into this competition with that same focus?

I have indeed; I’ve never trained only to be a part of it — always to be a champion. It won’t be any different this time. I’m going in focused, with the same mindset as in every competition, be it gi, no-gi or MMA. I can’t imagine someone going into a competition just to accumulate experience. My goal is to go in focused, so that everything works out on fight day and I come out the winner.

What do you miss most from the time you used to fight? Do you think the World Master is an opportunity to relive great moments?

What I miss most is this process right before competing, of striving to improve on something, get faster, better conditioned, dieting and seeing your body change… These pre-competition discoveries which you don’t notice so much usually. I missed that, so I returned to competitions. I don’t know whether I’ll be fighting in several championships, but in this one, specifically, it will be a great opportunity to see some people again and relive good moments.

Will we be seeing you compete again in the gi?

Competing in the gi has always been my passion. I knew that, when I retired from MMA, I would go back and dedicate myself to the gi. If the right event comes along, at a convenient date, why not? Of course now it’s different from when I was 20, when I just had to train, eat and sleep, but I want to fight at least three times a year, be it in tournaments or superfights.


Shaolin is a black belt under André Pederneiras. Photo personal archive

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